The belief of the existence of a supernatural being has always been there since time immemorial. People have a common belief that there exists a super being that has more power than an ordinary being and that this being deserves to be respected and adorned. It is because of this reason that there are many religions. Religions are groups of people who share a common faith. There are many religions in the world today but the most common are Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. The focus of this paper is Hinduism as a religion and more importantly what makes it a religion, now that it lacks a uniting belief (Kim. 1998).
Hinduism ranks third among the largest religions in the world. It is estimated that in the world today there are about eight hundred and 20 million followers of this particular religion. This is a big increase in terms of followers in comparison to a few years back. Hinduism is also considered as one of the most organized yet the oldest religion in the world. This not withstanding Hinduism has been described by many theologians as not being a full-fledged religion in terms of composition as there are some components the religion lacks (Axel. 2004).
Unlike other religions Hinduism does not have a universal founder. While Islam is believed to have been found by Prophet Muhammad who was sent by Allah, Christianity was founded by Jesus who was sent by God. This is however not the case in Hinduism as there is no particular person who is the founder of this faith. Hinduism as a religion also lacks a specific holy book as there is a Bible in Christianity and a Quran among the Muslims. There is also not a centralized system of authority and the concept of a prophet being sent by a supreme being is non existent in Hinduism.
Hinduism also lacks a system of theology that is specific as it the case with other religions (Gavin. 1996). Hinduism had never been considered as a religion for many years for lack of these major components that make up a religion. However, as years went by due the large numbers that this faith was claiming it was now ranked among the three major religions in the world. Hinduism has instead been viewed more as a way of living than as a religion. While other religions, Christianity for instance are a group of people with the same kind of faith, Hinduism is made up of various religions where people profess different faiths.
These different faiths have their origin in India and with gradual evolution they have led to the growth and development of Hinduism as a religion (Axel. 2004). Hinduism is very much bent on the beliefs of an individual on what is right as opposed to worshipping a supreme being. Although Hinduism is one of the oldest faiths of the world, it lacks unification and many people have always considered as a lesser religion or better still an organized group of faithful as opposed to a religion.
Looking at the definition of a religion it is in order to conclude that Hinduism is not a religion but instead a well organized form of faith. The concept of God lacks in this form of faith and the shepherd who is usually the clergy in other religions acts like a mere guideline to other members of the society. Hindus have no one particular God to who they give worship and praise. Instead they have an array of gods who are represented by idols. Hinduism has been described as one of the most tolerant religions in the world where freedom of worship is granted to the faithful of the religion.
For instance a Hindu faithful needs not frequent the temple so as to be considered righteous. Instead following the rules of the religion is considered enough (Gavin. 1996). Something major to note is that all; gods in the Hindu religion are not divines as is the case in other religions. While in Islam and Christianity, God is divine, in Hindu, their gods are artificially made and are mainly represented by animals especially cows. However the Hindu religion has one major strength and this is the manifestation of the religion.
While in many religions this aspect does not always come out strongly, in Hinduism manifestation is considered as part of the daily routine (Gavin. 1996). In conclusion it is correct to argue that Hinduism is only considered a religion and indeed one of the major religions of the world mainly because of the mass following it has and not because of its composition. It has however been able to grow over the years and has found its place in the world and is now ranked third among the main religions.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 7 September 2016
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