“What About Hindus’ Claim that Hinduism is the Oldest Religion?”

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Indian Hindus claim that Hinduism is the oldest religion, but Bible teaches us that God created all this in Jewish form. If so, why do those Vedas and upanishads say they are older than the Bible?

Your question seems to be a complex question with multiple implications and I think we need to be careful to define some of our terms. First of all, even though God did create Adam and did place a special calling, promise and blessing on Abraham and his descendents, the Bible doesn’t say that “God created all this in Jewish form.” When God created Adam, Judaism was not in complete form yet, even though Judaism would descend from Adam and Abraham’s blood. Judaism carefully traces its roots all the way back to the creation of the universe, and the creation of man, connecting Adam to Abraham. This started out as oral tradition which was written down much, much later. So that needs to be taken into account.

Second, even among scholars of the writings of the Vedas, there is some dispute about when the actual writings of the Vedas were written. Some of them might date back to 1500 BC, but some Biblical scholars date the Exodus of the Hebrews around this time. Conservative Biblical scholars (and I) hold that Moses was the primary author of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible.) This would date the Pentateuch as being as old as some of the Vedas. But it is true that Christianity was started with Christ or, technically, after his resurrection. The New Testament was written in the first century. So, in one sense, one might claim that Hinduism is older than “CHRISTianity” because it dates back before Christ. [However, Christianity’s roots are in Judaism, which, again, traces its roots all the way back to the first man and woman.]

But if a Hindu apologist uses the phrase “Hinduism is older than Christianity” kind of as a “gotcha” statement, trying to make something more credible because of its age, their implications include a couple fallacies. First, Hinduism has changed and added books with their Vedas over the years, and it’s difficult to say all the Vedas are older than the Torah. Second, just because something is older doesn’t make something more true. This is the logical fallacy “Argumentum ab Annis” (argument because of age). Just because a religion, a thousand years ago from a primitive group, taught that child sacrifice to the gods was good, this didn’t make their belief or their practice true or good. And not just because of the argument that one religion being older makes it better. However, God’s existence, his creation, the existence of Adam, and calling of Abraham existed in reality years before Moses documented them in the Torah.

Hope you find this helpful.

Dave Sterrett

© 2009 Probe Ministries

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