Firstly, this article from Vimoh’s blog. It’s a really interesting academic look at actively proselytizing, monotheistic religions vs. non-proselytizing, henotheistic religions. It also talks about the future of the first category, and how it needs to move closer to the second category in order to ensure its health and longevity. I couldn’t agree more. I think that may be my single biggest issue with that first category – the focus is so much on converting people and public, regular worship, that the basis of the religion, tolerance selflessly serving others, is totally lost. The modern world isn’t about doctrine. It’s fluid and adaptive. Religion has to be the same way. Sanatana dharma is that, which is probably why it’s stuck around for thousands of years.
Which brings me to the other part of this post, the conversation I had with some friends over the weekend. It was a really really interesting group of people. At one little table at Cracker Barrel you had: a Hindu, an agnostic deist (i.e. believing in an impersonal creative power), a polytheistic Pagan, a pagan who has been five Christian denominations, and a Ganesha devotee who doesn’t consider himself a Hindu. We were in rural Tennessee, and I have no idea what the people around us thought, but the conversation was fascinating. We talked about how we saw God and what we felt was the need for a personal God, plus about Christianity and Islam and what Jesus and Mohammed would say if they saw the modern versions of religions created around the things they said.
We eventually came to the mutual conclusion that letting people do their own thing is better than not, and that nobody can really comprehend the scale of God, so we’re cool with not knowing for the time being.
I explained my relationship with Hinduism and as happens from time to time, I got goosebumps (quite literally) describing how I felt about the rituals and the beliefs and was reassured that yes, I’m on the right track, even if I am insecure about it.