By Nathan Jones
What are the significant differences between Christianity and Eastern religions?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry's television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us warn us of the dangers of equating Yoga with Christianity.
Caryl Matrisciana: In Eastern Mysticism there is no such thing as sin, rather it's in your ignorance that you don't realize you are divine.
See, in biblical Christianity the whole concept of having a relationship with Jesus Christ is based on me being a sinner, but God loved me so much He didn't want me separated from Him for all eternity, and so He sent His only begotten Son so that through Him my sins might be forgiven and I can be reconciled back to Him. In Hinduism, the only "reconciliation" if you will is because they see death as a hopeless cycle of imprisonment, so the only reconciliation is for you to come back better the next time around through the practice and discipline of Yoga. You therefore can somehow become a better sinner. I hate to say it like that.
Now, within biblical Christianity we believe that your sin is a sin. You are a sinner. In Hinduism they think you can become a better person.
Nathan Jones: With what, the guru being the most holy or the most sinless person in their levels of reincarnation?
Caryl Matrisciana: Not really, the guru is a god-man. The guru has connected with his enlightenment, that is he is god and he wants all his devotees to connect to their divinity and realize that they are god, because that way they can then control their death and their destiny. Well, there is no such thing. We can't control our own destiny.
We have to come back to the serpent who is the initiator of Hinduism. The serpent told Eve, "Surely you won't die." The Hindu's idea of reincarnation is, "surly you won't die." So, it is the procrastination of death that Hinduism teaches that I can come back better in my next life, and in my next life, and so on.
Connection to God
Caryl Matrisciana: A huge difference there in Eastern Mysticism is that you are connecting to a god force, but through biblical Christianity we connect and are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ, which is a personal relationship. Jesus is a person and not some non-sentient force. Hinduism doesn't believe that there is any such person out there. For them it is a universal god in everything and the concept is that everything is divine.
Nathan Jones: Eastern religions then teach you that you can pull yourself up by your own boot straps and basically save yourself?
Caryl Matrisciana: Yes, yes.
Nathan Jones: While in Christianity we need a Savior to save us, because we can't.
Caryl Matrisciana: That's the primary difference. Jesus' death has occurred for our sins once and for all. In Hinduism, karma hasn't been eliminated. It is ongoing by reincarnation.
Caryl Matrisciana: When Christians get involved in practices like Yoga, I've heard lots of people afterwards say to me, "I only did it once and then I didn't feel right." The reason they didn't feel right is because they opened themselves up to demonic spirits! That sin must be confessed to Christ in order for a Christian to have a right relationship and fellowship back with the Lord again. Go to 1 John 1:9 which says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
Go to the Lord and say, "Lord, I've sinned. I got involved in something that I was ignorantly involved in. I didn't realize I was opening myself up to demonic spirits. I confess my sin, Lord Jesus." At that point you are forgiven and you are back in fellowship with God.
If you allow those demons to come in by Yoga within Hinduism, then those demons become our familiar spirits. Sometimes Christians will make an excuse and claim, "I didn't really sin. I didn't really do a bad thing." That is the familiar talking. You either sinned or you didn't. You are either pregnant or you're not. You know that's it. So, we have to come back to the fact and realize you are a sinner and that, yes, you tangled with the occultic world. You know you can't be like, "I kind of sort of played with Ouija Boards, but I didn't really do it." Playing with anything in the occult is sin according to the Bible.
With Yoga you don't know you became involved in a vehicle that takes you into a demonic world where they want to posses you. If you call yourself a Christian, whether you have practiced Yoga once or for years and years (it doesn't matter), according to the Bible we have to call evil "evil" and good "good" and come out of it.