It’s amazing how some people who will claim to know Jesus Christ as Savior nevertheless display a working assent to some beliefs that are actually from Hinduism and not characteristic of Christianity, and may especially be contrary to Christian belief as based in the Bible. These mannerisms have crept in from the New Age movement and from popular culture. Here are some ways that some professing Christians act more like Hindus:
When they call God, ‘the Universe’.
God is not the universe! He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and is separate from his creation. The simple statement of Genesis 1: 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” establishes that God has created the universe and is separate from it. The identification of God with the universe is actually a belief called pantheism, and it is part of the belief system of Hinduism. This does make a huge difference, of understanding that the all wise, all good, all powerful God of the Bible is a real person, and not the impersonal universe.
What do we lose when we show this belief? The reminder that even the vastness of our universe is in the hands of a loving God who has made us and has all things under his control.
When they talk about, ‘karma.’
Karma is a concept borrowed from Hinduism also. It refers to the retribution of good and evil actions over the cycle of lifetimes, and implies reincarnation, although John Lennon sang about, ‘instant karma.’ The word does not appear in the Bible. This phrase may be bandied about as flippantly as the sitcom character Maude used to tell people, “God will get you for that.” The Bible does talk about the justice of God, and his absolute fairness, although not in the terms of karma, but in terms of the omniscience of God and the second coming of Jesus. “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve” (Jeremiah 17:10). “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:12).
When they profess belief in reincarnation.
Surveys have consistently shown that a sizeable minority of professed evangelicals believe in reincarnation. Hebrews 10:27 speaks to this definitively: “ . . . man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment . . .” Reincarnation is, along with the belief in karma, is actually a belief in salvation by good deeds, only this salvation is not achieved in a single lifetime but over the course of more than one lifetime. This belief in reincarnation is as contrary to the orthodox Biblical teaching of salvation by grace through faith as any other way of salvation by works, and is contradicted by the normal Biblical texts such as Ephesians 2:8-9.
It may be also that those who claim to have a faith in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation and yet believe in reincarnation may be falling for such occult or spiritistic testimonies of past lives such as Bridey Murphy which have recounted in some popularized paperbacks which have long since been historically refuted. It may be that they have never been taught not to accept occult or spiritistic teachings because they are contrary to Biblical prohibitions such as Deuteronomy 18:9-13.
When they say that all religions say the same thing except in different ways.
I’ve heard this myself from Hindus, and some professed evangelicals may say this simply because they have never really come to terms with the exclusive claims of Jesus in scripture as the only way of salvation (John 3:36, 14:6, I John 5:11-12, Acts 4:12, Romans 10:9-10). It’s something they’ve heard and repeat without examining it according to the scriptures.
The implications of these statements drives home the continued need for Biblical preaching and teaching in our churches. There is a sizeable fringe of people in our churches who may give the right replies if they are asked about having made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but whose practical working theology is an extraordinarily unBiblical mish-mosh of things that they’ve heard on TV shows, heard from others in casual conversations, and read in cheap paperbacks.