This is part two of my Beyond Belief project, where every month during 2019 I plan to experience a different religion that I know nothing about. This month its Sikhism.
I spent nearly five week in Bali over the December/January period, so Balinese Hinduism seems like an obvious place to start. As part of Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country, Bali is a religious outlier with nearly 85% of the island’s population identifying as Hindu. Its version of Hinduism is a little different to that traditionally found in India, which is polytheistic (believing in many gods), and it has quite a different feel to the other Muslim parts of Indonesia. Balinese Hinduism claims to be monotheistic, with only one god, although it seems to me that in practice this is not always the case, based on so many different statues I saw everywhere. There were statues of Vishnu and Ganesha and many, many others that I didn’t recognise, so I’m not totally sure how the monotheistic thing applies.
In the first post of a new series looking at different beliefs, Chris Betcher reflects on his time spent in Bali their practice of Hinduism. This is more than Betcher’s attempt to write a Wikipedia page, instead he is open about the different customs and his particular experiences. In some ways this reminds me of John Safran’s documentary series, John Safran vs. God. I look forward to following this series throughout the year.