1. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    Hindu character from a christian perspective. Help.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ShadowSkippie, Jul 6, 2015.

    Good morning

    I need some help here.
    First off i am Atheist, however i came out of Christianity to this state which means that is my point of view.

    By the laws of my story i am building a character who can be nothing else but hindu. I will add that i am play up some contradictions in this book with characters but I'm really hoping to get the foundations right.

    This character is female. she never knew her parents and grew up in a foster system, being thrown around through said system until she was of age.
    she immediately joined the army after that and was quickly spotted for above average performance and hand pick for more covert kind of training and skills.

    Someone of this life who is brought up in the Hindu faith. how would that affect their mannerism, their way of presenting themselves.

    the other thing is this person has, at great difficulty, infiltrated other countries as well as culture. She is from India so her likeness does make it hard to blend in with everyone but it is possible, however if she were to publicly practice her faith it would oust her immediately.

    I'm also throwing out the name I chose for her, realising that it would not fit right and now need to choose one that would better fit her place of birth.
     
  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well, to start, you might want to read up on Hinduism and talk to some Hindus. However, is your character religious? Just because she's from India doesn't make her Hindu, and just because she might be culturally Hindu doesn't mean she necessarily follows Hinduism. How devout she is to her faith will affect how she behaves. In all honesty, if she grew up in India, then Indian culture is likely the thing you should focus more on, rather than Hinduism, depending on whether your character is actually religious.

    I'm a Christian, btw, and growing up in a "Christian" country certainly does not mean you would write from a Christian perspective. It's true your ideas would be influenced by Christianity by virtue of the religion being perpetuated in the culture of your birth, but it's still a far cry from saying you write from a Christian perspective. And I think this confusion of religion/culture is being reflected in your dilemma re your character being Indian/Hindu.

    Someone who adopted the faith in culture and name only would behave quite differently to someone who adopted the faith as a religion she actually follows and in whose diety she believes, worships and loves.

    If your character is Indian from India, and Hindu, I suspect she might be part of the caste system. Officially illegal but people do still follow it - people of low-caste would never get into high-ranked positions, for example, and the Christian Indians are casteless, which often means they are relegated to a lower status. You might want to research into castes because I suspect if anything, that would have a great impact on your character and how she might perceive other characters, too (as well as how others would perceive her). It would also affect whether she's necessarily hand-picked for just about anything. My Indian friend once told me that it's why Indian companies are very complicated - if someone of a lower caste should have a higher official position than another employee of a higher caste, even though the lower caste individual is technically the superior, members of the working team would go to the person of higher caste for approval and bypass the low-caste superior. As you can imagine, this makes it difficult to get anything done lol.
     
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  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, to point out, Hindus try to avoid hurting any living thing, or even the desire to hurt any living thing. So unless she becomes Hindu after she's enlisted, it seems unlikely your character would go against the Vedas and join the army.
     
  4. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    Ya, I came to this realisation as well but i did say there are contridictions in my characters.
    Flip, i have a psycopathic christian who feels that going to heaven is an impossibility for any human but follows the blood soaked word of God with the understanding that when his life is forfeit he knows exactly where he's going.

    Either way, i need to put some thought into this and figure out how to do this.
    the thing is she could easily have been taught the foundations but not truly follow them to the T, but still be influenced by the culture that exists around it.......but then again that could just be an ex-christian way of viewing things
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I thnk you might be stretching it a bit to call this guy a Christian. It sounds like he's ignoring a lot of the basic tenets of the faith - maybe he calls himself a Christian, but would anyone else?

    I wonder if in general you're using 'Christian' as your mental default, and then framing other beliefs based on that default? Or, as @Mckk suggested, confusing cultural beliefs with religious beliefs? Like, your psychopath might be a cultural Christian, but he's pretty clearly not a religious Christian. (Like, he might have been raised celebrating Xmas and Easter and maybe even going to church, but he's not practising the religion in any meaningful way). And possibly the same is true for your Hindu character? If so, I think your task gets a lot simpler, because it would be pretty damn hard to reconcile the beliefs of Hinduism with military service (although there have been lots of cultural Hindus who have been soldiers). Of course, I also have trouble seeing how a truly religious Christian could join the military, so...

    I guess you're right that it's not a black-and-white situation. There's a scale of devoutness, and you need to figure out where your character fits on that scale.
     
  6. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    actually i would call him a christian. many bad people have found ways to justify themselves.
    Really though i'm not going to go to deep into this but for me, form what i've seen in life, that is an easy write for me.

    This other character is a difficult one for me as i know very little about the Hindu faith.
    I also have an Atheist character. he's tricky. i want to make sure he has flaws that are in contrast to him, i have some but i feel like its too thin at the moment. I'd hate to make him a special snowflake.
    I will also add that he is the coin flip to the psycopath character.

    but back to the Hindu character, i understand the base of it but doesn't india have an army of sorts.
     
  7. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Okay - I write a character who is a practices Jainism, so I'll give you a few snippets on how to write a character from a religion you're not familiar with.

    First off, get a bit of a grip on the religion, but don't impale yourself on researching specific religious texts or doctrines until you have an idea who your character is. You're better off tailoring the research to the character by figuring out what they think, what sect they are a member of, how much they do or don't practice, etc.

    In my case, the best research material - by far - that I got on Jainism were the PDF newsletter archives from the Young Jains of America...because very little of it was about heady doctrine and a lot of it was about modern American Jains working out how to successfully live out their religion in modern society. So if you're writing a character who is religious, look for modern materials about how people of that religion live their day-to-day lives in the real world. Youth organizations, in my case, were a good start.

    As for Hinduism itself - it's as fractious as any other religion - with a wide variety of different opinions about how to practice and live out the faith. Avoid the stereotype that it's all about new-agey non-violence and vegetarianism - in the real world, that's not how it works. Sure, there are many Hindu holy men who do focus on things like inner peace and such - but you can also find militant interpretations. For instance, Google the term "Hindutva", and you'll find all shapes and sizes of Hindu nationalism. Some strains can get quite violent - the biggest and most extreme incident probably being the 1992 demolition of a major mosque (Babri Masjid) on a disputed holy site by a riot involving 150,000 Hindu nationalists. And in addition to the political spectrum, you also have different variations based on which incarnation of god they consider to be primary (some say Vishnu, others Shiva) - to say nothing of the fact that different sects practice devotions to different dieties (Ganesh being a particularly popular one, especially with the lower classes) ...and the fact that you have caste divisions that can mean quite a lot.

    So, what I'm saying is that their isn't ONE monolithic Hindu point of view any more than there is one monolithic Christian point of view. So the key thing is to figure out your character and then work backwards from there about what they believe, how they practice, how they fit into society, etc.
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also India does have an army. Lots of Hindus do serve in the army. Violence is not anathema to traditional Hindusim.

    In fact, one of the four major caste-groups within traditional Hinduism is the princely/warrior caste - the Kshatriyas (who are the second highest after the priests). In some interpretations of Hinduism, Kshatriyas are even allowed to eat meat because of their function. Also, if you read Hindu scriptures, they can actually be quite bloody - there's lots of violence in the Mahabharata and the Ramayana (which are your two major Hindu epics). A full quarter of the Mahabharata is a war epic - and the single most important text in all Hinduism, the Bhagavad Gita, is a passage within the Mahabharata detailing a dialogue on the morning before the war breaks out.

    Hinduism is not Ghandianism. Although there is a lot of non-violence in Hinduism, the idea of the non-violent Hindu ethic is a Western construct based on our view of vegetarianism and our observation of Gandhi...who by the way took a lot of his ideology from Jainism (which does preach absolute-non-violence) rather than Hinduism. Gandhi grew up in what is now Gujarat, a region in which Jainism is a very strong presence, and formed a lot of his views about non-violence from THEIR practices. And speaking as someone who has had to do some research into Jainism - even they allow for military service.

    That said, historically, one of the backbones of the Indian Military has been Sikhs - whose faith has a much, much stronger military tradition.
     
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  9. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    thanks for the help.
    You've given me some good paths to research
     
  10. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Yeah, because India is so committed to peace they never even researched how to build an atomic bomb. A Hindu would never threaten to turn Pakistan into "a sea of glass". And their relations with Pakistan have been unremittingly peaceful.
     
  11. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    If you're a hindu you would probably be more meditative, consciously aware more then a christian. I started out Catholic/Christian and then studied Eastern stuff. They are more peaceful and don't judge as much as Christians. I would go watch some short videos on You Tube to give you a picture, or the audio books that are free on there can help you. They are more meditative and more disciplined with the mind. And what type of Christian are you referring too, because a Evangelist will clash with a Baptist. The great thing about it, you just watch and observe different types attacking each other on you tube. I've found many there that demonstrate their beliefs and how they stand behind their beliefs.
     
  12. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    Oh ya, i'm very aware of the clashes with between sects.

    I found a nicely put together book on "What is Hinduism", and it was free :)
    I'll be reading through that to get an Idea of it.
    At least my initial idea for the characters personality was close to what it needs to be that i really don't have to change much about her. Even better now is i think with this view point i can better provide her motivations for some of the things she does.
     
  13. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    Well if she's an INFJ and very spiritual it may help you to study the Meyer's Brigg's on INFJ and religions, etc. too.
     
  14. ShadowSkippie
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    very spiritual, no. She does not tint the world, or better said she feels she does not. She thinks she sees it though her eyes and not those that are given to her but even she can't completely escape the culture she came from, even when she's not actively trying to get away from it.

    She thinks she sees the world through her own, unbiased view point, but it was biased from the day she was born. But then again so is everyone else.

    Now all i need to do is think of a name. i had one but now I'm ditching it for something different.
     
  15. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    lol Well I'm an Infj and have been in that situation you describe. I suppose you're trying to show that the world programs and brain washes you, but again even when you strip and unlearn all this, well it's not so much you're biased, you can become self-actualized but at the same time feel like you're caught in a snow globe and can't get out, because although you've changed, everyone else doesn't change around you. The beliefs can change but we get trapped in having to co-create realities with others who are biased and haven't stepped out of the matrix so to speak and unaware, manipulated by agenda's of whatever group sees you as the enemy.

    I used to be very Christian and Religious. Until I learned one simple thing. Phil Zimbardo Good & Evil and we can be the hero or Villain at the same time depending on what biased beliefs we hold. I used to get into with it people until I learned it's just a perception and a belief a group imposes on you. So now although I have a belief it doesn't mean you're evil because you're atheist. lol That's just the way the world tries to manipulate you to take a side and create war.

    I went in different groups to get rid of my prejudice and discrimination. So Spiritual doesn't mean Religious. So I can value any human and still respect them. Another one maybe ESTJ would never do that. They may hold to tradition and values. I don't remember, but I found it fascinating to study those personalities because it made sense and why certain people clash and won't give up their beliefs.
     
  16. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    that's actually what i'm trying to explore. the concepts of biased thought, prejudice, and concepts of what is good and what is evil, although not directly. The story follows another path and i'll never point a finger directly at the concepts but those concepts are what will drive the characters and so instead of the characters doing what you or i think is right, they'll do what they think is right.

    In order for me to achieve that correctly i'm going to need to understand what the biases of another or like. know their rationals instead of only mine.
     
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  17. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    I suppose that is the challenge of creating your own entity as in making a character. They have a mind of their own. Kind of like having a split personality they always say. lol
     
  18. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    Maybe actually having the split personalities would make this easier. :p

    Although the psychopath, the sadist, and the racist bitch may be an issue in normal society. 0.o
     
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  19. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    Ha ha! I have a novel I've been working on myself similar with different religions and perspectives. I think my biggest fear is getting shot after it comes out. As you listed all thee above in our society. lol
     
  20. ShadowSkippie
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    ShadowSkippie Member

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    lol, sounds interesting. I must keep an eye out for it when it does.
     
  21. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Denominations are kinda different from sects - I doubled checked the dictionary just to be sure. The majority of believing Christians don't regard other denominations as "heretical" (which is typically what a sect is regarded as). However, I grant you that mainstream Christianity regards Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons as sects :D Evangelicals, Baptists, Methodists, those are denominations. Catholicism has come to be regarded as yet another denomination too, in general.

    Of course, though, taking from the second dictionary definition, Protestanism in general would be a "sect" technically since it came out of the Catholic church. This was a very real issue for me because my husband's family's Catholic whereas I'm basically Baptist - met their non-Christian son and well, he took an interest, followed me to my protestant churches, and became a believer. It took his parents several years before they finally believed that our Baptist church isn't a cult... :meh: there was a period when they genuinely thought I'd brainwashed their son...

    Anyway, having read through the thread, I gotta say, your story sounds like it'd be pretty interesting. I'm only sorry to see what bad reputation my religion has... can't say I blame you guys :bigfrown:
     
  22. ShadowSkippie
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    XD

    no worries. For me it works like this. as long as you don't force anything on me of your beliefs we can be the best of friends. try to preach to me and I'll rip your faith a new one.
    I don't like forcing my ideals on other people, so i expect the same from them. the only time I talk about these things is when they wish to engage.

    actually, that is one of the flaws of my atheist character, sometimes he will poke at the other faiths, well faith, there is one (made up I'll add, not because of of fear of poking a faith but more that the world i'm building kind of needed a good racist fire starter), he pokes at it a lot which is the main reason for loathing from "racist bitch" but they have to deal with each other as they work together in a manor of speaking.

    Another flaw i'm contemplating is the idea of an atheist and a concept of faith in something. to an atheist that sounds like a contradiction but if you probe many atheist still may have their own superstitions or follow some kind of routine that almost feels spiritual even though the spiritual thought is gone.
    I'm going to have to figure out how to create this flaw without it seeming as though its an out of place human action but is indeed a contrast to the belief (non-belief)
     
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  23. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    I think in my experience every church has it's traditions, rules, regulations, and mindset on beliefs. They use the same bible, but more so who is in charge and how they project their reality on to others. I have more problems with fundamentalists and evangelists than any other group. Usually they get more extreme and try to force you to conform. I think it's more of personal experience. And then you bring in psychology and that gives whole different dynamic because they believe it's evil. lol And feel the same way about eastern philosophies. And really the culprit ends up being self which is the real enemy.
     
  24. Mattiemae
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    Mattiemae Member

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    The first time I heard of pastafarians I laughed so hard. I suppose someone had to make him up. lol
     
  25. ShadowSkippie
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    oh yes, that one is mainly satire :p

    that is what happens when a very big group of atheists get bored :p
     
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