As I was checking out from my hotel in India on Saturday, one of the employees handed me a small box. The two of us had become acquainted throughout my two week stay there. He wanted to give me a gift upon my departure. I opened the box and found the above ornamental sun. At first I thought it was pretty cool.
However, after a few seconds the employee said to me, "This is a sun god to protect your home. You can hang it up in your house to protect you and bring you blessings." My reaction was something along the lines of, "Wait..what?" I didn't actually say that, but it is what I was thinking.
I should have known. Much of Indian life and culture carries Hindu overtones. It is often difficult to know where culture ends and Hinduism begins. In this respect it is far different from the secularized culture here in the USA. Almost any type of statue, sculpture, pin, broach, or anything depicting any sort of likeness in India is directly related to Hinduism.
Well, I like the sun ornament gift I was given. Unfortunately, it's going in the trash. The reason is that I was told that it is a god. Of course we Christians know that it is not in reality a god of any kind. It is simply metal artwork. However, since I was told that it is a god I do not want to mess around with it. I refuse to play the postmodern game of thinking, "It means different things to us, so it's O.K."
My primary concern is that I do not want anything around my home that might confuse other people. Nothing idol-like is going to take up space in my place of residence.
I will always appreciate the employee who gave me this gift. I'm just not going to have it in my abode.