Hinduism Compared to Christianity Essay

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Hinduism is a religion started in India sometime around 2000 BC—so it is twice as old as the religion of Christianity.  Our calendars are dated by the birth of Christ, which marks the start of Christianity; the year 2020 AD stands for 2020 anno domini (“in the year of Our Lord”).  Even though much of the world has turned away from Christianity and now writes the year as 2020 CE (“common era”) it nonetheless still marks the point of departure from BCE (“before the common era”) as that moment of the Incarnation—when in Christianity the Savior (the Word) became Flesh, i.e., when God became Man.  For this reason, it must be said that Christianity has had the greater impact on the world, since the world still marks its days by the birth of Christ.

The two religions differ not just in age but also in how they approach the concept of God.  Hinduism is a polytheistic religion, meaning it promotes the worship of many gods and goddesses (ESRI).  However, it also teaches that all gods/goddesses are the same.  The different manifestations are simply different expressions of the same spirit. For that reason, it could be argued that Hinduism while seeming to be polytheistic is actually monotheistic.  In fact, the same arguments are often made for Christianity.  Christianity is a monotheistic religion; however, it is sometimes called a polytheistic religion (usually by Jews, who resent the Christ) because of the Holy Trinity—the doctrine that God is three divine Persons in One God (Dyneslines).  Christians believe in one God, however.  In this sense, they are similar to Hindus, who even acknowledge that Christ is God, and accept that, saying that all gods are the same God (BBC).

The beliefs of Christianity are more fixed than in Hinduism.  Hinduism sees life as a constant cycle of death and rebirth; Christianity sees life as having a beginning, middle and end—and in the end, one is either in Heaven with God or in Hell with Satan.  Hinduism teaches that one can escape the cycle of death and rebirth through perfect enlightenment—but it does not teach the existence of Hell (Diffen).  Hinduism also has a class aspect to it that Christianity does not have.  In Hinduism, Brahmins are situated above everyone else.

In Hinduism, the motivation

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…the practitioners of Christianity and it does not matter what class one is from because all are seen as children of God.  This was true from the earliest days of Christianity to now (Brown).

The main texts of Hinduism are the Vedas, which describe the various ways to moksha—release from the cycle of death and rebirth.  The main texts of Christianity are the Old and New Testaments.  The Old Testament creates the books of the Jews prior to the Incarnation.  The New Testament contains the four Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, which give a testimony of the life of Christ.  The rest of the New Testament consists of Epistles—letters written by the Apostles, including by Peter, Paul, Jude, John and James.  It is believed by Christians generally that the New Testament is inspired by God, although this point is not agreed upon by all sects of Christianity.  The New Testament also contains a book of prophecy by John, alternatively known as Apocalypse or Revelations.

There are also many writings in Christianity that are not sacred but that are considered important.  The Fathers and Doctors of the Church—such as Aquinas…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

BBC.  “Religions.”  https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/beliefs/intro_1.shtml

Brown, Peter.  The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Diffen. “Comparison Chart.”  https://www.diffen.com/difference/Christianity_vs_Hinduism

Dyneslines. “Judaism and Polytheism.”  http://dyneslines.blogspot.com/2010/02/judaism-and-polytheism.html

ESRI.  “Hinduism and Christianity.”  https://www.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=885a98af925645e1a06050aac07a679b


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