But many Hindus have so
diluted their tradition with statements like "all religions are
the same," that they have failed to give Hinduism any character
of its own. Instead of telling others what Hinduism is in its own
right, they use Hinduism to give credit to other religions, whose
beliefs and practices may not be regarded as the highest by the
great Hindu sages of history.
On the other hand, they may
tolerate or even accept negative judgements against Hinduism by
other religious groups, and not offer any Hindu critique of other
religions so as not to appear offensive to anyone. They
think that making Hinduism accepting of everything done in the name
of religion is the best way to communicate its universality. This,
however, does not lead to a better understanding of Hinduism but
gives the impression that Hindus have no clear teaching like the
other religions of the world.
Hindus in India - under the
domination of Western culture in education and communication - may
have encounters with missionaries or with Christian and Muslim
minorities in India, similar to those that Indo-Americans have with
Christian religious groups in America. They tend to feel that their
culture is inferior to that of the West which is more modern and
affluent, and therefore their religion must be inferior to those of
the West (as if spirituality were a function of material abundance).
Young Hindus trying to answer questions put to them about their
tradition face these problems more keenly as they are as yet unsure
as how to communicate what they think and are more under the
influence of Western culture than their parents.