A simple questionnaire for the Hindu apologist
#1
Lets create a small questionnaire for the kind of apologist who will recite the pious litany "Hinduism is not a religion. It is a loose collection of philosophies. It is a way of life. Atheism and rationality are a part of it." when somebody criticizes their religion. They can be asked to fill this questionnaire first before their grievances with the way of freethought are addressed.

Do a majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in,

  • a supernatural force?
  • praying to god(s)?
  • pseudoscienctific nonsense like Jyotish and Vaastu?
  • performing rituals to obtain some benefits?
  • the afterlife, souls and the need to propitiate the soul after the body dies?
  • karma?
.

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#2
This article cites M K Gandhi's self-responses to a self-designed questionnaire on why he self-identified as Hindu.

Quote:I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because,

I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.

I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense.

I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than the popular.

I do not disbelieve in idol-worship.

Cow protection (and related dietary restrictions) and also reverence for Vedas (and the Sanskrit language) could perhaps be additional items for the questionnaire.
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#3
(06-Oct-2011, 12:00 AM)Lije Wrote: Lets create a small questionnaire for the kind of apologist who will recite the pious litany "Hinduism is not a religion. It is a loose collection of philosophies. It is a way of life. Atheism and rationality are a part of it." when somebody criticizes their religion. They can be asked to fill this questionnaire first before their grievances with the way of freethought are addressed.

Do a majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in,

  • a supernatural force?
  • praying to god(s)?
  • pseudoscienctific nonsense like Jyotish and Vaastu?
  • performing rituals to obtain some benefits?
  • the afterlife, souls and the need to propitiate the soul after the body dies?
  • karma?

I wonder if any Hindu posting on this thread will be omniscient enough to know what a majority of the people who call themselves Hindu will believe in.

My answers:

(a)yes
(b)Praying/meditation/satsang/yoga all have a beneficial effect on my brain. I do not know of others.
©No.
(d)similar to b...ritual is conducted inside one's home without affecting neighbours, so what is the problem?
(e)Of course! Every theistic ssystem is going to believe in afterlife and souls.
(f)Karma is a lovely concept that absolves God of having created evil. The Abrahamic God was sitting idle silently in the darkness for an eternity you see. All of a sudden, it became lonely and decided to create. It created evil making it malevolent. Not so the HIndu God. Karma explains the diversity we see in this world. At the same time it makes your self the true maker of your own destiny.
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#4
(26-Jun-2012, 06:50 PM)KalBhairav Wrote: I wonder if any Hindu posting on this thread will be omniscient enough to know what a majority of the people who call themselves Hindu will believe in.

Omniscience isn't needed. It is enough to know that enough people believe in all or some of the qualities listed above. Because they are a good indicator of religious thinking and as such serve to put to rest the claims that Hinduism isn't a religion.
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#5
(26-Jun-2012, 07:36 PM)Lije Wrote:
(26-Jun-2012, 06:50 PM)KalBhairav Wrote: I wonder if any Hindu posting on this thread will be omniscient enough to know what a majority of the people who call themselves Hindu will believe in.

Omniscience isn't needed. It is enough to know that enough people believe in all or some of the qualities listed above. Because they are a good indicator of religious thinking and as such serve to put to rest the claims that Hinduism isn't a religion.

What is your definition of a religion? How can you prove/disprove a philosophical position? What is your definition of a "Hindu"?
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#6
(26-Jun-2012, 11:18 PM)KalBhairav Wrote: What is your definition of a religion? How can you prove/disprove a philosophical position? What is your definition of a "Hindu"?

There was a long winded thread where the game of "you-can't-criticize-religion-unless-you-know-what-it-is" was played. You will find an answer there.
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#7
(06-Oct-2011, 12:00 AM)Lije Wrote: Lets create a small questionnaire for the kind of apologist who will recite the pious litany "Hinduism is not a religion. It is a loose collection of philosophies. It is a way of life. Atheism and rationality are a part of it." when somebody criticizes their religion. They can be asked to fill this questionnaire first before their grievances with the way of freethought are addressed.

Do a majority of people who call themselves Hindus believe in,

  • a supernatural force?
  • praying to god(s)?
  • pseudoscienctific nonsense like Jyotish and Vaastu?
  • performing rituals to obtain some benefits?
  • the afterlife, souls and the need to propitiate the soul after the body dies?
  • karma?
.

Let me give it a shot. I consider myself Hindu.
a) No. There are only natural forces at work, and in fact Brahman is a natural God. Compare Brahman to Spinoza's God. Richard Dawkins mentions how scientists in the US NAS who believe in a deity, all believe in Spinoza or Einsteins' natural God. Most other Hindus interpret Brahman as supernatural, I think.
b) No. Meditation works for me.
c) No.
d) No.
e) No. Don't believe in heaven or hell. Or reincarnation. Can't say if there is any other afterlife, so agnostic.
f) No.
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#8
(06-Oct-2011, 01:57 AM)arvindiyer Wrote: This article cites M K Gandhi's self-responses to a self-designed questionnaire on why he self-identified as Hindu.

Quote:I call myself a sanatani Hindu, because,

I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth.

I believe in the Varnashram dharma in a sense in my opinion strictly Vedic, but not in its present popular and crude sense.

I believe in the protection of the cow in its much larger sense than the popular.

I do not disbelieve in idol-worship.

Cow protection (and related dietary restrictions) and also reverence for Vedas (and the Sanskrit language) could perhaps be additional items for the questionnaire.

Cow protection - yes.
Reverence for Vedas - yes.
Sanskrit language - not necessary. No to pretty much everything else on the survey as I've mentioned above.
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#9
(31-Dec-2012, 11:00 AM)the_analyzer Wrote: Let me give it a shot. I consider myself Hindu.

The aim of the questionnaire, as stated in the starting post, is to not know what you believe in, but what you think a majority of the Hindus believe in. This questionnaire is a way of putting the burden of proof on Hindu apologists who disrupt any discussions of the ills of Hinduism by saying that true Hinduism doesn't entail those ills. Often they mistake what they believe in is what a majority of Hindus believe in.
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#10
I would like to add the following to the questionnaire.

* Conflation of Indian identity with being Hindu.

Very often when Hinduism is criticized in a debate the Hindu apologist views it as an attack on India. This conflation of Hinduism with Indian-ness makes for a lot of unwanted confusion in a debate.

PS: Of course I do not mean that freethinkers should refrain from criticizing India or Indian-ness.
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#11
(03-Jan-2013, 04:25 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: I would like to add the following to the questionnaire.

* Conflation of Indian identity with being Hindu.

Very often when Hinduism is criticized in a debate the Hindu apologist views it as an attack on India. This conflation of Hinduism with Indian-ness makes for a lot of unwanted confusion in a debate.

I don't think most Hindus don't conflate being Indian with being Hindu. The kind that does it isn't that big a group when you consider the entire Hindu population.
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#12
(04-Jan-2013, 06:08 AM)Lije Wrote:
(03-Jan-2013, 04:25 AM)Captain Mandrake Wrote: I would like to add the following to the questionnaire.

* Conflation of Indian identity with being Hindu.

Very often when Hinduism is criticized in a debate the Hindu apologist views it as an attack on India. This conflation of Hinduism with Indian-ness makes for a lot of unwanted confusion in a debate.

I don't think most Hindus don't conflate being Indian with being Hindu. The kind that does it isn't that big a group when you consider the entire Hindu population.

If the above is true, then can we assume that very few Hindus are suffering from HPC? That being the case, then there is no need really to worry about the state of secularism in India.
I have never even once come across one media outlet that describes Hindu rituals and customs for what they are i.e hindu rituals and customs. They are always described as being part of or representatives of Indian culture.
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