Should I visit a Hindu temple to learn about that religion?
I have been debating with a Hindu friend about the concept of forgiveness in Hinduism and Christianity. I said that Hinduism, with its concept of karma, does not offer forgiveness. He says that I am just narrow-minded. He says, ‘Why don’t you come to a temple with me and see?’ He has been to churches before. I said I will but I don’t think I will find one like Christ at a Hindu temple. I am a Indian, but have never visited a temple, even as a tourist. Should I go to the temple with my friend? What should I keep in mind if I go and how should I talk to my friend about the exclusivity of Christ after my visit to his temple?
In my opinion, you ought to be willing to at least go to a Hindu temple in order to see for yourself what goes on there. Some would say that a Christian ought never to even enter a Hindu temple ever for any reason, as this would amount to participating in pagan worship, which would be sinful. I understand where these folks are coming from, but, personally, I feel differently. To observe is not to participate and to observe is not to tacitly support. To observe is to learn, to show openness and to respect people, even those with whom you do not agree. That is how I see it.
So, for what it is worth, I think it is a good idea for you to go with your friend, especially because he was willing to check out what you find important—which is church. When you attend, do just that, which is attend and observe. Do not take part in the actual chanting, bowing, or whatever other actual worship activities go on. You should be willing to hear what Hindus have to say about their own religion, rather than only look at it through a Christian lens. When you have truly listened and tried your best to understand, then you will be in a better position to explain why the Christian idea is a superior one.
For example, the idea of karma does not allow for forgiveness. It is more a matter of paying off over time for the evil one has done. Perhaps the Christian idea is better, and perhaps it is worse. Besides, which appears better is neither here nor there, because the main question is which idea is true!!!! Once you have truly understood and listened, rather than debate your friend, you can propose that there are aspects of Hinduism which simply are not true. For example, the universe is NOT eternal. It is not in an endless cycle of birth, death and renewal. Hindu cosmology is not correct. Also, there is tremendous evidence for the historical reliability of the Bible, that Jesus did work real miracles, that he fulfilled prophecies of all sorts and that he was raised from the dead. Hinduism does not include such evidences.
However, the first step is to accept the offer of your friend to give some serious consideration to what she values, which is Hinduism.