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Letters to the Editor

On speaking out against CCC advertisement

We are writing in response to a full-page advertisement from the Campus Crusade for Christ, written by Margaret Bothner '98, which ran in the Friday, January16 issue of the 'Prince.' Starting from the premise that she need not "show what other religions or world views lack in order to illustrate why Christianity is so amazing," Ms. Bothner proceeds to describe what she considers some of the main and unique characteristics of Christianity. In the process, she cites several other religions, including Hinduism, and explains that while "all other religions are man's attempt to reach God, . . . Christianity is about God coming to man."

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We are Hindu, and wish to clarify the rather cursory and generalized description that Ms. Bothner assigned to "all other religions." We do not claim to speak for any other religions, nor for all Hindus, but merely for ourselves as concerned Hindu students on this campus.

We view Hinduism, in its essence, as self-realization is God-realization. A fundamental tenet of Hinduism is that there is divinity in all of us; reaching God isn't about man reaching upward, but about each of us looking inward. Life, then, is a journey of self-development, awareness, and soul-searching. Also, we urge that religious terms be used appropriately and offer a correction to Ms. Bothner's one-line description of Hinduism. When she declares that "Hindus strive to achieve karma," she confuses the terms "karma" and "moksha." "Karma," in a nutshell, is the chain of cause and effect operating in the moral world, or the concept that every action one takes has a reaction and implication for one's life. "Moksha" is the ultimate release from worldliness, and THAT is an ultimate goal of Hinduism. Such "salvation" sought through non-Christian means isn't a pagan mirage strained for by unenlightened, non-Christian masses. It is a deep spiritual concept that, in Hinduism, is sought through intense scrutiny of self and surroundings. Moksha is a state of ultimate union with God through ultimate peace in one's own mind, body, and soul – an ideal that we doubt any religion would disagree with.

We were disturbed that "all other religions" were painted with one single broad stroke, thus setting up a false dichotomy and implied hierarchy between Christianity and the rest of the religious world. We hope that when Ms. Bothner says it is unnecessary "to show what other religions or world views lack" in order to demonstrate the beauty of her own, that the underlying recognition truly is that the other religions she cited (Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism) DON'T lack anything in comparison to Christianity. As the Mahabharata, a Hindu epic, proclaims, "Vasudeva kutumbakum," or, "The world is one family." In the midst of proclamations and exchanges about religion and spirituality, we would all do well to keep in mind the words of a nineteenth-century Hindu philosopher, Swami Vivekananda: "The truth is one, though the paths may be many." Sujata Barai '98 Pratik Shah '98 Kruti Trivedi '00

On speaking out against CCC advertisement

I'm writing in response to the advertisement placed in the Daily Princetonian by the Campus Crusade for Christ. When first glancing upon the title of the advertisement, I though maybe the CCC would make an admirable effort to respect and tolerate all religions on campus. Unfortunately, my brief hope that those who write would show a sign of maturity quickly ended after reading the first paragraph.

It's bad enough that the author needed to harp on other religions by proclaiming them to be only superficially related to those of Christianity and its teachings; but then to wrongly attribute certain characteristics to them shows me a complete lack of respect and understanding of other religions and the people who practice them.

Although I am Hindu, I have complete and utter respect for all other religions and their viewpoints, their texts, and their practices. I have had the fortune of reading other religion's texts and attending other religion's services, and I have found each enlightening in their own way. Does this mean that other religions are better than mine, or that I have the right to say that my religion is better than others? Hardly. Rather, I would think that if nothing else, I would believe strongly in my own, but have ore respect for others.

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In addition, after speaking to various priests, rabbis, and pandits, I've found nothing but respect from them for the teachings of religions other than their own. Ironic that those who I would think are the most religious in all religions, are also those who are most tolerant. It's unfortunate that in contrast, the author of CCC's ad only shows ignorance and complete disrespect for other faiths on this campus. I have great respect for the man Christ, and the philosophy he taught; I find it hard to believe that Christianity's lessons of love and tolerance can be so misconstrued by some of those who practice it. Vishwa S. Raj '99

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