How has Hinduism impacted the Western world and Christianity?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry’s television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us warn us of the dangers of equating Yoga with Christianity.
Dr. Reagan: I would like to quote to you from Newsweek magazine, an article that I just thought was phenomenal. The article was entitled, “We Are All Hindus Now.”
“America is not a Christian nation. We are it is true a nation founded by Christians and according to a 2008 survey 76% of Americans continue to identify themselves as Christian. But according to a 2008 Pew Forum Survey, 65% of Americans believe that many religions lead to eternal life, including 37% of white evangelicals, the group that is most likely to believe that salvation is by Jesus only. Also, the number of people who seek spiritual truth outside the church is growing. 30% of American’s call themselves spiritual and not religious according to a 2009 Newsweek poll and that is up 24% since 2005. Stephen Prothero, a Religion Professor at Boston University, has long framed the American propensity for the divine, deli-cafeteria religion as very much in the spirit of Hinduism.”
Caryl Matrisciana: Growing up I thought myself a Christian and yet by the time I was an adult I was involved in all of thsee New Age new spirituality, pagan, occult, Hindu, eastern mystical practices and yet I truly, truly believed I was a Christian. So, I can see where a huge percentage of people would answer that kind of survey responding, “Yes, I am a Christian.” But, do they actually understand Biblical Christianity? That’s the difference.
Dr. Reagan: Most are probably what you would call “Cultural Christians,” just born into a Christian society and go to church, but never really know the Lord.
Caryl Matrisciana: That’s the danger. We are all born with a vacuum inside of us to know God. Society through the celebrities and through movies stars are turning towards Buddhism, Hinduism, and so even are our Christians from the pulpit who are speculating. Not even speculating, recently Rick Warren was inviting his three expert guests who are all involved in Eastern Mysticism, Hinduism, and Transcendental Meditation to come onto the screen. So, if you’ve got a pastor like Rick Warren telling the people to follow their health and well-being programs and you think, “Here is a Christian telling me to do things,” you don’t realize that all of this is becoming confused and enmeshed in our Christian culture and in our Christian churches. By testimony from respected authorities we are embracing Eastern mystical ideas.
Identifying the Signs
Nathan Jones: How do we identify falling into Eastern mysticism then? You grew up in Hinduism so you’ve lived through Hinduism even in an American and British type setting and are more aware of what you see going on around us, but for the rest of us who believe that we are in a Christian nation or even maybe a post-Christian nation, how can we identify that Hinduism has reached into the United States and where it’s taking hold like in our churches?
Caryl Matrisciana: That’s a great question. You know, there is only one way — that is to really know your Bible. It was the first time that evening when I gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ that I went on a crash course because they asked me, “Have you got a Bible?” I answered, “No, Bible?” I was a Christian all my life and didn’t know that I needed a Bible. I then read the Bible from cover to cover in those six weeks, five times, because I had a hunger.
Dr. Reagan: When you give your life to something you really give your life!
Caryl Matrisciana: Right, you suddenly realized you’ve been missing the bread of life, the water of life, the food of life and it suddenly fills you up. So, I think the way you can really tell a transformed Christian is if they have a love of the Word, a love of the truth, and that they are filled with the Holy Spirit that then applies that truth. So, in answer to your question, we need to be able to discern what is evil from what is good.
For example, you can work out from that Pew Forum survey that talked about how many Christian believe that there are many paths to eternal life. Not true! If you know the Bible you know that Jesus says He is the way, the truth and the life. We get abundant life through Him. He introduces you to the Father. You can only come to the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.
Dr. Reagan: But, you see our major value today in American society seems to be tolerance. It is so intolerant to say Jesus is the only way in today’s culture.
Caryl Matrisciana: Yes, because that is a part of Hinduism. You see, Hinduism is all embracing. It believes that all paths lead to God. You can have your truth and we can all have our own truth and let’s just have unity.
Dr. Reagan: They believe you can have your elephant god and I can have my rat god and that’s okay.
In the last part of this series “Escaping from Hinduism” with guest Caryl Matrisciana, we’ll learn what the Hindu view of God is.