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New Birth or Rebirth?: Jesus Talks with Krishna (Great Conversations) Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 17, 2008

3.9 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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About the Author

Born in India, Ravi Zacharias earned a master of divinity degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School before he began an international speaking ministry as a recognized authority on comparative religions, cults, and philosophy. Zacharias holds three doctoral degrees and is the author of numerous award-winning books, including Can Man Live without God? He also hosts a weekly international radio program called Let My People Think. Zacharias lives with his wife, Margaret, in Atlanta. They have three grown children.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Krishna is revered by millions of people worldwide, and writing on any figure honored that greatly is difficult.

But I am doing so because the one notion that all religions subscribe to (either explicitly or implicitly) is the notion of exclusive truth. Populists like to deny that premise, but all religions either make this claim or try to covertly smuggle it in.

The question, therefore, is not whether one enjoys a discussion like the one that follows in this book but whether the arguments are fairly presented. That is much harder to do, especially where length is limited. I have, therefore, selected to write about what I consider to be the greatest differences between Jesus and Krishna.

As always, putting words into the mouths of historic figures is a challenge. I have done my best to take ideas straight from what has already been quoted in each faith’s sacred texts and put them into context here.

Hinduism is a complex belief system. At times the following conversation will become quite philosophical and intricate. Please be patient as we work through these areas of belief so that the truth and beauty of Christ’s gospel is fairly presented against the backdrop of Hinduism’s complexity. To present either of these beliefs as simple is to not understand them fully.

As with the other books in this series, I have introduced a third personality who can raise questions legitimately, since any known conversations between Jesus and Krishna do not exist. Subramaniam was a real person. Born a Hindu in the early part of the twentieth century, his is one of the most remarkable stories I have ever read. He challenged the religion of his birth and faced immense persecution for his actions, being ostracized and finally fleeing from his hometown to avoid death.

Incidentally, I have always marveled that so many religions exact this kind of revenge against dissenters. It only weakens the appeal of their own faith and contradicts any claims they might have made that “all religions are basically the same.” If all religions are indeed the same, why not let someone be "converted” to another religion?

I also marvel at the fury sometimes evident in those who attack others for examining and questioning their own worldview. If the repercussions of converting weren’t so serious, it would almost be comical to see the animosity of the responses. But what this revenge demonstrates so strongly is an inbuilt belief that conversion is wrong. And why is conversion so forbidden?

It circles back again to the one notion that all religions subscribe to—the notion of exclusive truth. I have also introduced a fourth character, Richard, a fictional traveler to India who converses with Subramaniam on the road to Mathura and later eavesdrops on the conversation between Jesus, Krishna, and Subramaniam.

Richard does not lean heavily behind the curtain, as Subramaniam does, but it is my hope that he will someday—as it is my hope that all people who seek spiritual truth will. Another factor is at stake in the following discussion: it is easy to take the weakest aspect of a worldview and exploit it. But that is not what I wish to do. When one encounters expressions of belief that are openly affirmed and followed, even when they seem bizarre, one must ask the hardest questions. One must examine the stronger
aspects of any worldview as well.

At base, one of my consistent premises throughout this series is that the popular aphorism “All religions are fundamentally the same and only superficially different” simply is not true. It is more correct to say that all religions are, at best, superficially similar but fundamentally different.

In the pages to come, I hope that the vast differences between Christianity and Hinduism will become very evident in this imaginary dialogue. Yet it is important to remember that, as different as these faiths are, we must learn to accept those differences peaceably. Still, let us not be so mindless as to think that Christianity and Hinduism are saying the same thing and that, in the end, the differences do not really matter. Both claim to be true and legitimate. This rationally implies, then, that it does matter what you believe. That is what this imaginary dialogue is about.
—Ravi Zacharias
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Product Details

  • Series: Great Conversations
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Books (June 17, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590527259
  • ASIN: B0035G054W
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,667,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As the leading religion of the west is Christianity, so one of the leading religions of the East is Hinduism. "New Birth or Rebirth: Jesus Talks with Krishna" is a unique and scholarly examination by Ravi Zacharias of the two religions and how they relate. Written as a fictional conversation from the perspective of Subramaniam, a Hindu, it asks many questions of both religions, pointing out several intriguing facts, and asking interesting questions. "New Birth or Rebirth" is a fascinating book on religion, offers a fresh perspective, and is a welcome addition to personal and community library Religion/Spirituality reference collections.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As per usual Ravi Zacharias comes through with slam-bang insight, and most readable presentation. His intellect is evident and his way of framing history and logic compelling. He is worth reading again and again and giving/sending his material to friends. I have followed him for many years and have never been disappointed in/with any of his presentations, whether in print or voice.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is rare. It covers a subject that has not been written about very often and it does so in a short, creative way. Ravi Zacharias presents us with a fictional dialog between Jesus and Krishna. I think both Hindus and Christians will benefit from this short book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book helped me to understand the differences between Christianity and Hinduism without mocking either one. Mr. Zacharias uses the device of eavesdropping on an imaginary conversation between Jesus and Krishna to compare and contrast the two religions. He leaves it to the reader to make their own conclusions.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great little book that brings understanding to the differences between Hinduism and Christianity. It's an easy and enjoyable read because Ravi set it up as a conversation, and gives great insight for someone looking to understand the differences between these faiths. And you can easily read it in a sitting or two. I highly recommend it!
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This book is written quite as well as all of Dr. Zacharias' other books, but seemed to have significantly less information on Hinduism than some of his other books had on the religions they addressed. Still, worth the read and worth the buy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ravi does a great job on getting the discussion started on needed topics between Christianity and Hinduism. He seems fair and balanced in the discussion and certainly growing up in India and having so many Hindu friends would help his understanding. Responses from Krishna are similar to many I've heard. I would say I found interacting with the Hari Krishna perspective was a little distracting and I couldn't help wondering what a Hindu reaction would be reading this text. However, for what the book accomplishes it is impressive.
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Zacharias obviously has a huge bone to pick in his derivative assessment of the Hindu religion. Firstly I would like to state I am critiquing this book as a Christian, who was formerly a Hindu of 30 years. I followed that with time in a Buddhist temple for several years, after converting two years ago. I spent my years in a Catholic School, all the while, was never a stranger to Christian churches and had many Christian friends.

In my choice to convert, I needed something to 'get me over the hill' if you will, and understand some simple conceptual differences between Jesus and Krishna for my own curiosity. I was surprised to see that this book existed in my local bookstore, and having heard about the reputation of the author, decided to purchase the Kindle edition here.

Sadly, I have come away unimpressed, doubtful of Zacharias as a pastor/preacher, and dismayed at the lack of both knowledge and good sense in Christians conveying the higher thoughts of comparative religions while attempting to demolish them. This book has shown its true colours as a form of hate media that uses an ugly type of manipulation to convert people with misinformation. It was so bad to read that there were numerous times I could not really believe these were written by an adult.

There the numerous problems I found with New Birth or Rebirth by Zacharia. The majority of them were theological errors, an erroneous understanding cultivated by poor reflection upon difficult points in history of the Indian nation, or just a heavily out of context view of doctrines, concepts or ideals. I would therefore dissuade any self respecting Christian from attempting to convert using the information presented in this book. Doing so would not only make you look and sound misinformed, but deeply ignorant.
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