Monday, May 23, 2016

Jesus Christ A Hindu?

          “Christ Parichay” a book authored by Ganesh Damodar Savarkar, one of the founders of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), claims that Jesus Christ was a Tamil Brahmin, born in Tamil Nadu, India and died in Kashmir. This claim, in an attempt to invalidate Christianity, posits the following:

            1. Christ was a mere human, not divine.

            2. Christ did not die; hence HE did not resurrect.

            3. Christ does not offer salvation (Christ cannot save people).

            4. Therefore, the Bible is incorrect and Christianity is invalid.

            Such claims denigrating the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ are not new to Historic Christianity (remember the Da Vinci Code?). So Christians need not be offended by such claims.

            Naïve Christians could be rattled by such claims. Hence, Christians who are strong in their faith should make use of these opportunities to strengthen the faith of their naïve neighbor.

            The popular Indian magazine, India Today, reveals the major claims of this book, 1 “Here are some of the audacious claims made by the author in his book:

            1. Ganesh Damodar claims that Christianity is a sect of Hinduism.

            2. The present day Palestinian and Arab territories were a Hindu land.

            3. He went on to say that Christ traveled to India and learnt yoga. Who knows Modi might have also learnt it from 'our very own' Christ, right?

            4. Christ's real name was Keshao Krishna, according to the author. He even had a dark complexion and his mother tongue was Tamil.

            5. Christ's sacred thread ceremony (janeyu) was held when he was 12, according to Brahmin tradition. He even wore a sacred thread.

            6. Apparently, Christianity was never a separate religion and it was a Hindu cult and doctrine introduced by Christ.

            7. Christ was saved after his crucifixion by people from the Essene's cult, who practiced Yoga and spiritual science.

            8. He was given medicinal herbs and plants for his recovery from the 'deathbed'. Christ also was taken to Kashmir.

            9. It was in Kashmir that Christ prayed to Lord Shiva and he spent the last days of his life in the Himalayas.

            10. Damodar claims that Christ's family dressed in an 'Indian' way and had Hindu signs on their bodies.”

            So how should Christians respond to this book?

            Here is my response for your consideration.

            There are multiple approaches to debunk Christ Parichay. One option is to present reasonable evidences to believe the inerrancy or, minimally, the infallibility of the Bible. If the Bible is factual, then the claims of Christ Parichay could be discarded, because the Bible contradicts Christ Parichay.

            Another option is to present reasonable evidences to believe in Christ’s resurrection. If Christ’s resurrection is factual, then Christ died on the cross. Therefore, Christ did not travel to India, as this book claims.

            Consider the central tenet to Historic Christianity, which is the resurrection of Christ. The Bible says that Christianity would crumble if resurrection is proved false, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Corinthians 15: 14, NIV).

            This book negates Christ’s resurrection (ref. #7). So if we can reasonably ascertain the validity of Christ’s resurrection, then this book, with all of its claims, can be safely discarded and forgotten. (If Christ did not resurrect, HE is not the Son of God, so Christianity would be rendered false and invalid.)

            In an earlier blog of mine, I had mentioned the reasons to believe in Christ’s resurrection.2

            Historians affirm Christ’s resurrection because there were confirmations by independent sources (Gospels and Paul’s letters), unsympathetic sources (Tacitus, who was not a friend of Christianity, affirmed Christ’s crucifixion), and that of eyewitnesses (1 Corinthians 15: 3-7).

            Dr. Gary Habermas’ minimal facts approach lends greater credibility to Christ’s resurrection, “Furthermore, Dr. Gary Habermas, Distinguished Professor of Apologetics and Philosophy and Chairman of the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Liberty University, who specializes in the study of Resurrection-of-Jesus research, states five highly credible historical facts a.k.a. “Minimal Facts” that almost every historian accepts:

            “1) Jesus died due to crucifixion.

            2) His disciples had experiences that they thought were appearances of the risen Jesus.

            3) Their lives were transformed because of this conviction.

            4) As a result, they proclaimed this message very soon after Jesus’ death, actually within weeks…

            5) A man named Saul of Tarsus was converted to Jesus Christ by what he also concluded was a personal appearance of the risen Jesus to him.

            These are five tough facts that virtually everyone is going to grant as historical, especially the scholars who have studied this area.” 3

            Moreover, Habermas includes the conversion of Apostle James, brother of Christ Jesus and a skeptic, who became a follower of Christ after HE appeared to him. These historical facts are sufficient to conclude that Christ’s resurrection was factual.”3   
            Christ’s resurrection is heavily predicated on HIS death on the cross. If Christ did not die, then HE could not have resurrected.

            In our context, if Christ had died on the cross, then the claim of the book “Christ Parichay” is invalid. Christ could not have traveled to Kashmir for HE died on the cross and resurrected.

            Christ’s death on the cross is also a highly credible historical fact. The “Swoon Theory,” which negates Christ’s death on the cross has been debunked, “The Quran states that Jesus did not die on the cross. Other detractors of Christianity state that Jesus merely swooned or lost consciousness at the cross.

            Medical science strongly suggests that Jesus died of asphyxiation. The heart wound inflicted by the soldier upon the crucified Christ confirmed Christ’s death. The sucking chest condition (Piercing of the spear into Christ’s upper thoracic area would have prevented effective breathing and produce sucking sound from the wound. This would have certainly killed Christ) is an added affirmation for Christ’s death on the cross.

            But the supreme defeater to the objection that Christ did not die on the cross comes from the German liberal scholar, David Strauss.

            Strauss asserted that the swoon theory was self-contradictory. If swoon theory was accurate, then Jesus would have been alive. The disciples then would have no reason to preach the gospel, for there need be no forgiveness, no church, and no eternal hope in Christ.

            Finally, we can safely bury the swoon theory for we also have the affirmation of Christ’s crucifixion by non-Christian historians such as Thallus (52AD), Mara Bar-Serapion (70AD), Josephus (93AD), Pliny the Younger (112AD), Cornelius Tacitus (116AD), and Phlegon (140AD).”4

            Therefore, we have reliable evidences to believe in Christ’s death and resurrection. In fact, Christ’s death and resurrection are believed by most critical scholars today. Hence, we can safely and securely discard the claims of the book Christ Parichay.

            But be sure of this; Christianity has flourished in spite of unrelenting attacks during the past 2000 years. In the same vein, Christianity will continue to stand strong until the Lord Jesus Christ returns.

            “To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1: 24-25, NIV)




3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

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