Hinduism and Christianity are both universal religions. Most religions have various denominations that differ in beliefs and practices. A closer look at two of the world’s most ascendant religions shows not only differences but also similarities between faiths. The pantheistic view of Hinduism believes that God is an essence infused in everything around us including nature, animals, and even ourselves. On the other hand, the Protestant view of Christianity believes that God is a personal being who is omnipresent and sovereign over all. God continuously exists with each person providing an everlasting guiding presence. Despite the vast cultural differences between Christianity and Hinduism evidence shows we are all beings seeking a higher purpose.
History has a major influence on today’s religions. All religious history relies heavily on written doctrine, that records all truths and authorities pertaining to particular beliefs of each religion. Christianity relies solely on the Bible. Parts of the Bible are believed to be directly spoken by God and is written with eyewitnesses claims of miracles, prophecy, and God’s resurrection. Christians believe the information provided in the Bible is ample and shows God’s will for human kind. The Bible is believed to be the only source that reveals the whole truth. The Bible’s word is considered to be Living words directly from God that is to be considered The way, the truth, and the life. (The Bible, John 14:6). Christians consider the Bible to be the only truth and authority to live by.
Contrary to Protestant Christian beliefs pantheistic Hinduism relies on several sources of written doctrine. The four books of the Vedas being the oldest scripture and most authoritative resource. Hindus do not believe these resources were provided from a conscious source of God himself likewise, Hindus believe that God is infused into all. Through this Godly infused essence higher realization can be achieved through ourselves or revealed by our surroundings. Historic Hindu doctrine is said to be provided by the studies of Godly men themselves. This doctrine is contradictory to those of Christians who believe the Bible to be the only source spoken directly from God for deliberate use of human kind. Although these two beliefs of faiths contradict one another Hindu’s openly practice that each person has a unique path to God and all genuine paths will lead to higher purpose.
Unlike Western civilization where everyone is considered equal, Hinduism is distinctly divided between caste systems. Each person is born into a particular caste, the caste in which one is born is believed to be a result of the karma from previous lives lived. This belief easily explains why some people may be in a prestigious or wealthy caste, while others live in a lower caste of poverty; some people are even considered untouchable. Most commonly these castes are not to mix socially and for those considered untouchable it is forbidden for them to enter a temple or even hear the words of the Vedas. Those who have been unfaithful or have produced bad karma in their previous lives are believed to be the population of lower castes or even reincarnated as animals. Although Hinduism believes no soul will be revoked of their ultimate destiny, one may have to live several lives until all of one’s karmas have been settled (gospelway.com). Hinduism believes all of our decisions are purely a decision from one’s self and there is no other outside influence to an individual’s behavior such as, God or Satan. Hindus believe that birth and death are a cycle of punishment and the ultimate goal is to be released from the cycle and become merged with the Godly essence known as Brahman (gospelway.com). Brahman is not a place like heaven but more of an unconscious state of bliss.
Opposite in nature Protestant Christians believe people are only granted one life and all are born as equal sinners and no one is exempt. Christian faith believes that sin is what separates individuals from God. Through-out the journey of one’s only life there will be unfairness and personal influence from both God and Satan. Satan is believed to be a fallen angel from heaven that rejected God’s will and has been cast down as it’s ruler. The Bible describes God as a loving and just God, as well as a God of wrath. Though everyone is considered equal sinners there will be personal influence on people from both God and Satan and it is an individual’s responsibility to actively choose God’s will time and time again. Christians do not believe that there is a solution of good works, such as karma, that will outweigh the short coming of unfaithful people. It is each person’s freewill to either accept or reject God’s will. Through accepting God’s will and building a close personal relationship with God those individuals who have maintained faith in him will be reunited with God in heaven after death, for those who fall short of God’s will they will be caste into eternal fire in Hell. Unlike Hinduism there is not a second life or chance, the decisions of this life will result in either eternal Heaven or Hell.
Throughout each religion’s practices are initiated to actively participate and worship God. To acknowledge a few practices of the Hindu faith most begin their day with puja: the act of worship. This may be in their home or at the temple, some homes having a room specifically for puja. In addition to worship the practice of yoga is considered and meditation is strongly connected with the Hindu religion. Bhakti yoga which is considered to be a devotional yoga practice is believed to be a spiritual path. Through this spiritual path an individual can use yoga and meditation to connect the mind, body, and spirit with the God of one’s soul. In addition to these religious practices, acts of good works are contributed to an individual’s karma, this is believed to contribute to a better reincarnation. Through faithful practices and selfless acts, one may achieve realization and connect deeply with the soul which is believed to an internal part of God.
Christianity teaches that practices of daily prayer and Bible study are a necessity to guiding one’s path to salvation. Each individual must pray for forgiveness of their sins and no person is exempt. It is only through God’s forgiveness that one may be saved. The resurrection of Jesus, who is believed to be God’s son, was to eternally wash away the sins of faithful Christians so that one day those who believe may be reunited with God in heaven. Christians practice communion which is the breaking of bread and drinking of wine to commemorate the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus. Through daily practices of devotional prayer, maintaining a close relationship with God, and study of his word one may be able to live a faithful life and one day be joined with God in heaven. Both Hinduism and Christianity believe time should be spent worshiping and praying and with our families and others, these practices are believed to be vital to the ultimate goal of both faiths, which is, after death to be in God’s presence.
Comparing these two religions has been a compelling experience. The contrastive beliefs of two groups of like-minded individuals who have been culturally divided can unsettle everyday perception. My first impression of the exposure to the differences in religion was Which one is right, and is anyone getting it right? There is undeniable common ground that has been revealed through years of previous example set by faithful obedient followers. The morals they live by to achieve a particular afterlife among groups states that we are all just beings who are searching for a higher power and presence. I faithfully hope that someone is getting it right, Although we will never truly know until the day comes that we are rejoined with God either in heaven or in essence.
Christianity vs Hinduism. Christianity vs Hinduism – Difference and Comparison | Diffen, www.diffen.com/difference/Christianity_vs_Hinduism.
Pratte, David E. Hinduism Compared to the Bible and Christianity. Hinduism and Christianity: Hindu Teaching or the Bible?, Gospel Way, 2011, www.gospelway.com/religiousgroups/hinduism.php.
The Holy Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments ; Translated out of the Original Tongues and with the Former Translations Diligently Compared and Revised. American Bible Society, 1986.
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