In India religion raises a number of controversial questions, as it does anywhere. Faith is close to the heart. For people of faith, be they Christian, Hindu, Jew, Jain, Buddhist, Zoroastrian/Parsi, Muslim, or ardent secularist (or any of a multitude of other religions), it is a part of who we are.
Although India is a secular nation with a goal of religious inclusiveness, there remains in its past echoes of religious persecution, inability to escape from caste constraints, and the horrendous faith-based massacres of neighbor against neighbor that took place during the Partition of India and Pakistan in 1947, leaving roughly 1 million victims in its wake.
It is not my intention to offend anyone through these sometimes controversial questions or to reopen wounds of the past. But finding truth -- finding the genuine face of God and the reality of our existence and beginnings -- could be the most important question each of us ever faces.
We are not well served by outright demonizing of a particular sect or by wholesale banishment of religion as the problem. Misuse of the religion as a tool for hatred is more often the problem than the religion itself. That said, there are some problematic or controversial aspects endemic to various religions, and although respect is a goal, neither will I shrink into political correctness in service of that goal. My hope is to address every sincere question as openly and honestly as possible.
Likewise, it's important to recognize that each of us comes equipped with our own beliefs and preconceptions. While I've befriended people of all faiths (or no faith), including Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Christians in India and America, Jews, and Muslims, and have set foot in the holy places of Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians of many denominations, my deeply held faith is that of a Christian. Even as I sort through the evidence I see from all quarters, both religious and scientific, that perspective will come through, even if not always in a traditional fashion. Thus, many of the questions I deal with here originate in the sometimes hostile and controversial questions I hear asked of me and other Christians. However, questions about Indian religions in general are also welcome.
How to Ask Your Own Questions
Feel free to contact me with any questions of your own. Not everything received will be listed, but particularly if I see someone sincerely searching or a question that is frequently asked, I will attempt to include it and respond to it below.
List of Some Illuminating or Controversial Questions
1) Aren't all religions basically the same?