Written by Evan Osborne
Since this article is not intended to explain the tenets of Hinduism, but rather to respond to the Hindu worldview, I recommend someone reading this to have some background in Hinduism before reading this article. While I will be explaining the terms I use here, if you don’t have a basic understanding of Hinduism, even my explanations may not make much sense. There are good resources to learn about Hinduism from, and I invite you to check them out. Here are some of them:
I also invite you to read Ben Russell’s article on Hinduism, which you can find here: http://answersforhope.com/an-internal-critique-of-hinduism/
Taking what we know of Hinduism, there are a number of arguments to use to dismantle the authority of the Hindu worldview when discussing with its adherents. Some of the arguments I’ve been developing (though I can imagine that others have thought of similar ideas first) are below, and I hope that these help Christians to “answer the fool according to his folly” (Proverbs 26:5), using the teachings of Hinduism to make this worldview show its own problems and inconsistencies.
A MAYAN ARGUMENT AGAINST HINDUISM (1)
In Hinduism, there is a concept known as “maya,” which refers to the illusion of the world. Hindus do not necessarily take this to mean that the universe is illusory in the sense of “non-existent,” but rather that it is not as it seems to be, similar to how a dream is to our conscious state (2).
In this understanding, it would seem quite possible for the way in which we view reality itself to be entirely invalid, leading to the understanding that everything that we perceive about reality is nothing more than a dream. If this is correct, how can we know anything about reality itself, and that our thoughts, experiences, and even our reasoning is valid?
It would seem that the validity of these things, and the validity of reality itself, depends on the validity of our perception of reality, which, according to maya, is nothing more than a simple dream. If this is true, then there is no way in which we can properly account for our experiences, reasoning, thoughts, or even proper existence of anything. This is absurd on the face of it, and no one is able to live consistently with such worldview. Such an absurdity demonstrates the failure of Hinduism to account for the very nature of reality itself, rendering this worldview false.
A PANTHEISTIC ARGUMENT AGAINST HINDUISM
Hinduism is, at its roots, a pantheistic religion. Pantheism technically refers to the idea that “all is god” (3). However, as it relates to the relation of God and the universe, it is the idea that God is not distinct from the universe and is not apart from the universe, but that God and the universe are one.
Pantheism is subject to a number of problems, most notably, 1.) the existence of immaterial laws, and 2.) the origin of the universe.
Pantheism, since all is one, cannot allow for things that are immaterial, since everything that exists is part of the universe itself (4). If this is the case, then the laws of science, mathematics, and logic need to be rejected, because these laws are immaterial. There are a number of reasons for holding to this:
1.) These laws are concepts, and concepts, by definition, are not material things.
2.) These laws cannot be materially perceived or observed. For instance, you can’t find the laws of logic under a rock, or buy the laws of thermodynamics at a store.
3.) These laws have no material dimensions at all. They have no weight, size, height, depth, length, etc.
Thus, we conclude that these laws are immaterial, which Hinduism cannot allow.
Origin of the universe
If God is an eternal being, and God and the universe are one, then the universe would have to be eternal. This is the general Hindu consensus for the universe: that it had no beginning and is eternal, or infinite in age (5). Holding to an eternal universe is ridiculous for a number of reasons (6):
1.) The concept of an actual infinite number of things is self-contradictory and ultimately absurd.
2.) If the universe is eternal, then the universe has crossed an infinite amount of time to get to the present, which is impossible to do.
3.) If the universe, is eternal, or timeless, then time should not be an inherent property of the universe. Since time progresses in the universe, it cannot be considered timeless.
4.) The concept of entropy teaches that over time, things, if left to themselves, will decay and increase in unusable energy and chaos. If the universe is eternal, why is it not entirely chaotic and useless?
5.) Given that the universe is expanding, according t the Borde-Guth-Vilenkin Theorem, if the universe is expanding, it had to have a beginning.
Thus, we conclude that the universe began to exist, which pantheistic Hinduism can’t allow.
So, given the truth of pantheism, it should therefore be impossible for science, mathematics, and logic to be possible, since the most basic property of these laws, immateriality, is not possible. Also, an eternal universe theory is riddled with all sorts of inconsistencies and illogical principles. so, pantheism leads us to complete absurdity.
Since Hinduism holds that pantheism is true, Hinduism has demonstrated itself yet again to be a false worldview.
A MONISTIC ARGUMENT AGAINST HINDUISM
Cosmological monism follows logically from pantheism, though it has its own unique problems that allow for a separate argument altogether. Monism refers to the idea that reality is made up of ultimately one substance. In Hinduism, monism translates to “all is one.” Such an idea is utterly against the basic rules of logic.
According to the law of identity, one of the three primary laws of logic (7), something is what it is and it is not what’s not. To put it another way:
A is A
A is not B
Monism seems to do away with the law of identity, making everything one. If this is so, where are the necessary distinctions between objects? Such an inability to allow for one of the most basic laws of logic renders Hinduism a worldview that can’t properly account for logic.
So, we can see that some of the very concepts of Hinduism itself demonstrate the self-defeating nature of this worldview. In discussing with a Hindu on the issues of Hinduism vs. Christianity, I hope that Christians can learn to employ these arguments to dismantle the Hindu’s authority. For instance, when a Hindu brings up Bible contradictions, it helps to point out that they can’t object to alleged contradictions, because when the logic of pantheism and monism are carried out, logic has to be denied in order for them to stand.
For Hindus that read this, I am truly meaning to properly represent your worldview as it truly is, so if I have misrepresented your worldview, please comment to voice your concerns. I will refine my thinking if I am wrong, for I truly desire to represent your worldview fairly and accurately.
I pray that God uses this material to reach the Hindu people, and to edify and equip the church to go out and reach Hindus with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1): I use “mayan” here as an adjective for “maya.” I am not sure if this is a proper rendering, so if it is not, I apologize.
(2): Information on this understanding of Hinduism can be read here: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/essays/maya.asp.
(3): The idea of “all is god” comes from pantheism’s Greek root words: pan (all) and theos (god).
(4): Remember, maya does not believe that the universe is non-existent.
(5): I general Hindu thought, the universe is cyclical, much like the theory of an oscillating universe.
(6): A great defese of many of these assertions can be found in William Lae Craig’s book “Reasonable Faith.” Information can also be found on his website: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/.
(7): The other two laws are the law of non-contradiction (something can’t be true and false at the same time and in the same sense), and the law of excluded middle (something is either true or false, not both).