Archbishop Williams wishes a joyful and blessed Diwali to Hindu communities in his 2011 greeting

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury... [Wednesday] sent wishes for ‘a very joyful and blessed Diwali’ to Hindu communities.

In his greeting, Dr Williams speaks of the idea of 'the return home' as a central concept in the Ramayana, where the believer returns not to a specific place, but 'to God and finding a home in God'.

Speaking of the similarities with which Hindu and Christian mystical texts refer to 'homecoming', he says "I hope that through reading these different passages together in Hindu and Christian dialogue we can find a basis from which to work together as communities and develop greater understanding of the nature of God and of what it means to dwell with and in him."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsHinduism

Posted October 27, 2011 at 5:49 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. clarin wrote:

“I hope that through reading these different passages together in Hindu and Christian dialogue we can find a basis from which to work together as communities and develop greater understanding of the nature of God and of what it means to dwell with and in him.”

Yes, we should all worship the god of our choice.

October 27, 8:01 am | [comment link]
2. billqs wrote:

Except that Hindus and Christians don’t worship the same God.  I have Hindu friends and they would never water down their faith to some kind of Universal mushy concept of God and they wonder why we would, either.

October 27, 8:57 am | [comment link]
3. Milton wrote:

I wonder that Rowan doesn’t have a bad back from all the bowing to the deities of other religions. :(

October 27, 10:15 am | [comment link]
4. WestJ wrote:

It was my impression that Hindus worship many “gods”. Also, some Hindus worship some “gods” but not others. My neighbors are Hindu, and very religious. That doesn’t mean that they have salvation.

October 27, 10:28 am | [comment link]
5. Hakkatan wrote:

The man desperately needs a course in logic.

October 27, 11:04 am | [comment link]
6. evan miller wrote:

For the ABC to say that Christians have anything to learn about “the nature of God and what it means to dwell with and in Him” is risible.

October 27, 11:29 am | [comment link]
7. Katherine wrote:

My Hindu friends tell me there are 33,000 gods in Hinduism, and the worshipper can choose which he prefers.  All things are true, which makes it very hard for them to accept Christian truth statements as being “the” truth.  I had a Hindu friend who proudly showed me an image of Jesus tucked into her worship niche along with several Hindu deities.  It made me wince.

Besides that, Diwali is a loud (firecrackers!) celebration of the goddess of prosperity.  Lamps and lights entice the goddess to enter the home and bring good things in the coming year.  Not exactly a meditative holiday.

October 27, 11:42 am | [comment link]
8. Br. Michael wrote:

I am reminded of the Bishop of Jerusalem in the movie “Kingdom of God” as the Muslims are on the brink of victory, when he says, “Convert now, repent later.”

October 27, 11:49 am | [comment link]
9. Karen B. wrote:

I was very troubled to read this and was trying to figure out how to write a comment in response that affirmed dialogue and using redemptive analogies in a culture as a starting point for preaching Christ, but I’m limited for time today.

Fortunately Matt+ at Stand Firm wrote an excellent critique which makes just this point.

I completely understand using the Hindu scriptures as a launching off point from which to share the gospel. Missionaries do that sort of thing all the time. In Mali, for example, animists believe that they are separated from God by great series of intermediary spirits called djinns. You barter with the djinns for protection, food, children etc…Christian missionaries enter into that particular context and say, “yes”, human beings do need a Mediator. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is God’s own Son. He will be your Mediator.

What is missing from this letter, and I don’t understand why, is any sort of Christian proclamation. The Hindu scriptures and the Bible are both held up as parallel, equally valid, sources of truth…(emphasis mine)


October 27, 12:07 pm | [comment link]
10. Karen B. wrote:

I read through all of the Pastoral Epistles last night seeking the Lord’s guidance on a ministry situation our team is facing here… one passage that the Lord really used to speak to me is this from 1 Thes. 2:1-4

Sadly, it appears +Rowan is lacking boldness and trying to please people with his words:

For you yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain.  But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated at Philippi, as you know, we had boldness in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much conflict. For our appeal does not spring from error or impurity or any attempt to deceive, but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who tests our hearts.
(1 Thessalonians 2:1-4 ESV)

October 27, 12:18 pm | [comment link]
11. Ad Orientem wrote:

I think Dr. Williams and the Anglicans should host the next Assisi pantheistic love fest.  He clearly has the right attitude.

October 27, 2:10 pm | [comment link]
12. Br. Michael wrote:

Cannot the man simple and boldly proclaim the Gospel?  I guess not.  Shades of Polycarp.

October 27, 4:34 pm | [comment link]
13. John Wilkins wrote:

A magnanimous and generous piece.  One of my Hindu relatives remarked when hearing Rowan, “he makes me think that some Christians actually believe in what Jesus taught.” 

Some would like to convert the followers of the Sanatana Dharma by simply repeating the story to them.  But there are other ways.  One is to wish them well and gain their trust, to become familiar.  by and large, Hindus think of many Christians as being hypocritical, who rarely do as their Lord commands. 

It’s OK to be bold.  And it’s fine not to please man.  But it’s another thing to be on Mars Hill and find a way to communicate in a way people are receptive.  And that’s the first step - to create an environment where others are receptive to the Gospel. 

Otherwise, it sounds like yelling; it sounds condescending; it sounds proud; it sounds like a threat.

October 27, 5:34 pm | [comment link]
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