Debunking the 9 debunked myths

Just saw this passionately written article in the CNN belief blog by Moni Basu. Although most people are talking about stuff around the topic in the comments below the article, I’d like to point out some obvious lack of sense in the article itself, that perhaps even CNN chose to ignore blatantly. So here goes:

Myth No. 1: There are 330 million Hindu gods.

Reality: There is one supreme God that cannot be fully known or understood.
Hindus are encouraged to relate to God in the way that suits them best, like worshipping many deities who are believed to be manifestations of God. The trimurti or three main deities are Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer. That’s why Hinduism is often thought of as polytheistic. It is not.

Ahem, did anyone notice the contradiction in the highlighted statements above? If one can become three by the 3rd scentence, what stops them from becoming 330 million between 100 billion confused public in the country?

Myth No. 2: Hindus are idol worshippers.

Reality: Hindus worship a reminder of God.

No Hindu will say he or she is worshipping an idol. Instead, Hindus believe a physical representation of God – in the form of an idol – helps them focus on an aspect of prayer or meditation. For instance, a person who has just opened up a new business may worship Ganesh, the elephant god who represents success.

So am I forced to believe from the above contradictions, that this religion is just a bunch of confusions?

Myth No. 4: All Hindus are vegetarians.

Reality: A majority of Hindus eat meat.

But about 30 percent do not. That stems from a fundamental belief in ahimsa, the principle of non-violence. Since all living things are manifestations of God, violence against them is considered contrary to the natural balance of the universe.

Wonder where this figure of 30% comes from! Was there any census report published by the Indian govt.? Or did the author just dreamed it up like various religious fanatics claim to have dreamed up their deities? Also, does the author wish to state that only 30% of the hindus believe in “ahimsa” fundamentally? Aren’t you degrading yourself here?

Myth No. 5: Hinduism supports a discriminatory caste system.

Reality: Caste discrimination is rooted not in religion but culture.

Caste was an ancient system of occupational class delineated in Hindu texts that over the years developed into a rigid social hierarchy. The lowest castes, or untouchables, were marginalized and faced persecution. But many modern Hindus have argued that caste-based discrimination is not intrinsic to Hinduism and should not be thought of as religiously sanctioned.

By contradicting yourself, aren’t you displaying your own confusion about religion & culture?

Myth No. 7: Hindu women wearing ‘red dots’ on their foreheads are married.

Reality: Sometimes.

A red dot was once a symbol of marriage for Hindu women. Today, the dot, or bindi, is largely decorative. Girls and women – married and single – wear bindis of all colors as fashion statements.

You’re clearly wrong… single women in India do wear bindis of all colors as fashion, except the Red color which is still reserved for married women. Though, ofcourse, many married women choose not to wear the red bindi.

Myth No. 9: Karma is fatalistic.

Reality: Everyone has the ability to choose life’s actions.

This is the theory behind karma: for every action a person sets in motion, there is a corresponding reaction. Hindus believe they have to face the consequences of past actions. Each person creates his or her destiny with deeds. The ultimate goal is to have karma that will free a soul and gain moksha, or liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

This is certainly no different from the scare tactics of any other religion on the face of the planet.