With Dialogue, Understanding Can Be Achieved

May 2, 2007

Source: Muskegan Chronicle


While a "Hindu-Muslim Dialogue" would be fascinating, Thursday's "Hindu Christian Dialogue" is most intriguing -- especially so since it will take place here in Muskegon. Officially dubbed the National Day of Prayer Hindu/Christian Conversations, the event will encompass a full day's and evening's worth of events taking place at the Central United Methodist Church, 1011 Second in downtown Muskegon.

The ratio of Hindus to Christians in the West Michigan area is quite lopsided in favor of Christians, but worldwide, the score is a little more balanced, with some two billion Christian believers in 260 countries, and an estimated 800 million Hindu adherents, chiefly in India.

It is true that conflicts between these two great religions are rare, but controversy has arisen in various parts of the world where the two belief systems have butted up against each other. One such clash, cited by dialogue organizer Kryssis Bjork, occurred several years ago in Grand Rapids when a conservative Catholic group allegedly took umbrage at the chanting of visiting Buddhists.

Buddhism, although it shares many key tenets with Hinduism such as a belief in the cycle of reincarnation, is a separate religion practiced by an estimated 350 million people in some 90 countries. Christianity, of course, is based on a belief in the sayings, acts and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hindus subscribe to the idea that one must seek a connection to the spiritual source of the universe, sometimes referred to as the Godhead.