What would a God look like

Hindus have many Gods and each God has his or her own form. We have Shiva sitting on an ice cold mountain top with a fountain of water (river Ganga) flowing out of the top of his head. We have Ganesh with an elephant head and Shakti shown with up to eight arms carrying weapons and gifts in each.

 

All religions have a well defined concept of The God, Their God. Not all religions however can show you what their God looks like. In fact some religions prohibit showing their God’s or their prophets form altogether going to the extent of calling such an act a heresy. In some religions it is asserted that God created Man in His own image and therefore one can deduce that reverse must be true, i.e. God must look like a man (not a woman, mind me).

By Source, Fair use, Link 

Vishnu from Bali

Vishnu from India

 

But if each religion had to follow Hinduism and depict their God in the form of a picture or a sculpture (murti), and assuming it is permitted, what would their deity look like.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill scholars went about addressing this issue for Christians. If Christians had to draw a picture of God, what would it look like. Now, this is not the first time that someone has dared to draw a face and picture of a Christian God. Many historic paintings available in Churches in Europe show God as an old white male with a white beard and this is what the scholars must have been expecting to come up with.

After showing a number of different photos (very much like mug shots) to devout Christians and asking them which photo resembles their God the most, they came up with a picture of a Christian God. They found that God comes not in one but in as many forms as human aspirations or groupings.

The researchers found that American Christians see God as young, white and loving. But those with views aligned to liberals see God as more feminine, more African-American, and more loving than conservatives. They see God as older, more intelligent, and more powerful. But everyone in the study seemed to see God as similar to themselves.

God and anti-God

Even though American Christians ostensibly believe in the same God, people perceived God in their own way, their perceptions reflecting their political ideologies and their own personal appearance,” the researchers found. When Christian believers think about God, they perceive a form suited to meet their needs and who looks like their own selves.

If people believe they live a godly life, they’re most likely to see a god that looks like themselves, and it might explain why one person’s perception of hypocrisy of some believers, isn’t to others, basically making their view of God conform to them rather than the other way around.

So, if Christians were to make deities in their churches of Christian God (not that they would or should), they are likely to end up with as many Christian Gods as in Hinduism. 

So, next time you are teased by a non-Hindu for being a Hindu with many Gods, quote this study and tell them to try and come up with a unique universally acceptable face or form of  their own God.

[You can read more about the university study here …. MPR News]

here [NBC ….]

and here [Science Alert ….]

By: Surinder Jain.

(acknowledgements wikipedia photos)

 

 

Local government recognizes Hindu Council volunteers

Many Hindu Council members living in various local councils, give their time as a volunteer to help build the Australian community and to help Hindus integrate well in the Australian society.

Cumberland Council in Sydney recently held a session to thank all its volunteers including those from Hindu Council.

 

Australia’s first religious same sex marriage performed in a Synagogue

Australia has recently permitted same sex marriage. While many such marriages have been held in civil ceremonies, most religions have been reluctant to embrace the change and incorporate LGBT in their religious marriage ceremonies.

By Dolly442 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20285641 

Now, a first religious same sex marriage has been performed in a Synagogue.

[Click here to read more ….]

Ray Williams MP wants to stamp out racism in Australia

Some leaders have recently made racist and divisive statements affecting residents of NSW and Australia.

Upset by these developments, Hon. Ray Williams MP will host a round table with Community Leaders to explore ways to stamp out racism in Australian community.

He is holding a forum on the same 2:15pm, Saturday 26 May 2018

 

Hindus chant to ‘purify’ former Nazi concentration camps

PARIS (RNS) — There are few places on earth more haunted by evil than the memorial sites at former Nazi concentration camps. Visitors who tour their headquarters, barracks and ovens are constantly confronted with the memorials’ main lesson — “Never Again!”

A new Hindu movement based in Germany has come up with a different approach to dealing with the camps’ sinister legacy.

The group, called Bhakti Marga, organizes sessions of followers calmly chanting “om,” the sacred mantra of Hinduism, to “purify” the sites by turning their negativity into positive energy.

[Click here to read more ….]

Tiny Australian towns are inclusive but lack diversity

While large Australian cities have seen a large influx of different ethnic and religious groups, tiny Australian towns although considered inclusive by some authors, lack diversity of ethnicity and religions. They seem to live in a time warp that existed in Australia before 1970’s. Most new immigrants avoid country towns for their lack of employment opportunities. Most Hindus who came to Australia after abolition of whites only policy, settled in cities though a handful of Hindu doctors  did settle in small towns. These doctors were respected and seen as as an important asset to medical services starved communities.

However most Hindus who came to Australia later, started settling in large cities as a rush of IT and then technicians came in. Later, students immigrating started drifting to medium towns for jobs and small businesses. It seems that tiny towns of Australia are still living in their old familiar ways. It is a matter of time, perhaps one full generation before these new migrants start affecting the way of life of tiny towns as they have done to large cities.

[Click here to read more …]

At a mere 7 per cent, Bangladesh Hindus under threat, says US rights activist

By Express News Service 

The minority Hindus in Bangladesh are facing the threat of ethnic cleansing, US rights activist Richard L Benkin has said.  Benkin said he is carrying out an indepth research on the Hindu population’s dwindling numbers which now stand at a mere 7 per cent  as per the 2016 figures. Compared to this, the Hindus accounted for 35 per cent of the population in the then Eastern Pakistan in 1947 which slumped to 20 per cent following the liberation of Bangladesh in 1971.

Dr. Richard Benkin is an American Jewish human rights activist, co-founder of ‘Interfaith Strength‘, journalist, writer and lecturer. He’s also a member of Folks Magazine’s Editorial Board since August 2011.[1]

[Click here to read more ….]

A Hindu Textbook Controversy in USA

The basic complaint by Hindus, including the American Hindu Education Foundation (HEF) is that previous textbooks have given an inaccurate and disparaging portrayal of their religion. While there are many individual complaints the big three are: the emphasis on the caste system, making the Indo-Aryan Migration Theory seem undisputed, and changing ancient India to Southwest Asia.

[Click here to read more ….]

Christians students to visit India to learn how Hindus and Christians coexist in relative harmony

Students of George Fox University, a Christian college in USA plan to to visit various countries of the world including Sri Lanka/India to learn how Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains and Christians coexist in relative harmony in India.

George Fox University (GFU) is a Christian university of liberal arts and sciences and professional studies in NewbergOregon. Founded as a school for Quakers in 1885, the private school has more than 3,900 students combined between its main campus in Newberg and its centers in PortlandSalem and Redmond. Graduate studies include psychology, social work, business, education, counseling, physical therapy and seminary.

Wood-Mar Hall GFU.JPG
By M.O. StevensOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

The trips are part of the university’s Juniors Abroad program, which, since 1987, has annually sent third- and fourth-year students on overseas study trips led by professors. George Fox pays transportation and program costs; students pay room and board. Each trip holds preparation classes during the spring semester.

[Click here to read more ….] 

Hindu brothers killed in a Hindu majority town in Pakistan

courtesy New York Times.

In Mithi, Hindus make up about 85 percent of the population. Hindus being in such a large majority, both Hindus and Muslims have long lived peacefully. However, a steady influx of “outsiders” — Muslim extremist parties and sectarian groups have been moving into the area and other parts of the Sindh Province, as they seek new havens and erode the tolerance the town is famous for.This is so familiar to the ways of 1947 when peace loving villagers were torn apart by outside extremists and resulting religious violence.

[Click here to read more ….]