World WReligion Wednesday: Misconceptions about Hinduism



“Are Hindus polytheistic or monotheistic?” 

This is a question I am often asked, particularly by my students. Typically, Hinduism is popularly perceived as being polytheistic (that is, worshipping more than one god). However, I think that is somewhat inaccurate. In fact, Hindus worship various expressions of the same god. Granted, many Hindus may not perceive this, but I think theologically it is accurate. There is almost always variance between core theology and the way people live out their theology. Some Hindus may align themselves as worshippers of Lord Krishna to such a measure they are not thinking of Brahma, the ultimate creator. This is where the disconnect is. At the top of Hinduism is the Trimurti, a trinity of sorts, consisting of Brahma (creator), Shiva (destroyer), and Vishnu (preserver). Thus, it comes down to one god. 

For more understanding of Hinduism, check out this helpful CNN article:





The Chief Rabbi, Me, and the House of Lords : World WReligion Wednesday

One December day in 2011, I met Lord Sacks, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth; the Archbishop of Canterbury; and Lord Carey of Clifton, chairman of the World Faiths Development Dialogue.  I was at a meeting in the House of Lords in London, England. The topic was, “Christians in the Middle East.” I went as the honorary guest of my friend Canon Andrew White, who was an invitee. It was an incredible blessing to meet such world-changers. My heart was floating. 

A favorite quote of mine that day came from Lord Sacks, who is wonderfully benevolent of heart and kind of conversation. He noted that Christians in the Middle East have felt more fear since the Arab Spring. He went on to say, “The fate of Christians in the Middle East today is the litmus test of the Arab spring. Freedom is indivisible, and those who deny it to others will never gain it for themselves.” It was a sterling observation. 

Moreover, his heart handed out well-watered compassion for those suffering anywhere. Sometimes, when I think about what healthy interfaith dialogue looks like, I think of that day in the House of Lords. I wholeheartedly believe in truth, mind you. I’m not interested in compromising or changing one’s beliefs in order to “come together” or create a superficial sense of unity. However, I am extremely interested in finding commonalities- goals, values, and dreams amongst varying groups, to discover how we can cooperate to bring hope and healing to nations. 

Additionally, love can do what nothing else can. When we choose to love those of other faiths- we hear them, we appreciate them, and we acknowledge their freedom to be themselves. Such love has the timbre and mettle to bring solutions to global problems. Yes, love can do this. 

So, on this World WReligion Wednesday, I’m purposing to lean in to the Holy Spirit and discover how to love those of different beliefs and backgrounds better. About this, I am very hopeful and eager to see what develops. 

What’s an example of a time you set aside a difference with someone and through unity accomplished great things? 




(If you’d like to know more about the House of Lords, click the image to go to the tour page. Have fun!)