Creation stories: Christianity vs. Indian traditions

Of course there are any number of stories in other cultures, ‘Hinduism’ included, about the creation of the world and what happened ever since. However, not every story about the creation of the world (let us stick to these kind of stories) has the quality of making the world ‘the Cosmos, that is’ into an explanatorily intelligible entity. The Big-Bang theory is also a story about the creation of the world, but again, it misses the quality of the story told by religions, i.e. what explains the Cosmos is also what makes it intelligible. Or, as the Christians say: it was God’s will to create the world and His will was also the cause of the world’s existence. (Other dispositions attributed to God, such as His perfect goodness, etc. are important too, but I will ignore them here.) Given this, it is not clear to me what point you are trying to make. If it is your claim that the many stories in India are equivalent to the Biblical story in Christianity, you are wrong. This is exactly the assumption that was made by the missionaries when they confronted ‘Hinduism’. The only difference is that, then, they were attacked as being ‘false’ and that, now, they are hailed for expressing the beauty of the Indian ‘faith’.

Questions about the truth of the Biblical story, about whether or not Jesus of Nazareth ever existed, etc. are derived from religion being ‘the Truth’. A similar attitude towards stories is absent in India. Hence they must play a different role within the context of the Indian culture. This brings me to the last point:  it could indeed be very productive if we start looking at the fact that India knows of so many ‘incredible’ narratives from a different perspective. Why does India know of so many (contradictory) stories? What is the point in telling them if they are neither true nor false? To the Westerners they illustrate that the Indians are unreliable, or that they are ‘poetical’ which means the same, etc.

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