On October 26th at work I had a conversation about religion with a woman who sits next to me at work I’ve known her for over 15 years. She knows that I’m a devout Christian. But we’ve never had a substantial conversation about faith. It started because, over lunch that day, I was reading an article about Karma and reincarnation. So I asked her if she goes to Temple on a regular basis for her Hindu faith? She said she only goes on special occasions like festivals. I asked her why she didn’t go regularly? She said that the parking at her Temple is horrible. She mainly went to the Temple when her kids were young just to teach them about the faith and about all the stories and all the festivals.
I asked her also does she read her scriptures? She said no not really. She said that her parents do. I asked her why she doesn’t read them? She said it’s mainly because of time she doesn’t have enough time.
I then asked her about reincarnation and Karma. I mentioned to her that I had read an article about it today and I wanted to hear from a real Hindu whether these things I read in the article or true. I asked her if she believes in Karma, and she said yes, and that the concept of Karma is very important for Hindus. She said that’s the way she was raised. I asked her do you believe that you will be reincarnated? Again she said that’s the way I was raised. She said she doesn’t really think about it that much. I asked her why. She said she doesn’t like to think about death.
We were talking a little bit about some of the similarities between Christianity and Hinduism. I asked her about the nature of God that this article said that God was really impersonal and that he talked about something called Brahman. She said that there are three main Gods the Creator, the Destroyer and the Comforter. I think it was Vishnu, Shiva and some other name I don’t know if it was Krishna. One of them was like sir Swati or something like that. So that was different from what the article had said.
Then she said she talked about the goal of Hinduism which is to reach… she couldn’t think of the name and I finished her thought: Moksha. She was impressed that I knew the name of that. She asked doesn’t Christianity believe in reincarnation? I said, “No Christianity teaches that you die once and after that you face judgment for sin.” She said, “Oh, so it’s either heaven or hell, right?” I said yes. It depends on whether you believe that Jesus died to pay the penalty for your sins. If you accept that you will go to heaven. If you don’t accept that you will go to hell to pay for your own sins for eternity. We acknowledge that the topic of karma is a little bit similar to sins. In Christianity we have a concept called Grace. I explained what that means to her. Whereas with Karma you’re actually paying for your own sins, in Christianity Christ pays for your sins if you accept his sacrifice on your behalf.
It was a good conversation it was on the way out the door at the end of the day and it probably lasted 15 minutes or so. It was a very cordial conversation and she actually thanked me, because she said you don’t really think about these things trying to explain to your religion to someone unless you have to actually explain it to them. I hope that I’m able to talk to her again in the future.