I got a note from a friend this morning that was signed: જય શ્રી કૃષ્ણ! Which translates to: Jai Shri Krishna! Now I had to hunt around a bit to figure out exactly what that’s supposed to mean, but I finally got a basic consensus on: “I praise, and pay respects to the Krishna within you.”
So, what makes the Hare Krishna religion so different from Christianity? What exactly do they believe? Here’s a little summary:
Like all false religions, salvation for the Hare Krishna is reduced to a series of works. Yes, devotion and relationship are packed into their belief system. But these are built up from works. And, in practice, there remains a push to chant more, dance more, and always work harder lest one retain some bit of karmic debt and fail to enter into Krishna consciousness. Self-denial and sacrifice are also crucial for salvation in ISKON. Salvation for the Hare Krishna is thoroughly entwined with the Hindu concept of karma, or retributive justice. This teaching requires belief in reincarnation and/or transmigration of the soul. One’s works, good and bad, are measured and judged either for or against him. He continues to be reincarnated into higher life forms if his deeds are good, or lower life forms if his deeds are bad. It is only when his good deeds have counterbalanced his bad deeds that he can cease the cycles of rebirth and realize his oneness with Krishna.
How different this is from the compassionate and merciful God of the Bible who “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Bible is clear that salvation is by grace through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). No amount of good deeds can ever achieve salvation for anyone. And even where Hare Krishnas rightly assert that a loving relationship is necessary for salvation, Krishna is still the wrong object of devotion. Hare Krishnas, like all humanity, have only one hope for eternal life: Jesus Christ, crucified, resurrected and exalted forever. All other paths, sad to say, lead to destruction. Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me” (John 14:6) for “there is salvation in no other one; for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
But, you might be saying, “Come on, Anna! Aren’t you being just a little narrow-minded? I mean, in both religions people try to be ‘good,’ ‘kind,’ and ‘nice.’ Both religions believe there is a God and both talk about Jesus… Isn’t that enough?”
No, it’s not at all…
God says over and over that He alone is the one true God (e.g. Isa. 44:6). God Almighty utterly condemns atheism, polytheism, pantheism, and dualism. God is there, and the only true God is the God of the Bible. He is our creator. All other “gods” are false gods. Allah is a false god; Brahman is a false god; Krishna is a false god. They are mere idols. Scripture goes so far as to say that they are really demons (I Cor. 10:20). Obviously one cannot come to know the one true God through any of those false gods.
Likewise, all the prophets of other religions are false prophets. Jesus said, “All who came before me were thieves and robbers” (John 10:8). They were wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matt. 7:15). They did not get their messages from God, and therefore they cannot lead us to God. In fact, they only lead away from God. This applies to their writings as well (the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, etc.). God Himself said, “If they do not speak according to this Word [the Bible], it is because they have no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Simply put, one cannot know the one true God by reading the religious texts of non-Christian religions. Why? Because they are lies and frauds. We know God only through reading God’s true book, the Bible.
So, then, “Comparative Religion” is wrong to assert that “All religions are basically the same.” Such a claim is utter nonsense. Islam and Judaism believe in one God; Hinduism believes in many gods; while Buddhism believes all is God. They contradict each other and so cannot all be true. However, there is a sense in which they are all alike. They are all alike false religions. Some are closer to truth than others. But none of them lead to God. They all lead to Hell. Paul warned of false religions, including perversions of true Christianity, in Gal. 1:9, “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed!” False religions are accursed and bring down God’s damnation on all who follow them.
The good news is that God does have a way of salvation. He has given us a bridge whereby we can know Him. Jesus Christ is that bridge. Are Christians dogmatic to say that Jesus is the only way to God? Yes. We are dogmatic because God is dogmatic. Why do we believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God? Because God says so.
~ Curt Daniel, “Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to God?”
So, this morning I wrote my friend back and explained: હું તમને પ્રેમ, એક ડિયર, પરંતુ માત્ર ઈસુ સ્વામી છે. કૃષ્ણ એક ખોટી દેવતા છે. (For those who don’t read Gujarati, you might want to run that through Google Translate.)
Please pray for protection from the demonic realm and for spiritual blinders to be lifted from this friend’s eyes. Only God can open the human heart to hear His truth. I care about her very much, and cannot bear to think of her suffering in God’s place of punishment forever. May the Lord look mercifully on her, may He bring conviction for sin, may He make her spirit alive, may He draw her to Himself and new birth in Christ Jesus. It is in Jesus’ precious Name and Blood I pray. I pray.