Refutation of Stephen Knapp: Response to Christianity and the Vedic Influence Within It

Stephen Knapp Christianity Unique and Untainted: This article is the first in a series of the rebuttals to Stephen Knapp, and in this first part, we purpose to refute a certain aspect of his work entitled "Christianity and the Vedic influence with in it".  In this Paper, Mr. Knapp attempts to draw several parallels between Christianity and Hinduism, and then upon his supposition that Hinduism predates Christianity, seeks to establish, that Christianity is a faith influenced by Hinduism, and that the Bible which is the source of its faith is but a remake of the vedhic literature with mere change of names.  By G Bibu.


INTRODUCTION: 

It is not characteristic of learned men to make theories and to draw inferences upon the strength of misinterpretation and misrepresentation of well established facts.  Yet we live in a typical era of book flinging, where every novice considers himself competent to contribute his confused ideas to religious literature, only if he can articulate them convincingly to those no better than himself, and as he begins to command their respect (thanks to ignorance), he soon becomes their spokesman to instruct the world upon what now becomes their common convictions with that of his, howsoever devoid such concepts may be of commonsense. 

One such spokesman that has emerged for a class of adherents to Hinduism in the recent past is one Mr. Stephen Knap, a western convert to Hinduism.  He neither having understood Christianity nor  Hinduism in their mutually exclusive theological  frameworks, continues to speak nonsense about both, and yet with a conscious effort to arrive at some concoction, wherewith he may discredit Christianity, the faith from which he had apostatised.  It behooves us then to answer him, to refute his arrogant arguments, and to vindicate the unparallel and unique path of the Gospel, and thereby to prevent ill impressions about Christianity being made upon others by what he has said, since  the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it and lest he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words or works were unanswerable, and the rather  since  no answer has until now been given him; whereby he may imagine, that such a silence arises from the strength of his arguments, and his nervous way of reasoning, when it rather might have been from a neglect and contempt of them. 

And yet we deem it expedient to break this silence now, that we may put to silence his folly, lest another being deceived of his conjectures should be made two fold more a child of hell than himself. We purpose to undertake a rebuttal of all the works of Mr. knapp, which have a direct or indirect bearing upon Christianity. 

The present article is the first in a series of the said rebuttals, and in this first part, we purpose to refute a certain aspect of his work entitled "Christianity and the Vedhic influence with in it".  In this Paper, Mr. Knapp attempts to draw several parallels between Christianity and Hinduism, and then upon his supposition that Hinduism predates Christianity, seeks to establish, that Christianity is a faith influenced by Hinduism, and that the Bible which is the source of its faith is but a remake of the vedhic literature with mere change of names. 

Upon the premise of the alleged parallels, he concludes that the Bible is plagiarised from the Hindu sources.  Therefore, in this Article, we shall  seek to destroy his premise and the theory shall of itself perish as its foundations fall to the ground.  In other words, we shall prove that the Biblical and the Vedhic records are not similar as alleged, and therefore that the question of Vedhic influence in shaping Christianity does not arise.     

THE KRISHNA-CHRIST CONFUSION RESOLVED 

In this Article, we wish to answer the alleged parallels which Mr. Knapp struggles to draw, to the birth, death, and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, from the birth, death and teachings of Krishna.  His express purpose in drawing these parallels is to provide a premise to his presupposed conclusion that the Christian faith is influenced by the Vedhic literature.  We will first Quote Mr. Knapp and present our response(so that the reader can make an easy judgement as to what appears reasonable to him.  It is incumbent upon the reader who really means business, to make his judgement right now, and that as soon as he has gone through this Article, because all the subsequent arguments raised in Mr. Knapp's paper, stand or fall depending on the premise which he herein provides.  May God give every sincere reader the necessary wisdom and discernment, to make a fair judgement. 

1.  Parallels Between The Birth of Christ and Krishna: 

Stephen Knapp:

(A)"When we consider the story of how baby Jesus appeared in the heart  of his mother Mary by immaculate conception, , as well as (B) the bright star  appearing in the night sky, we can discern a direct parallel to Lord Krishna's  birth three thousand years earlier in Vrindavana, India, as recorded in the  Vedic literature.

(C) It is described in the ancient Vedic texts how Krishna  appeared in the mind of Vasudeva, Krishna's father, and was then transferred  into the heart of His mother, Devaki. During Krishna’s birth, the bright star  Rohini was high in the sky, and the king at the time, Kamsa, actually ordered  the killing of all the infants in an attempt to kill Krishna, similar to the way  Herod was supposed to

have done as described in the gospel of Matthew.


(D) And just  as a multitude appeared among the shepherds in the hills praising God at the  time of Jesus’ birth, there were also many demigods who came and danced and sang  about the glories of Krishna when He was ready to appear in this world . Krishna  was born in a cave-like dungeon, while Jesus was also born in a cave, although  some say a manger in a barn. Rays of light illuminated the area after they had  taken birth.  (E) While newly born, they both spoke of why they had come to this  world. (F) And as wise men were supposed to have presented Jesus with frankincense  and myrrh, baby Krishna was also presented with gifts that included sandalwood  and perfumes”.
 

RESPONSE: 

A)

I.  The mind of vasudeva was involved in the conception of Krishna, but that which was conceived in Mary was by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18-21).  Joseph did not have any mental conception of Jesus, as in the case of Vasudeva with regard to Krishna.   

II.  although the conception of Jesus was supernatural, the anatomical region of his conception was quite natural.  The Bible records that Jesus was conceived in His mother's womb (Luke 2:28-31) and not in her heart as in the case of Krishna.  Such an idea as someone entering his mother's heart in order to be born is unique to the vedhic literature, and the Bible has no parallel to this fancy. 

III.  Jesus was born miraculously, of a virgin was He born (Matt. 1:18-25), whereas Krishna was the eighth to be born to his mother.  Mr. Knapp seems to have forgotten to inform us the parallel to this miracle in the Bible, from the account of Krishna's birth in the vedhic literature, which in fact would have served his cause better.  He would perhaps help us with this aspect in his next edition. 

B).  It may be true that the bright star Rohini was shining in the sky at the birth of Krishna, but there is nothing unique about  this, since one or the other star will be found shining at everybody's birth, provided that it happens in the night, and when the sky is clear.  What is unique about the star which appeared at Jesus' birth is that it moved and directed the path for the wise men to find the new-born king (Matthew 2:7-10), and such an occurrence has no parallel at the birth, of any one else, let alone Krishna's. 

C)

I.  The killing of infants by a king, and that fearing a potential insurrection against him, has nothing unique in its occurrence so as to make for a substantial parallel between the birth of Christ and Krishna.  The infanticide during the birth of Krishna had no more influence upon the record of a similar event at the birth of Christ, than the infanticide of Moses' day (Exodus 1:15-22).would have had upon a similar story, told in connection with Krishna's birth.  There is no archaeological proof as of now to show that the birth of Krishna predates the birth of Moses,, but the history of Moses is upheld among Jews, hundreds if not a thousand years prior to the "Heliodorus column, built in 113 B.C.", upon which Mr. Knapp depends (later in his Paper), to show the existence of the knowledge of Krishna, some two hundred years prior to the birth of Jesus.   

II. The killing of infants during the birth of Jesus, like many more events that came to pass at His birth, was in fulfilment of a prophecy to that effect, hundreds of years before His birth (Matthew 2:16-18).  Such a providential fulfilment of prophecy cannot be supposed as having parallels with any similar event until then, or thereafter, since they lack any such Divine attestation upon their occurrence as in the case of the events at the birth of Christ.  Although both Kamsa and Herod killed the infants believing a "celestial oracle" and a prophetic declaration respectively, of the one who was born to overthrow them, the act of killing by the former was a natural reaction to such a foreknowledge, whereas the very act of killing by the latter was supernaturally foretold, hundreds of years prior to its occurrence.  Are these parallels? 

D) The glorious life of the Lord Jesus Christ; His vicarious atoning death; His victorious resurrection; His heavenly ascension; and the promise of His return (1 Timothy 3:16), all deserved the praises of the angels who came down at the event of His birth to sing His glory.  But when we look at the licentious and loose life of Krishna, it does not appear that the singing and dancing of the demigods at his birth was really worth him, should such demigods be in existence at all.  The one event cannot be parallel to the other, any more than felicitation and flattery can identify with each other. 

E)  The Bible clearly records that Jesus was born in a manger at the city of Bethlehem (Luke 2:7), and the supposition that He was born in a cave as in the case of the birth of Krishna, is a desperate attempt to draw parallels, where there can be none at all.  Likewise, Jesus never spoke of His mission on the day of His birth, or at any time in His infancy as pointed out by Mr. Knapp, nor of illumining the place of His birth, nor yet of any such miraculous event.  Not until the turning of water to wine at the wedding feast in Cana, is He said to have performed any miracle at all, (John 2:11) and Mr. Knapp should not nap while reading the Bible.  

F)  The burning of perfumed shrubs near a newborn or an infant is a normal practice in oriental countries, and the traces of such a practice is still found among certain classes with in their societies.  Hence the presentation of frankincense  and myrrh at the birth of one,  and of sandalwood  and perfumes at the birth of the other, would in their times have found parallels with almost every event of birth, and common usages cannot be cited as parallels.  

2.  Parallels Between the Death, Etc, of Christ and Krishna: 

Stephen Knapp:

(A) "At the time when Krishna left this planet, His foot was pierced with  an arrow, while Jesus’ side was pierced with a spear.

(B) There was a darkness that  descended when Jesus is said to have been crucified, just as there was a  darkness and many calamities taking place when Krishna left this world.

 

(C) And as  there is a description of many ominous signs that are to signify the second  coming of Christ, there are even more symptoms of the terrible age of Kalki that  we are going through that indicates the time before the coming of Krishna’s next  incarnation as Kalki.

(D) Many of these I have included in my book, The Vedic  Prophecies. There are many other parallels that we could refer to that are  disclosed in the Vedas, which were written many hundreds of years before the  Bible.”  

RESPONSE: 

A)  I.  Numerous are the instances which history records, on the deaths which were caused on account of one or the other part of human anatomy being pierced.  Hence by Mr. Knapp's standards, every such instance of death, except the one which first evinced in history must be discarded as plagiarism. 

II.  Krishna succumbed to the arrow that pierced him, as a result of a curse to that effect, by Gandhari, whereas Jesus was pierced to death that he may redeem sinners from their eternal curse.  Let the reader judge if there be any comparison at all between the two deaths. 

(B)&(C) Whatever may be the similarities in the calamities that are recorded after the two deaths under consideration, the claims of Krishna's reincarnation as Kalki, comes no where close to the glorious resurrection of Christ the Savior, and His empty grave speaks louder of his return than all the empty speculations of fulfilled prophecies to bolster the supposed advent of Kalki. 

D)  Mr. Knapp's claims that he has hundreds more of such parallels between the Bible and the Vedhic literature, need not be taken very seriously.  It is reasonable to presume that the instances he sampled out for our consideration are the best out of the hundreds he has in his warehouse, and if his best fail to hold water, we need not quite worry about the rest.  

3.  The Doctrinal Similarities:  

Stephen Knapp: "Jesus preached in a way that can also be compared to the sayings of  Krishna. For example, in Bhagavad-gita (7.6-7) Krishna said, “I am the cause of  the whole universe, through Me it is created and dissolved, all things are  dependant on Me as pearls are strung on a thread.” Jesus said,  “Of Him and  through Him, and unto Him, are all things. All things were made by Him; and  without Him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1.3)

(A). Krishna had said  (Bg.4.7), “For the establishment of righteousness I am born from time to time.”  This compares to Jesus in John 18:37, wherein he says, “Thou sayest that I am a  king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I  should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my  voice”

(B).  These and many other comparisons can be made. Nonetheless, the fact is  that the history of Krishna is thousands of years older than that of Jesus".  

RESPONSE: 

A)  The claims in the New Testament regarding Christ as the creator are not words borrowed from Krishna as alleged by Mr. Knapp, but instead are reiterated from the Old Testament claims made by "Jehovah" (The Almighty God), which are much older than any Hindu sources, from which Mr. Knapp can quote.  Consider one or two of such claims from the Old Testament for example: 

I.  "I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded"  (Isaiah 45:12). 

II.  "The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them.  The north and the south thou hast created them: Tabor and Hermon shall rejoice in thy name.  Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.  Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face" (Psalms 89:11-14). Hence such claims made for Jesus as cited by Mr. Knapp, can only prove at best, that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament (John 5:39), but cannot prove that He borrowed words from sources which are subsequent and inferior to the Old Testament, such as the Bhagwat Geeta. 

B)  The doctrinal similarities in religion are not assessed by the mere sound of words.  The expressions may be similar, but the sense thereof is to be determined by viewing those expressions with in their theological frameworks as a whole.  For instance, to be "Born Again" in the context of the Bible implies to be spiritually regenerated, whereas to be "Reborn" in the context of the Vedhic literature would have reference to the  cycle of reincarnation. Likewise, when Christ and Krishna make claims to the effect that they came to establish righteousness, it is necessary to enquire after the sense in which they made those claims. 

Christ spoke of righteousness and truth in contrast to universal sin and falsehood, from which He came to redeem all who would believe in Him, by Himself dying on their behalf, the Just for the Unjust.  He came to establish righteousness by providing an atonement for sin, and thereby to redeem sinners from the bondage of their sins  (See John 8:34-36; Romans 3:24-26; Etc.  This is the Truth that He was born to bear witness of. However, when Krishna speaks of establishing righteousness, it is not by means of providing Salvation to sinners that he means to establish it, but by destroying the "Sinners" or "vinashayacha dushkrutam" as the Bhagwat Geetha words it.  In sharp contrast Jesus declared: "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Matthew 9:12-13).  

CONCLUSION: 

The alleged similarities as enlisted by Mr. Knapp was the premise, the foundation upon which he sought to construct his theory, that the Vedhic Literature which predates the New Testament, has had an influence in shaping Christianity.  We believe that we have wrecked his foundations convincingly, by the distinctions drawn in our response, to each instance of the alleged similarities as cited by Mr. Knapp. 

Hence, the claim that the history of Krishna is thousands of years older than that of Jesus, cannot of itself prove that the former had any influence in shaping the latter.  Of-course, it is another matter that Mr. Knapp can never prove the preexistence of the Vedhic literature to the Old Testament Scriptures, upon which the New Testament is based.  We will continue answering Mr. Knapp in our next Article.

 

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3 Responses

  1. nice work brother.as a student of religion , i begun my studies about hinduism with ISKONist but after a great camparision between jesus and krishna how can thinking heads come to conclusion that jesus was xerox of krishna?

    let me put words clear .when i was without jesus ,in my school days ,i hanged with girls.girls were part of my life and a token to prove “iam hero”.i remember my friends use to call me “KRISHNA PARMATMA”!,why didnt they called me jesus? d answer is quiet clear,when some one hang out with girls and 24*7 with girls ,people campare him with krishna coz thats what comes to mind when a person thinks about krishna.so dear friends there is no camparision between jesus and krishna,for jesus holds the best model for all of us.

  2. Birth:

    AI.) So in jesus case, angels informed mary and others, while in Krishna’s story God Himself informed vasudeva. This is not difference, but shows similarity of supernatural influence and strong point that concepts were copied from the new stories that developed after trhat of Krishna.

    AII) May be bible has no parallel, but surely christians find fanciful stories like talking snakes in garden of Eden, talking balam’s ass, jonah living inside giant fish and “virgin birth” where God makes unmarried women pregnant (one wonders why not a married but virgin woman) quite scientific and credible…

    If unmarried women can be impregnated by Christian god, then married chaste woman’s can be used as medium by Vedic God to manifest Himself by anyway he wants.

    There is a saying in hindu texts, it is the character of demons and impure souls to born out of wedlock through adultery, incest, unknown father etc. No wonder starting from Adam and eve to Lot and david in bible, does one find stories of incest and adultery.

    AIII) The point to note here is, whether born out of virgin or not, this person has a human body, which is filth no matter what one claims as it craps, sweats, eats etc…

    The difference in case of Krishna is that His body is completely spiritual and He makes His Form visible..no filth here…

    B.) Stars moving to indicate birth…now this is what is called as fanciful story…if this is shooting stars or meteros, then it is mere coincidence…nothing miraculous here too…May be these christians added a little flavor to increase the spice to this story..

    CI) There may not archaeological proof, but definitely there is proof that Krishna worship predates 600 BC in literary references of pAnini

    Pāṇini, the ancient grammarian and author of Asthadhyayi (probably belonged to 5th century or 6th century BC) mentions a character called Vāsudeva, son of Vasudeva, and also mentions Kaurava and Arjuna which testifies to Vasudeva Krishna, Arjuna and Kauravas being contemporaries.

    So it does predate Moses evidence by centuries…

    CII.) This is laughable argument….Matthew 2:16-18 was written after the fact that so called Herod killed infants…The author merely picks some verses from OT and fits it into the scenario…No wonder Jews call this ridiculous tactics of NT authors as bogus and do not agree to this day with NT or christianity…

    Now this fact is attested by the following facts.

    1. Only Mathews and none of the other gospels mention this event of killing infants. Why would such an important even be not mentioned in other gospels…indication that Mathew inserted this story later..

    The single account of the Massacre comes in the Gospel of Matthew: it is not mentioned in Luke’s gospel or by any contemporaneous historians, or by the later Roman Jewish historian, Josephus.

    2. If this event is not important, why mention it at all?

    3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herod_the_Great

    Herod, also known as Herod the Great (born 73 or 74 BCE, died 4 BCE in Jericho[1]), was a Roman client king of Judea.

    Jesus supposeldly was crucified around 32 AD…

    Thus it is clear that the entire story was weaved into gospels later, showing that early christians were merely propping up a fake religion to for political ends.

    D.) Now it is the character of a dog to think like one and think that all others are similar…

    There is no sexual congress with respect to Krishna, as He has no physical or human body…This is as per Mahabharatha or Bhagavatha….Now you can claim you do not believe and interpret events as you want, but it simply does not jive with Hindu scriptures and hence mere strawman and an attempt to cheap insults.

    Now looking at jesus’ death and his claim to return, what is so great of appreciation…Dying is hardly worth appreciation…How does this god allegedly save humanity by dying and from whom?

    if you answer this question, you will get that humanity is saved from this alleged god’s own judgment? In other words in order to convince himself of pardoning his own creation, this god kills himself…now this height of madness…If these so called angels really praised such stupid act, should one not think if they really exist…

    Why would an all powerful god need to sacrifice himself, except to convince himself? christians say because he is righteous….did he not know his own creation will sin when he created them? So knowingly he created them and then sacrifices himself…this can mean only one thing…he himself knowingly created sinful beings…otherwise it won’t sin… which clearly shows that your god acknowledges his own mistake and sacrificed himself to correct his mistakes..which shows he is fallible..why worship such fallible beings? If this god of yours can do errors to this magnitude, he cannot save anybody for he will err again…

    Besides how can a god be considered righteous, if his prophets and god allows sexual slavery of women (Judges 21:10-24 ) and even little pre-pubescent girls (Numbers 31:17-18), genocide of entire towns, murder of suckling infants (1 Samuel 15:3) and cities (Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 20:10-17) …and therefore bible, its prophets and its god are absolutely evil for any sane person…

  3. Stephen had spent 20 years of his life as a Christian if anyone were to be well learned in Christianity it would be him. The argument that the pre-existence of Vedic scriptures to the Old Testament scriptures cannot be proven is easily proven as the Srimad Bhagavatam was written around 3102 BCE, predating the Old Testament by thousands of years. The appearance of Lord Kalki is nearly identical to the second coming of Christ if we are to compare Vedic and Biblical scripture so I do not see how you hold Christianity in such high regard when it possesses similarities to the Vedas, I am not saying this to dampen any glories but simply that you need to look at religion objectively. I do not see how Stephen’s foundation had been wrecked at all.

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