Religion Comparison Religions in Ancient Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:

According to Bass, "Hinduism is the only major religion lacking an adequate explanation as to its origin," as no definitive Hindu text exist that that date before 1000 B.C. Indeed, because Hinduism is one of the religions that views time as cyclical rather than linear, what information is available about Hinduism does not give a very accurate picture of its history (Bass 5). What can be gleaned from this history is the fact that Hinduism is one of the oldest religions with one of the oldest societies in the world. Just as their origins are difficult to define, the beliefs of Hinduism are varied depending on one's personal interpretation of the religion. However, one of the more important aspects of Hinduism is its social caste system. This belief states that there are four casts, and each "has its rules and obligation for living." The three castes are Brahman, priests, hatriyas, warriors, Vaisyas, merchants or farmers, and Shudras, manual laborers. Anyone who is not part of the caste system is an untouchable, or outcasts ("Hindu Beliefs"). Ancient Hindu societies were heavily reliant upon this system, which governed nearly all goings on in India. In addition, Ancient Hindu societies faced a great deal of external pressure from Jews, Christians, Muslims, and eventually Imperialist government. Muslims were the first persecutors of the Hindu people. Their invasion of the Indus valley in A.D. 712 began what would be a long phase of compression for Hindus, as they called all non-Muslims Hindu, leading to confusion not only in name, but also in spiritual practice. According to Bass, only recently have Hindus learned to accept this name that was pushed upon them (Bass 1-2). Spiritually, Hindus share three primary beliefs with Christians, Jews, and Muslims. They believe that people are rewarded for doing good; Hindus believe in an afterlife; and the religion also believes in an ultimate reward, like heaven for the other religions. How these concepts are realized, however, are far different from the way that the people of the book realize them, as Hindus believe in reincarnation, as well as Nirvana. Instead of being a heaven, Nirvana is simply a release from one's cycle of reincarnations ("Hindu Beliefs").

Rising out of Hinduism, Buddhism claims many of the same beliefs as Hindus. For instance, both religions accept the concepts of Karma and Nirvana. Buddhist beliefs, however, are so different that some call Buddhism a philosophy rather than a religion. Founded by Siddhartha Guatama between 400-600 B.C., the religion seeks to inform followers how to gain enlightenment ("Buddhism in India"). But while Hinduism advocates a belief in a God who takes many forms, Buddhism contains neither the worship of the Buddha or instructions for salvation. Instead, the Buddha taught the four noble truths, steps that any person can take to achieve enlightenment, or a state of being awakened. Unlike the conflicts between Hinduism and the Abrahamic religions or amongst Christianity and Judaism, however, Hindus and Buddhist societies have managed to live relatively peaceful coexistences. In fact, some "avowedly Hindu monastic communities have grown up over time and adopted some of the characteristics associated with early Buddhism" ("Buddhism in India" 8). However, conflicts between members of the two societies did occur throughout history. For example, in the 3rd century BCE a Buddhist emperor prohibited the killing of animals, infringing on the Hindu tradition of animal sacrifice (Leukel and Ursaki 3). Indeed Leukel and Ursaki maintain that the Buddhist-Hindu relations suffered in the first millennium BCE, as both Hindu and Buddhist philosophers attacked the religions from philosophical standpoints (Leukel and Ursaki 3).

Thus, the ancient world was filled with religions that both complemented and contrasted each other. Because of this, in addition to political issues, wars were waged between ancient societies. Still, a reflection upon these four ancient religions and the societies that were affected by them suggests that each was able to stand remarkably strong, existing today while other religions, such as the ancient Greek and Roman religions, do not. In addition, it is clear that all of these ancient religions held in common praise for doing good things to others and chastisement for harm.

Works Cited

"A Concise History of Islam and the Arabs." Mid East Web. n.d. 11 June 2009.

Abdullah, Mohd Habibullah Bin. "The Story of Creation in the Quar'an and Old

Testament." Bismika Allahuma. 15 October 2005. 11 June 2009.

Bass, Alden. "The Ancient Origins of Hinduism." Apologetic Press. 2004. 11 June 2009.

"Buddhism in India." Indian Child. 2000. 11 June 2009.

"Comparison of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity." Religion Facts. 2009. 11 June 2009.

Leukel, Perry Schmidt and Frank Usarki. "Facets of the relationship between Buddhism

and Hinduism." Revista de Estudos da Religiao. 2007. 11 June 2009.

"People of the Book." Islam: Empire of Faith. n.d. PBS. 11 June 2009.

Rich, Tracey R. "The Patriarchs and the Origins of Judaism." Judaism 101. 1999. 11 June


Smitha, Frank E. "Billions of Years." Macrohistory And World Report. 2005. 11 June


Smitha, Frank E. "Jews and Christians in Rome's Golden Age." Macrohistory And

World Report. 1998. 11 June 2009. [continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Religion Comparison Religions In Ancient" (2009, June 11) Retrieved October 26, 2016, from

"Religion Comparison Religions In Ancient" 11 June 2009. Web.26 October. 2016. <>

"Religion Comparison Religions In Ancient", 11 June 2009, Accessed.26 October. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Comparative Religions

    Religion Comparing the Catholic and the Wicca Religion There are many different religions across the world; some are well established having existed for many centuries, others have emerged more recently although their foundations may have historical links. When comparing different religions it becomes apparent that there are some key commonalities, even if the specific details and the proportional importance of those elements differs. For example, discussing aspects of belief, community, myths, rituals

  • Abrahamic Religion Comparing and Contrasting

    Before the Torah is replaced near the end of the service, it is carried throughout the assembled congregation. Worshippers may reach out and touch the Torah with prayer books (hands are not supposed to be used), then kiss the object that touched the Torah, a gesture of affection, respect, and loyalty to God. This ritual is (arguably) symbolically equivalent to Catholic Communion, where believers symbolically ingest the blood and

  • Ancient History the Ancient Histories of Mesopotamian

    Ancient History The ancient histories of Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilizations have much in common. Both regions were inhabited since prehistoric times by nomadic groups, which began to settle down in towns and villages by around 6000 BCE. Consistent settlements soon grew into larger cities; in both Egypt and in Mesopotamia, these cities became city-states with complex lifestyles and forms of government. Some of the first written languages were created simultaneously in

  • Ancient Lit Gilgamesh Questions Why

    3. What are some of the themes you notice in the "Love Songs"? The Egyptian love songs use the terms "brother" and "sister" as generic references to male and female lovers and suggest intimacy as well as the taboo of incest. Brother-sister unions were already written into Egyptian mythology by the time the love songs were penned. Also, the love songs reveal an emerging theme of romantic love, which almost seems

  • Hinduism Religion Is a Complex Set of

    Hinduism religion is a complex set of principles that encompass the following nine basic beliefs: The divinity of the Vedas (ancient scripture) and the Agamas (primordial hymns), which are God's word; the belief in one Supreme Being which is transcendant; the belief that the universe experiences constant cycles of creation, preservation, and dissolution; the belief that karma creates a person's destiny through personal thoughts, words and actions; the belief

  • Religion and Society Religion Is Defined as

    Religion and Society Religion is defined as an organized collection of belief systems, views about the universe, or cultural systems that humans use to relate spiritual and moral values to their lives. Many religions have symbols, traditions, and histories that explain the origin of life, the way the universe works, and the moral, ethical and legal ways to organize human life (De Vries, ed., 2008). While the exact origin of religion

  • Religion Historical Purpose of Romans 11 Exegesis

    Religion Historical Purpose of Romans 11 Exegesis of Romans 11 Israel Not rejected A Remnant is Left Warning to the Gentiles The Eventual Blessing of Israel The Epistle to the Romans: Chapter 11 It seems that there is more writing about Romans than there is any other book outside of the actual Gospels themselves. The reason for this can be explained in the fact that most regard Romans as a fifth inspired Gospel tract. Even though there are

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved