Comparative Theology Comparitive Paper

Topics: Jainism, Jesus, Soul Pages: 6 (1196 words) Published: April 21, 2015

Comparative Analysis Paper #1

Liberation in Christian and Jain Philosophy

Deekshitha Divyendar

Professor Timothy Helton

Loyola Marymount University

Theology 198

11th March, 2015


Liberation in Christian and Jain Philosophy

Christianity and Jainism have little in common – although like all existing religions in the world their goal is to establish a common set of good values and a larger worldview within their demographic, the commonality stops there. One may argue that both faiths share certain larger concepts – like the concept sin (karma), liberation & heaven and hell – but the process of attaining liberation, gathering sin/karma and reaching the heavenly and hellish realms is so different in Jainism than that of Christianity, and hence, they are in no way similar. In this paper, the concept of liberation in both Jainism and Christianity is explored, compared and contrasted – What does liberation mean to the individuals who practice Jainism (Jains) and how is it different than what it means to Christians? What do Jains have to do to attain liberation and what efforts should Christians make to attain their respective version of liberation? And how does striving for this goal (liberation) affect their individual lifestyle? Once these questions are answered, it becomes very clear that, in fact, Christianity and Jainism are in no way similar – particularly in their concept of liberation. In addition, the concept of sin and karma will also be partially explored as the concept of sin/karma and liberation are directly linked – an individual’s sin/karma is the determining factor for attaining liberation in Jainism, however, does the same principle hold true for Christians? Meaning Before dwelling deep into what liberation means for Jainism and Christianity, it is important to know the definition of liberation. The latest edition of Oxford Dictionary LIBERATION

(Third Edition) defines Liberation as “The act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery, or oppression; release:” – Therefore the questions: what is the ‘act’? And secondly, what does setting someone free represent? For Christians the act of liberation is a benefit extended by God to those who place their faith in Him. “The deliverance, by the grace of God, from eternal punishment for sin which is granted to those who accept by faith God’s conditions of repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus” (The Holy Bible, John 14:6). In other words, salvation is not only granted to those who repent and have faith in God and Jesus Christ but it is granted only through Jesus Christ – according to the Holy Bible. This is a very exclusivist/inclusivist approach –an individual of a different faith may conduct himself in the best of character and as a result liberation may or may not be granted to him based on his faith – but if it is granted, it is done only through Jesus Christ. For Jains, however, it is something entirely different. First of all, they do not believe in the existence of God – thereby, cancelling out any possibility of liberation being offered by God. Instead, the act of liberation to Jains is an elaborate cycle that is dependent on Karma (the Christian equivalent of sin). A Jain may simply commit sin by consuming meat for example (in contrast, meat-eating does not cause sin to...

References: 1. Jaina Education Series (2013). Jain Philosophy and Practice 2, Chapter 5, 45.
2. The Holy Bible (King James version). Retrieved from
3. Hellwig, Monica.K(2002). Understanding Catholicism. New York/Mahwah, N.J. Paulist Press.
4. Umasvati(1994). That Which Is (Tattvartha Sutra). New Haven & London. Yale University Press.
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