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Hinduism needs reform

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14.01.2018

I’ve often dwelt on my admiration for Hinduism. It is the world’s oldest and wisest religious philosophy. Sanatana Dharma predates Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Christianity and Islam. Its vedic wisdom is unmatched. But like all things ancient, it needs constant care or the wisdom can turn into dogma.

The Abrahamic religions all suffer from this malady. Islam is shackled to the Quran written over 1,300 years ago. Rather than interpret its verses in modern, socially liberal terms, Islamic clerics have frozen them in time. That has led to appalling gender injustice. It has also sanctioned a violent interpretation of jihad which the Quran in its verses defines as self-defence, not conquest, but with enough semantic ambiguity to justify violence against infidels.

Christianity is similarly didactic. The Catholic Church, despite some recent efforts at reform, does not ordain women priests as a matter of “divine law”. It regards homosexuality as a “moral evil”. And it encourages belief in miracles. The break in the sixteenth century between the Catholic and Anglican churches led to the formation of Protestant majorities in countries like post-Reformation Britain and the future United States of America.

Both Islam and Christianity are proselytising religions. They have fought each other for over a thousand years, invaded territories in Africa and Asia, colonised them, plundered their wealth, and transported African slaves and Indian indentured labour to the newly settled Americas and the West Indies.

Hinduism, passive and inward-looking,........

© DailyO