February 22, 2013

What? How many??!!

India has two million gods, 
and worships them all. 
In religion all other countries are paupers; 
India is the only millionaire. 
Mark Twain, 1895, Following the Equator 

February 20, 2013

Religious Plurality in India

image source: 
Stephanie. salaska2571.jpg. June 2011. Pics4Learning. 
19 Feb 2013 
In order to wrap my brain around the concept of religious plurality in India, I've been reading different books about religion. One of my favorites is Diana Eck's Encountering God. I mentioned this is an earlier post. 

I'm also reading Huston Smith's The World's Religions, Revised and Updated. Actually, I "read" this many years ago as an undergrad. I was way too young to really appreciate this book. 

I'm enjoying it now!

Smith discusses many aspects of many religions, including Hinduism.  He states that in Hinduism, there is not just one path to (multiple) God(s); it's acceptable to most Hindus that alternate religions offer alternate paths to God. He uses the phrase, "many paths to the same summit", which describes very nicely the concept of religious diversity, and hopefully, plurality . In his analogy, he compares the paths to God to mountain climbing. People will climb a mountain from many different sides; when you reach the summit, you notice that all trails, all paths, converge. In other words, we all pray to the same God. 

There's so much more to read in order to gain a better understanding of religious pluralism. And you know what? I'm happy to climb this mountain.

If you have any suggestions for other books, please let me know. I want to hear from you.