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Vivek Ramaswamy is running for president. Ramaswamy notes that his religion is Hindu. But in spite of that, he claims that he shares common values with Christians. He claims that there is one true God, and that this belief is, indeed, an expression of Hinduism. To justify that, he notes that there are many branches of Hinduism, and the one he was raised in claims that there is only one true God.
Ramaswamy goes on to share that he was educated in a Christian high school, that he recognizes America to be a Judeo-Christian nation founded upon Judeo-Christian principles, and that he shares those values in common with Christians. In particular, he mentioned the values of sacrifice, duty, and a belief that God put each of us here for a reason. But beyond that, Ramaswamy claims that he has read the Bible more closely than his Christian friends, and is, thus, extremely familiar with biblical beliefs and agrees with them.
So the question arises, “Do his Hindu values basically correspond to biblical values?”
What we have here is quite an interesting situation. On the one hand, Ramaswamy does, indeed, hold many of the same values Christians hold. His examples of sacrifice, duty, and a belief that God put each of us here for a reason do sound very much like some of the values expressed in the Bible. On the other hand, especially when it comes to the source of those values, the concepts of “sacrifice, duty, and a belief that God put each of us here for a reason” have entirely different meanings.
In pointing out this fact, there is no intent here to address the topic of Ramaswamy’s fitness to hold public office, or his ability to lead the nation based on the values he has expressed. The truth is, the values and the policies he espouses are actually closer to biblical values than many politicians who claim to be Christians and are active in a Christian church. There are many so called Christian churches that follow a theology that is closer to naturalistic philosophy than to Christianity.
Rather, than a focus on political leadership, the purpose of this blog is to make the point that when it comes to pleasing God, a person’s values must be anchored in a particular place – in the Bible. It is actually possible for a person’s values to be anchored outside of the Bible yet they still have the ability to be a good civic, business, or political leader. But that is an entirely different matter than understanding what it takes to please God. (Just to be clear, there are also values anchored outside of the Bible that would lead some people to be horrible leaders.)
Interestingly, in the not too distant past, a group of Atheists did a PR blitz in which they put up billboards that said, “You don’t have to believe in God to be moral.” Essentially, they were saying the same thing as Ramaswamy – that it is possible for good morality to be tied to almost any religious belief.
Well, let’s set aside the fact that when morality is not anchored in some objectively real religious belief (which is the case for both Hinduism and Atheism), there is no real basis for making moral assertions at all. When basing one’s morality on any set of relativistic beliefs, people basically just have to arbitrarily pick what moral code they want to follow based on what feels right to them. Interestingly, some people who are not Christians do select biblical moral values to follow because those beliefs seem good to them – including some Atheists and some Hindus. But they can never claim those moral beliefs to be universal moral truths. There are also Hindus and Atheists who choose entirely different (non-Christian) values to follow. And based on their faith foundation, those other values are perfectly legitimate. For them, it all comes down to personal preference.
So, if some Hindus and Atheists choose to follow Christian values, why is that not enough? While following Christian values may be sufficient to be labeled a good citizen in society, or even a good leader, it is not a person’s moral values that please God. In His economy, right values are an expression of a person’s relationship with Him, not its source. True believers do good and right as a result of knowing God, not as a means of getting on His good side.
If a person simply wants to move into some position of power and authority, having values that correspond to those taught in the Bible may very well put them in a position to be liked and respected by those they lead. But that is a very different thing from what it takes to please God. He is not impressed by our good works. What He is interested in is for us to enter into a personal relationship with Him. Mechanically following biblical worldview beliefs outside of that relationship will never be enough.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books entitled The Truth Mirage, Rules for Christians Radicals, Liberalism vs. Conservatism, and his latest book Shattering the Truth Mirage and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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