I wanted to compare Hinduism to Christianity. I did not know anyone around here so I contacted a family member that lives in the Philippines. His wife’s family fallows Hinduism. I interviewed them over the Internet through video chat. That was very interesting. I had to have my family member translate to me somethings. But it was fun. I also have them write what they were answering to me. I e-mailed them the questions in advance so it would not be a shocker when I asked. I felt as if I was rude at times asking some of the questions. I kept apologizing and all they kept laughing at me. The interview was with Byra and Hansa Bose. Translation was Sandra and Justin Usry.
Hinduism is generally regarded as the world’s oldest organized religion and the world’s third largest religion. Christianity is the largest religion in the world. Hinduism consists of thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BC. Most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic religions. They recognize a single deity and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of the supreme God. Hinduism has about nine hundred and fifty million followers that is about fourteen percent of the world’s population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Christianity was founded in the early 1st century AD. Christianity has around two billion followers. That is around thirty three percent of the world’s population.
Hinduism is a constantly changing religion. It was not founded by a person or prophet. Hinduism is characterized by its beliefs in reincarnation. Hindus believe in one Supreme Being but in many Lords. There are said to be three hundred and thirty-three million Lords. The lords are perceived as divine creations of that one being. Hinduism views compose of three worlds, the physical universe, subtle astral, and the spiritual universe. Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ.
To be a Christian you have to believe only in Jesus and acknowledge him as your only savior. The Bible is the main source of the principles and values of Christianity. The Veda is the Hindu holy book. The Veda consist of four books; Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva. The books include over 100,000 verses. The knowledge imparted by the Vedas ranges from earthy devotion to high philosophy.
Christianity is an organized missionary religion. The Christian Church is divided into three major groups, the Roman Catholic Church, the Protestant Churches and the Orthodox Churches. Hinduism does not have a centrally controlling organization it has some ancient scriptures to guide it. That is a joke. Christianity believes that God created the world out of nothing. Hindus say that is not true. Nothing can come out of nothing. That everything has to exist from something. So Hindus think God created the world out of himself using the elements and qualities of his energy. Christians believes that God and men are different. God created man in His own image. The world and men exist separately from God. Hindus believe the whole universe is enveloped and inhabited by God. Hindus believes that the universe was created billions of years ago through a gradual process of materialization brought out by Prakriti and that the earth is just one world in a series of thousands of worlds. Christianity believes that the world was created a few thousand years ago over a period of seven days. That the earth is the center of the universe.
Hindus do not believe in conversion of people. A person becomes a Hindu either by birth or through conscious that is by choice. Christians accepts conversion as a way of saving them from certain damnations. It is the responsibility and sacred duty of every Christian to save everyone who are not Christians by bringing them to Jesus.
Hindus do not believe that you go to heaven or hell like Christianity rather they believe in the concept of Karma. Hinduism men are judged by their own karma. If you do badly in one life you have many more to work the bad karma off. The only way to get out of the cycle of life and death is to achieve true enlightenment. When a person achieves enlightenment he or she doesn’t go to heaven or hell, he or she is beyond heaven or hell. He or she would have become part of the entire universe. When enlightenment is reached they become part of God. Hindus believe that the death of a human being only extinguishes the bodily form of existences as the soul reincarnates in another life form. They believe that a human being has it within his ability to attain Moksha, the final extrication of the soul, by applying the principles suggested by the scriptures. Christianity believes a person commits sin against God by bracken the ten commandments.
If someone leads a life of sin without acknowledging God and without believing in Jesus, he will become a victim of the Devil and fall into temptation. If he is a true believer, God will save him and grant him an eternal life in heaven. It is the conduct of a person on earth that determines the person’s fate. A sinner can seek forgiveness of God and Jesus through repentance and submission and he will be forgiven according to the strength of his belief. On the Judgment Day all souls are resurrected and judged by God according to their actions on earth. Both Hinduism and Christianity believe in the eventual destruction of the world. However Hinduism does not believe in the permanent destruction of the world but in the repetitive nature of creation. There will be repetitive cycles of creation followed by destruction. In Christianity after that happens they reside either in the heaven or in hell eternally.
Hindus worship a lot. They commonly worship shrines in three different environments, in temples, in the home, and in outdoor public spaces. Hindus believe that if proper care is not taken of a temple’s images, the deity will abandon the temple. Hence priests reside at the temple and take care of the gods’ needs. Priests perform puja at sunrise, noon, sunset, and midnight. For a layperson, however, visiting a temple every day or even regularly is not mandatory, and many devout Hindus worship at home. The essential aspect of puja is not congregational worship but an individual’s offering to a deity. Worship in the home usually takes place daily. Christians will worship anywhere. However when they come together to worship they will usually come together in a church. Prayers are usually done before a meal and before bed. It can be done at any time whenever a Christian fills the need to pray.
Some holidays that Hindus celebrate are Shivarathri “The Night of Shiva” a festival celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, Holi, Raksha Bandhan which is celebrated on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Sravan (August-September). It is one of the important Hindu festivals. Hindus who wear a new holy thread offer their respects to the ancient Rishis by offering them water on this day. Telugu New Year’s is celebrated on the first day of the month of Chaitra (March-April).This is a happy day and is celebrated with great enthusiasm. This is New Year’s Day for the people of Andhra Pradesh and also the Telugu people all over the world. Navarathri is celebrated twice in a year, once it is celebrated in the month of Chaitra and then again in Aswayuja. It lasts for nine days in honor of the nine forms of goddess Durga. During Navaratri devotees of her observe a fast. Brahmins are given food and prayers are offered as it is believed that this provides protection of health and property.
Ganesh Chaturthi is most popular of all Hindu festivals. It is the birthday of Lord Ganesha. It is the most sacred day for Lord Ganesha. It falls on the 4th day of fortnight called Bhadrapada. It is observed throughout India as well as by devoted Hindus in all parts of the world. Krishna Janmashtami is the birthday of Lord Krishna, who is the eighth Divine Incarnation. It is believed that Lord Krishna was born at midnight. Many people go on a twenty-four hour fast on this day, which is broken at midnight. Ramnavmi is the last one. Christianity has a lot of holidays too but the really important ones are Christmas Eve which is the day before Jesus Christ was born.
Christmas Day is the day Jesus Christ was born. There is Ash Wednesday which derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents. Doing this is a sign of mourning and repentance to God. When God was walking to be crucified there was a village that laid palm tree leaves down for him to walk on. When he left they burned them and that is where the ashes come from. It also starts Lent. During Lent, many of the faithful commit to fasting or giving up certain types of luxuries as a form of penitence. Good Friday, the passion or and death on the cross of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Easter is the day Jesus resurrected.
Now let’s talk about food. Christians have no limitations to what they eat, but the Hindus do. They cannot eat onions or garlic. Onions and garlic cloud the mind with passion. I think that is funny. Also onions and garlic gives the breath an odor which offends Lord Krishna. Mushrooms cannot be eaten because they grow in dung and an unclean ground. Anything from a cow is forbidden. Cows are sacred. They are known as “the mother”. So they cannot eat cheese, milk, butter, or any of the cow’s or cow’s meat. They also cannot eat pigs. Pigs are forbidden also. Vegetarianism is very common in the Hindu religion. About thirty percent of Hindus are Vegetarians.
In conclusion I had a lot of fun learning about both these religions. I learned that Hindus have a lot of gods and pray a lot. I don’t think I could pray that much. Christianity only has one god that is thought to be three other things. I had a little trouble understanding that one. They both are very complex. They have many other religions that branch from them.