View Full Version : Being saved by God
05 October 2010, 12:27 AM
This is something which had been going on in my mind for some time after an incident, so I thought I'd share it with you all. If there's anything inappropriate about this topic, please feel free to delete it. :)
A short while ago when I was hanging out with a group of friends, we were joined by an elderly man (a Christian) who had had a near-fatal accident and somehow survived miraculously, though suffering severe and permanent damage as a result. He told us that when he said that he had survived by God's grace and, though he didn't know why, he wanted to put his life to good use in the future and hope God can help him deal with his disability, the doctor mocked him and said that he had survived by nothing but a lucky chance, and God was just an imaginary being created by him for psychological comfort. Of course, the man was offended by this and told us that he had faith nevertheless.
On this, some of my friends (nice people, but militant atheists and religion-haters) told him that his beliefs, but not he (like Richard Dawkins says) deserved to be mocked because of how illogical and childish they were, and because he was trying to brush aside the doctor's hard work by trying to attribute the credit to God. When I tried to support him saying that this was not what he was saying, they in turn asked me what was so special about this man that God had only chosen to save him, but doesn't save the thousands of other patients dying with similar cases, or a child who is raped and killed by a pedophile. I briefly explained my views about karma and misuse of free will, and how there could be a greater order of such things in the universe that we don't yet understand. They said they need very strong scientific evidence before they believe "tall fantasies" like this, and the older man's opinions did not deserve to be supported in any way.
I bowed out of the discussion because clearly it was going nowhere. But thinking about it later, I pondered over the issue more. What does our dharma teach about these incidents of miraculous survival? Am I thinking of it from a more Christian perspective? I would really appreciate to know your views regarding this. Thanks! :)
09 November 2010, 02:06 PM
I think, as you suggested in the last line, that you are thinking about this too much from a Christian perspective. Although usually when Christians talk about being "saved" they are referring to not going to hell, but it can refer to God saving your life as well. I believe the Hindu perspective (or should I say a Hindu perspective) on this matter would revolve around the concept of karma. Perhaps this person accumulated some "bad karma" in a past life (by doing wrong, unethical, sinful actions) and now in this life it balanced out with his near-death experience and the permanent damage as a result of that experience. It has nothing to do with God singling this person out and saving him for some random reason while ignoring the millions of others who are suffering. Although that is a good argument against the Christian understanding of this matter.
Jai Sri Krishna
09 November 2010, 02:44 PM
Vannakkam: I am with Ramakrishna. Why and when things happen is beyond our comprehension and in God's hands, or destiny. I have taken to a mantra (not the traditional kind, just a saying I repeat, like an affirmation) on such matters.
"Nothing surprises me."
It is a Christian concept to put such direct involvement in daily affairs as the will of God. If the man's near-fatal accident would have been fatal, would it then have been NOT an act of God? In Hinduism we see ALL as God. Good, bad (I'm using Christian words just to illustrate the point. There really is no good and bad, in my opinionn, just anava, karma, and maya.), and indifferent. It's ALL God. In Christianity, only what Christians themselves deem as 'good' is of God. I often thing the term good and god are somehow related. Anybody know? So you have this dualistic thinking of the good guys versus the bad guys, cowboys versus Indians, us versus them, saints versus sinners, etc. There always has to be some sort of conflict, or life doesn't make sense. Western philosophical construct.
09 November 2010, 08:53 PM
01. If the doctors and atheists do not believe in God and say that there is only one life and one death (which is Christian belief), that there is no soul, and everything happens by chance and randomness, they must scientifically and convincingly answer the questions relating to the human mind, the individual soul, aferlife and rebirth. For example, what would they say to the proofs of reincarnation pointed out in this post:
02. The atheists these days resort to the concept of 'meme' to explain individual chains of continued life in a lineage, but IMO it is a ridiculous concept. Science ends up with just new names and terms to explain the mess of complications it creates, and scientists fail to understand that all the concepts, theories, and hypotheses are all products of human mind, and however empirical they may be, they are still verified experimentally only by human minds.
03. As Ramakrishna and EM has pointed out, the concepts of good and bad, and God saving specific individuals are Christian, which evaporate against the universal law of karma and reincarnation.
04. The etymology of the English words 'good', 'goad' and 'god' has some interesting relations:
• The word 'good' has its root in the OE 'god' (rhyming with 'code') meaning "having the right or desirable quality".
• The word 'goad' has the OE root 'gad' (rhyming with pad) and meant a "spearhead". Perhaps people in those days need to be goaded to be good.
• The word 'god' with the same root in OE is from the German 'guthan', the PIE 'ghut-', which in turn is from the Sanskrit 'huta' meaning 'invoked through fire sacrifice', an epithet for Indra in the Vedas and Shiva in the MahAbhArata. (Ref: MWD and http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=god&searchmode=none)
05. The Christians are terrified at the idea of dying and death, so it is not surprising that the miraculous case of the man surviving a fatal accident seems to be a benevolent act of God to them. However, that the man has to live with a lifelong disability shows that he still has much karma left to experience the fruits of in this life.
The concept of meme is nothing but a psychological belief in aferlife, attempted to be justified through scientific means of explanation. Science on the one hand tries to jusify the existence of soul by its noetic science and on the other deny it by the concept of meme. Strange are the vagaries of the human mind!
09 November 2010, 09:19 PM
I would like to point out some instances in Hinduism where devotees have been saved by God.
-Prahlada was saved from Hiranyakashipu by Nrisimha.
-Gajendra was saved from the crocodile by Vishnu.
-Draupadi was saved from the kauravas by Krishna.
-Ahalya was saved from Gautama's curse by Rama.
-Ajamila was saved from the yamadutas by the name Narayana
-Jada Bharata was saved from becomming human sacrifice to Kali Ma
The theme here is that they were all devotees. God will save his devotees from danger, this is not exclusively a Christian idea.
09 November 2010, 10:22 PM
I would happily agree with Sahasranama on the cases of God saving his Hindu devotees and that the concept is not unique to Christianity. Perhaps the Hindu view of such situations of being saved, might be that the situations first arose due to the devotee's karma and then God softened the effect of suffering.
I don't know if atheists have had divine experiences but a number of scientists have had transcendental experiences as posted in this Website:
09 November 2010, 11:12 PM
Lives are never saved. They are just extended.
09 November 2010, 11:39 PM
Lives are never saved. They are just extended.
The SPEAKER'S [ as Believerji recalls ] opinion, great....ha..ha :) .
10 November 2010, 02:08 PM
There was a topic dealing with this idea a while back, but it differed slightly, suggesting that God somehow punishes someone just to extend His mercy to them and "make them see the light". You can find it here, actually: http://hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=6537&highlight=breaks. This type of thinking is very typical of Christians - they love that born-again concept where the sinner sees the errors of his ways and decides to live the rest of his life dedicated to God. While certainly not a bad ideal to live by, the attitude behind it is all wrong, in my opinion. It seems as if somehow circumstances had to be changed in order for the individual to see its in his interests to be good, rather than any inherent change of character. It never seems to have the same sincerity or organic, spontaneous feeling of love as someone who is called to God without his even knowing.
Saidevo, you've made some excellent points. It is strange that modern day scientists and atheists who reject the notion of God should put everything down to chance or randomness, as if the universe itself were nothing more than arbitrary set of events and happenings. Does anyone ever feel that, ironically, they are also dualist in thinking by outrightly denying the existence of a God? I've begun to make a differentiation between "Christian atheists" and real atheists (a rarer kind than you'd think, I've concluded). It makes no sense for them to base their disbelief on God's letting huge disasters happen, and ignore the thousands of miracles they can witness everyday just by looking around them. I've often wondered if more western atheists were to understand other tradition's ideas of God (Purusha-Prakriti, nirguna/saguna Brahman, sat-chit-ananda), would they be less adamant that there is definitely no possibility of there being a God? Good point on the human minds - I'm not sure humans will ever be able to achieve total objectivity in their observations. The very nature of observation of the universe is self-reflexive. You cannot separate observer from the observed.
Also, interesting stuff about the etymology of god, good and goad. I had no idea the three words were connected, although it suddenly seems very natural now, all of a sudden, that they should share some link.
Om namah Shivaya
16 November 2010, 01:25 AM
Thank you so much for the replies, it was truly enlightening to read the posts. :) I had given this matter some thought a while ago too, and indeed it's remarkable how much one's interpretation of events changes when we look at them from a non-dual perspective, as a part of God. I think it's a truly beautiful way of life and a really enriching experience.
Sunyata - I really liked your post on karma in the "God breaks" thread, totally agreed with it. I feel that despite all the philosophies put forward and teachings put forward, there's still a great deal of mystery about how karma truly works.
25 January 2011, 03:01 PM
Another point- Brahmacharya can save too, if one does not discharge he can save himself from tragic stuff, laws of God/Manu.
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