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.
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:
(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”.
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.
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:
(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.”
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)
(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".
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).
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.