Subject: [brahmoconferenceorg] Questions about Brahmoism
I have recently been permitted into the Brahmo Conference Group.
Going through the recent messages, I understand this group has among its members, many learned individuals, and I appreciate the opportunity to be included in this group.
I have put forward some questions about Brahmoism and I would appreciate any answers you might be able to give me. These questions are as those of a layman from a different faith. Perhaps these questions and answers could help other newbies like me.
1. Is Brahmoism a religion or a philosophy? Can one adopt Brahmoism whilst retaining one's current faith.
2. Related question - Is Brahmoism a proselytizing religion? Can someone "convert" to Brahmoism? Likewise, is there a concept of apostasy?
3. What is the concept of God in Brahmoism? How different is the Brahmo concept of God from the monotheistic Judaic or Islamic concept of Yahweh or Allah. How different is it from the Hindu concept of God in the form of Shiva or Vishnu? [It is perfectly possible to worship Vishnu or Shiva without worshipping an idol made in his assumed likeness.]
4. How different is Brahmoism from the Brahmo Samaj? Also, I read somewhere that Brahmoism can only be acquired through heredity, while the Brahmo Samaj is open to all and sundry. Is that correct?
5. Do Brahmos disbelieve in the divinity of all revelations, prophets and holy books?
5.1 Do they reject the Quran, the Gospels, the Torah, the Vedas and the Guru Granth Sahib as merely human creation?
5.2 Do Brahmos reject Rama, Krishna, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Gautama Buddha, Zoroaster, Guru Nanak and Baha'ullah as prophets or incarnations of God?
[If the answer to 5.1 or 5.2 is yes (i.e. reject prophets and books), then is Brahmoism not exposing itself to communal anger from other faiths?]
6. Do Brahmos have any rituals? Are there any prescribed methods of worship or prayer in Brahmoism? As in other religions, adherents pray standing up, prostrating, kneeling down, chanting hymns around a sacrificial fire, or simply contemplating about God?
7. What is the approximate number of adherents of Brahmoism in the world today? Where do they meet? Is there a central authority, like a church? Where is it?
8. There have been some schisms in Brahmoism. Which is the one that is most relevant to the original teachings?
9. I often read that Brahmoism was an attempt at reformation of the Hindu religion in the 1800's by intellectuals like Roy and Sen? Is it just a reformation or a new religion in its own right?
10. How would a Brahmo convince a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or a Buddhist to accept Brahmoism?
My apologies if I might sound irreverent in my questions. I am only trying to understand the Brahmo faith.