Justice BK Somasekhar Enquiry Commission into the incidents of attacks on certain places of worship in Dakshina Kannada and other districts of Karnataka in the month of September 2008. Certain Hindus, Praveen Reddy and Others, submitted a questionnaire before the Honorable Commission seeking answers from the Christians for their theological and legal questions pertaining to the Christian faith. This was brought to the attention of SAN recently and has been informed that the Honorable Commission granted extension of time to answer those. Though not the original recipients, Jerry Thomas and G Bibu answered those questions and submitted their answers, both soft copy and hard copy, before the Honorable Commission. They have also submitted a questionnaire for these Hindu friends to answer.
The Memorialists 1. I bring down punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants down to the third and fourth generation. [Genesis 20-5]
2. Condemn to death anyone who offers sacrifices to any God except to me, the Lord. [Exodus 22-20]
3. If you still continue to resist me and refuse to obey me, I will again increase your punishment seven times. I will send dangerous animals among you, and they will kill your children, destroy your livestock, and leave so few of you that your roads will be deserted. If after all this punishment you still do not listen to me, but continue to defy me, then I will turn on you and punish you seven times harder than before. I will bring war on you to punish you for breaking our covenant, and if you gather in your cities for safety, I will send incurable diseases among you, and you will be forced to surrender to your enemies. I will cut off your food supply so that ten women will need only one oven to bake all the bread they have. They will ration it out, and when you have eaten it all, you will still be hungry. If after all this you still continue to defy me and refuse to obey me then in my anger I will turn on you and again make your punishment seven times worse than before. Your hunger will be so great that you eat your own children. I will destroy your places of worship on the hills, tear down your incense altars and throw your dead bodies on your fallen idols. In utter disgust I will turn your cities into ruins, destroy your places of worship and refuse to accept your sacrifices. I will destroy your land so completely that the enemies who occupy it will be shocked at the destruction. I will bring war on you and scatter you in foreign lands. Your land will be deserted and your cities left in ruins. [Leviticus 27: 21 to 33]
(a) Hindus offer sacrifices to Gods other than God of Bible. Hence Biblical God condemns to death Hindus who offer sacrifices to other Gods. Are not Christians threatening Hindus to embrace Christianity by using the Verse as contained in Exodus 22-20.
Let us begin with a minor observation. The reference cited in the first verse is wrong. It should have been Exodus 20:5 and not Genesis 20:5. The reference cited in the third verse is also wrong. It is not Leviticus 27: 21 to 33 but Leviticus 26: 21 to 33.
Memorialists have quoted Leviticus 27: 21 to 33 (correct reference Leviticus 26: 21 to 33) but have ignored the verses 13, 15 or 46. Were the Memorialists fair enough to consider at least the other verses in the same chapter of the same book, if not the entire Bible in its context, Memorialists would have understood that though both the Old Testament and New Testament teaches unwavering commitment to Biblical monotheism to its followers, which certainly requires rejection of polytheism, and an uncompromising proscription of idol worship, it is only the Old Testament that commands legal capital execution for polytheism and idol worship.
It is with amusement that we observe that when it comes to the capital punishment or any other judicial punishments (and not the judgment of God in the life after death which is beyond the purview of a secular nation); the Memorialists, who swears by scientific temperament, have not shown A SINGLE reference from the New Testament in the entire questionnaire. Without showing a SINGLE reference from the New Testament, the Memorialists have concluded that the capital punishment or any other judicial punishments of the Old Testament are applicable for Christians who have the covenant with God based on the New Testament.
Let us now furnish evidence from the Holy Scripture itself proving that the capital punishment or any other judicial punishments commanded in the Old Testament are not applicable for Christians who are under the New Testament. We will also show the scope and relevance of the Old Testament in the due course of time.
In the very same chapter cited by the Memorialists, Leviticus 26, it has been written without ambiguity or any scope of misinterpretation that those statutes, judgments and laws were meant for the Children of Israel and it was part of their covenant which the New Testament refers as the Old Covenant.
Leviticus 26: 46 “These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the LORD made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”
Moreover, while addressing the recipients of those statutes and judgments, the Almighty God, very specifically and clearly calls those hearers as Israel.
Leviticus 26:13 we read: “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that you should not be their slaves; I have broken the bands of your yoke and made you walk upright.”
Further, the very same chapter makes it very clear that those statutes, judgments and commandments were part of their covenant.
Leviticus 26: 15 “and if you despise My statutes, or if your soul abhors My judgments, so that you do not perform all My commandments, but break My covenant.”
In the light of the above passages, which are the immediate context of the passage cited by the Memorialists, we conclude that those are not legally binding for the Christians who are under the New Covenant.
That the Christians are under the New Covenant is clearly taught by none other LORD Jesus Christ himself.
Matthew 26:28 “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
The Holy Bible itself then makes a distinction between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.
Hebrews 9: 13-20:
“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. For a testame
nt is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives. Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying, “This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you.”
As the New Covenant came into effective, the Holy Bible itself teaches about the applicability of the Old Covenant.
Hebrews 8: 13 “In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”
And this New Covenant established by the death of the Mediator Jesus Christ is universal in application and is to save and not to condemn:
John 3: 16- “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Since the statues and judgment cited by the Memorialists are applicable for Jews in the land of Israel which is very clear from the same chapter quoted by Memorialists, we wonder how the Memorialists have applied those to the Hindus in India.
Are not the Memorialists guilty of false accusing the Holy Bible by selectively quoting from it?
Rig Veda Book 10: 90: 12 “The Brahman was his mouth, of both his arms was the Rājanya made. His thighs became the Vaiśya, from his feet the Śūdra was produced.”
The Bhagavad Gita 4: 13 “The fourfold division of castes was created by me according to the apportionment of qualities and duties.”
The Vishnu Purana Book 1: Chapter 4 “PARÁŚARA.–Formerly, oh best of Brahmans, when the truth-meditating Brahmá was desirous of creating the world, there sprang from his mouth beings especially endowed with the quality of goodness; others from his breast, pervaded by the quality of foulness; others from his thighs, in whom foulness and darkness prevailed; and others from his feet, in whom the quality of darkness predominated. These were, in succession, beings of the several castes, Brahmans, Kshetriyas, Vaisyas, and Śúdras, produced from the mouth, the breast, the thighs, and the feet of Brahmá”
Manusmriti 1: 93, As the Brahmana sprang from (Brahman's) mouth, as he was the first-born, and as he possesses the Veda, he is by right the lord of this whole creation.
Manusmriti 1: 107-108 “In this (work) the sacred law has been fully stated as well as the good and bad qualities of (human) actions and the immemorial rule of conduct, (to be followed) by all the four castes (varna). The rule of conduct is transcendent law, whether it be taught in the revealed texts or in the sacred tradition; hence a twice-born man who possesses regard for himself, should be always careful to (follow) it.”
Manusmriti 8: 281 “A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.”
Manusmriti 10: 122-123 “But let a (Sudra) serve Brahmanas, either for the sake of heaven, or with a view to both (this life and the next); for he who is called the servant of a Brahmana thereby gains all his ends. The service of Brahmanas alone is declared (to be) an excellent occupation for a Sudra; for whatever else besides this he may perform will bear him no fruit.”
(a)Clarify, if Manusmriti 8: 281 is not directly responsible for the banishment of Dalits in Khandmal who accepted the Christian faith which places all human beings on the same seat irrespective of caste?
(b) Clarify if these were not the same teachings behind the attacks in Karnataka?
(c) Are not the Indian Christians being threatened to reconvert to Hinduism by citing these ‘immemorial rules of conduct?’
(B) Is Biblical God an intolerant God, narrow minded God and why is he so averse to his rivals and particular that human beings do not bow their head to his rivals? Is Biblical god imbibed with the mediocre human quality of ego?
Having shown that statutes and judgments of Old Covenant are specifically meant for Jews in Israel, we would like to point out that those judgments and punishments were part of the covenant relationship between the Sovereign God and Israel as clearly mentioned in Leviticus 26:46.
We note that Sovereign God entering into a covenant relationship with human beings, and not based on appeasement and whims and fancies, is one of the best expressions of the benevolent and compassionate nature of God. We wonder if the Memorialists would be able to find anything similar with their gods.
Further, only a biased and lawless mind would conclude that punishments meted out by the Sovereign King to his subjects based on the covenant that they voluntarily entered as intolerant and merciless. In fact, God who punishes the people without the covenant is the tyrant of the sky.
Moreover, we would like to note that if monotheism is true, then the polytheism must be false and therefore should be rejected. This is the demand of the first law of logic, law of non-contradiction. Great and brilliant minds have always applied this logic though it has eluded many mediocre humans.
Shri Buddha rejected the entire corpse of Vedas as they were contrary to his teachings.
Swami Dayanada Sarawasti of Arya Samaj ridiculed and rejected the polytheism of Hinduism and its idol worship as they were inconsistent to his monotheistic faith.
Baba Sahaeb Ambedkar not only ridiculed and rejected the Vedic and Puranic gods as he felt that their characters were incompatible with any sense of moral values but also rejected the Hinduism in Toto and got converted to Buddhism as he felt that Hinduism is inconsistent to the egalitarian values he dearly held.
Many may disagree with these great sons of India but few will call them as mediocre human beings for their rejection of inconsistent values except malicious and biased minds.
(d) Are the Hindu gods and scriptures (Rig Veda Book 10: 90: 12, The Bhagavad Gita 4: 13) intolerant, narrow minded as they discriminate human beings into various castes? Is the Hindu Scriptures imbibed with the mediocre human quality of ego?
(C) Clarify whether propagating the above verses are in conformity with Article 25 and Article 51[e] A of the Constitution of India?
At the outset, it must be noted that Part III of the Indian Constitution, containing Articles 12-36, was intended to enforce the conformity of the "State" and the "Law" (Articles 12-13), but not to demand the conformity of the Bible or any other books of religion. Unless otherwise expressed, the said Articles were only intended to ensure that the state while exercising its authority upon its subjects, will not act in any way which will "Abr
idge or take away" their fundamental rights. Hence it is beyond the scope of Article 25 to examine the conformity of a religious book to its letter.
Since Article 25 of the Indian Constitution protects the right of the citizens to practice profess and propagate any faith of their choice, the faith of "Monotheism" and "Exclusivity" held by the Christians as sourced by the Bible Verses in question, should not be called in question by the state, unless proven to be contrary to "Public Order", "Morality" and "Health".
Since a clarification was already made that the death sentence to be executed upon the idol worshippers was not required of the Christians to be practiced in the present dispensation, there is nothing in these verses which affect "Public Order", "Morality" and "Health", the only grounds prescribed in Article 25 of the Indian Constitution for the curtailing of any faith.
Further the Christians were expected to clarify how the propagation of the said Bible Verses conform to Article 51 (A-E) of the Indian constitution. To this, we make the following clarification:
With in the present scope of their application as already clarified, the Bible Verses in question, have nothing in them that undoes the fundamental duty of promoting fraternity as required by Article 51(A-E) of the Indian Constitution.
The fundamental duty enshrined in Article 51(A-E), is to "Promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood" by "Transcending" religious faith but not by abolishing the tenets of one's faith. It is possible for Christians to be fraternal to other religions, despite being monotheists and exclusivists. Harmony is disrupted only when certain sections of other communities show aversion to the personal convictions of the Christians and resent their open propagation of the same.
Fraternity is not promoted by abolition of the personal convictions of any group or individual, but by creating a conducive environment for harmonious exchange of views and propagation of faiths among and between various communities, through academic discussions and peaceful dialogues.
(D) Clarify whether these verses can be edited to suit secular spirit of Indian Constitution and the Secular principles propounded by it?
Secularism simply means noninterference of the state in religious affairs, and the neutrality of state in all matters of religion. We do not see how this secular spirit is adversely impacted by these Bible Verses, unless they have somehow persuaded the state to act in pursuance of them.
To edit one religious book so as to gratify another religion is a perfect example of violating the secular spirit of the Indian constitution, should the state espouse any such activity.
Hence these Bible Verses are not detrimental to the modern society in the overall interest of maintaining communal harmony, unity and integrity of India and they do not in anywise conflict with the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution and tolerance and equality of all religions to be followed in India.
(E) Clarify whether you are prepared to propagate Christianity without referring to this particular concept in Bible?
If the questions are related to the verses in the Old Testament, we would request the Memorialists to carefully read at least the entire chapters from which they quote and for whom the covenant was meant and applicable.
If the question is related to the verses in the New Covenant, which the Memorialists never cited such as John 3:16, our answer is quite clear-we will propagate the verses in the New Covenant with the loudest voice possible.
In fact, in this the Holy Bible has further clarified that Christians are ministers of the New Covenant and not the law.
2 Corinthians 3: 4-6: “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit;[a] for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.”
Manusmiriti 1: 88. To Brahmanas he assigned teaching and studying (the Veda), sacrificing for their own benefit and for others, giving and accepting (of alms).
(e) Clarify, if the Hindus are ready to abolish Brahminical priesthood and extend it to all the Hindus, irrespective of caste, in all the temples?
(f) Clarify, if the Memorialists would consider that “the rule of conduct is transcendent law, whether it is taught in the revealed texts or in the sacred tradition” and therefore only denounce the text but follow the rule of conduct?
(F) Clarify whether these portions of Bible can be deemed irrelevant today?
As the Holy Bible itself has clarified those statutes and commandments are not legally binding for those who are outside the Old Covenant. However, the moral principles behind those laws are relevant today. Those verses show the utter abhorrence of the Holy Biblical God towards polytheism and idol worship. In this the Holy Bible is not alone as we have already shown. So were the great sons of India like Swami Dayanada of Araya Samaj etc.
Let us further explain this from the Holy Bible itself. Apostle Paul clearly taught that the Christians are no longer under the Mosaic Law. However, he also added that those Laws are meant to teach moral values.
Romans 7: 4-7 “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.”
(G) Clarify, if Manusmriti is the ‘immemorial rule of conduct’ and the transcendent law’, and still relevant today?
(H) If not, clarify whether the Hindu scriptures are meant to be selectively and hypocritically followed?
(G) Clarify whether Bible was edited any time in the past by any one?
The Holy Bible, the word of God, has been persevered and is close to the original in 98.2% accuracy. So the Holy Bible that respondents hold has never been edited by anyone.
(I) Clarify if anyone has edited or modified the Hindu scriptures in the past.
(J) If it has been, how many times and how often does it happen?
(K) What were the reasons for those, if any?
(H) Clarify who has the rights to edit Bible?
(H 1) None.
(L) Who decides which parts of the Hindu Scriptures are relevant for today and which are not?
(M) If there are any, on what basis do they do so?
(I) Clarify whether you personally agree with the above verses?
We totally agree with the above verses in its context. We disagree cherry-picking of the verses and especially misquotations with malicious intentions.
(N) Clarify if you agree with the above verses cited from the Rig Veda, The Bhagavad Gita and Manusmiriti.
(J) Clarify whether are you willing to recommend editing the verses considered by Hindus as offensive and not acceptable to the modern society in the overall interest of maintaining communal harmony, unity and integrity of India and to suit the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution and tolerance and equality of all religious to be followed in India.The Respondents:
We highly recommend you to CAREFULLY read the ENTIRE portion from which you selectively quote the Holy Bible.
To compromise the faith of the minority religions and alter their religious scriptures to serve the interest of the majority religion is against the basic tenet of the Indian Constitution.
(O) Clarify whether you are willing to recommend a rejection of the Hindu scriptures in its entirety which teaches caste and also the Hindu gods who claims to have created the caste in the interest of the overall society?
(K) It is the complaint of Hindus that Christians preachers while preaching Christianity use the above verses to instill fear in Hindus and ask them to convert. What do you say?
As for the verses cited by the Memorialists from the Old Testament, we have already shown what the Holy Bible has categorically stated about its scope, relevance and application. As for any individual Christians or individual cases, we cannot speak for them.
(P) It is a known fact that the Christians are BANISHED from their hard earned homes and livelihood for rejecting the caste-based Hinduism and accepting the egalitarian Christian faith which seats every human being on the same place. What would you do personally to educate Hindus that such verses in the Hindu scriptures are morally repugnant and that their actions are against the secular constitution?
(L) Hindus do not believe in Biblical God. Are not the above verses offensive to them, a direct instigation to Christians to kill Hindus?
As for the verses cited by the Memorialists, we have already shown what the Holy Bible has stated about its scope, relevance and application.
If the Memorialists are particularly concerned about the rejection of polytheism or idol worship as a result of our commitment to the Biblical monotheism, we would recommend Memorialists to refer logic books on the law of non-contradiction which implies that the two contradictory statements about God (monotheism vs. polytheism) cannot be both be true in the same sense at the same time.
As for the Hindus, we have certainly come across many Hindus who are sharp in their intellect and can easily grasp the issues by applying laws of logic. For those sharp and intelligent Hindu minds, who may disagree with us, these are not offensive but only a difference in perspective.
We read in Bhagavad Gita 2:19-24: “These bodies appertaining to the embodied (self) which is eternal, indestructible, and indefinable, are said to be perishable; therefore do engage in battle, O descendant of Bharata! He who thinks it to be the killer and he who thinks it to be killed, both know nothing. It kills not, is not killed. It is not born, nor does it ever die, nor, having existed, does it exist no more. Unborn, everlasting, unchangeable, and primeval, it is not killed when the body is killed. O son of Prithâ! how can that man who knows it thus to be indestructible, everlasting, unborn, and inexhaustible, how and whom can he kill, whom can he cause to be killed? As a man, casting off old clothes, puts on others and new ones, so the embodied (self) casting off old bodies, goes to others and new ones. Weapons do not divide it (into pieces); fire does not burn it, waters do not moisten it; the wind does not dry it up. It is not divisible; it is not combustible; it is not to be moistened; it is not to be dried up. It is everlasting, all-pervading, stable, firm, and eternal. It is said to be unperceived, to be unthinkable, to be unchangeable. Therefore knowing it to be such, you ought not to grieve, But even if you think that it is constantly born, and constantly dies, still, O you of mighty arms! you ought not to grieve thus. For to one that is born, death is certain; and to one that dies, birth is certain Therefore about (this) unavoidable thing, you ought not to grieve.”
(Q) Are not these verses directly inciting Hindus to kill Christians for rejecting the Manu Dharma?
(R) Is it still relevant today?
(S) Clarify, if the Memorialists are ready to delete these verses from the Bhagavad Gita?
(T) Or would the Memorialists say that the literal aspect of this is not applicable and only the moral application?
(M) Do not the above verses curtail the natural human right of human beings in general and Christians in particular to worship, believe a God of their choice?
Not at all. Christian faith is not determined by the birth. It is a voluntary choice that each individual has to make. The Holy Bible makes this very clear.
John 3: 5-7 “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”
Moreover, as the verses cited by the Memorialists are from the Old Testament, we will show examples from the Old Testament where the children of Israel were asked to choose their God followed by an example from the New Testament.
The following passage from the Holy Scripture clearly shows that the children of Israel voluntarily entered into the covenant with the Biblical God knowing fully all the demands and consequences:
Old Testament- Joshua 24: 15-22
“And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
“So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.”
But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions no
r your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”
And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!”
So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him.”
And they said, “We are witnesses!”
Old Testament- 1 Kings 18: 21-24
Elijah went before the people and said, "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him." But the people said nothing.
Then Elijah said to them, "I am the only one of the LORD's prophets left, but Baal has four hundred and fifty prophets. Get two bulls for us. Let them choose one for themselves, and let them cut it into pieces and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and put it on the wood but not set fire to it. Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good."
New Testament- John 6: 66-69
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
(N) Clarify whether Bible is applicable to entire humanity or only to Christians? If applicable only to Christians, why is Bible being doled out freely to Hindus in large quantities, sold at subsidized rates, Bible classes are held to Hindu students in Christian institutions?
As much as the Indian constitution has different sections dealing with different subjects, the Holy Bible also has sections that pertain to the entire world, sections that pertain only to Church and sections that pertain only to the Israel. A careful reader of the Holy Scripture would never miss that.
Examples of the Sections to the Entire World:
Isaiah 45: 22 “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
John 5: 39 “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.”
John 1: 9-10: “That (Jesus Christ) was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
John 3:16– “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
Examples of the Sections to the Church:
1 Corinthians 1:1 “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.”
Colossians 1:2 – “To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse”.
Example of the Sections to the Israel:
Leviticus 26: 46 “These are the statutes and judgments and laws which the LORD made between Himself and the children of Israel on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”
As the Holy Bible has different sections for the different groups, unless someone is not from a group to which the Bible addresses, those sections would not be binding on them. However, everyone can derive moral lessons from the entire Holy Bible.
Manusmiriti 2: 20 “The plain of the Kurus, the (country of the) Matsyas, Pankalas, and Surasenakas, these (form), indeed, the country of the Brahmarshis (Brahmanical sages, which ranks) immediately after Brahmavarta. From a Brahmana, born in that country let all men on earth learn their several usages.
(U) Are the Hindu scriptures only for Hindus or is it for the whole world as the above verse seems to indicate?
(V) If it is applicable for the entire world, what great peril will befall on the Buddhists, Muslims, Christians, atheists etc who reject the teaching of the Brahmins?
(O) What are your stand and the stand of the Church insofar as the above verses vis a vis Hindus?
The scope, relevance and the application of those passages referred have been already clarified in the previous points.
(W) What is your stand and the stand of the Hindus insofar as the above verses of the Hindu scriptures are concerned vis-à-vis Christians?
(P) Please clarify is there such a grave peril to humanity if Gods other than Biblical God are worshipped?
Those who choose to reject the Biblical God, their choice will be respected in this life and in the life after death. If it can be objectively established if the God of the Bible is the only true God, then it can be a grave peril to those who reject Him. We are ready for a detailed discussion on this in any fair and neutral forum acceptable to both the parties.
Manusmiriti 8: 20-21“ A Brahmana who subsists only by the name of his caste (gati), or one who merely calls himself a Brahmana (though his origin be uncertain), may, at the king's pleasure, interpret the law to him, but never a Sudra. The kingdom of that monarch, who looks on while a Sudra settles the law, will sink (low), like a cow in a morass.
The Mahabharata, Vana Parva, Markandeya-Samasya Parva:
And Sudras will expound the scriptures, and Brahmanas will wait upon and listen to them, and settle their course of duty accepting such interpretations as their guides. And the low will become the high, and the course of things will look contrary. And renouncing the gods, men will worship bones and other relics deposited within walls. And, at the end of the Yuga, the Sudras will cease to wait upon and serve the Brahmanas. And in the asylums of great Rishis, and the teaching institutions of Brahmanas, and in places sacred to the gods and sacrificial compounds, and in sacred tanks, the earth will be disfigured with tombs and pillars containing bony relics and not graced with temples dedicated to the gods. All this will take place at the end of the Yuga, and know that these are the signs of the end of the Yuga. And when men become fierce and destitute of virtue and carnivorous and addicted to intoxicating drinks, then doth the Yuga come to an end. And, O monarch, when flowers will be begot within flowers, and fruits within fruits, then will the Yuga come to an end. And the clouds will pour rain unseasonably when the end of t
he Yuga approaches. And, at that time, ceremonial rites of men will not follow one another in due order, and the Sudras will quarrel with the Brahmanas. And the earth will soon be full of mlecchas, and the Brahmanas will fly in all directions for fear of the burden of taxes. And all distinctions between men will cease as regards conduct and behavior, and afflicted with honorary tasks and offices, people will fly to woody retreats, subsisting on fruits and roots. And the world will be so afflicted, that rectitude of conduct will cease to be exhibited anywhere. And disciples will set at naught the instructions of preceptors, and seek even to injure them. And preceptors impoverished will be disregarded by men. And friends and relatives and kinsmen will perform friendly offices for the sake of the wealth only that is possessed by a person. And when the end of the Yuga comes, everybody will be in want. And all the points of the horizon will be ablaze, and the stars and stellar groups will be destitute of brilliancy, and the planets and planetary conjunctions will be inauspicious. And the course of the winds will be confused and agitated, and innumerable meteors will flash through the sky, foreboding evil. And the Sun will appear with six others of the same kind. And all around there will be din and uproar, and everywhere there will be conflagrations. And the Sun, from the hour of his rising to that of setting, will be enveloped by Rahu. And the deity of a thousand eyes will shower rain unseasonably. And when the end of the Yuga comes, crops will not grow in abundance. And the women will always be sharp in speech and pitiless and fond of weeping. And they will never abide by the commands of their husbands. And when the end of the Yuga comes, sons will slay fathers and mothers. And women, living uncontrolled, will slay their husbands and sons. And, O king, when the end of the Yuga comes, Rahu will swallow the Sun unseasonably. And fires will blaze up on all sides.”
(X) Clarify if India would “sink low like a cow in a morass” as we have a Dalit as the Respected Chief Justice of Honorable Supreme Court and a respected Dalit woman as the Honorable Speaker of Lok Sabha?
(Y) In the light of the above verses, clarify if there is any such grave peril to humanity, since India is working towards education for all so that even those from ‘low caste’ can study and teach any scripture?
(Q) Why is the Biblical God so particular that people worship only him and why he gives no freedom to people in choosing other Gods?
In the light of monotheism that the Holy Bible teaches, it is logically consistent to demand that only the one True God should be worshipped (reference – first law of logic- the law of non-contradiction).
Further, we have explained earlier that people choose the Biblical God out of their freedom and it was never compelled upon them.
Manusmiriti 8: 272 “If he (Sudra) arrogantly teaches Brahmanas their duty, the king shall cause hot oil to be poured into his mouth and into his ears.”
(Z) Clarify if the above verse is relevant for today either in its total application or in its moral application?
(R) If the above verses are only history, are not there ample chances for its misinterpretation and are they not irrelevant?
The question of relevance has been already clarified. However, the scope of misinterpretation is not a reason to remove anything as the Indian Constitution itself has the scope of misinterpretation with all due respect and apologies, by none less than the Honorable Supreme Court itself. The Honorable Supreme Court itself has made revisions of earlier its judgments in the past.
The scope of misinterpretation of the Holy Scripture is not in the text but in the corrupted minds of the people.
(S) Do not the above verses project Biblical God as a God bereft of mercy, broad mindedness, tolerance and as a God of ordinary human values and not Godly values? It is not contrary to the popular notion that God is full of mercy and compassion?
As we have observed earlier, the above verses should be interpreted in its context and within its context it gives a totally different picture- the Sovereign God entering into Covenant relationship with His subjects.
In fact, all the verses that are cited by the Memorialists are from the Laws prescribed by the Biblical God. Laws show the infinite purity and justice of God.
If the Memorialists assume that for God to be merciful, He should have loose laws, then Memorialists are in grave error. Mercy assumes forgiveness and kindness where we ought to have been punished as per the law. Without law, there is no need for mercy. Memorialists here seem to be utterly confused in their values.
Now, let us check if the Biblical God is indeed merciful, not just from the percepts of but His action towards His subjects and His creation:
Isaiah 65: 2-3 “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good according to their own thoughts; A people who provoke Me to anger continually to My face.”
Matthew 5: 44-45 “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
John 3: 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Romans 5: 8 “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Only a bigoted mind can accuse such a Loving God as bereft of mercy and compassion.
(T) Does not the propagation of the above verses go against the secular and scientific temper enshrined in our constitution?
We do not see any thing unscientific about denouncing idol worship. "Scientific Temper" is not determined by the subjective beliefs and sentiments of any community. Objectivity is the key for a scientific approach. Is it not objective enough to argue, that what a man makes with his hands is not the God that has made him, and hence it is a delusion to worship the creation rather than the creator? How is this unscientific?
Article 51(A-H) of the Indian Constitution, which calls for fostering "Scientific Temper", also lists the "Spirit of enquiry, along with it. It is not in keeping with such a temper and spirit, to call for abolishing these Bible Verses. It would be a better approach to make a comparative study of what the Scriptures of all religions have to say about idol worship, rather than singling out the Bible and its teachings.
(U) Do not the above verses project God as a thing to be feared at and not loved at?
Answer: Far from it. As we shown that in the entire context of the Holy Bible, the Biblical God infinitely loves t
hat He incarnated as a human being and died for us.
1 John 4: 16-18 “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.”
Continue reading the next Section II: Answers to the Questions of Hindus.