Take a Hindu to Lunch
It is indeed a good piece, the more we learn about each other, the less frictions and worries we will have about others. Every beautiful religion starts with greetings of peace in a variety of ways, all in all, it is calling on strangers to connect with you, breaking the ice and barriers.
Hinduism is one of the misunderstood religions, instead of learning about others, we tend to make judgments about others. If you talk ill about Hindus or others, it is because of your shortcoming, you have remained ignorant about others, or whatever you have learned, you have learned bad gossipy things about them. It is the same story about Jews, Muslims, Sikhs or others, and Mexicans, Chinese, Arabs, Indians, Pakistani or Europeans. We need to clean our minds and see other persons as humans like us.
As the population grows, each group will be accepted as a part of the society over a period of time after enduring discrimination and harassment... Baptists, Catholics, Jews, African Americans, and Mormons have gone through it, and currently Muslims, and GLBT community is going through that phase. Hindus will be going through similar situations, and they have their own CAIR, ADL, SC, LULAC like of organization in HAF, to get them through and they will. Eventually, the United States will be the most pluralistic nation on the earth. Knowledge leads to understanding and understanding to acceptance of the otherness of others.
Take pride in having friends from every faith, don't be afraid to lose your prejudices, by God lose them, there is joy in it, and serenity in it. I am proud of my friendships with every one from Atheists to Zoroastrians and every one in between, including friends from GLBT community. Set yourselves a goal of at least 3 friends from each group, when prejudice vanishes, you will be the happiest person on the earth.
Full article at - http://foundationforpluralism.blogspot.com/2014/08/take-hindu-to-lunch.html
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Courtesy : Huffington Post
By Philip Goldberg
In a recent survey by the Pew Research Center,
3,217 Americans were asked to rate religious groups on a 0-100 "feeling
thermometer," with 0 representing the coldest and 100 the warmest.
Hindus received a lukewarm rating of 50.
There are several reasons for this, I believe. The first is obvious, and not terribly surprising: in a related Pew poll,
only 22 percent of Americans said they know a Hindu. This makes sense,
since almost all self-identified Hindus are of Indian descent, and while
theirs is a hugely successful immigrant story, they've been trickling
in only since immigration laws were changed in 1965 and they constitute
less than 1 percent of the population.
Your doctor may be Hindu.
Your kid's engineering professor may be Hindu. The owner of the hotel
down the street may be Hindu. Mindy Kaling, Sanjay Gupta and the last
six winners of the national spelling bee may be Hindus. But still, not
many people actually know a Hindu personally. And it's only when we
really get to know members of a different religious, ethnic or racial
group that we drop our preconceptions and stereotypes and let that nice
warm feeling in.
If any proof of that is needed, look at the
religious groups that ranked warmest on the feeling thermometer: Jews
(63) and Catholics (62) (Evangelical Christians scored 61). A century
ago --even half a century ago -- scores like that would have
been unimaginable; Jews and Catholics were reviled and discriminated
against. But over time the rest of America got to know them, and now
they make up the entire Supreme Court.
A second reason much of the
country lacks warmth for Hindus is that many Americans harbor
misconceptions about their religion. This is partly because the story of
Hinduism was written mainly by British colonists and Western scholars,
and various errors have yet to be corrected in textbooks, despite the
efforts of advocacy groups like the Hindu American Foundation and the Dharma Civilization Foundation.
Among other things, aspects of Indian culture have been conflated with
the nation's dominant religion, so that the caste system and other
antiquated customs have come to be seen, erroneously, as central
features of Hindu doctrine.
Eventually, that will change, of
course, and Hindu children won't be taunted as monkey worshippers. When
was the last time you heard someone accuse Jews of drinking the blood
of Christian children at Passover?
But here's the weird thing
about the Pew surveys. While only 22% of Americans know people who call
themselves Hindus, almost everybody knows someone whose life and belief
system has been impacted by the multifaceted knowledge base that came
to be called Hinduism.
As I documented in my book, American Veda,
for about 200 years now we have been absorbing, assimilating and
adapting insights articulated ages ago in the Himalayas. Some of our
most influential thinkers, writers, musicians and scientists were, in
varying degrees, shaped by those ideas before transmitting them to the
rest of us. In addition, the practices propagated by Indian gurus have
taken root in the culture, with millions meditating, chanting and
stretching into yoga postures. The fast-growing category of Spiritual
but not Religious (SBNR) would not have arisen if practices we think of
as Hindu and Buddhist were not made accessible to spiritual seekers and
secular self-improvers alike.
But here's the rub: very few of the
non-Indian Americans whose values, beliefs and spiritual pursuits are
Hindu-esque, or Hindu-like, or quasi-Hindu, call themselves Hindus. They
may say they're students of Indian philosophy. They may call themselves
yogis, or devotees of this guru or that lineage. They may say they
follow the philosophy of Vedanta.
They may say that their core beliefs were shaped by the Bhagavad Gita
or the Upanishads. Some--including a number of Indians--may say they
follow Sanatana Dharma, the term used for centuries before colonial intruders coined the term Hinduism.
Why the reluctance to self-identify as Hindu? Some see it as a form of Hinduphobia. I think it's an aversion to all
religion. The yogis, meditators, devotees and SBNRs don't like
religious labels or religious lingo, and "Hinduism" is, in common usage,
a religious term. They prefer generic, nonsectarian spiritual jargon.
Plus, no guru ever asked followers to abandon their own religions -- or
lack of religion -- and no Hindu ever tried to persuade anyone to
convert. The Hindu-based teachings that came to us from India were
presented as universal principles, more akin to scientific laws than
religious doctrine, that could be viewed in religious or secular terms
according to the individual's orientation.
And therein lies the
irony: that universality is one of the great virtues of what we call
Hinduism, and it's also the reason the term is not used by so many of
the people it has impacted. In time, as Indian-born Hindus assimilate
further and accurate information about Hinduism disseminates, the
linguistic issues will sort themselves out. Meanwhile, the temperature
on the feeling thermometer will surely rise.
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