Monotheism (was: Crushing Defeat)

jkirk jkirk at SPRO.NET
Fri Mar 10 23:12:09 UTC 2006

I would not apply the term "theologically correct" to any discussion of 
religion(s) in India. There was no "church" comparable to that in Mexico, 
complete with theological doctrines and institutions.
Buddhism also does not have any one, central hierarchical "church" per se 
from which theological doctrine issues. Therefore, if some villagers or 
non-monastics think and act as if the Buddha were a god, no problem.
Frankly, I find the term "theology" to be not useful in the context of many 
of the world's religions or "spiritual practices."

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Lance Nelson" <lnelson at SANDIEGO.EDU>
Sent: Friday, March 10, 2006 3:46 PM
Subject: Re: Monotheism (was: Crushing Defeat)

> The fact that theologically educated Vaisnavas, as Ravindran points
> out, refuse to acknowledge Siva as Bhagavan, and avoid setting foot
> in Siva temples, seems to support my original point, doesn't it?
> They acknowledge Visnu as the single supreme being. Or am I missing
> something?
> But I do acknowledge, and welcome, the suggestion that not all
> Hindus, especially perhaps women, are theologically correct in their
> practice. But then the same would seem to apply to Roman Catholic
> villagers in Mexico, men and women, for whom the Virgin of Guadalupe
> and other saints (who may in fact be stand-ins for indigenous
> deities) are worshipped most seriously (and not just "reverenced" as
> the official theology would require).  My colleague at USD, Orlando
> Espin, writes about this. Are we then going to deny that Christianity
> is monotheistic?
> For that matter, I have also had Vietnamese students who are
> astounded and upset to learn that the Buddha is not a god.
> Thanks for you help on this!
> Lance
> On 10 Mar 2006 at 14:18, Ravindran Sriramachhandran wrote:
>>  this is certainly not true of western tamilnadu where i grew up, in fact 
>> (coming
>> from an 'orthodox' vaishnavite family) i was even 'advised' not to go 
>> siva temples.
>> no talk about one supreme being, and at times when the local pujari used 
>> the word
>> 'bhagawan'  (ofcourse 'perumal' was preferable) he made clear that he 
>> meant vishnu
>> and not siva.
> -- 
> Lance Nelson
> Theology & Religious Studies
> University of San Diego 

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