Esther Dhanraj, Vibhuti Jha, Sanjay Dixit: Hostility towards Hindus : Is there Hinduphobia in the Bible?
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Today’s question: Esther Dhanraj, Vibhuti Jha, and Sanjay Dixit say that the Bible promotes hostility towards Hindus. It also supports slavery and racism. Is that true?
Excellent questions. To understand the context of these questions, first watch the video in which Esther Dhanraj, vibhuti Jha, and Sanjay Dixit discuss Hinduphobia in America. I gave the link below. I am going to answer the charges of all three individuals in this video. One shot. Three birds.
First note the title of the video: western hostility towards Hindus. The premise of the video is fallacious. There is no hostility towards Hindus or Hinduism. Take a look at FBI statistics. hate crimes are highest against the Jews, then come Muslims, then come Buddhists, then come Sikhs. The crimes against Jews and Muslims came down and the crimes against Buddhists and Sikhs went up. Hindus are not even listed as a religious group in this list. (https://www.justice.gov/crs/highlights/2020-hate-crimes-statistics).
In America, Hindus are the most successful group of people in terms of income. Majority of H1B visas are secured by Hindus. Top companies in America like Microsoft, Twitter, Google, Pepsi have Hindu CEOs who hail from India. Millions of Hindu students are studying in American universities and settling in America. So, there is no such thing as hostility towards Hindus. So, these three individuals made up a straw man argument to elicit sympathy from others.
Hinduism gained a large following in America. For many decades, Hindu gurus talked a lot about transcendental meditation, yoga, vegetarianism, non-violence and made millions of disciples in the West through groups like ISKON. Celebrities like Beetles became disciples of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Sathya Sai Baba. Universities established study centers on Meditation and yoga. Hinduism played a significant role in the 1960s counter-revolution in the West. Hinduism’s teachings on self-consciousness and inner transformation were used as springboards for many liberal moments in the West like sexual revolution, gay rights, feminism, environmentalism etc. People said, ‘Christian God gives many commandments to constrain our behavior. Hinduism has no such commandments. That’s nice and cool’. ‘Spiritual but not religious’ is a group born out of this population who left Judeo-Christian religions and embraced the tenets of eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.
Things have changed a little bit after the rise of Hindutva. What has been seen as a religion of peace now looking like radical Islam in its practices and programs. Individuals like Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati openly calling for the genocide of non-Hindus in India. He is calling for violence on people who eat meat. A religion that promotes vegetarianism has been attacking people who eat meat. The irony is non-violence towards animals is practiced through violence towards fellow human beings. Meat sellers are beaten up because they are violent towards animals!
When the Westen press reports attacks on minorities in India, that is interpreted as hostility towards Hindus and is blamed on Christians and the Bible. That is a highly distorted argument. In reality, the Western press, academia and polity are equally critical of Christian Right in America. Because Hindu Right joined hands with Russia in the war on Ukraine, we can expect more criticism of India from the secular Western press and that will be interpreted as Hinduphobia coming from the Bible.
Esther said American Christians are racist. American Christians are not perfect but they made great progress in race relations. Having followed the Biblical values, America created the most tolerant society in the world. Ahmadis are Muslims. But they enjoy more freedom in America than in Pakistan, a Muslim nation. Hindu dalits enjoy more freedom in America than in India, a majority Hindu nation. Shiite Muslims enjoy more freedom in America than in Saudi Arabia, a majority Sunni Muslim nation. Palestinians enjoy more freedom in America than in Jordan. The United States is far ahead of India in upholding human rights. So, Esther’s suggestion that India is more tolerant of minorities than America is absurd.
In this video, Esther Dhanraj says that Christianity encourages racism. Mr.Vibhuti Jha says that caste is all about occupation. He said the British imposed the caste system on India. Nothing could be further from the truth. Blaming the British for every malady of India is ridiculous and irrational. Caste system was in India for thousands of years before the British ever set their foot in India.The caste system came directly from Hindu scriptures. Read Purusha Sukta, a hymn from the Rig Veda. It tells of the creation of the world. During the creation of the world, the divine person was dismembered into parts reflecting the four classes of people. From the mouth came the Brahmans, the superior priestly class. From the arms came Kshatriyas, the ruling warrior class. From the thighs came Vaishyas, the merchants and farmers. From the feet came Shudras, the menial laborers and servants. Beside these 4 classes, there is another group, the fifth group called ‘panchamas’. They exist outside the class system, they are called outcasts or Dalits. So, Brahmins came from the mouth of god while Shudras came from his feet and Dalits are too unclean to have any part in god. Division of people into different categories came directly from god.
Each of the four classes had different roles in society. This categorization in the Rig Veda is what led to the caste system. Not British colonialism. Vibhuti said caste is all about occupation. Yes, it is about occupation. But we have to ask. Would a Brahmin go and clean up bathrooms and take out the human waste? Would a low caste person be able to perform priestly duties in a temple? The answer is no. So, tying caste to occupation is not correct.
Moreover, caste is tied to other essential doctrines of Hinduism, karma and rebirth. Your caste in this life is what you are born with based on your karma from your previous life. Your caste in the next life will be based on the karma you accumulate in this life and pass on to your next life. So, the doctrine of caste is intimately connected to the doctrines of karma and rebirth. That is why some Hindu gurus support the caste system and they make calls to reinstate the caste system without offering any apology to anyone. They say we try in vain to apologize for the caste system due to our Westernization. I think they are right. For millennia, Hinduism was unapologetic about the caste system. Only after the exposure to the Western liberal ideals, did Hindus become apologetic about the caste system.
Esther Dhanraj criticized America and its racial system. She talked about Bob Jones university and its restrictions on interracial dating. Bob Jones University changed a lot. Today, if a white person dates a colored person, no one would kill them. But in India, if a high caste woman dates or marries a low caste man, their lives would be endangered immediately. Esther has been willfully misleading people on this matter. Christians are far more peaceful than Hindus when interracial or intercaste conflicts arise.
Esther Dhanraj talked about how some Christians say that the black skin is the mark of Cain or the mark of Ham. We have Christians who use the Bible to support their bigotry. That is true. I agree with her on that. But the God of the Bible does not support such views. The Bible does not say that black skin is a curse. The Bible does not say anything about the skin color of Cain or of Ham. If some Christians use Bible verses to support their bigotry, it has nothing to do with the Bible. Our modern views on equality actually came from the Bible and Christianity.
Esther said, Bible says, ‘don’t covet your neighbor’s slave, donkey or wife. So, they are the same’. The Bible is not equating a slave with a donkey. God did not create slavery. The Bible says that God created one couple, Adam and Eve. We are all children of Adam and Eve. The Bible says that God created human beings in his image. Every one shares this image of God in equal essence. White or black or brown or yellow: they all share this image of God. They did not come from different parts of God. God created one couple, Adam and Eve and we are all children of that first couple. All of our differences came due to genetic, geographic and sociological factors.
When humanity disobeyed God, the human race had fallen into sin and its manifestations. Human beings invented slavery, not God. Human beings invented prostitution, not God. Watch the movie Ten Commandments. Moses goes to visit the people of Israel while they were enslaved in Egypt. He tells them about God. They do not believe in God or in Moses. Who is this God? The God of Abraham, the Almighty God. They ask, ‘If our god is almighty, why does he leave us in bondage?’ In response, he makes two great statements:
‘God made men and men made slaves’
‘He will choose the hour of our freedom and the man who will deliver us’.
Those two statements encapsulate how Christianity deals with slavery.
First, God made men and men made slaves: God did not create slavery, human beings created it. Second, ‘God will choose the hour of our freedom and the man who will deliver us’.
The Bible’s central message is redemption. First we see this in the Old Testament. The Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt. They were praying for liberty. And God sent Moses to give them liberty. That is the reason why Martin Luther King frequently quoted from Moses and the Old Testament. Moses’ ‘Promised Land’ frequently appears in his speeches.
That is the hope Christianity offers. God has appointed the hour of freedom for every slave. He also chose the man, a Savior, who will deliver us.
Esther Dhanraj said, ‘Jesus did not condemn slavery’. That is true. Slavery was universal in Jesus’s day and it would be very relevant to condemn slavery. But he did not. The reason was Jesus’s primary mission is to liberate us from spiritual slavery. He is like Moses. Moses went to liberate people from physical slavery but Jesus came to liberate people from spiritual slavery. Physical slavery is a manifestation of spirial slavery. Read John chapter 8, verse 34. Jesus said, ‘Everyone who sins is a slave to sin’. Jesus clearly told us that we are slaves to sin. Slavery is a sin of greed. The master himself is a slave to the sin of greed. If God can liberate you from the sin of greed, then you are no longer looking to enslave other people. Sex outside heterosexual marriage is a sin of lust. Rape is a sin of lust. If God can liberate you from the sin of lust, then you are no longer looking to enslave a woman. Pedophilia is a sin of lust. If God can liberate you from that sin of lust, you are no longer looking to abuse a boy or a girl. We have people who are slaves to alcohol, slaves to drugs, slaves to pornography. They all need Jesus to liberate them from that slavery.
Hinduism says we are gods. It does not say we are sinners. So, it is unable to see the evil of slavery. ‘If you are a slave, that is your karma. Don’t blame anyone’. But in Christianity, there is no karma. We are slaves to sin. Jesus came to liberate us from this slavery to sin. That is the story of redemption. He died on the cross to purchase us with his own blood. A slave can be liberated only by paying a ransom. In the same way, Jesus Christ liberated us by paying a ransom. A ransom with his own precious blood. Once you are liberated from the slavery of sin, you are liberated from the social manifestations of sins. Physical slavery, prostitution, pornography, violence, gambling, homosexuality, pedophilia, transgenderism….they are all manifestations of our sinful alienation from God.
So, that truth is very important to understand. When Jesus looks at humanity, he says, you are all slaves to sin. Every one of you is a slave to sin. ‘Everyone who sins is a slave to sin’. If you are living in sin, you are a slave to sin. Jesus came to give you freedom and deliverance from that sin. We can abolish physical slavery, but the master and slave are still slaves to their sins. They both go to hell if they die in their sins without getting saved by the blood of Jesus. That is why Jesus would not address the problem of physical slavery. Had Jesus went around condemning slavery in the Roman empire, most people would have said, ‘I am not a master nor am I a slave. So, Jesus’s message is not for me’. But Jesus wanted every human being to listen to him because every human being is a slave to sin. Once we recognize our spiritual slavery and come out of the sin of greed and of lust, we would not enslave any human being. That is how Jesus addresses the problem of slavery.
Esther said, there is slavery in the Bible. Yes, there is. The Bible describes the human condition. In the Bible, God put regulations on how to treat a slave. In the ancient times, slavery was universal. Without slavery, society would not function. The slave system gradually transformed to today’s employer-employee system. The United States abolished slavery in 1865 using the 13th Amendment. Overnight, all slaves in America became tenant farmers. The slaves did not disappear. They became tenant farmers. They were in involuntary servitude. Now, they came to voluntary servitude. If you have a job today, you are in voluntary servitude. The line between voluntary and involuntary servitude is thin. If a dictator takes over this nation, and abolish the 13th Amendment, we will all become slaves. God told us that all human beings are created in his image. Remembering this truth, we should treat each other with love and respect.
The Bible clearly addresses the slavery when it says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Genitle, neither slave nor free, nor is the there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus’ Galatians 3:28. There is neither slave nor free. In Jesus Christ, there is neither slave nor free. That is God’s answer to slavery. Come to Christ and learn to love one another.
If you look in history, it is Christianity which gave us the abolitionist movement because there is no other system of thought which justifies human equality. There is no justification for human equality in atheism. There is no justification for human equality in Hinduism.
There are millions of slaves in the world today. Actually, this is the golden age of slavery. More people are enslaved today than any other period in human history. In fact, India has most slaves than any other nation in the world. Hinduism’s caste system is one of the main factors in the continuation of slavery in India. What Christians did for human rights and Hindus did for human rights is incomparable. Slavery has long gone from Christian lands. But it is still in existence in India. Read the Bible. In heaven, there is no slavery. You will see all people living in love and harmony in heaven.