Christianity and Hinduism are religions that are widely followed and are known to possess contrasting features. The religious beliefs of an individual are an amalgamation of information about the origin, the deeds of the present, and also of the death. The two essential virtues that are associated with the religious beliefs are humanity and the very origin of this universe. Humanity is often described by the righteous nature of human beings towards life and the will to assist and aid fellow beings. Both Christianity and Hinduism associate the need for wellness and righteousness on the principles that every human possesses the wisdom of God and is, therefore, in nature, divine and, through the exploration of deeds or karma. The divinity in human self is possessed and manifested by the incarnations of the almighty who stepped foot on earth in forms to flourish humanity and preserve peace, provide light, and help navigate a purpose. The second theme that has been explored is the origin of the universe. Both Christianity and Hinduism assert the origin through creationism. However, certain differences are known to prevail in their beliefs. The origin of this universe is associated with the action of God resulting in the starting of time. Whereas, Hinduism explores time to be cyclic and endless with the creation and destruction of the world. Even with multiple overlaps and contrasts present in the two religious beliefs, the purpose remains to serve humanity and promote wellness and wellbeing in the human world.
Key words: Christianity, Hinduism, Humanity, Origin of life.
Both Christianity and Hinduism are two of the highly popular religious faiths that are believed by a large section of society. Christianity is the largest belief in this world with about 2.4 billion followers. On the contrary, about 1.2 billion people in the world follow Hinduism. The purpose of both religions in perimeters remains to adhere to directions of God and make this world a better place to live in. Hinduism is a faith based on polytheism and explores the concepts of salvation, karma, and moksha whereas, Christianity explores and underpins faith in the holy trinity and wellbeing of humanity in general. Both the regions have prospered in the society since thousands of years in the community. Christianity is known to have begun in 1st Century AD after Jesus died in Judea. In contrast, Hinduism does not have a single founder and is known to have originated around 1500 BC with the migration of the Indo-Aryan people in the Indus valley. The virtues of these religions vary greatly based on various influences in these regions. This essay will explore the similarities and contrasts within the boundaries of Hinduism and Christianity. The explorations on the nature of humanity perceived by the religions will be assessed in this paper. A comprehensive contrast will also be made through the assessment of the origin of nature and universe explored through the two religions.
“Humanity” is a beautiful virtue and a relentless gift. The term humanity has been defined as the quality of an individual of being human and a demonstration of benevolence. Humanity is inclusive of all the human life that is present on earth and is represented with values like compassion, love, and empathy. The idea of humanity in Christianity is based on the doctrines of God who transformed himself as Jesus and became human to redeem humanity or the human race in totality. Therefore, humanity is highly valued in Christianity as it is seen as an image of God. The corporeality of the human body is ascertained with the image of God. When God created humans as his image, he also provided them with the gift of nobility, freedom and love. This idea can also be studied with the concept of “incarnation”. The Gospel, according to John in chapter 1, verse 4 says, “The Word became flesh”. God incarnated himself as a human to redeem humanity. The incarnation of God is not a cyclic process in Christianity but takes place as an “intervention” that has been unique and special. The divinity of God had stepped in the form of Jesus on this land.
God, through this intervention, therefore, established the dawn of a transformed and a renewed human by opening a realm where love to God could be fulfilled. This is where an uncanny overlap occurs in the two religions that are in focus in this essay. Hinduism is a pantheistic belief that also has a trinity of the “creator, preserver, and a destroyer” worshipped in the form of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The concept of incarnation is also valid within the religious beliefs of Hinduism, where, Vishnu, the preserver has incarnated himself as a man in form of Rama, and Krishna to help the humans fight from the evil energies like greed, pride, and selfishness. The idea of the presence of the holistic guidance served by God for the humanity is seen in Jesus tells his disciples that, “Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear”.
Akin to the beliefs of Hinduism where the lord takes an “Avatar” to ensure the wellbeing of humanity. The following features have been described associated with Lord Krishna, a reincarnation of God who is known to have possessed sixty-four divine attributes, “He was brave and fearless, he had effulgence pervading the universe that is considered to be the rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead” The notion of incarnation, however, in Hinduism goes beyond the dimensions of God and is associated with humanity and mankind in general. The Hinduism beliefs outline that there are several birth and death cycles until the human is free from his sins and is released from the chakras of birth and death and achieves salvation or moksha. The notion of humanity in Hinduism is complex. Humanity in Hinduism is derived from the idea of “interconnectedness” with all the beings that represent on the earth as an inclusive and diverse amalgamation. Humanity is based on the concept of “atman” or the soul in Hinduism that is connected with all the various forms of self and identifies itself as brahman, or God.
This can be compared and contrasted with the Christina beliefs of humanity where each human is seen as a replica of God, created by God. Where Christianity empowers the humanity with freedom, Hinduism also embraces an optimistic approach towards the idea of freedom and desire for the true discoveries to communicate and attain moksha and to get closer to the almighty. It is justified to bring in this convergence between the two beliefs that in both Christianity and Hinduism, the humanity and the idea of a self come from a dualistic notion of the being and the God himself. The Christian hope does not aim towards the immortality of the soul but at the resurrection of the body. The corporeality is intricately associated with Christianity and the idea of spirituality. The goal of this redemption is not the separation of the spirit from the body but welcomes a new human in the entirety of the mind, soul, and the body. In contrast, Hinduism serves a cyclic process where the man or the soul undergoes multiple cycles of reincarnations on this planet, from one life form to another inclusive of all the living beings until it finds its purpose and is able to achieve salvation.
The Christian image of the human can be summarized as a corporeal aspect that is focused on the idea of incarnation and the most suitable expression with the idea of resurrection. Whereas, humanity in term so Hinduism is a process of evolution from within to achieve greatness and closeness with the almighty. Another essential aspect to consider in the two religions associated with humanity is the idea of deeds and behaviour where both Christianity and Hinduism serve the promotion of good deeds or Karma respectively to accomplish humanity in its true sense. Matthew 6:1 asserts “Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven”. It is uncanny how similar it is to a saying followed by the believers of Hinduism that says “Perform your and deeds and noble duty but do not have any expectation of the fruits" in the Bhagwat Gita,that is, one of the primaryreligious texts associated with Hinduism. It is justified to say that both Hinduism and Christianity assert that humanity is intricately associated with the deeds of a man and what makes humanity surreal for the believers of both religions. It is asserted that serving the people, following the path of God, and ensuring the wellness of beings as a whole makes us more human, more real, and helps achieve closeness to the almighty.
Having compared and contrasted the ideas and beliefs associated with humanity within the bounds of Christian and Hinduism, it becomes even more crucial to understand what these beliefs summarize about descend of this universe and existence in its true form. The modern science argues that the origin of this earth and universe has been a part of cycles of cosmic and biological evolution. In terms of the religious ideas about the origin, the leaning stands towards creationism. The idea of origins of the universe is contrasting within the foundational beliefs established. The origins of the world and this universe can be understood by exploring the realms of cosmology associated with Christianity and Hinduism. Cosmology is defined as a study of the universe in its whole capacity to understand its origin, evolution, modus operandi, and structure. The origin has been explained in Christianity through the book of genesis that provides crucial and empirical insights into the world. The biblical view of cosmology asserts that the cosmos is a structured and organized entity with a purpose, destiny and meaning that has been provided by God.
"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth" is asserted in the narrative of the genesis saying the origin of this universe has been crafted by the almighty. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" translating to how the creator's wisdom had been a part of all his creations. The idea of creation in Christianity has been observed to possess two narratives. The logos or the speech model asserts that God speaks and things take shape into their existence. “By the word of the God the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their hosts; he gathers up the waters like a mound, stores the Deep in vaults". The second model of creation that possesses a dominant stance among Christian beliefs is “agon”. This model of creation and delivery of existence by God asserts that the God had a battle with the monsters of the chaos and the beginning of the world is associated with the sovereignty, “You it was who smashed the monsters with your might, who battered the heads of the monsters in the waters”. As dictated by the book of revelation, asserts the origin of this universe in a chronology of battles where God fights with the monsters of chaos and creates the world with nature. The universe in Christian beliefs is inclusive of the heavens, earth, and an underworld.
The triad of the world divisions is also synonymous with the beliefs guarded with Hinduism that assert the presence of the heavens, the earth, and the hell marking the presence of “swarg, dharti, and paatal” respectively.The religious beliefs that are associated with Hinduism dictate that the world was created by the almighty creator, the Brahma. The Hinduism asserts that there is no absolute start of time as it is considered to be a cyclic and an infinite domain. The Hinduism also believes in the existence of multiverse and has divided one cycle of time into the four essential yugas, each of about 4.42 million solar years. The cosmological beliefs and the origin of the universe in Hinduism have been presented in the Rigveda that presents several cosmological theories associated with the origin of the universe. The religious texts of Hinduism, the Puranas, assert the presence of fourteen dimensions to the creation of the universe. The belief asserts that the universe is created and destroyed through repetitive cycles. The creation is associated with the God Brahma who crafts this existence of the being and destruction by Shiva who keeps this cycle running.
The cycles are never-ending and transcend to the theory of the multiverse. “Every universe is covered by seven layers — earth, water, fire, air, sky, the total energy and false ego — each ten times greater than the previous one. There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore, “You are called unlimited” asserts the religious text “Bhagwat Purana”. The beliefs of Hinduism assert that in the beginning, there was nothing, Brahma had emerged as a part of Vishnu who asked him to create a world. Brahma then created a body and divided into two, a man and a woman, named Manu and Shatrupa respectively. This creation in Hinduism can be contrasted to the evolution and the development of human life in Christianity where Adam and Eve are created by the almighty. In the alternative works of literature for Christianity, presence of Lilith is seen as the first wife of Adam who had failed to serve her purpose of creation. This provides yet another essential analogy with the creations of Brahma in Hinduism who had created several beings before Manu and Shatrupa to have achieved the purpose and succeed creation.
There are a glaring similarity and a range of contrast withing the Hinduism and Christianity when it comes to the origin of the universe. Both Hinduism and Christianity assert the presence of a creator the God, who helped in the establishment of this universe and this world. The origin of humans and the nature of this world also see an overlap and niches of similarity between the two religious beliefs. The presence of three worlds, the heavens, the earth, and the underworld or the hell is also synonymous within the religious beliefs of both Hinduism and Christianity. A range of differences about the perception of how the world came into existence remains prominent. The cyclic approach of time and the universe of Hinduism is contrasting to the definite beliefs that are offered by Christianity. Both religions assert how the creation of this universe is a gift from almighty for humanity and how each of its design has been mastered with preciseness. The creation of this universe contains the wisdom of the creator himself in both Hinduism and Christianity providing significant overlaps of similarity yet glaring contrasts in the two religions.
This essay provides contrast and a comparison to the beliefs associated with two major religious beliefs of this world, Hinduism, and Christianity. The binding force for religious beliefs is their faith in God and how it operated. This essay explored the two major themes to draw similarities and the contrasts that are opined by the religious texts of Christianity and Hinduism. The theme of humanity has been explored in this essay via a discussion of the existing definitions and understandings associated with the idea of humanity in both religions. The theme of humanity also discusses the very creation of human and the embodiment of God in every being. Both Christianity and Hinduism assert that every human is sacred and therefore a divine creature that has been presented on earth with a purpose provided by the almighty. The divinity of the human race has dawned to its existence by the phenomena like incarnations of the almighty in the human form to help the being.
Jesus in Christianity and Rama and Krishna in Hinduism serve to be prime assertions of these embodiments. The second theme that has been explored by this essay is of the idea of the origin of the universe. Several contrasts have been present in the idea of the origin of universe withing the beliefs of Christianity and Hinduism. Even though, both the religions assert the creation of this universe by the almighty, the process and the causes remain different. For instance, the concept of time and every existence in Christianity is associated with the winning of war by the God, whereas, Hinduism perceives time to be a cyclic process with no definite initiation or ending. It can be argued that certain overlaps are essentially present in the origin where the creation of Adam and Eve, and Manu and Shatrupa in Christianity and Hinduism provide an overlap. Through this essay, it can be concluded that even when Hinduism and Christianity have had highly different origins, there present themselves with beliefs in concordance in various aspects. However, the core to these religions remains the same, union with God through serving a purpose on this mortal earth.
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