Christianity and the Kṛṣṇa Conception (03/06/12)
Thanks for your email. Here are few thoughts on the matter.
The idea that God is old and wears white robes developed at a time when Christianity was adopted as the state religion of Rome. God then took on the attire of a Roman Caesar or a Roman senator. His appearance as old was logical for their thinking… that if God created the universe then he must be the oldest.
However, neither the Romans or the Christians have been known throughout history as philosophers or their developed spiritual thinking. The earliest forms of Christianity from the 1st and 2nd century were very different than Roman Christianity of the 3rd and 4th century which in the end became the dominant form of Christianity (the others being destroyed) due to the power of Rome.
Early Christianity had a very different view of God and of Jesus. For one thing salvation had nothing to do with accepting that Jesus died for our sins on the cross and was resurrected on the 3rd day and ascended to the Kingdom of God. On the contrary, early Christians believed that Jesus came to this world to teach secret knowledge of who we are, how we got here and were our eternal home is situated and that one who had received that knowledge would enter the Kingdom of God. These early Christian ideas are in some ways similar to the concepts of Kṛṣṇa found in India.
The Kṛṣṇa conception of God is that God is forever youthful and playful. He is not vengeful and He does not condemn someone to burn in hell eternally because they are non-believers or have made a bunch of mistakes.
In the Kṛṣṇa conception there are concepts of reincarnation and karma. Reincarnation meaning that when this life is over we take birth again and begin a new life. Karma means that there is a reaction, good or bad, to the deeds we perform in this life and that karma also determines what kind of enjoyment and suffering we may experience in the next life.
The Kṛṣṇa conception is very different from the Christian idea although some similarity may be seen. Those similarities are mostly external. When it comes to knowledge of who we are, where we come from, what is the purpose of life, what happens after death and more — well, the difference is like day and night.
Our basic conception is that all living beings are eternal and that Kṛṣṇa is the supreme living being. The process of bhakti-yoga is the process that helps one to realize his or her eternal identity and to qualify for life beyond the material universe in the spiritual sky where there is no death or suffering of any kind, where life is eternal, blissful and complete in knowledge.
The details of this last paragraph fill hundreds of volumes of books written 5000 years ago in India and are available to anyone desiring to go deeper into the subject.
Happy traveling and happy surfing!!!!