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From Amar Kosaraju's, "And Justice For All," Fall '97 From Amar Kosaraju's, "And Justice For All," Fall '97 In my first week of college, I was approached by students from Campus Crusade for Christ who graciously wanted to save my soul. I explained to them I was a Hindu, but they continued to explain to me the wonders of Christianity. I was so disturbed because of their sheer arrogance in denying my beliefs and my faith. We do not have this doomsday philosophy of everybody being a sinner, but believe in the purity of the soul. In Hinduism, we believe in the concept of karma -- good and bad deeds decide your fate and not some external force. Our God does not sit in judgement of us, but looks for us to improve ourself in thought and action, thereby understanding the true nature of the world. We do not believe in our gods because they performed some "sideshow" miracles or because of a fear of hell, but because our religion is founded on a relationship of learning between our gurus and followers. While we accept every religion as different ways to reach different people, it must be obvious to you that Hinduism is the true path to God, so I urge you all to become Hindus. Growing up in this Christian society as a Hindu, I have been constantly battered with pro-Christian philosophies. Not only do I get every "Bible" question wrong on Jeopardy!, but I am also forced to listen to my eventual doom. In eleventh grade, my English teacher told me I was a pagan and my beliefs were essentially wrong. She told me to imagine the scenario of an escalator going to heaven and all those believing in Christianity having a ticket to get on this escalator to the pearly white gates. I told her that according to Hinduism we are all able to get different tickets to get on that same escalator. Unfortunately, she felt my escalator was going in the downward direction. In graduate school, I got a flier in my mailbox advertising a Christian Society Meeting along with a few passages from the Bible. One of the passages told me of my future damnation for not accepting Jesus and told me essentially my religion is wrong. This message infuriated me because they were not trying to educate me but were trying to convert me. It is the disguise of let us "educate you about our religion," when they really want to say, "let us convert you to Christianity," that completely offends me. This week there was a supplement published proclaiming "Jesus Week," and telling us to simply "learn something." The first page discussed the existence of God. The second page discussed Jesus as God. The third page gave us proof that Jesus is God. The following pages told us how we could follow God. I was suppose to "learn something," but it seemed to me I was suppose to learn why I should become a Christian. It is not my intention to attack Christianity or any other religion, but to promote an understanding and respect for different religions. It is as offensive to be targeted by Hari Krishnas or Jehovah's Witnesses. Each religion has an inherent value and is unique in providing a social and moral framework to different people in various countries. In the U.S., most people practice Christianity with its philosophies spilling into our educational and political systems. A great amount of charity work performed in this country is done by Christian-based organizations. In India, many of our schools were established by Christian missionaries. The state in India with the highest literacy rate is the state in which the missionaries spread the Christian philosophies. I do not question the value of Christianity or the absolute good that it's philosophies bring about. In fact, many Hindus believe Jesus is a reincarnation of one of our gods, so we accept many Christian doctrines. But I do object to the infringement of other people's religious rights. I should not be told what I believe is wrong or be told that I will end up in hell. The path to God for each of us is a unique experience based on many different factors. We each have beliefs that are a culmination of our environment, our families, our experiences and our religion. In the Jesus Week insert, the front page had the message in bold red letters "Learn Something." Let's follow the message by not only learning about our individual faiths, but open our minds to understand the faiths of other people so we can better understand and appreciate the different paths to each of us take to our gods.

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