A new paradigm for understanding todays world

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The New Paradigm for Understanding, Teaching, and Testing Sonographic Principles

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Urban Population account of unit. The Aryans, understood as the forefathers of present high caste Hindus, are foreigners to India. These invaders destroyed an earlier Indian civilization and established their own, which included the caste system by which millions of Dalits outcastes have been oppressed for millennia. Indian Christians commonly adhere to this paradigm, most of whom are from Dalit backgrounds. The most recent edition of Operation World even presents it as fact.

The dominant paradigm in the academic world today lies between these two extremes, which both have strong ideological biases that influence the paradigms. An Aryan migration or infiltration into India from Central Asia still seems a necessary historical construct. The linguistic evidence of the close association of Greek and Sanskrit languages, similarities between ancient Persian and ancient Indian faiths and practices, and differences between Rig Vedic and Indus Valley phenomena all point in this direction.

But that these Aryans destroyed an earlier civilization is not supported by any evidence. That they imposed a caste system based on racial superiority is far too simplistic a construct to accept at face value. Scholars generally agree that the origins of caste are unknown and unlikely ever to be fully traced, as Bernard Cohen states:. In the first paradigm, various Hindu scriptures teach about a four-fold caste system, referred to by most books that introduce Hinduism. This caste system is varna; Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra caste varna groups, with the Dalits traditionally outcastes or untouchables as a fifth group outside of those four.

Caste in this sense may have never been more than a theoretical construct that did not clearly relate to ground realities.

The beginning of everything: New paradigm shift for the infant universe -- ScienceDaily

Certainly today this is not particularly relevant especially when vocations are assigned to the different castes, as is often done in textbooks. The simplicity of the construct too easily conceals the dynamism evident in caste as it has developed and changed over many centuries. The second paradigm, caste as jati, is much more true to ground realities; there can be no final list or count of jatis.

Within the Brahmin caste there are many; among the Dalits there are hundreds. Individuals relate to their family and jati and find a deep sense of belonging and security within each. The only way to enter either a caste or Hinduism is by birth, with exceptions for some modern conversion-to-Hinduism sects. Some scholars debate whether caste affiliation was always so strictly tied to birth.


The idea that birth in a higher caste is due to the merit of previous lives is a deeply problematic idea in light of biblical teaching; yet this doctrine is not taught today nearly as widely or as strongly as in the past. What is the relationship of caste to Hinduism? In the old paradigm of Hinduism as a religion, caste was a social system sanctioned by but clearly transcending that religion.

In the new paradigm of Hinduism as a civilization, caste is the fundamental social order of that civilization.

To present the gospel within the Hindu context is thus to present it within a caste-based social order which can only be changed by gradual processes within the civilization a process that is underway, as seen by Dalit uprisings, a Dalit president and a Dalit speaker of the Indian Parliament in recent years. This tendency to misinterpret religious Hinduism in a non-theistic sense is compounded for Western Christians by the development of the New Age Movement, which has roots in some schools of Eastern philosophy and is generally anti-theistic.

From State to Democracy: The Anatomy of a Paradigm Shift

In reality, most Hindus believe in and relate to God. That is enough to show that Hinduism in its varying religious expressions is fundamentally theistic. A more radically false statement is the suggestion that Hinduism teaches one to find God and salvation within oneself. That we can encounter the divine in our innermost being is not a strange idea to most Hindus; is God not in all things, including in us?

In theory Hindu teaching affirms three paths to salvation knowledge, works or devotion , but in reality Hindusim is about devotion bhakti. The ferment of the times makes any prognosis about the future an extremely speculative affair, but Hindu civilization will certainly continue to adapt, adjust and thrive for many centuries. Ample room for disagreement exists on varying emphases in such complex study, but we need to discard standard orientalist and evangelical paradigms.

Recent scholarly insight into Hindus and Hinduism screams for application to contextual biblical witness for Christ in the Hindu world. This must be abandoned for an incarnational approach that seeks to plant the gospel within Hindu civilization. The fundamental stumbling block to the gospel for most Hindus remains that Christianity is a foreign religion; all evidence shows that this Hindu perception is true. Clearer thinking about Hinduism should lead to a deeper commitment to radically incarnational contextual approaches to the Hindu world.

Hindus need to see and feel that Christ and his good news are vitally relevant within their civiliza-tional heritage. Without such shifts of paradigm and approach, we have little reason to hope that present and future Hindus will heed the biblical message any more than their forefathers. Endnotes 1. Said wrote from a Middle Eastern perspective that barely mentioned India. For an appreciative but critical look at his work as it applies to India, with suggested refinements of his ideas, note Trautmann , Extended treatments of orientalist distortions of Indian realities can be studied in Inden and King That Hinduism is a parliament of religions is almost a truism among many participants in South Asian life; for example R.

Nevertheless, papers in that same volume by Romila Thapar and R. Frykenberg largely support Stietencron, and the whole purpose of the gathering was to wrestle with the obvious need to move beyond essentialist definitions of Hinduism to recognition of the dynamic diversity of Hindu teachings and traditions. Quoted from Sumithra , 13 , where no further reference is indicated.

References Bharati, Dayanand. Living Water and Indian Bowl. American ed. Pasadena, Calif. Cohen, Bernard S. India: The Social Anthropology of a Civilization. New Delhi: Oxford University Press. Das, R.

Edited by David Brady and Linda M. Burton

Frykenberg, Robert Eric. Hermann Kulke and Gunther-Dietz Sontheimer. Delhi: Manohar. King, Richard. Kulke, Hermann and Gunther-Dietz Sontheimer, eds. Hinduism Reconsidered. Kuhn, Thomas. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Post, Werner.

Time for a new Paradigm

Indian edition. Bangalore: Theological Publications in India. Stietencron, Heinrich von. Sumithra, Sunand. Christian Theology from an Indian Perspective. Bangalore: Theological Book Trust.