08 Jul 2018

How Christians Can Use the Bible to Disagree

Religious 35 Comments

I am traveling and took my son to a (Bible) church that isn’t our normal one. The people there were very pleasant and welcoming, but I personally had a doctrinal disagreement with one of the posters hanging on the wall. I explained the issue to my son afterwards, but it might be of interest to readers of this blog, especially if you think that religious stuff is “just how you feel about God.”

So, the poster had in caps, “FINISH HIS WORK” and the “O” of “work” was a globe. Underneath the big letters it gave the reference “– John 4:34.”

Now through the whole service that poster was really bothering me. It sounded like they were saying, “Hey you Christians, you need to go out into the world and finish the work that Jesus started.” (Also, the sermon and other posters were consistent with my interpretation. It was very much of the mindset that we had to go win souls for Jesus.)

I explained to my son that obviously, Christians should indeed go do good works. But that would not be construed as finishing the work of Jesus (i.e. His work), because Jesus accomplished His work on the cross, period. (He said, “It is finished” just before dying on the cross.)

Another way to see it is like this: If it were up to humans to finish the work of Jesus, then humanity would be doomed; we would fail.

The last loose end was for me to look up hat was presumably a quotation from Scripture, i.e. the reference they gave to John 4:34. Here it is in context (the NIV translation):

31Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.”

32But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”

33Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?”

34“My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. 35Don’t you have a saying, ‘It’s still four months until harvest’? I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest. 36Even now the one who reaps draws a wage and harvests a crop for eternal life, so that the sower and the reaper may be glad together. 37Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. 38I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.”

So you can see why both camps would feel vindicated by the above text. I saw that and thought, “Aha! It wasn’t Jesus telling His disciples, ‘Finish the work that I start while I’m with you.’ Instead, it’s Jesus saying He would finish God’s work. Totally different message.”

However, the people who made that poster would presumably say, “See? Jesus wants us to follow-up with all the seeds God has planted and cultivated. We need to go out into the world and reap the harvest.”

In summary, I still don’t like the vibe of the poster because I think a lot of Christians would assume the “His” means Jesus, not God the Father. But, I was more sympathetic after considering the full context of the quotation.

In any event, this is the kind of stuff that even Bible-believing Christians argue about…

35 Responses to “How Christians Can Use the Bible to Disagree”

  1. Khodge says:

    IF we Christians do not need to “go out into the world and finish the work that Jesus started” then what is the point of telling us that the people were pleasant and welcoming?

  2. James Knight says:

    Hi Bob,

    Don’t forget the Great Commission though:

    “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”…

    That’s perhaps the closest analogue to the unfinished business of Christians – to propagate Jesus’ finished work to bless everyone else.

    Best

    James

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Hi James,

      YES OF COURSE! I didn’t mean to suggest we shouldn’t evangelize. I just wouldn’t describe it as finishing the work of Jesus.

  3. Mark Simons says:

    It’s one of those valid sentiment/poor exegesis issues.Although even the sentiment is a little off, because we’re not called to finish the father’s or Jesus’ work but merely continue it.

  4. Mark says:

    To Keshav – I finally replied to your last comments in the Nothing New Under the Sun (May 20) thread. Since this is one of Bob’s “religious” posts, I am commenting here so you are aware of it since that thread is so old.

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      Mark, if you don’t mind I’ll reply to your comment here.

      “Boilerplate reply. You only left out something about spewing.” It’s not just boilerplate, I provided examples after I made my statement.

      “Totally insane to believe that.” What is insane about the notion of souls having infinitely many past births?

      “There is no proof that Hinduism is true.” Yes, there is. It starts by proving that the Veda, the core scriptures of Hinduism, are timeless, eternal, authorless and true. That is done here: tinyurl.com/hinduismproof

      “Jesus destroyed the claim of any “religion” that says that by raising Himself from the dead. Christianity is exclusive. As Jesus said, HE (not ritual, tradition, false religions or anything else) is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. Without Him, you are dead meat: “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” 1 John 5:11,12” But that requires, among other things, establishing that Jesus was in fact resurrected.

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        And by the way, Hindu scripture contains lots of descriptions of miracles including resurrections.

      • Mark says:

        Keshav: “What is insane about the notion of souls having infinitely many past births?”

        You can’t even prove one previous birth let alone an infinite number or that time didn’t have a beginning, which is what that silly belief requires.

        “But that requires, among other things, establishing that Jesus was in fact resurrected.”

        So you agree that if He was resurrected that excludes anything/everything else?

        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          “You can’t even prove one previous birth let alone an infinite number or that time didn’t have a beginning, which is what that silly belief requires.” But I can prove those things, mark. I can prove that Hinduism is true in all respects.

          “So you agree that if He was resurrected that excludes anything/everything else?” No, I don’t agree with that. That’s why I said “among other things”. As a Hindu, I believe that resurrecting someone from the dead is something that anyone who has obtained magical powers can do. (There’s a variety of means to acquire magical powers.) So if Jesus was resurrected, which I don’t think happened, it would just be evidence of magic, which I already believe in anyway.

          • Harold says:

            I feel honored to witness the discussion where the one true religion will finally be settled once and for all! 🙂

            • Andrew says:

              I’m on the edge of my seat!

            • Mark says:

              Glad we could entertain you. 🙂

              • Harold says:

                Yes, it turns out to be better than football after all! Unless you are Croatian.

          • Mark says:

            Me: You can’t even prove one previous birth let alone an infinite number or that time didn’t have a beginning, which is what that silly belief requires.

            Keshav: “But I can prove those things, mark. I can prove that Hinduism is true in all respects.”

            OK, well let’s see some documentation for just the last five of your incarnations. I don’t have time for an infinite number.

            “As a Hindu, I believe that resurrecting someone from the dead is something that anyone who has obtained magical powers can do. (There’s a variety of means to acquire magical powers.)”

            Well, if resurrection is apparently so common, please document five from the last calendar year.

            “So if Jesus was resurrected, which I don’t think happened…”

            Maybe you could get in touch with your previous incarnation that was alive at the time, and visit with the eyewitnesses that saw Jesus after the resurrection to dispel your unbelief.

            • Keshav Srinivasan says:

              “OK, well let’s see some documentation for just the last five of your incarnations. I don’t have time for an infinite number.” I did not say that I had any memory of my previous births. I said that I can prove that every soul has had infinitely many past births. That is through proving that Hinduism is true. The first step is proving that the Vedas, the core scriptures of Hinduism, are timeless, eternal, authorless, and true. That is done here: tinyurl.com/hinduismproof

              “Well, if resurrection is apparently so common, please document five from the last calendar year.” I did not say that resurrection is common, or that any resurrections happened in the past year. I said that resurrection can be done by someone with magical powers. Having magical powers, though, is a rare thing, not a common thing.

              “Maybe you could get in touch with your previous incarnation that was alive at the time, and visit with the eyewitnesses that saw Jesus after the resurrection to dispel your unbelief.” Again, I did not claim I had any memories of past births.

              • Mark says:

                Well, let’s recap. First, I didn’t say anything about past memories. Second, you don’t have any past memories because you haven’t had any past births. Third, I said, “You can’t even prove one previous birth let alone an infinite number…” To which you replied, “But I can prove those things, mark.” I asked for documentation of your last five incarnations, now you are saying you can’t.

                You also said “resurrecting someone from the dead is something that anyone who has obtained magical powers can do,” and “there’s a variety of means to acquire magical powers.” So if anyone can do it if they’ve obtained magical powers, and there are a variety of ways to acquire magical powers, it sounds like it ought to be pretty common to me. But now you say this is very rare.

                I asked for five examples from the last year. Crickets. How about five from the last thousand years? I’ll get crickets on that one, too. So let’s see,

                Resurrections –

                Christians: Many

                The widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17), Jairus’ daughter (Luke 8:52–56), Lazarus (John 11). In Matthew 27 we are told,

                ” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

                Then He raised Himself three days after His death on the cross to reconcile you to God.

                Hindus: 0

                You say the Vedas “are timeless, eternal, authorless, and true.” Funny. They are not timeless, they are not eternal, they are not authorless, and they are not true. Four strikes there.

                You: “Again, I did not claim I had any memories of past births.”

                Again, I did not ask for any.

                Me: “You can’t even prove…that time didn’t have a beginning…”

                You: “But I can prove those things, mark.”

                Not even secular scientists believe in the steady state theory. They all believe that the universe had a beginning (just wrong about when), which we already knew from the first verse of the Bible.

                As Robert Jastrow said, “There is a strange ring of feeling and emotion in these reactions [of scientists to evidence that the universe had a sudden beginning]. They come from the heart whereas you would expect the judgments to come from the brain. Why? I think part of the answer is that scientists cannot bear the thought of a natural phenomenon which cannot be explained, even with unlimited time and money. There is a kind of religion in science; it is the religion of a person who believes there is order and harmony in the Universe. Every event can be explained in a rational way as the product of some previous event; every effect must have its cause, there is no First Cause. … This religious faith of the scientist is violated by the discovery that the world had a beginning under conditions in which the known laws of physics are not valid, and as a product of forces or circumstances we cannot discover. When that happens, the scientist has lost control. If he really examined the implications, he would be traumatized.”

                So give up the counterfeit, Keshav. You know how Arby’s says, “We have the meats?” Well, we have the Truth. His name is Jesus and He’s knocking at your door.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                “First, I didn’t say anything about past memories. Second, you don’t have any past memories because you haven’t had any past births.” People are not aware of their past births, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.

                “I asked for documentation of your last five incarnations, now you are saying you can’t.” To be clear, what I’m saying is that in the absence of memories of past births, I can’t document any details of what happened in them. But I can certainly prove that I, you, and everyone else has had infinitely many past births.

                “So if anyone can do it if they’ve obtained magical powers, and there are a variety of ways to acquire magical powers, it sounds like it ought to be pretty common to me.” There are indeed multiple ways to acquire magical powers, but none of these ways are either easy or common. So magical powers are not at all common.

                “Hindus: 0” That’s not true in the slightest. There are numerous examples of resurrections in Hindu scripture. Bhrigu’s wife was raised from the dead. The Vanaras from the dead in Lanka. Mahabali was raised from the dead. Parashurama’s parents were raised from the dead (on separate occasions). Parikshit was raised from the dead. Etc. And Hindu scripture can be proven true.

                “Funny. They are not timeless, they are not eternal, they are not authorless, and they are not true. Four strikes there.” The Vedas are timeless, eternal, authorless, and true. That’s proven here: tinyurl.com/hinduismproof

                “Not even secular scientists believe in the steady state theory. They all believe that the universe had a beginning (just wrong about when), which we already knew from the first verse of the Bible.” I did not say I believed in steady state theory. Hindus would certainly agree that the Universe had a beginning, it’s just that there were infinitely many Universes before this one.

                “So give up the counterfeit, Keshav. You know how Arby’s says, “We have the meats?” Well, we have the Truth. His name is Jesus and He’s knocking at your door.” No counterfeit, Hindus don’t just claim to have the truth, we have the proof to go along with it.

              • Harold says:

                Keshav’s claim of proof would need to be tackled to demonstrate he is wrong. The proof is not presented in the way we usually see proofs and it is quite long and difficult to analyse. I personally doubt that it does what Keshav claims for it. On the bottom of P4, for example, there is a section describing how one objection to the Veda’s is that they may be wrong. The answer is roughly that the Veda’s do not assert, but are the means by which things become known. They cannot become known if they are wrong.

                This seems essentially the same argument Mark makes for the biblical truth – backed up by quotes from the bible.

                I am pretty sure that there is no proof that satisfies the usual meaning of the term for any religion being true. I did make a somewhat facetious comment above, but essentially from what I have seen from a quick perusal, the proof of Hinduism is somewhat lacking, as are so called proofs of Biblical infallibility.

                I agree with Keshav on the one point that something that has many routes to it must be common. Everest has many routes, but all are very difficult. I disagree that there are many, or even any routes to obtain magical powers.

              • Mark says:

                I think the horse is dead on this one, so a few final comments, and then I’ll stop posting on this subject.

                Keshav: “People are not aware of their past births, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t happen.” Sorry, the Bible is quite clear: “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” Hebrews 9:27

                Me: “I asked for documentation of your last five incarnations, now you are saying you can’t.”

                You: “To be clear, what I’m saying is that in the absence of memories of past births, I can’t document any details of what happened in them.”

                Again, the bottom line is you claimed you could prove everything, and you proved nothing. I’m not asking for proof of an infinite number of past lives – even just your last one would be enough. Surely there is someone alive on the planet now that could say, yep, that’s Fred. He goes by Keshav now, but there’s no doubt that’s Fred reincarnated.

                You: “There are numerous examples of resurrections in Hindu scripture.”

                This article says you are full of beans. https://www.hinduwebsite.com/ask/resurrection.asp

                The bottom line is you offer no evidence at all. Practically, experientially, logically, philosophically, scientifically, etc., you are bankrupt. Hinduism is a fantasy – a fairy tale at best. That you believe this nonsense (and that’s exactly what it is), proves this passage: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:3,4

              • Mark says:

                Harold: “I agree with Keshav on the one point that something that has many routes to it must be common. Everest has many routes, but all are very difficult.”

                This is Oprah’s theology – we are all taking different paths to the top of the same mountain. The Christian perspective is that’s true for all the religions out there – they are going to the same destination, but there’s another destination and they’re all going to the wrong place.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                “Sorry, the Bible is quite clear: “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” Hebrews 9:27” Obviously quoting the Bible has no effect on someone who thinks the Bible is false.

                “Again, the bottom line is you claimed you could prove everything, and you proved nothing. I’m not asking for proof of an infinite number of past lives – even just your last one would be enough.” I can indeed prove everything I said I can prove. In particular I can indeed prove that I had a previous birth immediately before this one. It follows from the truth of the Vedas, which is proven here: tinyurl.com/hinduismproof

                “Surely there is someone alive on the planet now that could say, yep, that’s Fred. He goes by Keshav now, but there’s no doubt that’s Fred reincarnated.” Even if there is someone who knew Fred and is still alive today, they wouldn’t know that I’m a rebirth of Fred.

                “This article says you are full of beans.” Mark, I’m really wondering what statement in the article you could possibly think contradicts anything I’ve said. Is it the statement that Hinduism rejects the notion that all the dead are resurrected at the end of the world? That’s true enough, but that doesn’t contradict the notion that resurrection is possible according to Hinduism. In fact, did you read the whole article? Point 3 explicitly lists various examples of resurrections. And Point 4 discusses methods to do so.

                “The bottom line is you offer no evidence at all. Practically, experientially, logically, philosophically, scientifically, etc., you are bankrupt.” But I did offer proof, Mark – again, read the link I gave you.

                “Hinduism is a fantasy – a fairy tale at best. That you believe this nonsense (and that’s exactly what it is), proves this passage” It it’s not a fantasy, and it’s not nonsense. It makes perfect sense and it can be proven true. If something in Hinduism doesn’t make sense to you, I’d be happy to clarify it.

                “This is Oprah’s theology – we are all taking different paths to the top of the same mountain.” Mark, you misunderstand the point of Harold’s analogy. He’s not saying all religions get you to the same destination. He’s just making the point that if there are multiple routes to getting magical powers, that does not imply that getting magical powers is easy or that magical powers are common.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                @Harold “I personally doubt that it does what Keshav claims for it. On the bottom of P4, for example, there is a section describing how one objection to the Veda’s is that they may be wrong. The answer is roughly that the Veda’s do not assert, but are the means by which things become known. They cannot become known if they are wrong.” Harold, the sentence you’re referring to is about a semantic matter. It’s saying that it makes no sense to say that the Vedas make known something that is false, because only something true can be known (something false can be believed, but not known). But of course the fact the Vedas make things still has to be proven. The proof actually starts on page 8, the beginning is just to set up context and define terms.

                “This seems essentially the same argument Mark makes for the biblical truth – backed up by quotes from the bible.” Hindus certainly do not use Hindu scripture to prove the truth of Hindu scripture – that would indeed be circular. We give a valid logical proof.

                “I am pretty sure that there is no proof that satisfies the usual meaning of the term for any religion being true. I did make a somewhat facetious comment above, but essentially from what I have seen from a quick perusal, the proof of Hinduism is somewhat lacking, as are so called proofs of Biblical infallibility.” If you have any more questions about the proof I’m happy to clarify things.

              • Harold says:

                “If you have any more questions about the proof I’m happy to clarify things.”

                Tha k you keshav. If I have time I will have a look at the proof starting p8.

  5. Andrew says:

    Mark & Keshav’s Thread Review:

    For some reason I’ve followed this thread and, now that it appears to be wrapping up, I think I should provide a summary of my thoughts so that all of my reading wasn’t in vain.

    First the final score:
    1st: Mark with 1 point
    1st: Keshav with 1 point
    3rd: Craw with 0 points

    We have a draw! We should first recall that this thread started as a question on whether exodus is real or not. Mark offers a response to Craw’s claim that Exodus did not happen and then Craw immediately veers off into the weeds by misreading the Bible on the size of the mustard seed and then demonstrating his incomprehension of the meaning of literalism. After that, Craw mostly vanishes from the thread, no points awarded.

    After that, Mark and Keshav go back and forth about how Christianity and Hinduism would respectively handle claims and evidence that seem to contradict their sacred texts. Their back and forth, while interesting, mostly consisted of them circling one another, with no one taking a strong blow against the other.

    This thread gradually moved from what each religion should do in response to contradiction to which religion is true. This section mostly consisted of Mark asserting that Christianity is true and that there is no evidence of reincarnation countered by Keshav claiming that Hinduism is proven and repeatedly posting a link to an external PDF. Disappointingly, neither competitor brought a single quote or claim from the PDF to use in their argument within the thread. That task was left to Harold, a noble spectator to the thread, who explained that the linked PDF was not an actual proof in the sense that one would normally expect.

    So Mark and Keshav each get 1 point for effort, but I cannot say that either landed a decisive blow against the other or controlled the discourse in a way that would allow me to proclaim a single victor. Thus, we have a draw.

    Disclosure: I, myself, am a Christian and hereby acknowledge that this review may be biased.

    • Andrew says:

      Click here for the first part of the thread.

    • Keshav Srinivasan says:

      Except that Harold is wrong about that.

    • Mark says:

      Final thoughts (otherwise this will drag on forever.)

      I know I said I was done commenting on this, but I did want to make one last point about Keshav’s reply and comment on Andrew’s review.

      Referring to Hinduism and resurrection, I said, “This article says you are full of beans.”

      Keshav replied: “Mark, I’m really wondering what statement in the article you could possibly think contradicts anything I’ve said.”

      Oh, I don’t know. How about this? “The Christian idea of resurrection of souls is untenable in Hinduism because it implies the need for an eternal body for the continuation of souls in an eternal heaven. In Hinduism, eternal existence is envisaged without the need for a physical body or a specific name and form. Hinduism considers all bodies are perishable and temporary. The gross physical body is regarded as an impurity and a temporary aberration in the existence of the eternal soul upon earth.”

      Not enough? He wraps it up with this: “Thus, the idea of resurrection in the Christian sense does not have a place in Hinduism.” Pretty clear. I know you were hoping no one took the time to actually read the article and find out that, as I said, you are full of beans. (I mean that in the nicest way possible.)

      As far as Andrew – thanks for your comments. I’ll end all this by quoting the Apostle Paul:

      “…if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.” 1 Corinthians 14-19

      That’s the bottom line. Christianity hinges on one thing only – was Jesus raised from the dead? If He wasn’t, our faith is in vain, we are false witnesses of God, we are still in our sins, and we are of all men most to be pitied.

      So we can believe the eyewitness accounts of Christ’s resurrection and put our faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation to God, and to obtain His offer of eternal life, or we can believe anything/everything else – or nothing at all. A belief in no God or a belief in an infinite number of Gods, belief in a heat death of the universe or a belief in an infinite number of universes constantly being recreated (how dumb is that? Wouldn’t we have already had an infinite number of universes where everyone achieved the goals of Hinduism and we are all fat, dumb and happy?), or anything else you want to believe in. A belief that once you die, it’s over. A belief in a man-made “religion” where you make yourself acceptable to God. Or an acknowledgement that you are incapable of doing that and accepting Christ’s substitutionary death on your behalf. Standing in defiance when you ultimately face God or falling on your face trusting in Christ alone.

      As John told us, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36

      “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:11-13

      Jesus IS eternal life. There is no other way.

      • Keshav Srinivasan says:

        “Oh, I don’t know. How about this?” Mark that quote does not contradict what I’ve said in any way, shape, or form. It is speaking about the Christian notion that the dead will be resurrected at the end of the world in order for them to exist in Heaven But that has nothing to do with whether it is possible for a specific body to be resurrected. In fact, the article completely confirms what I’ve said in its points 3 and 4.

        “Not enough? He wraps it up with this: “Thus, the idea of resurrection in the Christian sense does not have a place in Hinduism.” Pretty clear.” That is again talking about the Christian notion of resurrection of the dead at the end of the world.

        “I know you were hoping no one took the time to actually read the article and find out that, as I said, you are full of beans. (I mean that in the nicest way possible.)” I was hoping for no such thing, and I apologize if I caused you to assume such nefarious intentions on my part. I encourage everyone to read the article and make up their own minds about whether the article agrees with me. I think points 3 and 4 in the article are quite clear.

        “how dumb is that? Wouldn’t we have already had an infinite number of universes where everyone achieved the goals of Hinduism and we are all fat, dumb and happy?” No, the fact that a process has been going on for an infinitely long amount of time does not imply it would have ended already. What actually happens is that most people commit sins, then they get reborn and don’t remember their previous birth, and they commit sins all over again, then they get reborn again, etc., and this process has repeated an infinite amount of times. It’s only that rare soul who does what he needs to do to escape the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

        • Keshav Srinivasan says:

          Here are points 3 and 4:

          “3. Resurrection through the revival of the dead

          Hinduism does not preclude the possibility of resurrecting the dead in special circumstances. The Puranas contain instances of the dead being resurrected by divine intervention. For example, Lord Shiva resurrected Lord Ganesha, his own son, after he separated his head from him in a fit of rage. He revived him by placing an elephant head on his body. Interestingly, Lord Ganesha is also a son of God who has been resurrected through divine intervention. Lord Shiva also resurrected Daksha, after he killed him, by placing the head of a goat upon his body. The Vedas mention that the Vedic gods of healing, Aswins, revived Hayagriva by replacing his head with that of a horse. According to the Vedas, Brahma resurrected himself, after sacrificing his own body in a ritual at the time of creation. Thus, Hinduism considers the possibility of reviving the dead through magic, ritual, healing or divine power.

          4. Sanjivani Vidya or the secret knowledge of resurrection

          Hindu scriptures allude to the lost science of reviving the dead with mystic healing called the Sanjivani Vidya. They suggest that certain medicinal substances, plants, roots, herbs and even entire trees have the power to restore life in a body after the soul has departed from it. They further suggest that one may acquire the spiritual power to resurrect the dead by gaining occult powers through the practice of certain secret rituals and methods of mysticism (tapah), Yoga and Tantra. The Tantras allude to the magical power of the awakened Siddhas to revive dead bodies by entering them with the help of certain rituals and chants or summoning other souls to do the same. It was called parakaya pravesam (entering the body of another person). Its purpose, to participate in the play of God and become indifferent to life and death.”

          https://www.hinduwebsite.com/ask/resurrection.asp

          • Andrew says:

            Are there any examples in Hinduism of resurrection that places the original mortal soul back into its original mortal body? That article makes it sound as if every instance of Hindu resurrection either requires placing an animal’s head on a human body or placing a different soul, such as the soul of a god, into a dead human body. I didn’t see any examples of a person dying and then being brought back as they were before they died.

            This also got me wondering what Hindus believe about how long the reincarnation process takes. Like, if your soul has already been placed in a new body, then, obviously, your old body can’t be resurrected with its original soul.

            • Keshav Srinivasan says:

              Yes, there are many examples of resurrections which neither involve replacement of a head nor the entry of a new soul. I mentioned some of them above: “There are numerous examples of resurrections in Hindu scripture. Bhrigu’s wife was raised from the dead. The Vanaras from the dead in Lanka. Mahabali was raised from the dead. Parashurama’s parents were raised from the dead (on separate occasions). Parikshit was raised from the dead. Etc.”

              As far as how long reincarnation takes, the soul stays in the vicinity of the body for about two weeks, then it goes to Yama god of death who judges the soul’s good deeds and bad deeds and sends it to either Swarga (Heaven) or Naraka (the other place). It then spends a long time in one of those two places (the exact length varies based on your actions, but we’re talking years here). And only after all that does the soul come down to Earth, carried on a raindrop that falls on a plant, and then the drop of water is consumed by some male human or animal who has a child, and thus the soul is born as that child. So long story short, it takes a long time, so it doesn’t pose much of a problem to recall it to its last body.

              • trent steele says:

                @Keshav

                From a previous post:
                Keshav: “Bob, I highly doubt that Piketty is intentionally trying to hide George H.W. Bush’s minimum wage increases. Piketty may have just assumed that Bill Clinton was “the President of the 90’s”, and then based on that looked at Bill Clinton’s minimum wage increase history to determine the minimum wage increases of the 90’s. So Piketty may have been sloppy rather than dishonest.”

                The idea that you could write a treatise and not know who the president of the United States was in a particular year is laughable.

                Is that how closely you expect people to read the Hindu scripture? My god, what kind of world do you want, Keshav, where people are required to live by some obscure text, but you’re ok with people making errors that big in their reading of said text.

                And here you are talking about resurrection. You really want to base a society on this book (that you don’t feel the need to even read closely; and you don’t worry about other people reading closely?)

                Why should I even take you seriously when I know that you don’t care about errors in books?

                Tragic.

              • Keshav Srinivasan says:

                Trent, I certainly do think errors matter. I was just arguing that this was a case of sloppiness rather than malice on Piketty’s part. But sloppiness is certainly a bad thing, and I’m against it both in the case of economic history and in the case of Hindu scripture.

              • Harold says:

                I have been criticised here for “uncharitable” reading. Basically, if charity is needed then the writing is at the very best, sloppy, and along with Trent I agree that this should be criticised.

                We can criticise the content if the writing without necessarily knowing the intent of the author. However, if a strong pattern emerges then we are entitled to draw conclusions that the errors are not simply due to sloppiness.

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