In case anyone wants the sources as I couldn’t comment on the Livestream chat at the time, I think its because I didn’t have a log-in but I can’t be sure. Here are the Sources:
I’ll start with more lax critiques before going into major ones regarding history:
Are contemporary Christian conversions working in India? It seems to be decreasing everywhere except China and South Africa, but perhaps all isn’t what it seems? Christianity’s only claim to power is in privileged resources; do people not recognize how self-refuting that is? Christianity’s entire theology is framed as anti-materialist and includes warning people of being part of it, but then gives people material wealth to convert. When Christianity isn’t being materialistic, it’s being insane. Look at the horrors fostered by the so-called “saint” Mother Teresa. When Christianity isn’t doing any of that, it’s seeking to teach contempt over “heathen” Hindus and spread the psychotic Islamic-Christian violence of the West and the Middle East into India.
Christian missionaries first encounter with India and mission to spread the faith of Jesus Christ began with .
The first Catholic organization that took hold from Portugal spent 250 years forcibly amputating Hindu men in front of their families, burning alive Hindu men in their churches for sport, and destroying Hindu temples as idol worship as .
. The exposure of these crimes was met with the
and allowed a massive disease in World War 1 to kill another 40 million culminating in a death toll of 70 million as a result of Anglican Christianity.
Oh, and also, Christianity has no basis in reality and will only lead you to be unhappy and unfulfilled with self-loathing in life:
Don’t pretend Child Rape cases don’t have lifelong impacts. After the Catholic Church was exposed having rape rings where thousands of young boys were repeatedly raped by pedophile priests protected by the Catholic Church decades ago, the devastation is still felt to this day. Men committing suicide at high rates, men suffering from drug abuse to keep their night terrors at bay 20 – 40 years onward (imagine living with nightmares for all your life based on trusted adults raping you), and all the while your money is being given to Churches that don’t care about keeping your children safe from pedophiles they’re purposefully bringing into your communities, hiding the fact they’re raping your kids, and then sending them away so they don’t face any trials or jail time for raping kids. Only after your country pressuring the Church are they brought back to face jail time after a trial for their crimes. And after all that’s done, they refuse to make amends and don’t help as the men around you are killing themselves unable to deal with the trauma of being raped as children.
Is that what Indian communities want for either their men or women? Do you think this stuff doesn’t spread around in India too? Do you think people aren’t going to warn their families in alarm at what these Christian Churches do to children?
Don’t take my word for it, here’s a wife of one of the victims in Australia crying as she recounts seeing family members and friends kill themselves, become drug users, and are unable to sleep with horrible night terrors they suffer for the rest of their lives. Meanwhile the Catholic Church refuses to expend any money to help them; money they got from these people’s lifelong faith in Jesus Christ. That’s what the teachings of Jesus Christ really amount to; children being sent to be taught fairy tales that aren’t real and the ramifications are child rape victims.
I’ve written about how Faith in Doubt was a 4-year project and about why you shouldn’t be daunted by the page count, so I’d like to go into more details for people who might still be on the fence despite such assurances and explain briefly what each section has to offer so I wanted to explain in more details what each section contains for both Part I and Part II.
The book itself is actually 1034 pages with the approximately 1000 other pages being copious citations. I made sure to read and re-read several chapters of the many books that I cited for my research to make sure that I gave the most accurate information to make sure it is applied correctly. That can still be daunting, which is why I made split editions. Part I is 269 pages in total with approximately 12 pages of citations for the Preface and first 5 chapters. Part I is about the general issues of how religion is applied to everyday life such as the belief that personal luck is due to a God’s intervention or a critique of the usage of prayer. Part I applies psychological research from books such as Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman for cognitive psychology aspects, Influence: Science and Practice by Robert A. Cialdini for social interactions regarding some religious behavior, and the social theory of Alexa Ispas’s Politics and Identity: A Social Identity Perspective to apply to in-group/out-group social dynamics of religion. For certain chapters within Part I, I apply Friedrich Nietzsche’s criticisms and perspective such as the chapter on belief in the afterlife and making my own commentary on the research of the mentality of suicide bombers that are cited. I’ve read all of Nietzsche’s main works and apply aphorisms from different books throughout both Part I and Part II to give a different philosophical perspective on religion. For instance, one of Nietzsche’s thorough critiques was that the concept of the afterlife being the purpose of this life was a worship of death over life as a form of meaning. Nietzsche argued ancient people couldn’t find other more healthy purposes for their existence because of all the suffering and confusion that they went through so a hatred of life and worship of death became their meaning, which is what most present-day religions are based upon. I use this perspective in concomitant with the psychological research and analytical philosophy whenever applicable in order to make the most thorough refutation of common religious beliefs and practices that most theists participate in, within the US and across the world.
Part II is broken into separate sections beginning with Original Sin. Original Sin is often vaguely thought of or defined by most Christians and Jews in modern times. Sinfulness’s applicability to Islam is dependent on an Imam’s perspective on how it relates to Islam’s purity theology. As such, I thought it necessary to share my own perspective on the term and Nietzsche’s sharp criticisms of the concept. Sinfulness is interpreted and analyzed as a hatred of human existence and I apply Carol Dweck and Heidi Grant Halvorson’s psychological research on beliefs in rigidity and fixed personality traits to sinfulness because it really does seem to apply accurately. Most people probably wouldn’t make the connection but the very vague idea of Original Sin is ingrained to people through indoctrination. The next chapter focuses on research related to the problem of Free Will likely having been debunked by modern science and the concept of Sin’s failure to measure-up to what we see as a nonsensical view of Free Will. For instance, I cite Beau Lotto’s Deviate to point out that the mind is a statistical distribution where too often you need to unlearn untrue beliefs before you can learn true ones and how much of your beliefs are pre-determined by the quality of your education, the language you speak, and too often how other people treat your ethnic background or religious background. I don’t mean specifically Western countries in this context, but rather apply it to countries like Lebanon where such backgrounds really determine your quality of life because the society is split so heavily on religious grounds. Lastly, I point out how even the defense of Free Will by neuroscientists effectively debunk the vague concept of Sinfulness because the application of the term is the reverse of what people expect. For instance, people who can fight off addictions would have more Free Will than those who are addicted to drugs and can’t fight them off and therefore the very concept as it is believed by most Abrahamic theists doesn’t work with real life circumstances of human experience. It would therefore be a useless fantasy and not an important moral teaching. I cover how the use of human violence to justify the concept sin falls into unjustifiable cognitive illusions where we as people put too much stock in negative events without comparing positive events.
The section on Abrahamic religions in Part II is a different approach for each of them. For Judaism, I cite the archaeological evidence debunking the Bible such as the lack of evidence that Moses was anything more than a fictional character. The lack of evidence of Israelites ever having been slaves, how their true origins are a breakaway group of Canaanites that had a cultural revolution to name themselves the Israelites, and takeover another agrarian plot of land separate from their erstwhile group. I cite news articles about how these myths negatively impact the contemporary rights of Jewish women and the LGBT within Israel. I further argue Nietzsche’s own critique where he pointed out that Judaism’s main problem is that it looks for an infallible cult leader referred to as the “Messiah” and how such a theological concept will always create harsh divisions where some Jewish folk will argue the new converts have been deceived by an imposter away from the Abrahamic God, while the new converts to the infallible cult leader’s faith will see their erstwhile community as having been deceived away from the Abrahamic God. Does that sound ridiculous? That’s the entire legacy of Christianity and arguably Islam. Which brings me to the sections on Christianity and Islam in Part II. With Christianity, I cover how the entire religion is a thorough self-contradiction that splinters off into thousands of smaller sects because of every aspect of the religion is based on self-contradictory beliefs. From the Sermon on the Mount’s self-contradictions, to the differences in interpretations by Christian soldiers and Christian pacifists, and to Jesus’s own claims on fulfilling or abolishing the Mosiac law depending upon what denomination of Christianity that you’re part of. If you probe more deeply into the theology, the self-contradictions of Christianity worsen to the point that people have to use open interpretation because the Bible at face value loses any coherence with reality. Christianity is Monotheistic yet follows the Pagan practice of 3 Gods in One (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are copies of ancient Mother Goddess and Father-God polytheism likely stolen from Roman mythology), Jesus is meek and mild while raving like a narcissist about being God and the Son of God, Heaven is a free gift but if you don’t accept Jesus then you go to hell forever, and doing sinful acts like murder or rape are morally bad but Jesus will forgive you regardless of how much you harm other people. In effect, Christianity is a bucket of self-contradictions that actually doesn’t have any moral values to teach people and I make my case more thoroughly in my book. By comparison, Islam is the dumbest religion of the major religious faiths. The entire project is a anti-intellectual cult where the Prophet Mohammad is celebrated as the perfect human being who can do no wrong and every Muslim must strive to be like him, so when Mohammad raped and murdered then Muslims must view that as self-defense or pure perfection beyond conventional morality that goes into an argument from ignorance. Western Muslims make excuses, while people in Muslim majority countries ignore child rape and torture because Mohammad proscribed them or because the Quran teaches such behavior as morally good for Muslims. Islam is also a purity cult, where non-belief is seen as going against the in-group purity and so Muslims are called upon to murder Ex-Muslims to protect the purity of the Ummah (Islamic nation). It’d be more correct to say that Islam is sophistry upon sophistry with its utterly nonsensical belief structure that uses its history and ascetic practices to appear deep and meaningful, when it is sheer madness made by a warlord who said whatever that he wanted off the top of his head because he made a successful cult that perceives everything that he does as infallible. It’s likely that Islamic success in war is what helped it encroach itself across multiple countries; Islam is built upon the success of human genocide and cultural genocide in tandem as it made its bloody mark upon the world. Moreover, people in ancient times believed that people fighting and dying for something must’ve meant that the religion therefore has a deeper meaning of profound truth for why their followers die for it. The success of Islam likely facilitated belief there was a deeper and underlying cause to the success and once you add cultural genocide, the worship of Mohammad as the perfect human being is completed. Islam’s internal theology is categorically against Enlightenment values of Free Speech and Free Expression; to be a Muslim, you must accept the Quran as unquestionable fact with no open interpretation like in Christianity. The Sharia isn’t a proscribed set of instructions that Muslims can pick and choose from, this is a lie taught by Western news media and it devastated my trust in Western corporate news organizations to discover that this was a blatant lie. It really broke my implicit trust in the mainstream media’s authenticity when I discovered how deeply they lie about Islam’s internal theology. The concept of Sharia in particular is somewhat like a theological pyramid that Muslims must follow; the Quran is on top which all Muslims must accept as unquestionable fact, then the Sunnah which teaches about Mohammad’s life, then the companions of Mohammad and the first followers of Islam are all explicitly used to dictate everything that a Muslim can or cannot do according to Islamic jurisprudence. Internally, Islam is taught as equivalent to science with Imams and Sheiks being words meant to designate “Islamic Scholars” — meaning the only people allowed to comment on Islam are people who accept the Quran, that Mohammad was a prophet, and the nonsensical beliefs in flying horses, pens that write on golden tablets, and talking hands and feet. Imams and Sheiks accept Islam as unquestionable fact and never contest these nonsensical beliefs. This theology of Sharia is why Muslims argue that any outsider who criticizes Islam – including Ex-Muslims – have no right to an opinion on Islam; many actually believe that this is deep and meaningful and equivalent to scientific discoveries. There’s so much more which I can’t delve into within just a blog post; a thorough critique on Islam would probably be longer than even all my longest blog posts combined as there is ample material on how insane Islam actually is. If you want to know more, and wish to separate what Islam teaches from what the Western mainstream media explicitly lies about its teachings, I’ve written it all in my book.
Note: This is Part 2 of 2 of my critique of people who I use to have more respect for. While many are accepting of my identity of Hindu Atheist/Hindu Anti-theist, there are those in the Western Atheist community who are not and there’s even worse problems on following through with their supposed beliefs and aims.
Shortly before writing this piece, I’ve found myself thrown out from yet another atheist discord server for “Islamophobia” for sharing Yasmine Mohammad’s tweets criticizing Islam. This is getting absolutely ridiculous. Some of these people identified as Anti-Theist, but refused to criticize Islam on the basis of it being “Islamophobic” to do so. Throughout my time there, discussions on criticizing Islam always devolved into accusations of personal bias on my part. I think I understand Sam Harris’s frustrations a bit better now and what he’s dealt with since 2006.
Perhaps beginning this blog post with the aforementioned paragraph seems to be in poor choice because I might be criticizing potential allies, but I really believed in the claims of prominent Western Ex-Muslims and I’ve been disappointed in the gap between the claims and the results. Now, I want to be clear that this isn’t the majority of them, but rather my favorite ones who inspired me. I’ve been assessing their activities after barely getting any meaningful response from them. I want to make it clear that I still absolutely support their activism insofar as support for human rights of people suffering from religious persecution in our contemporary time. Ex-Muslims are by far among the most thoughtful and intelligent people that I’ve met and it really is a shame that more people don’t support them or recognize their human rights. That being said, after seven months of trying to communicate and what felt like talking to a wall, I’ve become skeptical and pessimistic about their approach in their activism. Admittedly, some of it is varied; Armin Navabi and Ali A. Rizvi seem to be about promoting atheism completely, the organization Ex-Muslims of North America seems to have the same goal at least secondary to helping Ex-Muslims who have left the religion, and people like Imtiaz Shams seem more focused on reform while his organization Faith to Faithless is about supporting people who de-converted from their respective religious backgrounds. Sarah Haider recently stated on Twitter a few months back that she exclusively will focus on Ex-Muslim issues herself while being open to hearing Ex-religious stories of other backgrounds; she and non-Muslim atheist activists who escaped cult-like religions are forming a NYC conference in October 2019 to better inform people about how certain religions have cult-like behavior, and to better understand their dangers. Nevertheless, I think the approaches online, specifically on their Twitter interactions, need a re-examination.
My chief criticism are about either the inaccuracy of certain beliefs which when I challenge them on in Twitter (even bringing citations from historians via screenshot images) they never respond to them or when I challenge them on laughing off or ignoring historic abuses of the West, they never respond. It often feels like talking to a brick wall, especially when trying to communicate with the Ex-MNA Twitter account, Ali A. Rizvi, and Armin Navabi in particular. By comparison, Harris Sultan, Fay – the most Gracious, Zara Kay, Muhammad Syed, and sometimes Sarah Haider occasionally respond. However, when challenged on certain political topics that go into the realm of religion, it seems to be less often from a few of them. I want to be clear though: I’m frustrated and chose to write this because there has been no dialogue over issues they keep misconstruing and ignore my criticisms of their portrayal thereof. Over certain topics related to history or human rights, they just ignore my criticisms completely.
I feel this is an important issue to highlight, because Western Academia seems poised to just ignore painful truths of history, even if it means genocide denial for the sake of treating all religions as equal. After learning more about the issues within Islam, I had to re-evaluate what I thought was true from US Indology books and so I made this post to highlight a perturbing trend of genocide denial by US Indology departments that seem to be extending across Western Indology and it may be branching into other portions of Western academia as well. That is why I feel it was necessary to make this post because what I thought was fairly innocuous information in Unifying Hinduism is now incredibly alarming when I reflect back on it.
Claims by US Indologists from Chapter 10 of Andrew Nicholson’s Book “Unifying Hinduism“:
“HINDUISM: A MODERN INVENTION? “Hindu” was not originally a Sanskrit word but a Persian term used by Muslims to describe a regional or ethnic identity: the people living near the Indus, or Sindhu, river.44 Only at a relatively late date was the term adopted by Indians to refer to themselves, typically as distinguished from outsider groups known as turuskas (Turks) or mlecchas (barbarians). Cynthia Talbot has recorded the earliest usage of the word “Hindu” in an Indian language from inscriptions in mid-fourteenth-century Andhra, in which some Vijayanagara kings were described with the epithet “Sultan among Hindu kings” (Hindu-raya-suratrana).45 Talbot cautions, though, that in these inscriptions, “Hindu meant Indic as opposed to Turkish, not ‘of the Hindu religion’ as opposed to ‘of the Islamic religion.’”46 In Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava texts written in Bengali in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, “Hindu” was occasionally used to distinguish natives from yavanas or mlecchas.47 Although the context makes clear that these foreigners were Muslims, Gaudīya Vaiṣṇava writers did not state this explicitly until the eighteenth century, when the term musulmāna fnally became common usage in Bengali. In this case too, the word may have designated ethnicity generally and not a specific set of religious beliefs.
Further on in the chapter:
“Unlike later Hindu nationalist intellectuals, who sometimes recorded their fantasies of heroic and violent resistance to Muslim oppression, Sanskrit intellectuals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries responded with silence.28”
Source: Nicholson, Andrew J. Chapter 10: Hindu Unity And The Non-Hindu Other (4806-5293). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History (South Asia Across the Disciplines). Columbia University Press, 2010.
Today is evidently the Buddha’s birthday as recognized by several Buddhist schools of thought and Buddhist traditions. I thought I’d add this post as a celebration. The art is by Sherman Nepali and can be found here. For a quick rundown, on the celebration of the Buddha’s birthday, click here. More information can be found here.
I wanted to celebrate Buddhist art and culture due to the horrifying degree in which it is being culturally erased in Afghanistan, Maldives, and it is quite saddening how little of the Greco-Buddhist culture is left due to Islamic conquests that made a thoroughgoing attempt to destroy it all.
Before and After Images of The Taliban’s violent destruction of the massive 1700 year-old Bamiyan Cliff Statues in Afghanistan via dynamite due to their faith in Islam.
Islam has destroyed so much beauty and wonder, yet still can claim victimhood despite all its horrific actions. Meanwhile, actual peaceful teachings and cultures suffer being referred to as bigoted even after losing so much to such a violent and atrocious ideology as Islam.
Buddhism has such an inner sense of clarity, reflection, and sense of peace towards the world; building beautiful monuments, paintings, and civilizations. Yet, when it is forcibly taken away by a demented and psychotic belief system like Islam, Buddhists are depicted to be the aggressors. I ask you, who gives more value to a civilization? Which culture offers more beauty, wonder, and interest to our collective human experience?
I oppose anti-Muslim bigotry, Muslims should never endure violence because of terrorist organizations like the Taliban or stupid people like in Maldives, but don’t pretend Muslim culture isn’t complete shit.
While I may not agree with many doctrines, it should go without saying that Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, and Christianity all have beautiful depictions of art, music, and culture. We mustn’t ever allow them to be erased.
Although I’d like to praise this work, as I largely liked Nicholson’s analyses and enjoyed reading some of them, I’m compelled by my own academic standards to give Unifying Hinduism a negative review. First, let me just say that for the average reader that this book will possibly satisfy interest in examining interesting parts about Hindu philosophy that can be parsed through this text, but its largely with opinion pieces presented with an academic veneer. I read this book in conjunction with Oxford’s handbook of Indian philosophy in the hopes of better understanding the ancient Indian theology and its differences with Modern Hinduism since it was argued by Western academia that modern Hinduism can’t be called anything but a modern invention in reaction to oppressors. Nevertheless, I’ve since concluded these people don’t even bother following the clear references in the text, or understanding the legacy of inclusivity within Hinduism, or look into India’s history for a fuller understanding, or well . . . anything resembling what is typical in academia. Religious Studies is known as the least academic of all disciplines since it doesn’t use actual history, archaeology, or any type of credible research; the Oxford handbook is rife with paranoid conspiracy theories taken as fact, as an example. Religious Studies seems to try to purport some privileged understanding, but they seem to hold no real knowledge of Western analytical philosophy and seem to just be glorified translators with mistaken perceptions on their knowledge.
I was initially discouraged because reading the arguments of Edward Said, and the fact Indology takes them seriously, was very disconcerting. Nicholson prefaces the book by detailing how an entire school of Indology is based on Edward Said’s views on indigenous people. Said seems to be considered a pillar of Indology, and his assertion is that indigenous people were formed into their way of thinking by imperialism and therefore have no right to any opinion regarding their own ancient texts. Said argues none of an indigenous person’s views are credible, because they’ve been brought up as a result of imperialism. Allusions to the idea that indigenous people were merely savages before Western colonization abound as implications for this reasoning. However, Edward Said’s entire argument is a fallacy of Circular Reasoning; he asserts the premise with the conclusion. That is, he argues that indigenous people are products of Western imperialism and therefore can be dismissed because their opinions are products of Western imperialism. This is very flawed reasoning and the fact it’s a respected opinion in Indology seemed asinine to me since I could easily pick apart the flaws using analytical philosophy. In fact, this is even more bizarre than at first glance, since Indology seems to parade analytical philosophy in many of its texts . . . but don’t even have a basic understanding of it. There’s simply no logical or reasonable basis to respect Edward Said’s assertions; he’s homogenizing billions of people based on their ethnic background and literally devaluing the very idea they have any say based on their race. Moreover, the premise is false; it was the literal opposite of what Said espoused. Schools from Ireland to India were shut down or demolished, people were repeatedly starved, and mass genocides in internment camps due to cholera or starvation or both ensued under imperialism. As a direct result, religious fanaticism increased to a fever-pitch in response to such brutality. Pre-modern India, with mathematicians like Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, were more focused on logical reasoning than the sadly illiterate India that followed after British colonial rule. Nevertheless, I thought it couldn’t be comprised of all what Nicholson had to say, so I bought the book and eagerly began reading.
Some arguments are just teeming with arrogance. In one such argument in favor of a unified Hinduism, Nicholson argues in support of a Hindu identity and contends the assertions of his Indologist colleague Paul Hacker who tries to assert some bizarre generalization that a billion Hindus feel inferior and his even more bizarre re-contextualization of Modern Hinduism and pre-modern Hinduism into some neo-terms that have no basis. I held a favorable disposition for Nicholson and an unfavorable one for Hacker, I readily admit this and I found Nicholson provided a better argument . . . but by the end, Nicholson diverges into ad hominem and implies Hacker has no right to an opinion because he’s a Christian. I sort of just stared at that as it took me a moment to process that a Western scholar could be so blatantly bigoted and provide such a ridiculous error in reasoning. Nicholson attempts to argue a middle approach that rejects what he sees as Hacker’s presumable extremism. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s using the logical fallacy of ad hominem against Hacker. He’s also committing the middle-ground fallacy. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s given ample cause to dismiss this entire branch of Western academia as worthless; if even his fellow Indologists are considered to have valueless opinions, based on a bigoted notion against their religious beliefs, then how on earth is one suppose to make any progress in this discipline? What does progress even look like? What viewpoints can even be called worthwhile? Also, Indology admits it makes random guesses and will never actually progress with anything meaningful. What even is this? How can an entire department of academia lack so much in its credibility?
Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nicholson has done this. Andrew Nicholson, the translator of Siva Song and author of this book Unifying Hinduism, seems to lack the critical thinking faculties of the much-loved Analytical Philosophy that his colleagues repeatedly harp about when he adamantly defends his thesis advisor. He made a response to Rajiv Malhotra, claiming on twitter that Malhotra had plagiarized him, yet he never took Malhotra to court. In his criticism of Rajiv Malhotra, he actually argues that Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he doesn’t understand Sanskrit; Nicholson proceeds to completely destroy his own argument against Malhotra’s assertions that Western academia is making spurious assertions against Hinduism by attributing his own personal guesses on ancient Hinduism to the influence of his thesis advisor Pollock. Why is this self-refuting? Because it means that both Nicholson and Pollock’s ideas have absolutely nothing to do with Hinduism and are their own personal opinions on the religion. If Pollock’s ideas are original, which I don’t dispute, then he isn’t actually doing research since that means he isn’t trying to uncover an ancient philosophy of a religion analogous to an archaeologist, but rather just making things up without sufficient evidence. Evidently, Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he isn’t a translator and Hacker has no right to an opinion because he is a Christian.
In what could have been an interesting final analysis, Nicholson consistently asserts his confusion about why Islam wasn’t integrated into Hinduism and tries to use the Rama re-tellings of replacing Asuras with terms identifying Muslims as proof of Hindu bigotry. He poorly asserts that arguments about Islam being nihilistic is proof Hindus were ignorant since it was the same assertion against Buddhists. He seems entirely unaware of the genocide of approximately 80 million people that Islam committed in Northwestern India, he seems to fail to understand that the re-tellings are parallels to the religion of Zoroastrianism which also forbids the usage of interest rates and believes in sinfulness, and it’s made abundantly clear that he has absolutely no understanding of Islamic theology at all when trying to figure out why Hinduism never tried to adapt it. He consistently asserts Hindu bigotry, but makes no attempt at actually comparing the religions. How hard would it have been to simply seek advice and information from a fellow colleague within his own Religious Studies department? Failing that, how hard would it have been to google search a local Mosque or Islamic center and go ask about Islam there? How hard would it have been to simply research Islamic theology through google or go on the multitude of Islam learning websites to gain a better understanding in order to compare and contrast the religions? Yet, he doesn’t even bother to put even that much effort into this chapter that supposedly tries to compare the religions. This is just laziness on his part and it really repudiates his credibility. Even a ten minute google search of the basic facets of Islam would have answered this question; Islamic jurisprudence is specifically designed to prevent such attempts since any outsider’s views on the theology is considered worthless unless they follow Sharia, Jihad against non-believers of the Abrahamic God is a religious doctrine among the four forms of Jihad that a Muslim must commit to, and any Hindu that did compare them would have been brutally murdered similar to the massacres that made the Hindu Kush (Hindu Murder/Hindu Slaughter) mountains that the Islamic invaders named in their triumphant massacre of approximately 80 million people. Something these Indologists evidently refuse to even engage within any discussion. Never mind the silent destruction and cultural genocide of Zoroastrianism in Iran, Zoroastrianists and Jews of Iran are still persecuted to this very day in modern-day Iran.
He harps about the Hindu extremism, yet seems to be utterly ignorant of the fact India took in Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir that were being persecuted with kidnappings, mass murder, and organized rape campaigns by Muslims in all three countries and rebellious Indian State. Evidently, Pakistan is happy to protest against extrajudicial killings by their police on Pashtun groups that support Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but don’t concern themselves with the sprees of murder, rape, and torture of Hindu and Sikh minorities that have all but left for India for their own safety. Nor does Nicholson seem to think over Intra-Abrahamic violence that could also pose a substantial problem to his own confusion of why Hinduism never adapted to anything of Islam’s theology, he seems blissfully unaware of the outright genocide of Christian Iraqis by ISIS. Both of these events are contemporary and happened only a couple of years ago as of this writing. This shouldn’t be perceived as an attempt to deflect Hindutva or Indian army human rights crimes. The deaths of journalists throughout India and the Indian army’s rapes and murders should absolutely be held accountable with punishable jail time, but these horrible crimes cannot be the only issues highlighted regarding controversial topics for the sake of intellectual honesty. I don’t support the anti-intellectual stupidity of Hindutva or would ever condone what unsavory people in the Indian army have done to civilians, but the refugee crises that Islamic militia groups caused cannot be ignored. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh men, women, and children were being gang raped and/or murdered by Islamist groups in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. This is not limited to just them as victims; reports of Christian minorities being gang raped and mass murdered have also abounded but gain less notoriety in the West for whatever reason; evidently, forced conversions in safer countries like India of Hindus who respect Christians is more important to US Christian missionaries than helping their fellow Christians who suffer in the absolute worst offenses to human rights and human dignity under Sharia (Islamic Divine Law) in three separate countries. Not surprising, since helping their fellow Christians would cause them great personal risk and would actually be an act of compassion; instead of their forced conversions and unvarnished hatred of Hindus who respect their beliefs.
He and fellow Indologists argue about theories on how to unify Hinduism or why it’s impossible to unify Hinduism, but after reading several chapters of this book and the Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, I no longer believe they have honest intentions. In fact, I suspect this entire academic discipline never had any honest intentions and never focused on explicit texts or social customs. It should come as no surprise considering its imperialistic background. Nicholson admits that various forms of belief were accepted under the inclusiveness of Ancient India, he uses one example of Rama’s belief and how people who believed in Rama were free to practice belief when placed under as a component of Vishnu, but he actually seems to argue that this doesn’t prove any unified form of Hinduism. After that, he goes on the most vapid of arguments saying it doesn’t prove inclusiveness just because Hindus were inclusive by nature… What is even being argued anymore? He tries to argue the word Hindu not being used constitutes there being no unified Hinduism, but that’s an argument of semantics. Sanatana Dharma could easily qualify and we’d know what was being referred to. Overall, the fact they try to ignore the inclusiveness or denigrate Hinduism as not unified when not even looking at any historical accounts, denigrating the inclusivity they themselves find in their Sanskrit translations, and the fact they pick and choose such as when Nicholson ignores the parts of the Bhagavad Gita (in which Krishna says all ways, even those that don’t believe in him are acceptable and can lead to Moksha (self-liberation) so long as someone is selfless and helps others) in order to argue that Samkhya isn’t atheistic when their previous research asserts it had theistic and atheistic followers and that by the time of medieval translations the entirety of India had recognized Samkhya as atheistic school of Vedic theology.
It seems peculiar to me how so many Indologists can translate texts in which deities of various Gitas explain repeatedly that all other Gods and Goddesses are unified with them and that Brahman is an aspect of them; but somehow, even despite Nicholson himself translating the Ishvara Gita which has 2 whole chapters devoted to Shiva explaining how all the other deities and him are unified, they somehow conclude there is no unified Hinduism . . . despite the explicit, blatant, and repeated assertions on this unity in the texts themselves. In Siva Song (Ishvara Gita), Great Goddess Song (Devi Gita), and the Song of God (Bhagavad Gita), they all detail this unity with Brahman and the voluminous amount of other deities. If they had argued denominational differences, that would have been valid based on the evidence, but instead they argue different religions even when religions like Rama grow out of Vishnu. It no longer makes any sense. Hinduism has been based on inclusiveness, the belief in Brahman, and even acceptance of Atheism since ancient times; in fact, myself and even the average Westerner who’ve asked questions or been curious about researching Hinduism come to believe – based on Hindu theology – that it’s just separate interpretations and denominations of a unified belief and that people can take whatever interpretation they like from the Upanishads, Gitas, Vedas, and Mahabharata to form our own interpretation. The philosophical aspects of selfless service or doing good based on intrinsic desire in the Upanishads is just as paramount in understanding Hinduism as a philosophy too. Truth seeking and selflessness are paramount teachings. That’s how my family has seen it, how I’ve seen it, how the average US citizen who takes an interest sees it, and even how historically pre-modern India saw itself – the last one is according to Nicholson himself. The belief that they’re different religions seems largely unfounded and the Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy repeatedly references a paranoid conspiracy theory of an Aryan invasion, doesn’t use actual history or archaeology, and doesn’t present any credible evidence for its assertions beyond guesswork; Nicholson’s book also follows suit in this meaningless and trite guesswork presented as “academic” but lacking any actual substance or evidence-based reasoning. Therefore, this book by Nicholson, and possibly everything Indology does from Pollock’s racist and Nazi-friendly assertions (since the Aryan Race Theory is a debunked Western conspiracy only asserted by Neo-Nazis outside of Indology) to Doinger and Larson’s poorly reasoned and poorly argued books, and essentially this entire attempt by translators to act in the most pretentious manner possible should be rebuked and identified as the poorly reasoned trash that it is.
None of these people display any firm understanding of Analytical Philosophy, Nicholson’s book repeatedly uses several logical fallacies, his reasoning of Hindu bigotry largely lacks any historical or reasoned basis and he clearly never bothered to look into Islam before positing possibilities of why Hinduism never adapted it (in fact, I provided a more valid reasoning in this one review then he did in his entire chapter about the subject in his book), and like with the Oxford handbook, Larson’s books, and the actual texts of Hindu theology; I’m simply given more reasons to believe Hinduism was a unified theology and that Nicholson and his ilk are simply acting in bad faith since they never bring any valid evidence for their assertions. In fact, Nicholson’s very book gives ample evidence to this; from his ridiculous ad hominems, to the fact that he pointed out a medieval Marathi text that proves awareness of Islam was very well known at the time of its conquest in India. However, this example of the Marathi texts only gives me further credence to doubt the veracity and validity of Indology as an academic discipline since an entire department claiming to do religious studies was too lazy or too stupid to look into other language translations of a country with approximately 3000 different languages to verify any of their guesswork on evidence. These Indologists instead chose to make assertions strictly based on their fabricated ideas of Sanskrit teachings with no attempt at evidence-based research at all.
I can only conclude that the assertions of this book, and frankly all of Indology, are a worthless failure. These people are translators and they don’t have any special or privileged knowledge. Their books are nothing more than wild speculation and are of no value to understanding Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma.