"All humans are members of the same body Created from one essence"

"Human beings are members of a whole in creation of one essence and soul. If one member is afflicted with pain, other members uneasy will remain."

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Maman, you studied World Religions, right?

"Yes, why are you asking me this question?
"Well," answered Luqman, can you tell more about Abrahamic Religions and Hinduism? I have to compare them and I need help...(His school play was about India and he indeed asked a LOT of questions)

The similarities between the Abrahamic Religions and Hinduism

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are collectively called Abrahamic religions because “they trace their sacred texts and basic monotheistic theology to Abraham and his descendants." Abraham is considered the patriarch of the ancient Hebrew families and, through his descendants, patriarch of the followers of Christianity and Islam.

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe in one single God who created the world ex nihilo; out of nothing. God created all the living things, the angels, and all the things in the world. In the same manner, Hinduism believes in one supreme God who made all the living things and things.

The Abrahamic religions believe that human’s salvation can only be obtained through a strict obedience to God’s rules that he sent on earth through prophets or the messiah. Also for Hinduism, salvation is not possible if humans do not obey God commitments through the help of a spiritual teacher (guru).

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam who are also called Western religions have their religions based on a moral and ethical conduct. A strict obedience to these golden rules will keep humans close to God. Similarly, Hinduism asserts that humans who have a good dharma will be close to God. In order to have a good dharma, Hindis must have a moral and spiritual life and to observe religious obligations.

On the nature of reality, the Abrahamic religions believe that the soul is immortal. Likewise, Hinduism believes that the soul is immortal and it will be reunited with God.
The Abrahamic tradition teaches that humans must be prepared spiritually for the after death and they should not be attached to the material world. Also Hinduism believes that humans should not be attached to the material world and should free their atman through a spiritual life.

The dissimilarities between the Abrahamic religions and Hinduism

First of all, Abrahamic religions assert that God created the world and he will decide of the end of it. But Hinduism believes in an endless cycles of death and rebirth.

Secondly, Abrahamic religions believe that there is only one God and one true religion. All the souls who follow the one true God will live in Heaven and all the souls who do not abide to God will suffer eternally in Hell. It is an “exclusive and dogmatic” view.

However, Hinduism believes in an impersonal God, a “supreme cosmic spirit” who is worshipped in many forms represented by individual deities such as Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. Hindus think that all the religions lead to God. They are considered” universal and tolerant”.

Whereas Abrahamic religions base their beliefs on a unique and unchanged sacred book which worshippers believe is the word of God, Hinduism is based on “the accumulation treasury of spiritual laws discovered by different persons in different time”. Abrahamic scriptural canon is closed in contrast with Hindu scriptural canon which may continue to be expressed in new ways in the future.

Hinduism did not have prophets who had preached the future or brought the warning of God like in the Abrahamic religions. Instead they have sages (rishis) who provide moral and spiritual guidance.

Hinduism believes that all religious faiths are equally true and humans are free to choose the way of worship that suit them. On the contrary, Abrahamic religions believe that there is only one path that leads to God and that humans must believe in one true religion. If the soul does not believe in one true religion it will burn in Hell for ever. Though Hinduism believes that all path lead finally to God and he will guide all the souls back to Him.

According to Abrahamic religions the cause of humans problem is when they disobey to God’s will. On the contrary, Hinduism believes that human’s plight is when they are ignorant of the spiritual life that they should live. They should follow the guru who will lead them on the right path in order to fulfill the moksha, the freedom from reincarnation.

Hinduism does not believe in the Abrahamic tradition’s view of Hell. The three religions believe in Hell as a physical place where sinners will burn for ever and they will never encounter God. Nevertheless, Hinduism believes in karma which is the idea that human’s actions in one life have a direct effect in the next life and that salvation happens when humans attain freedom from reincarnation. Moksha means humans are finally liberated from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Finally, Abrahamic religions believe that religion is linear and as God created everything he will end everything one day. But Hinduism has a cyclical view of religion. Humans are in a constant cyclic motion, birth, death and rebirth and the moksha or liberation is the only salvation. The soul travels from body to body in contrast with Abrahamic religions which believe in eternal hell or eternal heaven.

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