Are American Christians Becoming Hindus?

Christians are not exactly becoming Hindus but, according to Lisa Miller in Newsweek, they are becoming like Hindus in how they view religious truth.

“The Rig Veda, the most ancient Hindu scripture, says this: “Truth is One, but the sages speak of it by many names.” A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”Christians are abandoning the exclusive truth claims of Christianity and are drawn to a more eclectic kind of spirituality. Miller cites a 2008 Pew Forum survey that showed that even among white evangelicals (the group with the most conservative religious beliefs) 37% believe that “many religions can lead to eternal life.”

Later in the article, Miller turns to Stephen Prothero of Boston University who named this new spiritual perspective “the divine-deli-cafeteria religion” and commented that “it is very much in the spirit of Hinduism.” He went on to add…

“It isn’t about orthodoxy. It’s about whatever works. If going to yoga works, great—and if going to Catholic mass works, great. And if going to Catholic mass plus the yoga plus the Buddhist retreat works, that’s great, too.”

When churches minimize the importance of teaching doctrinal beliefs, it should come as no surprise that church members don’t understand the basic tenets of the faith. But individual Christians need to accept their share of responsibility. Their insatiable desire to have their “felt needs” met at the expense of learning the Bible is at least part of why churches have abandoned doctrine. For example, if The Crossing offered a set of classes on marriage and parenting and another set of classes on the gospel of John and How To Study the Bible, which classes would attract the most people? In case the answer isn’t obvious to you, the great majority of people will choose the class that seems more practical.

While there is nothing wrong (and a lot right) with learning how to apply the Bible to your life in a practical way, an exclusive diet of that kind of teaching will leave you denying the faith without even realizing you’re doing it. Eventually you will end up with people who call themselves Christians but no longer believe in the Christ of the Bible. “Eventually” may come sooner than you think. It might already be here.

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