World Religion Report Hinduism

Satisfactory Essays
Hinduism; organized religion or compilation of smaller belief systems? Some would argue that Hinduism is a combination of both of those terms and much more. What encompasses the Hindu religion? Why do people of today, even in modern America still practice a faith that some may even consider paganism? In comparison to the dominant monotheistic religion of Christianity, where does the Hindu religion rank?

Although Hinduism is not the world’s leading religion, there are still large numbers of followers today. Hinduism is ranked as the number four world religion with approximately 900 million followers (, 2007). According to the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance (2006), “Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion”. Hinduism does not have a particular founder, no Hindu orthodoxy, dogma, or even a distinct system of morality. Hinduism is actually a set of beliefs and practices that have developed gradually over time.

Hinduism the beginning

The traditional theory as to the genesis of Hinduism traces the root of the religion to the Indus Valley. The development of Hinduism has been influenced by numerous invasions over the years. The greatest influence is said to have been the nomadic Aryan indo European tribes invaded North India approximately 1500BCE (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). According to the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance (2006), “These beliefs mingled with the more advanced, indigenous Indian native beliefs, often called the "Indus valley culture”. Never the less numerous archeologist and religious historians now reject this theory, because the origin of the theory was based on the prior belief about the age of the earth and the biblical story of Noah’s Ark (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). It is believed that the book of Genesis places the creation of earth at 4,000BCE and the Noah’s flood at 2,500 BCE, which contradicts the date of the Aryan invasion (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). Despite the original and emerging theories as to the origin of the Hindu religion, Hinduism has developed into a religion of its own rites.

Hinduism, monotheistic, polytheistic, or something else?

Hinduism or Sanātana Dharma is a henotheistic religion; it can also be viewed as polytheistic and monotheistic. It all depends on one’s view and perspective about how the Hindus worship their god. Hinduism recognizes a single deity and views other deities as a manifestation of that supreme god. This is a part of the central theme or fundamental of Hinduism belief in the Absolute, Supreme Reality, called Brahman and its identification with Aatman (individual soul).
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