Running Head: The Comparison of Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions The Comparison of Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions By Christa Dunwoody Abstract The differences between Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions are many. The primary difference of beliefs is that Abrahamic Religion believes that there is one God. Hinduism beliefs vary being Pantheistic, monotheistic and polytheistic it is one of the most complex religions of the world. In the comparison of Hinduism and Abrahamic Religion differ on their concept of God.
Along with their differences on the concept of God the Hindu’s and Abrahamic Religions also differ on their concept of man’s destiny. Finally Hindu’s and Abrahamic Religions also differ on their concept of Salvation. The Comparison of Hinduism and Abrahamic Religions Comparing the main doctrines of Hinduism to the teachings of the Abrahamic religions I learned there are vast differences. The term Hinduism refers to the religious and social institutions of India. Concerned mainly with the religious aspects, but the religious and social are both tied together and are referred to by the term Hindu.
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Considering past and present beliefs and practices of Hinduism there is much variation in Hinduism as in other religions. The highest written authorities in Hinduism are the Vedas of which there are four chief ones: Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Atharva-Veda, and Yajur-Veda. The Brahmanas are authoritative commentaries on the basic Vedas (Anderson, WR 2001). In comparing Hinduism and Abrahamic religions I find there are vast differences. Examining the similarities and dissimilarities between the religions I will compare the doctrine of God, of Man’s Destiny and the concept of Salvation.
Hindu’s differ from Christian, Jews and Muslims in their belief of God. Hindu’s concept of God is their belief that God has no characteristics of people, for example knowing, loving, and thinking. They believe that God is a force that is called Brahman. They believe that Brahman is present in nature, animals, plants and especially man. In Hinduism there are three Supreme gods, Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Siva, the destroyer. These gods are recognized as equal. Certain sects within Hinduism may emphasize one or the other.
In Hinduism the worship of various deities and images is popular among the people. The concept of the Brahman is mainly theoretical among the religious leaders. Hinduism has no concept of Creation in the Biblical sense. To Hindus, God forms physical beings from things already existing or from Himself, but He did not create out of nothing. In the Abrahamic religions they believe God (Allah) has characteristics of people. God is spirit, not material or physical, and yet He possesses the characteristics of a personal individual. Spiritually man is made in the image or likeness of God (Gen. :26; 5:1; 9:6; James 3:9; 1 Cor. 11:7). Our inner being is not Divine, and not to be worshiped. To believe we are Divine is blasphemous. Three separate Beings possess Deity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But unlike Hindu deities, these three are completely united in will, goals, and purposes. All have complete authority over all aspects of creation in contrast to one over fire, one over wealth. They are completely united to form one God. Another difference between Hinduism and the Abrahamic religions is the concept of man’s destiny.
Hindus believe that, when a person dies, his spirit is given another earthly body, that of an animal, a person of another caste (social level), or a god, depending on how he lived his current life. This cycle or death and rebirth continue on and on until one is finally released. Hindus believe that ones circumstances in life are completely determined by his previous conduct, either in this life or in previous lives. This is called karma. By doing good deeds in this life, therefore, one can improve his circumstances in the future, especially in future reincarnations. (BG, p. ,10) The final goal is to escape or be released from the cycle of reincarnation. Hindus will seek in life to be set free from birth, death, and rebirth, so that we exist in a state of pure impersonal being without a physical body. Jews, Christians and Muslims believe that man has only one life to live. In contradiction to the doctrine of karma, the Abrahamic religion believe that on earth, men often do not receive fair or just rewards for their lives they get their reward on judgment day. God will judge all men and declare our eternal rewards on the basis of our lives, whether we have lived it good or bad.
After judgment, men receive their eternal destinies. The righteous receive eternal life, a state of bliss, in the presence of God. The wicked receive eternal punishment, suffering and sorrow, separated from God. In the Abrahamic religion the gift of life is received after we leave the earth, not on the earth. Finally Hindu’s and Abrahamic religions also differ on their concept of Salvation. Hindu’s goal is not salvation but to escape the reincarnation cycle. There are several ways in which this can be done: perform good deeds, withdraw from the pleasures of life, gain knowledge of the Vedas, dedication to Brahman, and through meditation.
The Jews, Christians, and Muslims goal is to be forgiven for our sins so that we may live forever with God in heaven. In the Abrahamic religion our sins separate us from God, to receive forgiveness there must be conditions met which differ a little from each Abrahamic religion. In conclusion, in comparing Hinduism and the Abrahamic religions it is plain to see the vast differences between the religions. Hindus believe Brahman (God) is everywhere and in everything and Abrahamic religions believe God (Allah) is a spirit with personal characteristics.
Also Hindus believe that they are in a reincarnation cycle and there are ways to break they cycle and be release into a state of pure impersonal being without a physical body. Abrahamic religions believe that God will judge all men and declare our eternal rewards on the basis of our lives, whether we have lived it good or bad. Hindus are trying to escape the reincarnation cycle and in the Abrahamic religions we are trying to be forgiven for our sins so that we can be reunited with God. In comparing Hinduism and Abrahamic religions they appear to be on completely different ends of the spectrum.
References Hopfe, L. & Woodward, M. (2009) Religions of the World. Vango Books Islam Retrieved April 5, 2009 http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Islam Encyclopedia Article: Hinduism Retrieved April 5, 2009 http://encarta. msn. com/encnet/refpages/RefArticle. aspx? refid=761555715 New World Encyclopedia: Abrahamic Religions Retrieved April 5, 2009 http://www. newworldencyclopedia. org/entry/Abrahamic_religions Pratt, David E. , Hinduism and Christianity: How Does Hindu Teaching Compare to the Bible? Retrieved April 5, 2009 http://www. gospelway. com/religiousgroups/hinduism. php