My Hindu friends tell me that Krishna incarnates in the world to protect the righteous and to destroy evil. How do I respond to this and present Jesus?
Our Hindu friends often quote from the Bhaghavad Gita where Krishna himself says that he would incarnate from age to age in order to protect the righteous and punish the wicked. He came thus to destroy the evil from the world. How shall we give our response and present Jesus as only the true Savior?
There are a LOT of angles you can take on this question with a Hindu. What I would do would depend on the person with whom I am having the discussion. There is more than one tactic you can:
1. Use a worldview approach to reveal that Christianity and Hinduism have a completely different view of the world and that the Christian view is the truth.
2. You can talk about the person Jesus Christ and the “person” Krishna and show the difference.
3. Or you can simply present Jesus to your Hindu friends, explaining the evidence that he is who he said he is. If true, then the idea of Krishna falls apart on its own weight.
Let me do a very brief version of the second proposed approach.
About Jesus, we know where he was born (Bethlehem), where he was raised (Nazareth), and where he lived during his ministry (Capernaum). We know the year he was born, the name of his mother and father, the names of three of his brothers and dozens of his close friends. We know how, where and when and why he died. Most of this we have even from non-Christian sources. We have dozens of quotes from him coming from either eye-witnesses or from those who interviewed eye witnesses.
By contrast, Krishna is not even an actual person. He is a mythical figure. He die not even live once, never mind many times, despite the claims of the Baghavad Gita to the contrary. Or to put it another way, there is virtually no evidence that this person lived and it is not likely that he is a real person. We do not know where and when he was born. The Baghavad Gita has the feel of a mythical epic, along the lines of the Iliad, the Odyssey or the Aeneid. No one believes these are accounts of actual events. We have no contemporary witness to the life of Krishna if he did indeed exist. Any written accounts of his life have the feel of a myth and they come from more than one thousand years after he supposedly lived. I once received a somewhat angry response from a Hindu person when I said this about Krishna. In response, I asked him when and where Krishna lived. His response was that he lived somewhere between 2500 and 300 BC in a city somewhere near Patna, but one which does not exist today. This proves my point. How can a person who does not even exist destroy evil? This is a mythical story. It makes no sense to compare and contrast a mythical figure to a real person.
For the second approach, I would do a study of the messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, showing how Jesus fulfills those prophecies. That these prophecies were given hundreds of years before Jesus lived is a fact. That he fulfilled these prophecies is also a fact of history–many of these facts are found in the statements of non-Christians such as Tacitus, Josephus and Suetonius. Then there are the claims made by Jesus which, if they are true, preclude the possibility that Krishna is some sort of a savior. I would do a study of the claims of Jesus and the miracles he worked which testify to his right to make these claims. After doing so, where does this leave Krishna? He did not fulfill prophecies. If he worked miracles, we have no contemporary sources to confirm this. In fact, if what Jesus said about himself is true, then all or nearly all said about Krishna in the Baghavad Gita simply cannot be true. At this point, you can call on your Hindu friend to make the most reasonable possible conclusion from the evidence. His or her choice will be clear. I am attaching a set of notes for the study of messianic prophecies and a power point for the claims and miracles of Jesus (which also has material on the prophecies). Evidence for Jesus PPT Messianic Prophecies
For someone who knows little about either Christianity or Hinduism, you can take a worldview approach. I have a LOT of material on this at the web site but, so as to not overwhelm you, I am attaching an essay on this topic. You could study this with your friend or give it to him to read. Apologetics and the Christian WorldView
One more recommendation is that you get a copy of my book Reasons for Belief, which is available at www.ipibooks.com It contains a detailed treatment of these and other topics which would be helpful to a Hindu who is willing to consider the possibility that the Bible is inspired by God.