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Old 04-11-2001, 12:39 PM   #1
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Post Literalism in Eastern Religion

To Buddists/Hindus in this forum:

What collections of writings in your respective religions are considered 'orthodox'? Do you have apologists who argue over the literal meaning of these texts? Are these arguments seen as mental 'aerobics', or are they seen as exercises to establish 'truth'?

 
Old 04-12-2001, 05:34 PM   #2
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For hindus, the collection of 'orthodox' texts will be Vedas, Upanishads (philosophy books), the various Samhitas (they are like lawbooks). The 'Puranas' are a collection of stories but not considered to be on the same level. There is the Gita. Ramayana and Mahabharata, the two epics are however given equal importance as the scriptures.

What is written down in these books are usually plain and so there is not much scope for debating about them. However some recent scholars are embarassed by some of the sayings of Vedas (some sexual comments)and so they try to interpret them in a 'spiritual' manner.
 
Old 04-12-2001, 09:13 PM   #3
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There are other potential embarrassments in the Vedas, such as polytheism and cow sacrifice.

However, I'm not very familiar with them; is there any English translation of them online somewhere?

Preferably into modern English and not King James English

Finally, I note that Carl Sagan quotes a part of one of the Vedas (Rig Veda 10:129) as wondering whether the gods know who created the Universe. [_Broca's Brain_, "A Sunday Sermon"]
 
Old 04-13-2001, 05:10 PM   #4
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I think more to the point would be how much the scriptures are considered literal history -- such as the occurrence of the Mahabharat War.

On that war, has anyone tried to look for some historical original? Or is it considered as historical as the Trojan War had been?

And is there any Hindu counterpart of Christian "creation science"? And if there is, does it contain lots of unattributed copying off of Christian creationists?
 
Old 04-14-2001, 05:16 PM   #5
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Yes, the more devout hindus accept the epics as literal history, including Avatars and miracles. However some history scholars are trying to find out exactly how historical they were. there is no doubt that there was a place called Ayodhya but where exactly cannot be ascertained. Similarly, Indraprashtha in Mahabharata seems to be set near Delhi.

no, there is no such thing as creation science in hinduism. for some reason evolution do not bother even the most devout. I suppose when Vishnu has been incarnated as a fish and a boar and Ram makes friends with monkeys, it is not shocking to believe that we are descended from apes.
 
 

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