Comparing and Contrasting Christianity with Islam and Hinduism
Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are among the five most practiced religions in the world. Christianity, with its top position, shares common grounds with both Hinduism and Islam. However, there are several differences that make Christianity a unique religion in comparison with Hinduism and Islam.
Christianity and Islam
Christianity and Islam are Abrahamic religions and monotheistic in nature. Abrahamic religions are the ones in which Prophet Abraham is regarded as the ancestor and patriarch of the followers. Monotheism means to believe in the Oneness of God or to believe in one god as the Creator, Master and Sustainer of the Universe. The belief that there are multiple gods ruling the universe is strictly disapproved in both the religions. Instead, they firmly believe that there is only one God who has supremacy and authority over the whole creation. This unique God was, is and will always be present. Both religions emphasize that people should shape their lives and mould their personalities according to the rules of single God. They unanimously believe that there should be a strong connection between an individual and God (Hoskins).
Worship practices and rituals are also common in both the religions. Charity, fasting, prayer, preaching and missionary work are many of the rituals and practices that are shared by the two Abrahamic religions. Christianity regards the Holy Bible and Islam considers the Holy Quran as their holy books. The Holy Bible and Holy Quran are considered as a source of inspiration and instruction by Christians and Muslims respectively. Both religions also show extreme concern for the welfare and well-being of the poor. There are networks of charities and organizations that help the needy and the distressed (Hoskins).
Both Christianity and Islam related groups endeavor to inflate the influence of their religions. Christians do so by sharing the gospel to all those who are interested to hear the word of God. However, those who spread it do not force others to convert. Muslims, on the other hand, also share the word of ALLAH by spreading the teachings of Quran and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). They equally emphasize on the importance of reading and understanding God's words contained in their holy texts i.e. Bible and Holy Quran. The two religions bestow the lesson of hopefulness about the future. The followers are repeatedly told of the presence of paradise. This expectation of a better future in the eternal life is stated in their holy scriptures. (Hoskins). Christianity and Islam bracket together religion and morality. Murder, stealing, dishonesty and other human vice are strictly forbidden in both the religions. They encourage people to set good examples of truthfulness, honesty and righteousness.
Though Christianity and Islam have several commonalities but they have various dissimilarities as well. First is concerned with the Jesus Christ. According to Christian belief, Jesus Christ was the Son of God and is believed to be died on the cross for the sins of mankind. On the other hand, Islam considers Jesus Christ as the Messiah and a prophet who was sent by Allah to preach the truth. Muslims firmly believe that Jesus was not crucified and will return again in the future before the Judgment Day. Thus, Jesus is considered as an equal to God in Christianity while in Islam, he is regarded as a messenger of God who came before Mohammed (peace be upon him). Secondly, Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) is considered as the last prophet by Muslims. He is the paradigm in faith and life for all his followers. On the other hand, for a Christian, he serves no role as an example. For them, he is just the founder of Islam.
The third dissimilarity is regarding the worship experiences of the two religions. Muslims do not wear shoes before entering into the mosque while Christians enter in churches with shoes on. Muslim males and females do not pray together (due to modesty) while Christians do not have such rules. In a mosque, there can be no musical instruments found whereas a church possesses them. All aspects of a Muslim's life are governed by Islam whereas in West, Christians do not make religion a part of their daily lives (Hoskins).
Christianity and Hinduism
Christianity and Hinduism have several similarities. Both the religions use incense and sacred bread (also known as prasadam in Hindi). One can observe the altars around churches and the idols of multiple gods and goddesses inside Hindu temples. There is also commonness in the Trinity. The Christian Trinity and the ancient Vedic trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva in Hinduism portray the same belief among Christians and Hindus. Christians use the sign of the cross and Hindus also use a cross known as "anganyasa" (Knapp).
Hinduism tells its followers to believe in the process of reincarnation i.e. The belief that they will born again in a different body after their death. On the other hand, Christianity teaches that there is only one life and after the death, one will have to return to God. Hinduism believes in polytheism i.e. The Hindus believe in more than one god. According to monotheistic Christianity, there is only one God. Kali, one of the goddesses in Hinduism, murders people for satisfaction and enjoyment. The god Shiva, known as the Destroyer, is unpitying and unforgiving. In Christianity, however, the God is magnanimous, merciful and gracious who does not take lives for fun ("A Quick Comparison between Hinduism and Christianity").
The caste system is promoted in Hinduism which categorizes people into superior and inferior classes. Christianity teaches its followers to respect fellow human beings. To favor a person because of his higher class or is considered as an evil in the Abrahamic religion. In Hinduism, the individual belief is regarded as the absolute truth. On the other hand, Christianity considers God's word as the only truth. In Hinduism, the gods and goddesses are not interested in forgiving the sins of their worshippers. On the contrary, the Christian's God is forgiving, sympathetic and lenient towards his followers. He shows pity to those who feel truly sorry for their misconduct and wrongdoings ("A Quick Comparison between Hinduism and Christianity").
Jesus Christ' Teachings of Love and Forgiveness in Islam and Hinduism
Islam speaks highly of Jesus and his teachings. He was one of the messengers of God who spent his whole life in spreading the teachings of love and forgiveness. Muslims believe that Jesus was sent for the benefit of mankind as he taught about a righteous and divine way of life. Jesus is loved and respected by all the Muslims as much as all other prophets are esteemed in Islam. The teachings of love and forgiveness taught by Jesus were also spread by the last Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Islam also asks its followers to pursue the footsteps of Jesus as well as he was also a messenger of Allah like Muhammad. Thus, Christianity and Islam do have some differences but both the Abrahamic religions highly regard Jesus and his teachings.
As far as Hinduism is concerned, it also considers Jesus and his teachings of love and forgiveness as inspirational. Jesus lived a life of love that was altruistic, noble and selfless. Many of the people who follow Hinduism have included the practice of Jesus Christ's teachings of love and forgiveness in their lives. One of the best examples of such a Hindu is Mahatma Gandhi who spread the love and forgiveness among the Hindu population following the footsteps of Jesus. Jesus Christ is considered as an ethical and moral teacher whose message of love, peace and forgiveness has changed the lifestyles of many. He is an object of devotion and mysticism. His teachings explain an ordinary person…