Comparing the Religions of Christianity and Hinduism

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“If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth... Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God.”

-- Mahatma Gandhi

"I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else."

-- C. S. Lewis

Hinduism and Christianity are two religions that have been around for thousands of years. These religions have developed philosophies on certain subjects that can be compared in order to show their similarities and differences. Some of the main subjects that can be reflected upon are the paths to enlightenment or salvation, the religions' treatment of women, and the concept of the afterlife. This paper will give an analytic comparison of these religions through the discussion of these topics.

One of the most important elements of these religions is their history. The Hindu religion disputably began around 2500 years before the Common Era (B.C.E.) in India. It was geographically based along the Indus River, which was called “Hindu” by the Persians who had migrated there. They also called the land Hindustan and it’s inhabitants, Hindus. After that, the religion that followed was called Hinduism. Today, almost 800 million people practice the Hindu religion (Spodek, 261)

More than a religion, Hinduism is a way of life and a philosophy that is most concerned with spirituality and enlightenment. The idealism of the Hindu religion comes from the Vedas, which are the Hindu religion's oldest scriptures and are considered to be a direct revelation of God. The Upanishads are writings that take their themes from the Vedas. The Upanishads, however, seem to be more along the lines of allegories that give a fleshy quality to the religion rather than a very dry and out of touch feel that can be found in other religious texts. Lastly, the Bhagavad-Gita is a collection of teachings that are based on the conversation between Arjuna, a soldier for one of two warring families, and Lord Krishna, who appears as Arjuna's charioteer. In these conversations the two discuss everything from the purpose of life to the basis of reality. Much like Christian proverbs, the teachings of Lord Krishna give advice and general good sense and...

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... to the physical realm. The Christian version only allows for one life to determine the fate of one's eternity. It seems that the only way to miss the trip to heaven would be to denounce Jesus and not give for forgiveness, but who is going to do that if given the option in eternity.

The comparison of these two religions is one that is full of differences with the occasional similarity. Mainly, I find Hinduism to be a religion full of positive aspects that give meaning and importance to any of its follower's lives. Conversely, Christianity is a religion that is steeped in contradiction and confusion. It uses guilt and dire consequences to push people into it arms. Where Hinduism allows for personal choice at a personal price, Christianity allows for personal freedom with almost no responsibility for personal action.

Works Cited

Spodek, Howard. The World's History. Second Edition. Calmann & King Ltd. London. 2001.

Eastman, Roger. The Ways of Religion: An Introduction to the Major Traditions. Third Edition. Oxford University Press. N.Y. 1999

Jayaram, V. "Traditional Status of Women in Hinduism." Web. 15 May 2015.
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