Tuesday, September 28, 2004

4 - Jesus in India

4.Keith: And how do you explain the existance of historical artifiacts in India - click here - that make reference to someone named Jesus AND the striking similarities between Jesus's teachings and certain Buddhist texts?

Matt Cook (who's wife is from Pakistan) replies:
This theory mainly comes from an Urdu/Muslim work called Masih Hindustan Mein which means Christ in India. You see, the general idea from the Muslim camp is that Jesus never did die on the cross at all. In fact, one of the prevailing theories is that Judas (a good guy in Muslim tradition) took His place. Either way, the Qur'an makes it very clear that Jesus did not die on the cross, but someone was in His place. After the cross incident, there are two main schools of thought. The more traditional Muslim one is that Jesus was taken up into heaven and will return to judge the world at some point in the future (sounds familiar, eh?). The second one, from the book I mentioned, is a bit more interesting. It states that Jesus never did ascend to God. He lived a very long life (125 years) and died. In fact, there is a grave in His honor in Kashmir. It also says that He was a travelling prophet, going through jungles and visiting the lost tribes of Israel through modern-day Pakistan and eventually died there.

This veiw is really only held by a sect of Islam called Ahmaddyia (not too sure I spelled that right). This sect is really only found in Pakistan and is not considered to be truly Islam by other Muslims.My point in saying all of this is that the view that Christ travelled to India is only held by a small, varient sect of a religion that already has some funny vews of Christ (the Muslims also believe that Jesus, as a child, made birds of clay fly). It's not a buddhist thing, as our friend suggests, it's purely Muslim. The reason people often think that it has something to do with Buddhism is because Gautama (called The Buddha) had a similar life of self-sacrifice, temptation, etc. Some of the same words were used to describe Buddha that were used for Jesus. Buddha is called the light, the refuge, the king, etc. He is said to have been tempted by the devil, to have been full of compassion, the list goes on. I'd like to note that Buddha, however, lived many hundreds of years before Christ came into this world. The similarities between the teachings of Christ and Buddha must be coincidental. Many teachers preach the morality that Christ did. I've read a few of these Buddhist texts that people claim influenced the teachings of Christ. Let's remember, the idea is that Christ went to India after the incident at the cross. This is after the Gospels were written! Buddhism had made no inroads to Israel at that time. It's logistically impossible for Buddha to have influenced the Gospels like you suggest. Remember that every person had some sense of morality in them from the image of God. These "striking" similarities mean nothing. The view of Christ going to India is mainly from a deviant sect of Islam, nothing more. I could say more if you want, but only is you're still struggling with this idea. I'm cutting it short for space and time right now. Later I can bring out the specific texts in question, but not for now, this is too long as is.

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