Different religions are studied with a motive of understanding people from other parts of the world. Since some individuals are characterized by religious fanaticism, it is crucial to appreciate their beliefs in order to try to understand them. Western religions are mostly monotheism and are separate from the western religions which are generally distinguished as polytheist. generally, western religions such as Christianity are based on the believe of a supreme being or one deity while western religious such as Hinduism common in India are animistic i.e.
they belief that inanimate things such as nature, the universe and nonliving matter are conscious just like the belief of the Native Americans. Western religions emanated from the western culture and reinforced through Christianity i.e.
Roman Catholicism which was segregated by the Great schism into Protestants who formed a diversified into movements such as Neopaganism, evangelicalism and spiritism as compared to the western religion whose great influence was Hellenistic religion. This paper shall explore Christianity as a western religion in comparison with Hinduism which represent the Eastern religion.
Comparison of Hinduism and Christianity
One of the most significant teachings of the Hinduism is reincarnation which elaborates on origin as well as fate of humankind. This concept awards meaning to .life since it explains that man has existed in other lives and on death, he or she will come back to live on earth as another being or a creature depending on his previous actions. Reincarnation comforts those individuals whose lives arte dictated by their actions and assures them of yet another chance of living to become perfect (Jones 86). This contrasts with Christian teaching about the origin of man as creation and his fate as a judgment by the supreme deity who may condemn one to eternal death or eternal happiness in paradise.
Reincarnation elaborates on not only why people live but also on the reason for their distinction and diversity such as being impoverished, disabled, and wealthy. This is attributed to prior life which is dictated by Karma in the current existence. As a result, reincarnation establishes the meaning of reward or punishment in the present life as having dependent on previous deeds (Hufner 7). There are vast differences between the two religions in that Hinduism is based on polytheism or plural gods in which there is are also goddesses within Brahman.
This is unlike Christianity where there is a single higher being that created, maintains life and will ultimately judge man in accordance to his deeds. Moreover, Hinduism points out that whatever that contains life is a personification of Brahman hence, dictate the inner self (Jones 85). Conversely, Christianity points out that God created all living creatures in heaven and on earth and awarded man with the gift op freewill. Thus man chooses his or her deeds and should be guided by the bible in appeasing God who cares and values man. Thus there is a distinction between man and the Supreme Almighty, the only one worth of worship through hymns and prayers because he provides life full of goodness (Beck 78).
According to Hinduism, when a man sins he owes it against his own self and not against god. Therefore man suffers for his deeds as he reincarnates until he is feed of Nirvana. This is opposed to Christianity where God has set rules which are meant to guide the ways of man who freely chooses to obey or disobey.
Sin offends God who punishes man through distancing himself from him or causing him a spiritual death. Additionally, in accordance to Hinduism, salvation is marked when one fails to undergo reincarnation meant to make individuals better through various successions, to achieve perfection and unite with Brahman (Hufner 8). On the other hand, Christianity teaches that salvation is a free reward from God to be embraced and not earned and was marked by the death of Jesus Christ as a ransom for mankind’s sins. Finally, Hinduism recognizes and appreciates presence and importance of other religions such as Christianity which in contrast, emphasize that there is only one true religion and therefore nullifies or disregards the others.
Similarities that exist between Christianity and Hinduism includes presence of alter in places of worship, the concept of trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) which compares to Vedic trinity comprising Shiva (one who puts to destruction) , Vishnu (Who sustain life) and Brahma as the one who created with Lord Krishna being the most supreme. Like Christianity teaching on long suffering, Hinduism teaches of spiritual tolerance. Through ancient practices animal sacrifices were paramount for forgiveness of sins in both religions. This reflects that Christianity and Hinduism advocate for righteousness whose failure to abide results to punishment or accountability (Hufner 2). The two religions also incorporate music in their practices. For instance, Christian hymns signify worship, a prophetic call for spiritual transformation as well as a personal or community’s creed of salvation and commitment to obeying God (Beck 79). Hindu songs express strong emotions such as divine love and different melodies are used for meditation as individuals pursue self recognition (Beck I19).
Besides, Hindus have scriptural writings recognized as revealed and others as remembered. The scriptures are keen on religious practices to be followed. The most supreme gods are Upanishads and Vedas. Similarly, Christians have the Bible which forms the scriptural base for most of their teachings.
There are many differences than are the similarities between Hinduism and Christianity. It is surprising how individuals are willing to sacrifice their lives due to religious fanaticism defending believes which lead to many religious wars in the world such as the jihad. Therefore, it is essential to really understand other religions for the purpose of cultivating tolerance and esteem for all humanity.
Beck, Gay. Sacred Sound: Experiencing Music in World Religions. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press.
2006. Print. Hufner, Katharina. Hinduism from Within and Without. Germany: GRIN Verlag. 2010.
Print. Jones, John. India: Its Life and Thought. Middlesex: The Echo Library. 2009. Print.