Hi everybody, my first post here. Since there is quite little online content regarding this, I thought of posting it here :

What are some of the practices and rules of Hinduism that are morally incorrect or irrational or non-sensical?

(I did find a lot of content against christianity but not on hinduism)

Tags: arguments, hindu

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I really do not know, but if it is a religion that has a deity it is not believed by anyone on this site. You might have to find another Hindu (or ex-Hindu) to find answers to your question.

Unfortunately ex-Hindus are hard to find :(

The Hindus I spoke to told me that their gods each stand for a characteristic or centre of attention. That sounded rather detached to me. But then I never knew if I had spoken to a fundie Hindu or not, so I have no idea what is average for a Hindu.

My primary problem with hinduism is the caste system and how it locks people into arbitrary life tracks.  Other than that, I'm not certain I know enough to have a valid opinion.

Basically, Hinduism has one supreme god, Brahman-Atman, who is unknowable, and the human soul is a little bit of divine spark from this supreme deity.  There are three major gods who are knowable, "ranking" just below Brahman-Atman: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Siva (pronounced SHI (as in shiver) vuh (as in  duh)), the destroyer.  Brahman created the universe from a lotus blossom; Vishnu tries to maintain a sustainable balance between good and evil; and one day, when the world becomes too evil, Siva will destroy it by dancing, kicking the earth to pieces.  Each of these three has countless avatars, most of the avatars have consorts, and most of the avatars and consorts have mounts.  Few Hindus are followers of Brahma because of a great lie he told; he has one temple in all of India, the rat temple, where his worshipers interact with rats .  A great many are followers of Vishnu, but by far the majority are devotees of Siva.

There are four main castes, in order of social rank, top to bottom: Brahmins, Ksatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sudras, but perhaps thousands of sub-castes.  The word "caste" means "color" in Hindi, the most widely spoken "Indian" language in India; Brahmins tend to be light-skinned, with the other castes being darker until we reach the "untouchables," those who are below caste.  Gandhi called the untouchables the Children of God; for a couple of decades now, India has considered them a "scheduled caste," a group deserving affirmative action.  Caste is determined by one's father's occupation.  If Dad is a snake-catcher, then you are, too.  If Dad is a rich Brahmin money-lender, you will just have to make the best of it.  The caste system was banned by the new constitution of 1948, but the vast majority of Hindus still follow it.

Hinduism depends on karma and reincarnation to keep society in order.  How you act in this life determines where you will be placed in your next life on earth, so if you want to rise in rank, you should be the best Hindu you can be.  After an indeterminate number of lifetimes, you may be born as a Brahmin, and after many lifetimes as a Brahmin, you may be pure enough to enter paradise (nirvana).  You can take a short cut by dying in Varanasi and having your ashes cast into the sacred waters of the Ganges.

I once saw a performance of traditional Kathakali dancing in India.  The owner of the theater had kept this dying art alive by staging a performance every single night for 38 straight years, and he mollified his audience of tourists by stating that the existence of the millions of divine avatars of the Big Three was of little interest to him and to most educated Hindus, but that the poor and uneducated needed the avatars on which to focus their faith.  For him, it was all about philosophy: know your place, fill that place as well as you can, be reborn in a higher place, and eventually work upward through the caste system toward nirvana.  Good karma benefits one in the next life, not this one.

What are the good arguments against Hinduism?

It's a load of hooey.

As Krishna says to Arjuna in the Baghavad Gita, there are only two things you can count on: death and rebirth.

I think he was half right.

Craig

Thanks Craig. A very informative answer. Another religion bites the dust.
I hope. I wonder why they are all so anti female
The Hindu religion would likely take years to understand, but it takes very little exposure to how Hindus interact socially to be thoroughly turned off by their culture. The way they treat their women, especially their mothers, is outrageous. Whether or not that somehow stems from the religion, I don't know - but it is atrocious. I was once interested in learning more about Hinduism, just for the sake of knowledge, so I got a college lecture series on audiobook from the library. The information about the backwards-assed culture itself made me disinterested in learning anything more about the religion.

Traditional Hinduism treats women as property, but all family roles are sharply defined.  A wife serves her husband, remaining faithful even if widowed.  Sons and daughters do as they are told.  Dad rules.  Of course, no other culture has ever treated women badly . . . .

Craig

One thing I recall from the lecture series I mentioned was that traditionally widowed Hindu women were expected to throw themselves on the funeral pyre of their dead husband. If they didn't, it was common for their sons to do it for them. Laws had to actually be passed in order to put a stop to this practice. That is one of the most barbaric things I had ever heard. In my mind, that tops murdering your daughter for refusing to marry who was chosen for her ... not by much, but it does. Imagine that your point of burning to death is culturally predicated on the death of your spouse, and your kids enforce it.

In ancient Egypt, servants, particularly women, were sometimes entombed alive with dead royalty, and human sacrifice, particularly the sacrifice of women, has been practiced by a number of cultures.  Self immolation by widows was called "suttee," and I agree wholeheartedly that it was about as barbaric as one could imagine, though I doubt it was ever "common" among any but the Brahmins.  The British banned it, IIRC, in the 18th century.  While the Hindus were burning widows, Christians in Europe were burning hundreds of thousands of women as witches.  Hinduism, like Islam, has never undergone an age of enlightenment, and even today perhaps 75% of people in India, which also contains more Muslims than there are in Pakistan, are illiterate, and roughly the same number of people live in abject poverty.  Suttee is gone, but there are still instances of female infanticide and female abortion because 700 million people are still in the grip of ignorance and superstition.  The Indian director Mira Nair (or was it Deepa Mehta?) has distilled much of the Hindu misogyny into a trilogy of films called Earth, Water, and Fire, and there is another excellent but creepy film about the practice of Hindu priests gang raping young girls as a rite of passage when the girls hit puberty.  Patriarchal societies seem to have a deep seated fear of women, and/or an irrational need to control them.

The worst thing in Hinduism-I'm gonna go with chopping off girls' noses. No, I'm not joking: 

www.geocities.com/Athens/Agora/4229/in11.html

I never knew how violent this religion was until a few years ago when I saw a news report on how women and girls are mistreated in India. 

Apparently Columbus and his men knew of this tactic as well. To this day it's hard to convince an American why the people of Haiti do not like Columbus and would want to tear his statue down. Once we find out all of history many things start looking different than before. "Great men" are not nearly so great in light of all truth.

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