World Religion Report Hinduism

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Hinduism; organized religion or compilation of smaller belief systems? Some would argue that Hinduism is a combination of both of those terms and much more. What encompasses the Hindu religion? Why do people of today, even in modern America still practice a faith that some may even consider paganism? In comparison to the dominant monotheistic religion of Christianity, where does the Hindu religion rank? Although Hinduism is not the world’s leading religion, there are still large numbers of followers today. Hinduism is ranked as the number four world religion with approximately 900 million followers (, 2007). According to the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance (2006), “Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion”. Hinduism does not have a particular founder, no Hindu orthodoxy, dogma, or even a distinct system of morality. Hinduism is actually a set of beliefs and practices that have developed gradually over time. Hinduism the beginning

The traditional theory as to the genesis of Hinduism traces the root of the religion to the Indus Valley. The development of Hinduism has been influenced by numerous invasions over the years. The greatest influence is said to have been the nomadic Aryan indo European tribes invaded North India approximately 1500BCE (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). According to the Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance (2006), “These beliefs mingled with the more advanced, indigenous Indian native beliefs, often called the "Indus valley culture”. Never the less numerous archeologist and religious historians now reject this theory, because the origin of the theory was based on the prior belief about the age of the earth and the biblical story of Noah’s Ark (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). It is believed that the book of Genesis places the creation of earth at 4,000BCE and the Noah’s flood at 2,500 BCE, which contradicts the date of the Aryan invasion (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2006). Despite the original and emerging theories as to the origin of the Hindu religion, Hinduism has developed into a religion of its own rites. Hinduism, monotheistic, polytheistic, or something else?

Hinduism or Sanātana Dharma is a henotheistic religion; it can also be viewed as polytheistic and monotheistic. It all depends on one’s view and perspective about how the Hindus worship their god. Hinduism recognizes a single deity and views other deities as a manifestation of that supreme god. This is a part of the central theme or fundamental of Hinduism belief in the Absolute, Supreme Reality, called Brahman and its identification with Aatman (individual soul). It is said that Brahman, which is formless, infinite, and impersonal in nature, can manifest in many forms, thus the worship of many gods/goddesses, some are even human. For the sake of making the worship more personal, the gods/goddesses had been personified and given different attributes. However, of all the deities that are worshipped by Hindu’s, the most worshipped are Shiva, Vishnu and Shakthi (Fisher, 2005). Hinduism is sometimes believed as the Trinitarian because Brahman is often seem as a triad—one god with three persons (Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance, 2007). The Trinitarian includes Brahman who is the creator; Vishnu is the preserver or the one who sustains, and Shiva the destroyer who can also be seen as compassionate. Hindu belief about life and death

Hindus believe that all creatures go through the cycle of birth and rebirth called reincarnation. The principle of karma, which means action, and the consequences of action, follow from lifetime to lifetime, determines the status of each being’s birth. To escape from the cycle of birth, death, or rebirth (samsara) lead by karma is to achieve moksha. According to Fisher (2005), “To escape from samsara is to achieve moksha, or liberation from the limitations of space, time, and...
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