Hinduism and Christianity

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Hinduism and Christianity:
Parallels Abound

Steven Williams

World Religion
Professor A. Bisson
November 28, 2010

Hinduism and Christianity are two of the largest religions in the world today with nearly half of the world’s population claiming one of the two as their own. Without a doubt, both religions have been extremely influential in the world. In the minds of most, this is about as far as the similarities between Hinduism and Christianity go; however, the fact is that the two religions actually have much more in common than is often perceived at passing glance. There are commonalities strung all throughout the two religions, from parallel texts of scripture to eerily similar view’s concerning the nature of the divine. In this paper, I will thoroughly explore many these little known similarities. In an effort to do so as objectively as possible, I will use authoritative scriptures from the two religions themselves to state my case and provide evidence for it. First off, there are similarities in the ideas on cosmology, or how the cosmos came to be, in Hinduism and Christianity. In Christianity, God is seen as the creator of all things, in whom all things draw their very existence. This is evidenced in scriptures such as “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1) and “in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28). For Hindus, Brahman is viewed in quite a similar manner. The Katha Upanishad tells us that “the whole universe came forth from Brahman and moves in Brahman... in Brahman it lives and has its being.” Obvious similarities can be seen between the two religions view of creation from these passages (BibleGateway, Krishnananda, & Wolfe).

Hinduism and Christianity also agree on the natural state of man, in that both believe that man is deluded, and can only be enlightened to the real truth by God incarnate. The bible says, speaking of man, that “they are blind guides, and if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit” (Matthew 15:14). Jesus Christ is the solution for this problem though, as he says, in John 8:12, “I am the light of the world: he who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” The Hindu scriptures paint a similar picture as the Mundaka Upanishad says that men are “living in the abyss of ignorance, yet wise in their own conceit, the deluded go round and round, like the blind led by the blind.” Like Christ, the leading Hindu incarnation of God, Krishna, declares “I destroy the darkness born of ignorance with the shining light of wisdom” (Bhagavad Gita). The scenarios presented between man and incarnate God in the two religions bear a striking resemblance (BibleGateway, Krishnananda, Purohit, & Wolfe).

The religions also seem to agree on the reason for the presence of sin and evil in the world. The Christian bible tells us, in the seventh chapter of the book of Mark, that evil comes “from within, out of the hearts of men... all evil things come from within, and defile the man,” and that man is “lured and enticed by his own desire; then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin,” in James 1:14-15. The Bhagavad Gita offers a similar explanation when it asks, “What is it that compels a man to commit sin, even involuntarily, as if driven by force?” and replies to the question “it is (human) desire... all consuming and most evil; know this to be the enemy here on earth.” It is evident from these passages that both religions find man and his desires to be the cause of evil and sin in the world (BibleGateway, Purohit, Rood, & Wolfe).

Another similarity between the two religions can be seen in the idea of God dwelling within man. This idea is evident in Christianity through scriptures such as Luke 17:20-21, which states that “the Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Lo, here it is!” or “There!” for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”...
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