What is the difference between Hinduism and Christianity
Are there parallels between Hinduism and Christianity
Are there parallels between Hinduism and Christianity? Often the differences between the religions are emphasized. But the differences within one religion are always greater than the differences between religions. Here you can learn a lot about parallels between Hinduism and Christianity. Dealing with parallels between major religions is fascinating and also opens up a deeper awareness of similarities.
Sukadev on the parallels between Hinduism and Christianity
More often the question is asked what are the differences between Hinduism and Christianity. But it is particularly interesting to ask other questions, namely what the similarities between Hinduism and Christianity are and what parallels there are. My name is Sukadev from Yoga Vidya.
Different currents in Hinduism and Christianity
When we speak of parallels between Hinduism and Christianity, then we first have a problem.
Are we talking about Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox Christianity? In the case of Protestant Christianity, one could further ask: Are we then talking about Lutheran or Reformed Christianity? Christianity is not the same as Christianity. Are we talking about more fundamentalist directions or are we talking about more enlightened Christianity?
Same in Hinduism. Hinduism is so diverse. Are we talking about the Vaishnavas, the Shaivas, the Shaktas? Are we talking about Yoga Vedanta or Brahmanism? Are we talking about more enlightened branches of Hinduism or of more fundamentalist branches of Hinduism?
The eight main parallels between Hinduism and Christianity
So the whole thing is a bit more complicated. But before you stop reading because everything seems so complicated, I would like to point out some parallels between Christianity and Hinduism:
- 1. Hinduism and Christianity assume that there is a higher reality behind the universe. You can call them God, Ishvara, Brahman, Krishna, or Durga. There is a higher reality and that is where Hinduism and Christianity agree.
- 2. The world as we perceive it in our everyday consciousness is an illusion. It is not what we see it. In Christianity one speaks of original sin, which today is often interpreted as the original separation from God. If we think the world is separate from God and we are separate from God, that is an illusion. Similarly, one speaks of Maya and Avidya in yoga. And even in Hinduism there are various concepts that say that everyday experience is an illusion.
- 3. A third parallel between Hinduism and Christianity is: What does suffering mean? Both Hinduism and Christianity would answer the question with separation from God. As long as we feel separate from God, we are in suffering.
- 4. A fourth parallel between Hinduism and Christianity is: There is a way to get out of suffering through the experience of God. In Christianity this is referred to as redemption or also as Unio Mystica. In Protestant Christianity this is called justification. Man is justified before God. There is an opportunity to experience enlightenment. This possibility also exists in Hinduism. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve enlightenment, i.e. to experience unity with God, the closeness to God. In both Hinduism and Christianity there are more differences within the currents. There are also mystical advaita currents in Christianity that say that man becomes one with God. There are others who say that man only comes near God. There is something like that in Hinduism. There are the monistic currents in Advaita or there are the currents in Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism. There are those who say that man only comes near God. But man can get liberation.
- 5. The fifth parallel between Hinduism and Christianity is that man can do something to experience this redemption, this liberation. For example, he can do spiritual practices. He can read the Bible. He can meditate. He can go to church services. He can do good works. He can practice charity. He can take care of others. He can lead an ethical life.
- 6. In ethics, too, the parallels between Hinduism and Christianity are very great. Non-killing, non-stealing, telling the truth, avoiding sexual misconduct, incorruptibility, and some other ethical principles are the same between Hinduism and Christianity. The unselfish charity is important to come to God.
- 7. Hinduism and Christianity assume that everyday life has a meaning and that we come to God precisely by fulfilling our tasks that God has given us. Life makes sense. God speaks to you through what happens to you in everyday life. You can ultimately come to God by coping well with everyday lessons and making efforts to do good.
- 8. The closest parallel between Hinduism and Christianity is grace. Both Hinduism and Christianity assume that you cannot work for liberation and redemption on your own, but that God's grace is also required.
With that in mind, I would say that Hinduism and Christianity have very similar basic messages. The contents and how the whole thing is filled may be very different. But I have dealt a little more intensively with Hinduism and Christianity, also with Buddhism, and the differences within a religion are always greater than the differences between the individual religions.
There are huge differences within Hinduism. There are huge differences within Christianity. There are also differences within Islam, Buddhism, Taoism and Judaism. The parallels between some directions of Christianity and some directions of Hinduism are very great and the differences, if one sees similar directions in Hinduism and Christianity, are rather very small. The differences between religions are always much smaller than the differences within religions.
Video: Are There Parallels Between Hinduism and Christianity?
Here you can find a video lecture about are there parallels between Hinduism and Christianity?
A short lecture by yoga teacher Sukadev Bretz on the subject of Hinduism, perhaps helpful for everyone with an interest in world religion.
More questions and answers about Hinduism
Here you can find answers to other questions about Hinduism:
Are there parallels between Hinduism and Christianity? Further information on the subject of Hinduism and world religion
Here you can find more information about Hinduism and world religion and some things related to Are there parallels between Hinduism and Christianity?
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