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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Hindu View of Christian Salvation

Christian conversion is based upon the promise of forgiveness of all sins and everlasting salvation by belief in Jesus. It is important that Hindus and all others subject to conversion efforts understand the wrong ideas and wishful thinking behind these views.

Christianity is based upon a theology of sin and salvation. In the Christian view, one is born into sin owing to the original sin of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, as described in the Bible, who were tempted by the Devil and went against God’s will. We gain salvation through Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, whom God sent down to Earth to redeem us. Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sins and the original sin of Adam and Eve, which his blood washed away.

Those who accept Jesus as their savior and become Christians are said to be immediately saved. Faith in Jesus is the basis of salvation, not any action of our own. According to Christian thought, nothing we can do apart from accepting Jesus can save us. Souls who fail to accept Jesus are condemned to damnation, however good or wise they may be. Each individual has only one life to make this decision to accept Jesus or not, which is then irreversible for all eternity.

After death, those who are saved go to heaven, where Jesus dwells. In Christianity, heaven is usually a physical world, which requires a physical body, such as promoted in the Christian belief in the Last Judgment and resurrection of the body, and the reason why Christians bury the dead. Those who are not saved are condemned to eternal damnation.

Such is a brief synopsis of historical Christian theology, which has slight variations among different Christian sects. There is no Christianity without Jesus and no salvation without faith in Jesus. This idea of sin and salvation by belief in Jesus and gaining a place in heaven is the basis of Christian conversion efforts, and of baptism to become a Christian.

Evangelical Christians, such as are coming to Bharat from the USA, take this theology literally, and still argue that the world is only six thousand years old as proclaimed in the Bible. Some modern Christians, perhaps embarrassed by the condemnation of the majority of the human race that remains non-Christian, try to explain it away as metaphorical. Yet to date the Catholic Church has not disavowed this theology of sin and salvation either.

Hindu View of Liberation

Hindu Dharma respects freedom of belief for all people, holding that there is ultimately One Truth and a unity of consciousness behind all existence. Hindu Dharma states that each individual should be free to follow whatever spiritual path he or she feels most drawn to, or even no path at all.

Yet this view of religious pluralism does not mean that Hindu Dharma regards all religious theologies as correct or equal. The Hindu view like that of science allows for the existence of a variety of theories but these theories must be proven by experience and cannot be regarded as correct merely because someone believes in them.

Hindu Dharma encourages us to inquire into our inner nature through examining our own minds and striving to come to a direct realization of truth, which it teaches through various dharmic philosophies and meditation practices.

Hindu sacred texts like the Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita describe the supreme truth or Brahman as an infinite and eternal Being-Consciousness-Bliss (Sacchidananda) beyond all names and forms. This unlimited Being is the Self of all, Atman, dwelling within each creature.  The Supreme Reality dwells with you as you, not as your mere physical body but your core awareness, the inner witness behind all your thoughts and experiences.

In Hindu Dharma, the soul is an individualised power of consciousness and has many lives as it evolves in consciousness to realize its true nature of unity with the Supreme. The individual soul is bound by ignorance and karma, which is the cause of rebirth and suffering, a failure to recognize its true nature that causes attachment to the external world of appearances, birth and death.

The Hindu view is one of karma and rebirth, not sin and salvation and one life only. All souls will gain liberation eventually and return to their true nature of pure consciousness. The goal is not one of heaven but of Self-realization. It is not of a glorified physical world but a blissful awareness beyond body and mind.

Interfaith Discussions

We must be very clear about our concepts in interfaith discussions. There has been a superficial and uncritical approach that equates Christian salvation and Hindu liberation (Moksha), as well as equating religion as faith with the Sanskrit term dharma.

In Hindu Dharma there is no original sin attributed to our ancestors or to any Devil that we must atone for. There is only an ignorance and wrong actions that arise from it. This ignorance is removed by knowledge of truth and development of higher awareness, not by mere belief.

We as individuals are responsible for our condition in life that results from our own karma. There are certain actions that are inherently wrong, like harming others. These do not depend upon the commandment of any deity but on a violation of dharma and natural law.

No Salvation or Spiritual Realization by Proxy

In Hindu Dharma , there is no salvation or liberation by proxy. Neither Jesus nor any other figure can save you or realize the truth for you. In fact you do not need to be saved at all!

You only need to understand your true Self and the nature of existence, which are one, which takes you beyond all suffering born of attachment to body and mind. To transcend ignorance requires a sadhana or spiritual practice, defined in Hindu Shastras through dharmic living, ritual, mantra, Yoga and meditation.

One cannot go beyond karma and ignorance simply by believing in someone or by accepting someone as your savior. That is merely wishful thinking. Just as another person cannot eat food for you, or be educated in your place, you must do your own spiritual practices to purify body and mind in order to access the universal consciousness.

A heaven that requires a physical body is only an attachment to the earth and physical reality in disguise, not understanding our true spiritual nature. The soul does not need a body for its happiness. Its true nature is the pure light of awareness.

One may honor the compassion shown by Jesus, but Christian theology of sin and salvation is far from the truth. It does not reveal our true nature or explain our real purpose in life.

We must have a clear discernment of different theologies and their different goals. Only Self-knowledge brings about liberation. Christian theology, including that endorsed by the Vatican today, does not teach this and its goal of salvation is very different.

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Dr. David Frawley
Dr. David Frawley
Dr. David Frawley, D.Litt (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is the Director of American Institute of Vedic Studies ( He is a renowned Yoga, Ayurveda and Jyotish Teacher. He is also a Padma Bhushan awardee and author of 'Shiva, the Lord of Yoga' and over thirty other books.


  1. A beautiful synopsis of Hinduism but does not account for the reality of life in India with the caste system and treatment of the lower classes by the upper classes. Nor does it account for the clashes between the various other religions in India.

    The teaching of Christianity is not perfect, but the results have shown greater fruits. Jesus said ye shall know them by their fruits.

  2. As a lapsed Christian, I found your article very interesting w/much food for thought. I have many questions regarding Christianity – but rarely find priests, ministers, pastors who can answer them to my satisfaction. I regret to say this, but the evangelical and catholic answers always seem to be not thoughtful but more rote memory ideas. In other words meaningless. Finally, if you are approached by Christian missionaries / proselytize , don’t be afraid to question, question, queston!

  3. As a lapsed Christian, I found your article very interesting w/much food for thought. I have many questions regarding Christianity – but rarely find priests, ministers, pastors who can answer them to my satisfaction. I regret to say this, but the evangelical and catholic answers always seem to be not thoughtful but more rote memory ideas. In other words meaningless. Finally, if you are approached by Christian missionaries / proselytize , don’t be afraid to question, question, queston!

  4. Brilliant article. Some two penny Christian Dalit converts are naturally angry on this page. They can’t return the free education and hard cash they sold their heritage for, so they want to go on believing in the twisted lies of the Christian missionaries. I can now understand why Pakistan sends suicide bombers to kill them like it did a few days ago.

  5. Why you ignored prajapathii and his role from Upanishads .
    Who are these 33 Gods in Hinduism – What are Their Names?

    According to Vedas there are 33 Devas. These Gods are seperated in the following pattern : 12 + 11 + 8 + 2. 12 is the number of Adityas, 11 are the number of Rudras, 8 is the number of Vasus and out of the two left, one is Prajapati (ప్రజాపతి), the Master of Gods, and other is a Supereme Ruler (బ్రహ్మాణ్ not బ్రహ్మ ) who is very powerful.

    Who is Prajapathi in Hinduism :

    The Prajapati, is one of the 33 gods of the Vedas. They claim that the Prajapati was offered by the gods as a sacrifice and he has got a lot of characteristics. Before going deep, it is necessary to get acquainted with the sacred books. (The Vedas)

    The main theme in the Rg Veda and the Upanishads is the nature and purpose of only one supreme sacrifice known as the Purush Prajapati. This name is translated from Sanskrit as “the Lord of all creation who became Man” (Sathpathbrahmana; Rg Ved Purushasukta 10:19). The only purpose of the Purush Prajapati is to sacrifice His life-blood to pay our penalty for sin and to impart to us eternal life. It is the only way to Heaven and the only way of escape from eternal Hell (Rg Ved 9:113.7_11; Rg Ved 4.5.5; 7.104.3).

    Hence, Prajapati is the “lord of creatures,” the primal being associated with creation in the Hindu Brahmanas (బ్రహ్మాణ్ ). But by the time of the epic the Mahabharata, he has lost his position as the primal soul or first god and has become simply a god whose job is to create. From the time of the Upanishads on, in fact, he is frequently the same being as Brahma, the creator god in the Hindu trimurti, which is Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. There are several myths about the process by which Prajapati created the world.

    Wikipedia :
    In Hinduism, Prajapati (Sanskrit: प्रजापति “lord of people” is a group Hindu deity presiding over procreation and protection of life, and thereby a King of Kings (రాజులకు రాజు ,Rajanya or Rajan). Vedic commentators also identify him with the creator referred to in the Nasadiya Sukta.

    ? Infact Prajapathi perfectly refers to Jesus Christ.]

    ⚡Truth is twisted but it’s essence can’t be hidden !!!

    • Your stupitiy is what is twisted here most of all! ha ha. Calling Jesus ‘prajapati’!! ha ha ha. Any dumbass lie even if it only proves what a retard Abrahmic cretin you are? Prajapati is a manisfestation of divinity that predates Jesus by at least a few millenniums, yawn. Read Hindu scripture more, you haven’t really assimilated much so far.

      • ?your standard shows here. Your retarded blog site is only for sanghis. Keep it up. When real question come s up start calling names.

    • Do you even know how many prajapatis exist ? Do you know they are children of Brahma and are not Brahma themselves ? Do you even know Hindus are not afraid of Brahma and they don’t have to be ? Nobodyand their innocent progeny are condemned for eating a fruit in Hinduism.

    • Kishore you crypto bastard….I am sure JC will do substitutional atonement for you. But he ain’t Prajapati you mean minded rat.

  6. Neti Iswara bhadanti pasasth patKa ‘ Yajur Veda 15.10
    Roughly translated it means ‘ there is no God throw of a dice has set you up.’
    Well that what science tells you and what is Charvak’s philosophy is all about and currently YOLO (you only live once)
    One advantage of being Hindu is that you can be atheist and be still called Hindu you can go to church mosque synagogue or any other religious place. There is no bar and still be Hindu. There are no dogma

  7. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
    Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name given wherw by we must be saved. Acts 4:12
    There is no other way any one human being can be saved except through JESUS CHRIST. There no other god that can save they are all dead gods if anyone show anything an giant what I’m saying then I will gladly take Hindu, buddism, catholism, Baptist, or any other false religion. But I tell you you can’t find salvation through any thing or any one other than JESUS CHRIST and that is the truth… so I tell you to be oh so carefull as to what you claim isn’t real….

  8. Dr. Frawley,

    Following up on my previous comment, here are links to a few of the articles on my website that explain these views more fully:

    If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?

    Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?

    Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Heaven?

    “Christian Beliefs” that the Bible Doesn’t Teach

    Christian Beliefs that the Bible Does Teach

    Once again, I don’t mean to imply that even these broader and more inclusive Christian beliefs are the same as Hindu belief and practice. As explained in the first article linked above, there is a good reason for the wide variety in the beliefs and practices of the world’s religions. (And I am happy to say that “If there’s One God, Why All the Different Religions?” is the most popular and heavily visited article on my website.)

    But I believe that the true core of all of the religions of humankind is the same. And that core is to put God, however we may conceive of God, above all, and to live a life of love and practical service to our fellow human beings.

    Thanks once again for a good and thoughtful article. And thanks for giving me the opportunity to express my belief that true Christianity, based on the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, is very different from the narrow and exclusionary “Christian” doctrines that have been invented and adopted by the bulk of institutional Christianity.

    • Well Well,
      Dear Lee Woofenden,

      Don’t you think you ought to be first setting your own house in order, i.e addressing the institutional christianity and erasing their delusions before asking others to reconsider their evaluation?
      I mean at the end of the day your personal views are just that,your personal views. Institutionalized christianity rules the roost. It is them we have to deal with not with you so in the spirit of loving your fellow humans you should really be appealing to the good sense of institutional christianity to drop ths act,admit to their faults and come clean on the centuries of corruptions and cover-ups.

      Anyway,here I am saying your views and those of institutional christianity aren’t much different.
      Your proposed understanding of divinity isn’t much different from that espoused by institutional christianity because humankind , in both cases , as we see in your second article you posted , is not welcome into the blissful afterlife if they do not do the will of God.
      Now here’s the issue first and foremost.
      God is just.God it all-knowing.God is wise.And God is the creator of all.
      Very well , then how does it happen that a wise,all knowing God creates humans who he knows would go against the God’s will if given freewill and then this just God refuses them entry into a blissful afterlife for using the gift of freewill?
      I mean what is going on here? Did God know beforehand or not? If it did not then God is not all knowing and therefore not God. If God did then your purported projection of divinity has reduced God to a whimsical, inefficient, lazy and callous dictator who punishes humans for God’s fault.
      It is like a watchmaker blaming the watch for being faulty.

      But all this is easily resolved, you just have to shed your blinkers and pick up Ramcharitmanas or the prasthana-trayi and any basic textbook on darshan-shastra.

      • Hi NikhilD,

        I would love to see traditional Christianity repent of its corruption. Unfortunately, I just don’t think that’s going to happen. There’s been some reform, but the fundamental doctrinal error remains, and is clung to as the core of the various denominations’ and sects’ identities. I believe that traditional Christianity will die before it reforms, like a chain smoker who keeps right on smoking as he dies of lung cancer. And to mix metaphors just a bit, any effort to repair the Titanic as it goes down would be wasted energy.

        That is why I believe that an entirely new form of Christianity is required–one that will not reform, but replace the existing corrupt form of Christianity. For more on this, see my article: Christianity is Dead. Long Live Christianity!

        In short, I don’t see it as my job to fix an unrepairably broken form of Christianity.

        And really, it’s a Christianity that no longer does “rule the roost.”

        Gone are the days when the church spoke, and everyone had to listen on pain of death. The bulk of the population increasingly just thumbs its nose at institutional Christianity, and goes about its merry way. And though conservative Christians are fighting a rearguard battle in Western nations, especially the U.S.A., attempting to reassert political control, they are losing that battle, and the war as a whole. Decade after decade they are being defeated on one issue after another at the ballot box, in the courts, and in society as a whole.

        As far as I’m concerned, the sooner that old and false “Christianity” dies, the better. I wish its adherents well, since they, too, are children of God. But as for the institutions and doctrines of the old Christianity, I have no desire or intention of fixing them, but rather, prefer to give them a few extra whacks on the way down, just to make sure they stay down.

        These are not merely my personal views. I am an ordained minister in a denomination that shares these views, which is part of a larger movement (but one that is still quite small, and in its early stages) that also shares these views. We believe that under God’s providence, the old, corrupted “Christianity” is dying, and a new and true form of Christianity is taking its place. This, we believe, is symbolized by the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, as narrated in the final vision of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament.

        • Does your ministry subscribe to Nicene Creed?
          Give us the details of your ministry.
          I’ve quoted form bible elsewhere to show your own contradictory stance as vis-a-vis Bible.
          New Christianity vs Old Christianity is immaterial to dharma-panths as the differences in the cosmological views remain patently the same.
          So unless you’re ready to admit to the logical inconsistencies it really doesn’t matter if the wine is in a new bottle or the old bottle.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            No, we explicitly reject the Nicene Creed. In fact, we see it as the beginning of the end (doctrinally) of Christianity.

            We also reject the Athanasian Creed, which further defined God as a Trinity of Persons, and thereby corroded and corrupted the entirety of Christian doctrine. It is, as you say, a self-contradictory doctrine. And that creed points out the contradiction right within itself:

            For like as we are compelled by the Christian verity; to acknowledge every Person by himself to be God and Lord; So are we forbidden by the catholic religion; to say, There are three Gods, or three Lords.

            In other words, “The truth is that there are three gods, but the church doesn’t allow us to say that.”

            We view this doctrine as self-contradictory, polytheistic, and completely false.

            If you want the basics of our beliefs, please see: Christian Beliefs that the Bible Does Teach

          • You’ve not given the name of your ministry but since you reject the Nicene creed you do not represent the prevalent view which we engage with.
            Secondly I did not comment about the creeds per se (even though they are as illogical as they come) I did however comment upon the logical fallacy and outright casuistry of your comments.
            Thirdly dharma-panth is pantheistic,polytheistic,monist,dualist all these labels and many more which according to you would be completely false.
            So again,first take care of your own institutional brethren before engaging with us otherwise you’re merely acting as their outposts.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            I am sorry that you are walking on such a narrow, judgmental path that you are unwilling and unable to accept a hand of friendship and mutual respect extended to you from someone of a different faith.

            Instead, you are taking the path of accusation, of impugning motives, of attack and insult against those who don’t share your exact beliefs. And that truly is an “exclusivist mindset.”

            It is very unfortunate. And I hope it does not represent the attitude and approach of your fellow Hindu believers generally, and of this website specifically.

            If that is what this website is all about, then I will willingly shake the dust off my feet as I leave.

            I came here as a Christian to express solidarity with the Hindu author of this piece as he warned the Hindu faithful against accepting the faulty doctrine of evangelical Christian missionaries operating in the Hindu community. And what I have received from you ever since is attack and insult.

            Is that how you treat all visitors here who come with good will and a desire to extend a hand of friendship, support, and mutual understanding?

          • Visitors seeking friendship do not indulge in casuistry.
            Quit being a crybaby.
            Everybody is judgemental, even you,deal with it.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            I deal with these sorts of attacks and insults from fundamentalist Christians all the time. I receive comments of this ilk on my website almost every day, and I delete them just as regularly, with a shrug of the shoulders. It comes with the territory, and it rolls off my back. That’s not the issue. The issue is how useless and counterproductive your critical, combative, accusatory, and judgmental attitude is.

            If it were merely a matter of your disagreeing with my views, and telling me why you disagree with my views, that would all be part of constructive discourse. But you have descended into name-calling and impugning my motives and character. Do your Hindu beliefs support such behavior toward those with whom you have doctrinal disagreements?

          • Calling out nonsense for nonsense is not an insult nor is it counterproductive. Stopping nonsense saves precious time which may be used rather productively.

            If someone insists that 2+2=5 and being called out called out for the inherent nonsensical position insists it is insulting to call it nonsense esp saying that he’s dissociated himself from those who insist that 2+2 = 6 so he’s holding a different belief which is a correct belief,then it’s called attempted guilt tripping.

            Now to the matter of your insistence that your beliefs are different from the “institutional christianity” as you call it.
            No they’re not.You may have doctrinal differences with the church doctrine but essentially you both play it from the same nonsensical cosmology which makes your position nonsensical by default,just a different variety of nonsense.

            If you wish to co-opt the current liberal nonsense of – hey come on let’s let everyone believe every claim is valid – then that’s your problem not mine. I will not dignify nonsense with feelgood gestures of validity.
            Now quit being a crybaby and deal with it.

          • LOL
            And here once again I expose your dishonesty Lee Woofenden.

            Now you say “I came here as a Christian to express solidarity with the Hindu author
            of this piece as he warned the Hindu faithful against accepting the
            faulty doctrine of evangelical Christian missionaries operating in the
            Hindu community.”

            But you are not critical of evangelizing in itself. No you’re not. You’re simply critical of the faulty doctrine.

            Elsewhere you’ve said “If you are happy with your beliefs, the last thing I want to do is to attempt to convince you that your beliefs are wrong.”

            Now this is again dishonest,very dishonest of you.
            Why? Well here read your own article – “If Non-Christians can Go to Heaven, Why should Christians Evangelize?”

            Lest you launch into long-winded nitty-gritties again,let me say ; save it – You’re no different than your traditional ‘institutional’ brethren.
            You’ve just cloaked yourself in a different shroud. 🙂

          • Yes it does. It verily does.
            It thoroughly exposes your dishonest intentions,your mischievious ways,your disrespectful exclusivism,
            It exposes you as a paid merchant. 🙂

      • Hi NikhilD,

        As I said, my intent here is not to convert anyone, nor to say that my views are the same as Hindu views. I understand that you see things differently than I do, and that the differences are real.

        However, you are mistaken when you say that my understanding of divinity is not that much different than that of institutional Christianity.

        For one thing, I reject the idea that God does not welcome sinners into heaven, and I reject the idea that God punishes sinners.

        God has open arms for all people, and welcomes all people into heaven. God also loves all people, even those who are sinners. And by “sinners” I don’t mean people who break arbitrary rules, but people who live selfish, greedy, and destructive lives, hurting and oppressing their fellow human beings for their own power and pleasure.

        God would welcome even these into heaven. And if they don’t go there, it’s not because God bars them entry, but because they themselves refuse to enter. The gates of the New Jerusalem are always open. But the evil are still outside, not because the door is shut to them, but because they have no interest in entering. In my theology, no one is in hell against his or her will. Instead, all who are there freely go there because that is where they want to be.

        For more on this, see: Is There Really a Hell? What is it Like?

        • Casuistry again sir.

          Here again some verses from Bible about sinners and unbelievers going to hell.So your beliefs don’t matter.Either you’re wrong or bible is wrong.If Bible is wrong then your whole charade of New Christianity is nonsensical.
          If Bible is correct then you’re simply indulging in sophistry.

          A loving and just God,all knowing God would not make sinners and then not know they will not enter heaven and choose hell.
          Basically a lazy,incompetent God who blames his faults on the faulty products of own creation.

          Anyway here are the verses from Bible :

          Revelation 21:8
          – But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers,
          and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall
          have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which
          is the second death.

          Matthew 25:41
          – Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye
          cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

          Matthew 25:46 – And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

          Revelation 20:15 – And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

          Mark 9:43
          – And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to
          enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the
          fire that never shall be quenched.

          2 Peter 2:4
          For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them
          into hell and committed them to chains of gloomy darkness to be kept
          until the judgment;

          • Hi NikhilD,

            All of these things are dealt with in the various articles on my website.

            I interpret the Bible quite differently than traditional Christianity does. I see it as primarily a bearer of deeper, spiritual meaning. That meaning is commonly clothed in limited human terms in order to speak to a fallen and darkened humanity in terms that it can understand. But the deeper meaning is very different than what often appears on the surface.

            For more on this, see: How God Speaks in the Bible to Us Boneheads

            And see also: Can We Really Believe the Bible?

            If your primary purpose here is to tell me that I’m wrong, wrong, wrong, I have no particular desire to debate you. If you are happy with your beliefs, the last thing I want to do is to attempt to convince you that your beliefs are wrong.

            But please give me the respect of expressing and explaining my own beliefs rather than presuming to tell me what I believe–about which you are much mistaken.

          • You may use whichever jargon sir but we need to cut to the facts.
            I gave you the respect that was your due but you insist on indulging in casuistry.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            Are you saying that the popularity of a religious perspective equates to its truth? Are you saying that we must accept the beliefs of a particular segment of a religion as truly representing that religion because it is the biggest faction of that religion?

            I am well aware that I do not represent the mainstream of Christianity. It should be clear by now that I believe the mainstream of Christianity is dead wrong doctrinally, and is not even Christian as that is presented in the Gospels and in the Bible generally.

            This is not something I just thought up by myself yesterday afternoon. Back in 1771, in his book True Christianity #668, in a discussion about the spiritual meaning of baptism, Emanuel Swedenborg wrote:

            Surely everyone who is willing to can see that there was some divine purpose in the establishment of this practice [baptism] – a purpose that has been hidden until now because the Bible’s spiritual meaning has not been revealed before. Today, however, this spiritual meaning is being revealed because the Christian church in its true essence is now getting underway for the first time. The former church was Christian not in essence or in reality but in name only. (italics added)

            We view the old Christianity as having departed from the genuine Christianity that Jesus Christ taught within a few centuries after Christ, and decisively after the emperor Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD in order to make Christianity into a state religion. The doctrines that came from that and subsequent human councils were false, and progressively destroyed Christianity until, as Swedenborg says, it was “Christian not in essence or in reality but in name only.”

            Further, you are viewing the Bible only from the current rather literalistic view and interpretation engaged in especially by fundamentalist and evangelical Protestant Christians.

            The Bible is not “wrong.” It is presenting divine truth in human clothing. In order to to that, it must draw from concepts and ideas that are current within the human societies to which it is addressed.

            To use an analogy from Swedenborg, the Bible is like a clothed person whose hands and face only are bare.

            · In some places, like the hands and face of a clothed person, the divine truth shines out from the plain words of the Bible in its own light.

            · But in most places, the divine truth is “clothed” with material from the human cultures and beliefs in which it was written.

            In order to see the genuine divine truth within, we must look beyond that human clothing to the divine body of truth that it conceals from those whose minds are not ready to understand the truth, but reveals to those whose minds are ready to see the genuine truth behind the human appearances.

            All of this is covered in an article that I referred you to earlier: How God Speaks in the Bible to Us Boneheads

            More to your point, the fundamental doctrines of traditional Christianity simply are not stated in the Bible.

            · The Bible nowhere says that God is a Trinity of Persons. Yet that has become the foundational doctrine of the vast bulk of traditional Christianity.

            · The Bible specifically denies that a person is justified by faith alone (see James 2:24), yet Martin Luther made that the foundational doctrine of all of Protestant Christianity.

            · The Bible nowhere says that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. Yet that became the doctrine of atonement and salvation in all of Protestantism.

            The reality is that the most basic doctrines of Catholic, Protestant, and Orthodox Christianity simply aren’t stated anywhere in the Bible. And how can a doctrine be considered basic to Christianity if it is not stated in the text that Christians look to as the foundation of their faith and doctrine?

            For more on this, please see my article: “Christian Beliefs” that the Bible Doesn’t Teach, and the various articles linked from it.

          • No,I’m simply saying you’re peddling nonsense.
            Just that your claim is it’s a different variety of nonsense.
            But it is nonsense.

          • Ummm yes it takes a certain amount of intelligence to cut through nonsense to see for what it is.
            And yeah nothing disrespectful in calling out nonsense as nonsense.
            I do not care for your views mainstream or not, they’re nonsensical for the same flaws you deride the maintream christianity (the bits you share with it in cosmology) and everything else beyond that is pointless.

      • Hi NikhilD,

        I believe that the issue of divine omnipotence and omniscience vs. human free will is not as simple as you are presenting it to be.

        And now I will debate you some, since it is necessary to do so in order to adequately answer your questions.

        In fact, the precise problem I have with the Hindu view of salvation as I understand it is that since all people are ultimately “saved,” there actually is no free will for human beings.

        I think you would agree with me that anything that is temporary is relatively unreal and illusory compared to anything that is eternal. If a created thing is temporarily one thing, but then permanently becomes another, what is the true nature of that thing? Is its true nature what is temporary but then ends, or is its true nature what it becomes permanently after a brief period of being something else?

        Human freedom of choice, then, is real only if it is capable of making decisions that are eternal rather than merely temporary.

        If, in the end, all people are “saved” (I realize I’m using Christian terminology here, but you can translate into the appropriate Hindu terminology), meaning that in the end, all conform to and follow the will of God, then is human freedom actually freedom? Is it not predetermined that humans will, in the end, all do God’s will, regardless of any temporary choices they may make along the way to oppose and thwart God’s will?

        I believe that for God to make beings who are truly human, and who can therefore have real, freely chosen relationships of love with one another and with God, it was necessary for God to make beings who could choose not to have those relationships of love with one another and with God. And for us to be truly and eternally human, it is necessary that we be able to make permanent, eternal choices, and not only temporary ones that will inevitably, over the eons of the cycle of rebirth, all be redirected toward the end that God had in mind for us in the first place, whether you wish to call it heaven or nirvana or re-mergence with the Divine.

        From my perspective, the gift of God to humanity is not only love, but also respect for our right and ability to choose our own course for ourselves, whether or not it is the course that God would prefer we take. And I do not believe God will violate that choice on our part, even if it means that some of us choose to eternally put ourselves in opposition to God’s love and God’s will.

        If we do so, it is not God forcing us to do so. Nor, as I said in my previous comment, does God punish us for not choosing God’s way. It is the nature of evil to punish itself. None of the punishment in hell comes from God. It comes, rather, from one’s own evil desires, and from one’s fellow evil spirits in hell. And yet, the evil spirits who live there have no desire to be anywhere else, because that is where they can engage in the sorts of corrupt loves and desires that they have chosen. This is covered in the article on hell that I linked in my previous comment.

        For a much fuller version of my critique of reincarnation and its implication of universal “salvation” or universal re-mergence with the Divine, see: The Bible, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Reincarnation

        Once again, I am not saying you must adopt my views. I understand that you see things differently, and I respect your right to understand the the nature of God, the universe, and humanity differently than I do.

        But please understand that I, too, have reasons for believing the way that I do. I am a Christian and not a Hindu. I make no bones about that. But my views of Christian doctrine, and of the nature of God, the universe, and humanity, are not so simplistic nor so self-contradictory as your statements would imply.

        • You’re not debating sir you’re merely indulging in building up strawmen and indulging in casuistry.
          Your views are actually very simplistic when one cuts through the jargon and your New Christianity charade is no different than Old Christianity charade.
          Now I could very well indulge in jargon to complicate the post but I don’t really care for that. I’d rather cut through the jargon and put forth bare your casuistry as it is.
          Freewill as you state is non-existant in your christian doctrine because as soon as freewill was used humans became sinners.
          Which is quite illogical given your version of God is loving and omniscient also omnipotent and omnipresent. Now how could such a God let that happen?
          If God really respected humans’ ability to choose for themselves he would not make the use of freewill to be a sin. The concept of evil actually good sir is one of those late corruptions to original christianity which you talked about so this all hoopla about loving relationship with God and all that is really immaterial.

          Anyway I quoted from your own Bible to show your contradictions and outright sophistry. If you really respected my views and claim that original christianity is not what institutional christianity portrays it to be then you wouldn’t be here but rather debating day in and day out with the gatekeepers of institutional christianity.

          As for the “saved” concept,you’ve built a strawman for there is no such concept of being “saved” in dharma-darshan.
          Humans need no “saving” because we were not born into “sin”.
          I’ve pasted enough quotes elsewhere to elicit your sophistry about your views being the correct views about Bible when the quotes themselves say otherwise.
          So best would be for you to first share the details of your denomination,secondly your denominations view of Nicene Creed, thirdly you ought to convince your institutional brethren first and reform them. There really is no need for you to be here preaching on this forum that yours is a different point of view which is the true point of view because that is immaterial as long as it doesn’t become the accepted point of view. Till such time we will deal mainly with the current point of view of institutional christianity.
          It is another matter that I have amply shown that your own views,however much couched in jargon they may be,are not at all at variance with the many institutional christianity doctrines.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            Your insulting tone does nothing to recommend your views to an open-minded person who might think of perusing them. I actually have read some Hindu writings, though not extensively. However, after reading your various comments, if I thought you actually represented the attitudes of Hindus as a whole, I would be less inclined to read the writings you recommend, because if they have influenced you to be so disrespectful of others and their beliefs, I would want no part of that religion.

            However, I don’t believe you represent the best and purest of Hindu mindset and thought. And I believe that based on personal experience.

            Back when I was the pastor of a small Swedenborgian church, as part of a public series we hosted on the major word religions, we invited the leader and spiritual teacher of a local Vedanta center to present the segment on Hinduism. She gave a beautiful presentation, appreciated by everyone in the audience, most of whom were Christians. She showed respect for Christian belief, while explaining Hindu beliefs in a way that non-Hindus could hear and appreciate, whether or not they fully agreed.

            I find your posts, instead, to be insulting and divisive, mixed with a great deal of pride and arrogance at your own correctness and everybody else’s error. It is very far from the broad, inclusive spirit of Hinduism that I received from that presentation of Hinduism at my church years ago.

            If you wish to engage in constructive dialog, I am quite willing to do so. However, such dialog requires mutual respect, not continual insults hurled against those who hold to a different view than your own.

          • After reading your writings laden with strawmen and outright casuistry I’m compelled to believe that you represent the position of those you represent. Which is needless to say,casuistry laden position.
            Now the part about being disrespectful and divisive.
            It is a convenient cover to hide behind. Whenever anybody calls out a contradiction call them divisive , arrogant and disrespectful.
            Calling out casuistry and strawmen isn’t being disrespectful. It is simply what it is. Calling it out. However nobody wants to be told they are being less than honest so I can understand your barely concealed sneer.
            Dharma-panths are integrally inclusive however when faced with exclusivist mindset they need to be called out and you’ve amply displayed your exclusivist mindset in other posts while pretending to portray a picture of christianity which it is not.
            Your projection of divinity remains illogical,lazy,incompetent and whimsical.
            That is all that matters about the christian position really.
            It is not very complicated as you’d have everyone believe.
            It however can be made to LOOK complicated by couching it in jargon and making it appear as something different when it is actually not.

            So yes you do hold views different than mine but when I point out their logical contradiction and your own casuistry you insist on me being disrespectful is actually being disrespectful to the word – Integrity.

            I hope you have enough of it left to reconsider your casuistry and begin with tattva-vada ; this time in detail.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            Unfortunately, you do not understand my views well enough to even point out “casuistry” and “inconsistency.” You seem to believe you are making great death-strokes against my beliefs. In fact, most of what you have brought up so far is completely irrelevant to what I believe, and is aimed instead at traditional Christian beliefs, which I also reject.

            I have referred you to many articles that take up the various issues you have raised. But it is clear that your only interest is to tell me I’m wrong, even though you barely know or understand what I believe.

            That is not characteristic of someone who is interested in the truth, but rather of someone who is interested in proclaiming his own rightness and superiority.

            I do hope that the others who frequent this website are more open-minded and enlightened than you are, because if you represent the overall tone of this website, then it is no better than the fundamentalist Christian websites that spew arrogance and condemnation against all who don’t accept their particular doctrines.

            Your saying, for example, that I have an “exclusivist mindset” is a demonstration that you are more interested in accusing and calling names than in understanding what I believe. It’s not informed discourse, but mere rote name-calling.

            As I said in my original comments here, I believe that God is present and active in all religions, and even among people who have no religion at all. I believe that people of all religions, and of no religion at all, are saved and go to heaven if they live a good life of concern for and service to their fellow human beings, according to their own conscience.

            I respect Hinduism as an ancient religion that has provided and continues to provide spiritual guidance and direction to hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. And I respect the Hindu faithful, and consider them to be fellow travelers on the spiritual path.

            I am not quite sure how these views of mine constitute an “exclusivist mindset.”

            I believe, instead, that you are reflexively painting me with the same broad brush with which you paint all of Christianity, without bothering to even listen to what I actually believe.

            If, after reading that I believe that God is present and active in all religions, and that all religions provide a valid and effective pathway toward God, you assault me for my “exclusivist mindset,” how can I believe that you will listen to anything I say?

            As long as you take that attitude toward me, engaging in discussion and debate with you would be an exercise in futility. You are clearly not listening to anything I am saying, but are merely making pre-judged accusations against me as part of what seems to be a general animosity against Christianity and Christians.

            In other words, while I respect your beliefs and your right to hold them and practice them, you do not respect mine, but condemn me reflexively based on your own pre-judged notions.

            As long as that is your attitude, no useful dialog can take place.

            My mindset is so “exclusive” that I believe even atheists can be and often are on the pathway to heaven, as I explain in this article: Do Atheists Go to Heaven?

            You wish to lump me in with institutional Christianity as it exists today, and to tar me with the same brush with which you tar them. And so I ask you: How many Christian churches and denominations believe that atheists can go to heaven even if they die as convinced and committed atheists?

            And if you think that is just my own belief, I would invite you to look up any of the ordained ministers in the Swedenborgian Church of North America, which is my denomination, and ask them if they think it’s possible for atheists to go to heaven. You will find that every single one of them, to a man and woman, will say that atheists can and do go to heaven if they live a good life of service to their fellow human beings based on their own conscience and beliefs. (There are, however, more conservative Swedenborgian denominations, some of whose ministers might not agree with this view.)

            If that is “exclusivist thinking,” then I guess I simply don’t know what “exclusive” means.

          • You’d not be calling yourself a christian nor following a “faith” based “religion” if that were the case.
            I understand your views amply enough having progressed from stages such as yours before I came unto clarity after much churning.
            I suggest you do the same.

  9. Dr. Frawley,

    Thank you for a clear and thoughtful article.

    I am a Christian. And I agree with you that the “Christian” doctrines you describe are wrong ideas based on wishful thinking. I would add that they are based on a complete misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the Bible. And if they are not taught in the Bible, how can they truly be called “Christian”?

    Yes, I understand that these are the beliefs of the vast bulk of Christianity–though some of what you describe is more the belief of the Protestant branch of Christianity than of the Catholic and Orthodox branches. For example, the Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity never accepted Martin Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith alone.

    Within a few short centuries of Jesus’ life, institutional Christianity began veering very far from the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels, and from the message of the rest of the Bible. Fundamental to its wandering into error was the doctrine of a Trinity of Persons in God. This doctrine is stated nowhere in the Bible, but was, rather, originated by Christian theologians of the third and fourth centuries. Neither is original sin, another Catholic doctrine, taught by the Bible.

    The corruption of Christian doctrine continued on over the centuries, culminating in Martin Luther’s promulgation of justification by faith alone through penal substitution 1,500 years after the Gospels were written. Though it may be hard to believe for people who have not closely studied the Bible with an open mind, the Bible never actually says that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. You can search as hard as you like, and you will simply find no such statement in the Bible, because it isn’t there.

    As for justification by faith alone, in the one place in the entire Bible where the term “faith alone” appears, it is specifically rejected as justifying, or saving: “You see that a person is justified by works, and not by faith alone” (James 2:24). Martin Luther tried (unsuccessfully) to get the book of James, along with several other books of the New Testament, removed from the Bible because he knew that they contradicted his doctrine of justification by faith alone.

    Make no mistake about it. The doctrines you describe are neither Biblical nor Christian, even though they have become the cornerstones of the vast bulk of institutional Christianity. I have debated many traditional Christians over the years, and they have never yet been able to quote a single passage from the Bible that actually teaches any of these doctrines. They are all based on human misinterpretation of the Bible’s message.

    That message is not one of exclusion, but of inclusion. And it is not one of mere faith, but one of living by one’s faith through love and service to one’s fellow human beings.

    In Romans 2:1-16, Paul explains how Jews and “Greeks”–who are non-Christians–are saved by living according to their consciences. His explanation of these things is either glossed over or explained away by traditional Christian theologians.

    And in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus himself states, in the form of a parable about Judgment Day, that those who love and serve their fellow human beings in need will go to eternal life, while those who fail to love and serve their fellow human beings in need will go to eternal punishment. In this, Jesus’ clearest statement about who is saved and who is not, he says nothing at all about faith, but only about practical service to others. And he says nothing at all about Christians only being saved, but rather says that this is how “all the nations” will be judged.

    I understand that this is still at odds with Hindu teachings. I am not trying to say that genuine Christianity as I understand it, and as taught in the Bible, is the same as Hinduism. However, it is nowhere near as contradictory to Hindu belief as the doctrines and beliefs that have been adopted by the vast bulk of institutional Christianity.

    True Christianity is founded on the two Great Commandments given by Jesus himself in the Gospels: that we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; and that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. On these two commandments, Jesus taught, depend the teaching of the entire Bible. And true Christianity will interpret the entire Bible in light of these two commandments of its Lord and God.

    If you are interested in a form of Christianity that understands and teaches the true spirit of Jesus’ teachings in the Bible, and raises the Bible to a greater and more spiritual understanding, I would recommend that you look into the teachings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). Swedenborg skipped over all of the Christian creeds and theologians, and went directly to the Bible, under inspiration from the Lord, to restore the true meaning, essence, and beliefs of Christianity as Jesus taught it.

    For a contemporary view and explanation of this renewed and more spiritual and inclusive form of Christianity, I would humbly invite you and your readers to visit my website, Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life, at

    I do not make this invitation with the intention of “converting” anyone. I believe that God provides spiritual life and salvation through all of the religions of humankind.

    Rather, I wish you and your readers to know that not all Christians hold to the narrow, exclusionary, and illusory views that you describe in your article, and that the main bodies of institutional Christianity hold to. I view faithful Hindus, and the faithful of every other religion, as brothers and sisters in the universal kingdom of God, regardless of our doctrinal differences.

    I will post a few links in a separate comment, which you are free to approve or not as you wish. These will point to a few of the articles on my website that explain some of these beliefs, which I think of as true Christianity.

    In closing, I would say that you are right to warn and equip your readers against the Evangelical Christians who seek to convert people to their version of Christianity. It is a narrow, literalistic, and mistaken form of Christianity that causes division and strife instead of recognizing God’s universal presence among humankind in all of its religions, cultures, and varieties.

    • Well then what about the original 10 commandements?

      And if you’re saying Jesus is no more the “only and one true path” you’ve basically removed the status of Jesus as the saviour and as you state yourself that church corrupted the doctrine until Martin Luther salvaged it.
      Be that as it may,it is of no concern to dharma-panths, but here’s the problem – you’ve negated the Nicene creed and in your defence you’ve cited Martin Luther’s revolt but Martin Luther himself never negated the Nicene creed nor contradicted the status of Jesus in the christian doctrine.

      You sir are indulging in casuistry.
      But let us hypothetically pursue your claim to its logical conclusion,are you saying that we are to love a jealous God whom if we didn’t love and adopted a different doctrine,this God would still cast the non-believer into hell even though,as you claim,salvation comes through all religions.
      If it does then you need not have posted any comment because we both know christianity isn’t inclusive.
      And if you believe salvation comes through all religions why do you not take turns practicing a different religion with a roster,you know,in the spirit of inclusivity.

      • Hi NikhilD,

        Thanks for your reply. However, you are making many faulty assumptions about my views.

        In particular, I was citing Martin Luther and his invention of justification by faith alone as the culmination of error, not as the correction of error. I could have added that John Calvin actually made things even worse with his doctrine of predestination. In other words, I’m not saying that Martin Luther salvaged the doctrine of the Christian Church, but that he further destroyed it, until there was nothing of true Christianity left.

        For the rest, I would suggest that you read the articles I linked in my follow-up comment before making so many wrong assumptions about what I believe.

        • That again is immaterial.
          Your personal views are just that,your personal views.
          We deal with the Institutional Christianity which you cite.

          But beyond that I’ve addressed even your views about what is true christianity and pointed out a couple of examples of logical fallacy after reading up your articles which are replete with casuistry and jargon and actually quite pointless.

          So I again extend you the invitation to pick up a darshan-shastra ; tattva-vada should be a good start , and proceed from there till your confusions are resolved.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            What you see as confusion, I see as understanding.

            I understand that this article deals with institutional Christianity. My intent here was to point out that not all Christians identify with the institutional Christianity that the article assails, and that, in fact, some Christians actually agree with you that institutional Christianity is badly mistaken.

            If you wish to continue to lump all Christians together, and ignore the fact that Christianity, too, has its dissenters, and those who see things from a different perspective than the main body of Christianity, while still being Christian themselves, then there’s not much I can do about that.

            Are there any Hindus that you disagree with? Are all Hindus just one big institutional monolith that defines “Hinduism” for all Hindus?

            As I look at the various world religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, I see that every one of these world religions embraces a whole spectrum of perspectives that range from conservative and literal through mainline and flexible through mystical and highly spiritual in their view of their religion.

            The Christianity that you assail is the conservative, literalistic end of the Christian spectrum. And you may even have disdain for the mainline, moderate part of the Christian spectrum.

            But please understand that just as in all of the other world religions, there is a mystical, spiritual end of the Christian spectrum that sees Christianity in a very different light than does the type of Christianity that the bulk of Christians adhere to. And that mystical, spiritual part of the Christian spectrum is just as open to God’s presence in all religions, with all their varieties of belief and practice, as the mystical end of Hinduism and of all the other religions of humanity.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            It appears that you expanded this comment of yours since I originally responded to it.

            First, I would point out that none of the verses you have quoted says that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. I believe you are reading these verses through the lens of Protestant interpretation of them. And I believe that Protestant interpretation of them is quite faulty, and in fact, quite contrary to the message that the various Apostles who wrote these epistles intended to convey.

            Are you yourself a former Christian? You seem to have great animosity toward Christianity, which makes me wonder if that is because you were previously inculcated with these faulty doctrines and Bible interpretations yourself.

            You should also be aware that none of the books from which you have quoted are part of what we (Swedenborgians) consider to be the Word of God.

            In the New Testament, we view only the four Gospels and the book of Revelation as being the inspired Word of God. The Acts and the Epistles we view as good books, but not as divinely inspired. We see them as historical and doctrinal works intended to preserve the early history of Christianity and to explain various doctrinal points from the Gospels and the Bible as a whole.

            You will notice, for example, that in 1 Corinthians 7, in which Paul discusses marriage, he states that some of what he says is his own view and not from the Lord, whereas other parts are from the Lord. So Paul himself did not see himself as writing the Word of the Lord, but rather as preaching on and explaining the Word of the Lord.

            In other words, we (Swedenborgians) view the Epistles as being like early sermons. They may have some inspiration behind them, since the Holy Spirit does speak through inspired preachers. However, it is a limited inspiration, and not like the inspiration of the Word of God proper.

          • You withheld that information before.
            I’m inclined to believe that you did it on purpose.
            Anyway to further expose your casuistry – from the four Gospels

            Matthew 26:28
            This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

            Matthew 20:28
            Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

            Mark 10:45
            For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

            Revelation 1:5
            from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the
            dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and
            has freed us from our sins by his blood.

            So please if you really respect integrity and wish for us to not view your tribe as represented by you as a tribe of people indulging in tricks,gimmickry,casuistry and sophitry – do have some integrity.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            Once again, if you would bother to ask and listen, rather than coming at me with accusation and condemnation before you even know and understand what I believe, we could have a reasonable dialog.

            I am not “withholding information.” Unfortunately, the technology does not yet exist for me to execute a full memory dump of all my beliefs instantaneously into your mind. There are good answers to your questions. But it takes time and effort to explain and understand them.

            If you are truly interested in what I believe, I’m willing to spend that time to explain it to you, or at least to refer you to articles in which I explain these things.

            And first, I would recommend to you this article, which lays out the overall picture of our beliefs about God, Jesus Christ, and salvation: Who is God? Who is Jesus Christ? What about that Holy Spirit?

            Now for the specific issues of “ransom” and “blood” raised in the Gospel verses you quote.

            It is understandable that you read and interpret them through the traditional Christian perspective–and I suspect more specifically through the evangelical Protestant perspective. However, my church views these concepts very differently.

            These are huge subjects, but I’ll attempt to encapsulate our views.

            Saved by the blood of Christ

            About the “blood” of Christ, we interpret “blood” in the Bible as a symbol of divine truth. It is not Christ’s literal blood that saves us, but rather the divine truth of his teachings that saves us.

            In the Holy Supper, drinking the blood of Christ is not some cannibalistic meal in which the Christian faithful drink the literal, transubstantiated blood of Christ, which has some mystical ability to save us from our sins. Rather, it is an act symbolic of “internalizing” (to use a modern term) the truth that comes to us from God, and making it a part of our life, so that we live by that truth every day.

            For a fuller explanation of this view, please see my article: Eat My Flesh, Drink My Blood

            Giving his life as a ransom for many

            The traditional Christian Ransom theory of atonement holds that Christ saved us by paying a ransom to the Devil, or perhaps to Death, or perhaps even to God the Father, in the form of his death on the cross, in order to redeem us from damnation.

            We don’t accept that view of what “ransom” means where it is mentioned in the Gospels. Rather, we view Christ giving his life as a ransom for many as a metaphor for the life-and-death struggle against the powers of evil that Christ battled spiritually throughout his life on earth.

            The Gospels provide a few brief windows into these internal battles, primarily in the story of Jesus, after his baptism, going out into the desert, fasting for forty days and nights, and being tempted by the Devil; and in his agony of spiritual trial in the garden of Gethsemane just before his crucifixion. But Swedenborg tells us that Jesus was going these inner struggles against the powers of evil, death, and despair throughout his entire lifetime, and that through continual victories over evil in these battles, Jesus conquered the power of evil, which was overwhelming humanity, brought the Devil and hell (which are synonyms, in Swedenborg’s theology) under control, and restored spiritual freedom to all of humanity.

            Jesus “gave his life” for us in the same way that a soldier whose country is under attack will willingly go out against the enemy and die in order to protect his country and its people from aggressors who would kill and enslave his nation.

            This view of salvation and redemption is explained briefly in the “Who is God” article that I linked above, starting with the section titled “What is Redemption?”

          • Nonsensical jargon.
            Divine Truth “saves” us.
            As long as you’re in the business of “saving” from “sin” you’re no different from any creed of christianity whatever jargon you couch it in.
            But that’s not the point.
            You’ve shifted goalposts again and again and I’ve caught you in the act again and again so if you really wish to have a meaningful dialogue then first quit shifting goalposts.

            Now be content in the knowledge that you do not need to be saved.

          • Hi NikhilD,

            “Sin” is not some abstract concept that the Bible invented. Sin is when we humans do evil, wrong, and destructive things. And we see it in the world all around us. The world is full of war, bloodshed, theft, lying, murder, rape, corruption, and fraud.

            If you think that is just fine, then you could make an argument that we do not need to be saved from sin. But most people look at the darkness and corruption in our world, and think that things need to change for the better.

            That, practically speaking, is what it means to be saved from sin.

            “Salvation” is not a judicial pronouncement of innocence from guilt, even though we are actually guilty, as it is often presented to be in traditional Christianity.

            Rather, salvation is “gaining a new heart and a new spirit,” to use Biblical language. In other words, salvation is becoming people who are no longer driven by greed, desire for power, desire for personal pleasure at others expense, and so on, but instead becoming people who are motivated by love for God and love for their fellow human beings, and who live lives of love, compassion, and service.

            “Salvation” in English comes from the Latin word salvus, which in turn is derived from the Latin word salus, which means “safe, whole, sound, healthy.” And that is the basic meaning of “salvation,” once you cut through all the accretions of faulty “Christian” doctrine that have been built up around it over the centuries.

            This view of salvation is, I think, is something Hinduism generally agrees with, even if it may use different language to express the same idea, and may emphasize different aspects of what constitutes human wholeness and enlightenment.

          • Again nonsense and strawmen (esp about dharma-panths)
            Nobody needs a “religion” for all that.
            Those are merely problems of law and order and social character.

  10. How can a lighted candle, however bright it is, impress someone who is bathing in the Sun light?
    Sudheindra R. Shidleepur·Sunday, March 27, 2016
    Hindus or more precisely, Sanatanis are by nature inclusive. As one of my friend was commenting, how can you ‘convert’ a Sanatani who is already inclusive to become ‘exclusive’? This is the reason as to how this geographical location called India has retained its inbuilt resilience despite onslaughts on her soil and centuries of invasion & the process of indoctrination either by proponents of Islam or Christianity. There is no question of their succeeding as long as we retain our common heritage & quality of resilience NOT because we are stuck (we certainly are NOT) in our own manner of looking at reality but we are liberated by being naturally inclusive in our most natural manner of looking at reality for what it is and NOT as what is made out to be by these forces who have not as yet touched the peripherals of this profound thought.

    The current emphasis by the historically divisive forces in our own country on the word ‘secular’ is a completely misplaced & irrelevant idea, an idea manufactured by the western mind which since time immemorial has been under oppression by the church so much so that earlier even the basic state administrative machinery was not just guided by them but even determined by their brand of philosophy of existence. This extended to even scientific discoveries and where such discoveries were at variance with the established ‘truth’ as per the church, the proponents of such scientific discoveries were persecuted by the all powerful church. One may recall as to how Gallileo, under extreme duress, was made to assert that his discovery on astronomical scientific reality was NOT the truth Therefore only to ‘delink’ the state administrative machinery from the dictates of the church, the western mind manufactured this concept of secularism and as such has no relevance to our situation where from time immemorial, thanks to our Dharmic values, we have followed what is naturally all-inclusive including all manners of faith irrespective of whether they subscribe to our manner of looking at reality or not. Unfortunately these divisive forces within our country would neither subscribe to this nor would even consider as to its reality, driven as they are by their own agenda of wanting to be in power at any cost, even the cost of nation itself.

    And this obviously is not expressed with any malice towards anyone but only with a sense of empathy at their level of ignorance, either unconscious or deliberate. Whatever be, such forces cannot and must not be allowed to write the script of the destiny of this great nation of ours which truly belongs to all of us irrespective of our practices of faith & belief.

    How can a lighted candle, however bright it is, impress someone who is bathing in the Sun light?


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