Saturday, November 08, 2008

Cameron goes Hindu

Politicians in a democracy are under immense pressure to be all things to all people. Cranmer has discussed St Paul’s injunction at length, and notes that the ‘seeming’ was never supposed to compromise core values, corrupt the gospel, or lead people astray. In the quest for power, David Cameron is showing himself as a man not only prepared to live with Musims, but to worship with Hindus. But while the former is a wholesome pursuit, the latter is fraught with naïve dangers against which he ought to have been advised.

It is true that St Paul became a Jew to convert Jews, and a Greek to convert Greeks, but such inculturation did not extend to the worship of other gods: indeed, to have done so would have been to transgress the first commandment, and he specifically warns against such practices (1Cor 4; 8:1; 8:7; 10:19). It is one thing to share fellowship with one’s neighbours, and to love one’s neighbours; it is quite another to practise their faith or worship their gods.

But in what sense is David Cameron worshiping?

Actually, he is not only worshipping, but being worshipped. On his visit to the Neasden Mandir to celebrate Diwali, Mr Cameron is garlanded and has a dot placed upon his forehead. This dot – a ‘bindi’ – is a religious symbol which represents divine sight. The Taittiriya Upanishad exhorts Hindus to ‘atithi devo bhava’ – to ‘revere your guest as God’ – and such reverence begins at threshold to the temple.

But the bindi is not only a representation of a ‘third eye’ of divine sight; it shows that one is a Hindu. It has mystical meaning, for it sees things the physical eyes cannot see. Hindus seek to awaken their inner sight through yoga. The forehead dot is a reminder to use and cultivate this.

There are different varieties of bindi, depending on to which particular sect or denomination of Hinduism one belongs. But to the general public, it is simply a sign of what a person believes.

The bindi is not the equivalent of wearing a hijab, or removing one’s shoes in a mosque or gurdwara, or the wearing of a cross, a turban or a kippah. None of these are imbued with mystical truths or esoteric apprehension. To the Hindu, the bindi is knowledge of eternal truth, and it sets them apart from all other faiths.

It is noteworthy that it is only the professing Christian politicians who are prepared to subject themselves to such practices, and risk idolatry or leading the weak astray. For cultural-political reasons, it is unlikely that a Sikh politician would agree to be so anointed, and it is inconceivable that a Muslim politician would ever consent. Indeed, the Muslim is not likely to even enter the temple.

So while the other faiths are happily defining themselves by their creeds, segregating themselves by cultural practices and attire, separating themselves in ghettos and distinguishing themselves from each other, let the Christians go on adapting to the needs and customs of the alien, and let Christianity go on absorbing all that is pagan, embracing pluralism, hindering the transformation of culture - just as it has ever done.


Anonymous Preacher said...

Your Grace.
A very good report, that highlights the problems that await
the unwary. Obviously Mr Cameron has not studied the hindu faith in any depth & one feels that his slip
is showing.Whilst love & tolerance should be extended to all men by all Christians, there is a line that cannot be crossed. The Hindu community take their faith very seriously & quite rightly so, but to participate in ceremonies that do not agree with ones own declared
faith only serves to diminish the message & weaken it. Is it any wonder that many other beliefs show disrespect for Christianity but through ignorance & fear the radicals of these faiths persecute
the bretheren.
Many members of other faiths are people of high principle who show love & hospitality to the stranger in their midst but the caste system in Hinduism is a bar to many
poor & under priveleged members of Asian society the belief being that
your Karma decides your next incarnation thus if you are sick or poor you deserve it & no help or compassion is offered. Therefore
Mr Cameron's statement about "social responsibility & caring for others" being a central
point of the Hindu faith reveals ignorance of the basics.
One last point if Mr C wishes to see that what I write is true he may like to investigate the current anti Christian violence in Orrisa organised by the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad).
Be careful Mr C, even the wise Solomon fell into the trap of trying to please too many people.

8 November 2008 at 11:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog Your Grace.

Todays word verification is, strangely enough, the word 'mines'.

8 November 2008 at 12:43  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

So-called Hinduism is not Vedic Dharma.
But India, they have given up the real religious system, sanatana-dharma, or varnashrama-dharma. Fictitiously, they have accepted a hodgepodge thing which is called Hinduism. Therefore there is trouble.
Threatened not so much by outsiders as by "Hindus" themselves in perpetuating a misnomer, jumbled ideologies, and artificial caste system.


World Sankirtan Party
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hindus are there own problem they do not need Cameron adding to it :)

8 November 2008 at 12:50  
Anonymous len said...

St paul was born again,well and truly rooted and grounded in his faith.
There are many `christians`who are christians in name only,unrooted, ungrounded, drifting in and out with every tide of opinion. It is unfortunate that many leaders in the church are of the latter nature!.

8 November 2008 at 14:59  
Blogger The Heresiarch said...

I'm sure Dave was merely polite, and was entirely unaware of the religious significance of the bindi. He presumably imagined the priest was just saying "hello". Rather as when one meets the Dalai Lama it's traditional to let him put a white scarf round your neck. Whenever Prince Charles visits a Hindu temple he gets a bindi, and he's in line to be Defender of the Faith.

And can it really be true that having a bindi put on one's forehead turns one into a Hindu? In that case, what was the priest doing? I doubt he was under the impression that DC had become a Hindu, or was at all likely to. Otherwise, the ritual would be the equivalent of baptism, or circumcision - and your criticism should be aimed at the priest for treating his religion lightly.

Really, Master Cranmer, this is by your high standards a remarkably silly post.

8 November 2008 at 15:00  
Anonymous church mouse said...

A question or so for Your Grace: Need there really be a contradiction if we consider the 'guest' to be the same the same as the soul? [ (= 'ghast' [OE]; = spirit; = breath)]

To put it slightly differently - if we can consider the soul to be the Breath of God within us, need we fret about how other religions symbolize that presence?

In this case, then, might not the application of the symbol suggest that we see a point of agreement with the Hindus, even though we do not follow the rest of their doctrine?

Does that approximate what Your Grace means at the end of your post? I find the last paragraph a little difficult to follow.

8 November 2008 at 15:49  
Blogger Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Your Grace should surely recognize that as the population of faithful Hindus in your kingdom increases, it might be necessary for national politicians to recognize this trend and be respectful of their faith traditions and practices. While I understand it might be troubling to see someone "worship another God", as someone who has spent time in his life in a Jewish service (I dated a young Jewish woman during and immediately after college, and participated in a couple services, including High Holy Day observance), I can say that it is uplifting to see and be a part of another faith tradition's service without compromising one's own sense of belief.

8 November 2008 at 16:13  
Blogger Homophobic Horse said...

Cameron is typical of the post-modern pseudo politicians with their myriad Personae: empathetic, shameless, decadent.

"geoffrey kruse-safford"

Wrong. First commandment given to Moses: "I am the Lord your God, You shall have no other gods before me."

You have spat in God's face and called him a liar, you have exalted your reason above divine commandment like the snake in Eden. You do not care if worshipping demons angers God, because you no longer believe in any God whatsoever. Your rejection of the 1st commandment reveals that you don't care about God, but about Man.

And so it is with "multi-faith" prayers in parliament. It has nothing to do with God; the intention is to supplant and counterfeit God and replace him with worship of man. The most important thing about multi-faith prayers is not god, but being "open" to "other people".

8 November 2008 at 17:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To a Christian, the forehead should be reserved for the Lord and His seal, otherwise we may end up with the mark of the beast.

8 November 2008 at 18:45  
Anonymous len said...

I would say to christians beware! To mix your faith with other faiths is a road that will lead into deception.
1 Timothy 4:1,Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith,giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.

8 November 2008 at 19:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hear hear!

8 November 2008 at 20:22  
Anonymous no nonny said...

I second your point HHorse -that we replace God with man when we appease agressors who challenge Judaeo-Christianity!! Still, I'm glad His Grace mentions our long history of "adapting to the needs and customs of the alien" and would like to consider that in context.

Gregory the Great, of course, recommended the strategy to Augustine, after King Ethelbert approved the Christian mission to Canterbury: Don't destroy pagan temples - destroy the idols, sanctify and use the buildings.**

Bede explains in Book I of his History: "In this way, we hope that the people, seeing that their temples are not destroyed, may abandon their error and, flocking more readily to their accustomed resorts, may come to know and adore the true God."***

However, aliens now invade our Christian country, and surely we should prevent their turning Gregorian strategy against us?

So I suggest that the attempt to do so in Parliament is just another Marxist appropriation of Christian method[ology]! I love Cranmer's illustration of this Marxist habit of plagiarism... the wonderful image of BO as gospeller on Nov. 3/4!

If necessity constrains us to enter temples in foreign countries, we must be wise and show respect rather than antagonism; perhaps we may even highlight compatibilities. Nevertheless, I think that when heathens are in Britain and Parliament - they should return the courtesy: be they euros, atheists, marxists, hindus, moslems, or whatever. It is insupportable to require, instead, that our representatives kow-tow to false gods and false laws.

**Bede. "Ecclesiastical History of the English People with Bede's Letter to Egbert and Cuthbert's Letter on the Death of Bede." Translated by Leo Sherley-Price. Revised by R. E. Latham. Translation of minor works, new Introduction and Notes by D. H. Farmer. Revised Edition. London: Penguin, 1990; 74-76, 92.
*** Ibid 92.

8 November 2008 at 20:24  
Anonymous no nonny said...

P.S: Bede didn't explain; actually, he provided a copy of Gregory's explanation...sorry.

8 November 2008 at 21:31  
Blogger Rob Eaton+ said...

There are no other gods. Christians and Jews know who that God is.
So one can endure meaningless rituals especially in the political endeavor of engaging what could be seen as synonymous with kissing babies, i.e. making points.
But, your Grace, you are right on the money when you refer to
"leading the weak astray" which is right in line with Paul's procsription of eating food off the tables/altars of various religious temples. Essentially, don't put yourself into the position (no matter what your motivation might be) of leading the immature or neophyte Christian astray if they see you. As a mature Christian believer, certainly you are free to act with faith and knowledge. But not if that freedom on your part causes your brother or sister in Christ to sin. It's not all about you.

9 November 2008 at 06:34  
Anonymous ingsfu said...

---- O-----

The truth is plain to those who SEE!!!!!!!!!

9 November 2008 at 09:25  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DC they are not going to vote for your candidate in Brent.

9 November 2008 at 20:29  
Blogger Geoffrey Kruse-Safford said...

Worshiping demons? I do so love ignorant intolerance. Whether of a British or American variety, I find them both so refreshing. Apparently your God is a small, pouting child who refuses to allow those that this God created to live out their lives. My God is a tad larger than that.

10 November 2008 at 00:15  
Anonymous judith said...

I see it as a mark of courtesy on Mr Cameron's part, just as I would expect him to wear a kippah if visiting a synagogue or remove his shoes if visiting a mosque.

Perhaps it might be more pertinent to discuss the violence that occurred between warring factions of CHRISTIAN priests in Jerusalem in the last couple of days - and analysing just how that it going to convince people to love Jesus?

10 November 2008 at 08:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Psalm 95:5 All the gods of the pagans are demons.

"My God is a tad larger than that."

See? I told you. The ecumenists don't believe in God. They believe in the anti-god, the pseudo god that supplants and destroys real faith.

12 November 2008 at 21:05  
Anonymous len said...

Geoffrey kruse-safford,
I wonder if your god is the politically correct,user friendly, creation that man has devised?.
My God (Yahweh)is a consuming fire.
The real God is a million miles away from the god of mans imagining.

15 November 2008 at 22:10  
Blogger george said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

27 February 2009 at 09:50  

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