Hinduism and the Religionâ€™s Worldviews Essay Hinduism is not merely a religion, it is also a philosophy and the culture in India, and it has already been a marked part of their everyday living. So much so that everything aspect of their daily lives goes back to it; and it has 950 million followers to wit (mostly from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan). Hinduism ranks third as the worldâ€™s largest religion after Christianity and Islam, and it is also said to be one of the worldâ€™s oldest organized religion along with Judaism (VandeWeghe, 2007). Hinduism and Christianity differ in many ways, and it is rational that there are disagreements and contradictions when two people from different religions involve themselves in a conversation regarding their beliefs. The purpose of this paper is to discover an effective way to build a pleasant relationship with a Hindu in order to be able to share the gospel with them. In order to accomplish this aim, this paper will discuss the origin, beliefs, practices and the views of Hinduism about Christianity and how they differ from the said religion. Hinduism: A Closer Look According to Robinson (2007), besides being called â€œHinduismâ€, it is also referred to as Sanata Dharma (eternal religion) and Vaidika Dharma (religion of the Vedas). Hinduism has no specific founder and the day that it was born is still unknown; however, there are two theories regarding the origin of the religion. One is the Classical Theory which explains that Hinduism originated at the Indus Valley around 4000BCE to 2200BCE and that its development was due to various foreign invasions particularly of the Indo-Aryan for they are the ones who were said to have brought the religion of Vedism. The other is the Emerging Theory which went against the first theory by proving that there were no foreign invasions along the Indus Valley and that the Vedic religion (Hinduism at 1500BCE to 500BCE) was allowed to flourish by the same group of people who later called themselves Aryan. The Hindu scriptures as well as literatures, which are even older than the Bibleâ€™s Old Testament, are the sources of the religionâ€™s beliefs and practices. The most sacred Hindu scriptures are the four Vedas (Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda) which consists of hymns, incantations, rituals and explanations â€“ among which the Rig Veda (1700BCE to 1100BCE) is said to be the oldest. There are also the Upanishads which discussed â€œstates of consciousness, dreams, meditations, self-realizations and unityâ€; the Darshanas which consists of six philosophical system and teachings derived from the Vedas; and lastly and the most recent, the Puranas which tells the stories of the most recent gods (Reid Corduan, 2008). Hinduism also has the two great epics that show the virtues and ideals that are significant to the religion; the first is the Ramayana which is a tale about a prince named Rama and his wife, Sita, and the Mahabarata, a collection of poems which states the duties of a â€œreligious, law-abiding manâ€ (Mason, 2000). Not only is Hinduism one of the oldest and largest religions, it is also said to be the most complex one (McDowell, 2002). There are various beliefs in Hinduism and one of them is the very popular and highly criticized Caste System which is said to be the cause of inequality and harsh laws in India. There are four main castes; the Brahmin (priest-teachers), kshatriyas (soldier-nobles), vaishyas (merchants) and sudras (servants). In the early periods, it was supposed to be part of the divine order, however, as years passed by, subcastes were developed and there came the outcastes or the untouchables â€“ people who do not belong to any of the four main castes (Perry, 1989). Associated with this system are other beliefs. The belief that each of them have dharma (duty), depending on which caste they were born into; they also believe in karma and samsara (reincarnation) â€“ thus, they believe that if they do their duty properly, they will have good karma and will be reincarnated into a higher class. On the contrary, if they did not, they might be reincarnated to the lower class or even as an animal. Their goal is to achieve moksha (release), which is their concept of salvation. Here they would not be liberated from sin but to life existence itself for they believe that as long as they are in the maya (phenomenal world) suffering would never stop because of karma and samsara. Moksha can be attained in three ways, by â€œway of worksâ€, â€œway of knowledgeâ€ and â€œway of devotionâ€ (bhakti) which is the most popular one, in which a person will completely devote himself to a certain god and the latter will take care of everything in his behalf (Reid Corduan, 2008). In early Hinduism, Jesus Christ has no particular role in the religion and is not even mentioned in their scriptures; however, due to the rise of Christianity, Hindu thinkers thought of a place where they could put Jesus Christ in their religion. According to Reid and Corduan (2008), since Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, the Hindus viewed Jesus Christ as one of the incarnations or avatars of Brahman who, like Rama and Krishna, is a â€œdivine self-embodimentâ€ in order to preserve Hindu teachings and another way was by saying that Jesus Christ spent his â€œsilent yearsâ€ in India to proclaim the teachings of Hinduism. Nevertheless, Hindusâ€™ incorporation of Jesus Christ into their religion does not seem to fit properly. According to McDowell (2002), Hinduism is known to be tolerant towards other religions because of similarities with Hinduism. This is believed to be one of the characteristics of a polytheistic and henotheistic (believing in one god and regarding other gods and goddesses as just manifestations) religions. However, due to rise of a nationalistic political party which took hold of the Indiaâ€™s government, the separation of church and state collapsed and religious tolerance went down as well, increasing anti-Christian violence in the country (Robinson, 2007). Christianity and Hinduism has numerous differences and some of them are the following: Hinduismâ€™s Supreme Being is the Brahman, an indefinable and impersonal deity, while Christianity has a loving, personal and caring Creator. Hinduism looks at man as a materialization of Brahman who has no value and self-worth at all, whereas, Christianity proclaims that man is created in the very image of God that deserves to love and be loved despite their sinful deeds. When it comes to sins, there are no sins that are committed against Brahman, things that were done wrong are taken as results of ignorance that can be redeemed by following the duty of a specific caste to which the person belongs to and the path going to salvation. On the other hand, wrongdoings that are done within Christianity is taken as acts of rebellion against God. Salvation in Hinduism is referred to as moksha and can be attained in three ways which cannot be accomplished in one lifetime, while salvation in the Christian sense is granted by God to those who deserve it after being separated from him. Lastly, even their view of the material world differ â€“ for a Hindu, the material world is an extension of Brahman and just a transitory and secondary importance; on the contrary, Christians see the material world as an objective reality and a something total different from God (McDowell, 2002). However, despite these differences, it is said that Hindus accept Jesus, but not the Christian relgion. In fact, they even refer Christianity to â€œChurchianity. â€ According to Abhedananda (2002), Hindus can tell apart the religion of Jesus Christ from the religion of the Church for the reason that the true religion of Jesus Christ is a religion of the heart. Thus, it has no dogma and no theology, no rituals and ceremonies, and is not based from a book. From their perspective, the religion of the Church is based from a book, is full of creeds and rituals, and even has an organized way of preaching them. When it comes to the Gospels, they see it as full of inconsistencies and discrepancies, and one very doubtful area for the Hindus comes from their awareness that Jesus Christ did not have His own writings and that there are no precise and contemporary accounts of His life inside and outside of the Bible. In order to share the Gospels to the Hindus, Rev. Dharmaraj (2001), gave some advice to approach the Hindus and make them listen to the Gospels. He said that one should determine and understand what type of Hindu community one intends to visit, since there are different sects that belong to Hinduism. Next, he said that one should explain the concepts incorporated in the Gospels in order for them to understand the Gospels for they have their own understanding of God, salvation, sin, among others. Lastly, Christians should deal with the challenges of dogmatism, risks of syncretism and to focus on evangelism. In addition, according to Reid and Corduan (2008), a Christian should connect with the person rather with the personâ€™s religion; Christians should approach them along with humanitarian efforts and outreach projects since Hinduism does not cater to such. Through a combination of these, Hindus have already felt the kind of loving relationships that pay no attention to the caste which have long been abolished but is still being practiced. The salvation of Christianity even reached them in a way, and it even made them accept Jesus Christ more as they felt that they have been freed from the dark aspects of Hinduism. The one who comes from above is above all. The one who is of the earth is earthly and speaks of earthly things. But the one who comes from heaven [is above all]. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. Whoever does accept his testimony certifies that God is trustworthy. For the one whom God sent speaks the words of God. He does not ration his gift of the Spirit. The Father loves the Son and has given everything over to him. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. (John 3:31-36, NAB) In the given Gospel, in order for a Hindu to understand it, one should clarify that the God in the Gospel is the Creator and that His son is Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind from sins. In addition, it will also be better to give a slight background of what the Gospel is about â€“ say that at this point in the Gospel, the Savior have finally presented Himself in front of the people. The Hindu should also be informed that â€œeternal lifeâ€ is referring to the promised salvation in a Christian context and that it can only be attained by believing in Jesus Christ. On the other hand, the Christian should also point out what â€œthe wrath of Godâ€ means, so that the Hindu could have insights as to the consequences of not obeying their God. And since this pertains to the concept of Hell, it should be also explained again in totality for Hindus do not have this concept in their belief system. Hinduism is a large complex religion that is older than Christianity. If one would be able to understand the essentials of this religion, it would be easy to reach out to the Hindus and make them listen to the Gospel. Christians have their views about Hinduism and Hindus likewise have their own views about Christianity. While they criticize and contradict each other about most of the aspects of their beliefs, setting them aside for awhile in order to learn about one anotherâ€™s religion makes it possible to establish not just communication but also an open, two-way relationship. To share a Gospel to Hindus, proper understanding of Hinduism is required along with the use of an effective interpersonal approach. References Mason, C. (2000). A short history of Asia â€“ Stone Age to 2000AD. London: Palgrave Macmillan Perry, M. (1989). A history of the world.Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Holy Bible: the new American Bible. (1987). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Abhedananda, S. (2002). Why a Hindu accepts Christ and rejects Churchianity. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from Hinduism website: http://www. hinduism. co. za/jesus. htm Dharmahal, P. (1992). Communicating Christ to the Hindu world. Retrieved April 1, 2008 from Mission Frontiers website: http://www. missionfrontiers. org/1992/0912/sd9211. htm McDowell, J. (2002). A ready defense. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from Jesus Who website: http://www. greatcom. org/resources/areadydefense/ch24/default. htm Reid, P. Corduan, W. (2008). About Hinduism. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from Christian Answers Network website: http://christiananswers. net/evangelism/beliefs/hinduism. html Robinson, B. A. (2007). Hinduism: the worldâ€™s third largest religion. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from Religious Tolerance website: http://www. religioustolerance. org/hinduism. htm VandeWeghe, R. (2007). Prepared to answer. Retrieved March 31, 2008 from Windmill Ministries website: http://www. windmillministries. org/frames/CH30A. htm
The Romantic Era Of Opera Music Essay The Romantic Era was a period in music in which there was much change during the 1850s to the 1920s in the theory and compositional practice of music. The composers wrote their pieces with more artistic freedom, experimentation, and creativity than the artists of the classical era and this caused the melody to become the more dominant feature in the songs composed. Some popular composers that originated out of this era are: Robert Schumann, Franz Schubert, FrÃ©dÃ©ric Chopin, and Richard Wagner. For inspiration, many Romantic composers turned to visual arts, poetry, drama and literature, and to nature itself. These influences led composers to express emotion in their music. These changes in the sound of the music came in the form of the increased use of dissonance and the extended use of chromatics. Although Romantic era music contained classical era roots, the instruments used in the Romantic era were changing and brass and woodwind instruments were being improved in the quality of sound, as well as in how they were played. Some Romantic era composers used their compositions to express nationalism by the way of incorporating elements unique to their native cultures, such as folk songs, dances, and legendary histories. Mikhail Glinka is an example of a composer who wrote operas specifically on Russian subjects. Many great operas derived from the Romantic era including Gaetano Donizettis Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as Gioachino Rossinis The Barber of Seville. Opera was very dominant in Italy where the operas differed from the operas of the classical era because the form of the pieces were being changed by having the tenors given the heroic lead in operas and by giving the chorus a more important lead than before. Gioachino Rossini was the first composer to initiate an opera in the Romantic era, which started in the early 19th century. His first piece, La Cambiale di Matrimonio, included scenes where the characters expressed emotion through the lyrics of their songs. This was a comedic opera that was the first of its kind which was written in 1810. Many great composers followed Rossini including Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Giuseppe Verdi. These composers continued to change the way operas were being written as well as preformed. These changes were evident in Verdis first successful opera, Nabucco, which the general public found interesting because of its great choruses. Verdi also continued to express nationalism in his operas, Va, pensiero, which was interpreted as giving meaning to the struggle for Italian independence and Verdi was expressing his hope to unify Italy. By the end of the Romantic era, opera had become a combination of many art forms including the theatre, dance and orchestra oriented music. Although opera was predominant in Italy, many other European composers were contributing to the changes in the music of their generation, including German composer Richard Wagner. Richard Wagner was born on May 22, 1813 in Leipzig, Germany where he had a difficult childhood. Wagners father died of typhus six months after Richards birth which led his mother Johanna Rosine Wagner, to begin living with the actor and playwright Ludwig Geyer, who had been a friend of Richards father up until his death. Richards mother then proceeded to marry Ludwig Geyer and they moved the family to Dresden. It is here where Wagner started his musical learning. Richard first took interest in his step fathers love for the theatre and performance arts and he played an angel in a play at a local theatre. When he was seven, Wagner was enrolled at Pastor Wetzels school at Possendorf, near Dresden, where he received some piano instruction from his Latin teacher. A year later his stepfather died which led the eight year old Wagner to attend the Kreuz Grammar School in Dresden. Although Richard was largely a self taught musician he persuaded his family to allow him to take music lessons. From 1828-1831 Wagner completed his first lessons in composition with Christian Gottlieb MÃ¼ller and by the time he was fifteen he had already written his first play. Wagners focus on drama is one of the reasons his operas really shined as being different than operas of the classical era. He enrolled at the University of Leipzig in 1831 where Wagner further took composition lessons from Christian Theodor Weinlig who refused to let Richard pay for the lessons he was giving him. Weinlig was so impressed with Wagners talents that he arranged for one of Wagners piano works to be published. Wagner continued his studies in music and he completed his first opera when he was twenty years old called Die Feen. This opera would not be produced until half a century later when it was premiered in Munich shortly after his death in 1883. Around the time he wrote his first opera, Wagner married the actress Minna Planer, who he moved to Riga with where he became the music director of the local opera house. His relationship with his wife was a troubled one in that she left him once for another man, but came back to him before they moved to Paris due to fleeing from tremendous debt. In 1862 he returned to Germany, where he moved in with Ludwig II. After the success of his opera, Tristan und Isolde, he decided to do more traveling around Europe where he created such classics as Siegfried and GÃ¶tterdÃ¤mmerung. Towards the end of his life Wagner decided to settle in Italy where wrote his final opera, Parsifal. Parsifal was first preformed at the Bayreuth festival which occurred at the opera house in which Wagner himself funded. After the second Bayreuth festival the Wagners decided to take a trip to Venice in the winter of 1883. It is here where Richard Wagner passed away due to a heart attack. In his long musical career Wagner created thirteen operas including the most notable Rienzi, Der fliegende HollÃ¤nde, Tristan und Isolde, and Der Ring des Nibelungen. It was clear that Wagner was changing the way operas were being preformed, and he continued to push the music further into the Romantic era by viewing operas as total art works.
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