Differences between Hinduism and Christianity

Metaphysics of Religions

1. Reincarnation

Hindu Angle of Sight Belief in reincarnation is an ancient phenomenon and is a central tenet within the majority of scriptures of Sanatana Dharma and religious traditions. When one dies, one takes birth again as per previous deeds in different body. It can be explained in three divisions – Departure of soul (After death, soul departs from the nine holes of the body), Acceptance of subtle Body (Soul accepts a subtle body called Preta for duration between death and rebirth), Birth (When the time comes, it inters into a new body through the semen).

  • “As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” Bhagvad Geeta 2:13
  •  “For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” Bhagvad geeta 2:27 
  •  “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” Bhagvad geeta 2:22

Christian Angle of Sight– According to Bible, there is only one life, after which one has to answer the God at the Day of Judgment. According to the new-age Christians, however, there can be no doubt: reincarnation is unbiblical and should be rejected as false.

  • Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Hebrews 9:27       
  • How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! Psalm 73:19
  • He remembered that they were but flesh,a wind that passes and comes not again.  Psalm 78:39 

2. Hell

Hindu Angle of Sight–   In material life both heaven and hell are one and the same because they are material; in either place there is no engagement in the Lord’s service. Therefore those who are engaged in the service of the Lord see no distinction between heaven and hell; it is only the materialists who prefer one to the other. Beings in the hell die and again take birth in different planetary systems according to their actions. Thus, Desire of heaven or Fear of hell is not at all expected from a Hindu. There are millions of hellish planets arranged in seven layers. There are 28 types of hells.

  • The residents of both heaven and hell desire human birth on the earth planet because human life facilitates the achievement of transcendental knowledge and love of Godhead, whereas neither heavenly nor hellish bodies efficiently provide such opportunities. SB 11.20.12
  • Piety and sin are constant points of reference in the Vedic analysis of the components of a given situation—namely the material ingredients, place, age and time. Indeed, the Vedas reveal the existence of material heaven and hell, which are certainly based on piety and sin. SB 11.20.2

Christian Angle of Sight– Hell is the place of torment for the lost (unsaved). Because everyone has sinned no one deserves to live with the Holy and righteous Heavenly Father (Romans 3:10; 3:23). But God is a ‘loving Father’ and He offers salvation from death to all, and for those that reject the offer, God’s ‘justice’ will be executed and the wage of sin will be paid. God is chastiser of sinner, this knowledge of God as the perfect judge is absolutely true but not complete because God is lot more than a judge.

  • Physical torment – “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” Revelation 14:11 
  • Mental torment – “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.” Luke 16:25 
  • Spiritual torment –They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might.” Thessalonians 1:9 
  • Torment at Different Degrees “The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater (torment) than Jonah is here.” Luke 11:32 

3. Invocation of Fear and Love

Hindu Angle of SightNo injunction or passage or verse in Hindu vedic scriptures speak about Fear of God. Despite of fear it invokes Love of God which is the highest goal of living entity.

  • “My dear Lord, You are the, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and I worship Your lotus feet. Those feet destroy the embarrassing conditions of material life and freely award the greatest desire of the soul, the attainment of pure love of Godhead.” SB 11.5.33
  •  “The conclusion of all revealed scriptures is that one should awaken his dormant love of Godhead. You are greatly fortunate to have already done so.” CC Adi 7.86
  • “By practicing this regulated devotional service under the direction of the spiritual master, certainly one awakens his dormant love of Godhead.” CC Adi 7.142

Christian Angle of Sight– Christianity advises to fear God for God is chastiser of non believers. Those who don’t believe will perish in hell. Those who don’t believe will face God’s anger. By provoking fear in weak minds by such statements Abrahmic religions have tried to expand the number of followers but unfortunately, remained unsuccessful in improvement of quality of the religion for religion is to love God and receive God’s love.

  • How blessed is the man who fears always, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.  Proverbs 28:14
  • Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.  Psalm 112:1
  • The fear of the LORD prolongs life, But the years of the wicked will be shortened. Proverbs 10:27

4. The day of Judgment

Hindu Angle of Sight – In Hinduism, there is Day of Judgment but not same as christianity. If the soul has to take rebirth again in this material world, the Jivatma in the body of Preta attains the Judgment. If one liberates from this material world and travels to ‘Goloka’ or subordinate ‘Vaikuntha’ planets he doesn’t remain present for the jundgment. He travels to the transcendental abode in the illuminating spaceships with angels. If one is atheist but does good actions, he goes to heaven.

  • “If a person reads little of Bhagavad Gita, takes a little drop of Ganges water and performs worship to Murari (Sri Krishna) atleast once in his lifetime, them he does not have to face and interview (the judgment) with the demigod icharge of Death” Bhaja Govindam 20

Christian Angle of Sight– Throughout the Bible it is accepted that people are accountable to God. Good deeds are commended and evil deeds are blamed. The day of judgment is the culmination of the whole process. At the end of this world order God will judge all people and all deeds. The hour is coming, in all in the tombs shall hear His voice and shall come for a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil to a ressurrection of judgement.

  • “An hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil to a resurrection of judgment.” John 5:28-29
  • “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous.” Matthew 13:49
  • “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Hebrews 9:27

5. Description of Form of God

Hindu Angle of Sight – In Hinduism, The form of God is described with intricate details from head to toe. His hair, eyes, lips, ears, nose, hands legs, His clothing, His ornaments, complexion, auspicious signs on his body are described with accuracy.

  • “I worship Govinda (Krisna), the primeval Lord, who is adept at playing on His flute, who has blooming eyes like lotus petals, whose head is bedecked with a peacock feather, whose figure of beauty is tinged with the hue of blue clouds, and whose unique loveliness charms millions of cupids” Bs. 5.30
  • “I worship Govinda (Krishna), the primeval Lord, whose transcendental form is full of bliss, truth, and substantiality, and who is thus full of the most dazzling splendor. Each limb of that transcendental figure possesses in itself the full-fledged functions of all the other organs, and He eternally sees, maintains, and manifests the infinite universes, both spiritual and mundane” Bs. 5.32

Christian Angle of Sight– When we study Christianity, we can conclude that God has a form but not a a single verse describes the form of God. Thus to think and relate with God many Christians use their own imagination to develop love for Him. But what can such speculated knowledge give us other than anxieties ?

Following verses tell us that God has a form, but how that form looks, who knows ?

  • God speaking (Genesis 1:3 and many more verses) God has vocal cords.
  • God seeing (Genesis 1:4). God have eyes.
  • God walking (Genesis 3:8). God have legs.
  • God making clothes for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). God have hands.
  • God smelling a sweet savour from Noah’s sacrifice (Genesis 8:21). God have a nose.
  • In Genesis 18:4, Abraham says, “Please let a little water be brought, and wash your feet.” God has feet.
  • Then he says in Genesis 18:5, “And I will bring a morsel of bread.” We find that God took the bread.

6. Understanding of soul

Hindu Angle of SightMany chapters, texts, verses speak about soul, its nature and reason of existence. 

  • Soul is immortal – For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.
  • Soul is part of God – The eternal relation of an individual soul with the Supreme Soul Personality of Godhead is constitutionally one of being the eternal servitor of the eternal master. Souls are part of God which are eternally separated and cannot become one again.
  • Soul is within all living beings – Only the material body of the indestructible, immeasurable and eternal living entity is subject to destruction
  • Transmigration of soul – As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death.

Christian Angle of Sight- Not much about soul, thus many questions remain unanswered.

  • Destruction of Soul- Matthew 10:2 -but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
  • Soul has no divinity– Soul is the word often mentioned for a person, life and mind. Soul has no divinity as it is not part of God nor is there any verse which says about the creation and position of soul.
  • Soul is within only humans –Christianity states that soul is within only humans thus the plants and animals are not ‘real beings’ (?). Thus, they can be eaten by humans and killed for the ‘pleasure of God’.
  • No transmigration of soul – A further study of God’s Word will show you that nowhere in the entire Bible are the terms “immortal” or “everlasting” linked with the word “soul.” Instead, the Scriptures state that a soul is mortal, meaning that it dies. (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) Therefore, the Bible calls someone who has died simply a “dead soul.”—Leviticus 21:11

7. The Original sin

Foundational Principle – God warned Adam and Eve not to have the fruit of the tree of Knowledge (??). But They ate the fruit as the devil in the form of Satan encouraged them to have the fruit and were cursed by God to have all the future generations to born with the sin which they committed.

Hindu Angle of Sight Disbelieve in the concept of Original Sin.

  • Idea of Sin– Sin is done by us, not by any other behalf of us. Sin cannot be transferred from one person to another.
  • Personality of God– Christianity says, God cursed the offsprings and all future generations of Adam and Eve because of their sins. Hinduism never saw God as angry jealous person but merciful, loving Father.
  • Reason of Suffering– We suffer because of our sin. Each action has equal and opposite reaction. This is the ‘Law of Karma.’

Christian Angle of Sight- Believe in Original Sin.

  • Idea of Sin– As we are ultimately children of Adam and Eve, we are sinners as per the curse of God. Thus, sin can be transferred from one to another.
  • Personality of God– God is jealous and angry. If you will not worship Him or if you will not follow His words He will destroy you with His mystic powers.
  • Reason of Suffering– We suffer because of the curse of God and the ‘sin’ done by Adam and Eve.

8. Age of this planet and Universe

Hinduism– This planet and universe is 155.521972944 trillion years old. The millions of universes appear from the pores of body of Mahavishnu in one exhalation and all get destroyed in one inhalation. Each universe contain 14 planetary systems arranged one above another which have millions of planets.

Christianity– This planet is around 6000 years old, absolutely no idea on the age of the universe.

Historic Differences

1. Age of Religions

Hinduism– According to archeologists Hinduism is around 5000 years ago and according to the scriptures, It was never born, it was existing before the creation thus it is called ‘Sanatana’ which means ‘eternal’.

Christianity– During its early history, Christianity grew from a 1st-century Jewish following to a religion that existed across the entire Greco-Roman world and beyond. Early Christianity may be divided into 2 distinct phases: the apostolic period, when the first apostles were alive and led the Church, and the post-apostolic period

2. Involvement in violence

Hinduism – No involvement in any war or violence.

Christianity –Among common examples of violence in Christianity, J. Denny Weaver lists “(the) crusades, the multiple blessings of wars, warrior popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment under the guise of ‘spare the rod and spoil the child,’ justifications of slavery, world-wide colonialism in the name of conversion to Christianity, the systemic violence of women subjected to men”.

  • Thirty Years’ War (Protestants vs Catholics)
  • French Wars of Religion (Protestants vs Catholics)
  • Second Sudanese Civil War (Muslim vs Christians)
  • Crusades(Muslim vs Christians)  
  • Lebanese Civil War (Muslims, Jews and Christians)

3. Opposition to modern science

Hinduism – Hinduism never opposed science, this ancient religion is science in itself. The Vedas mention electricity (Rig), airplanes (Rig), machines controlled by verbal chants (Rig), the speed of light (Rig), medicine and surgery (Charak Samhita), process of digestion (Sushrut samhita), conept of atom(Vaisheshika Darshana), Development of embryo (Bhagvatam), theorem of Right angle triangle by Aryabhata and many more scientific theories.

Christianity – Historically, the Church has often been a enemy of sciences.

  • Galileo, himself a Catholic, was tried for heresy in 1633 by the Roman Inquisition, which forced him to recant his views and live out his days under house arrest.
  • Two of groups are Christian Science and the Jehovah’s Witnesses which oppose medical care, medical attention and many medical procedures as they believe firmly in healing (!).

4. involvement in conversion

Hinduism Followers of Hinduism never went to any nation, place to convert people. Hinduism gives more attention to Quality than Quantity.

Christianity– Christianity gives more attention to conversion that is increase in the number of followers by using bible as a tool and violence as methodology. According to theologian Charles Curran, conversion is the central moral message of Jesus. (!)            Following methods are used for conversion,

  • Speaking of a sure salvation.
  • Jesus the only way.
  • God is jealous, Christians are the only people of God
  • Threatening in the name of Christianity
  • Supply of money in return
  • Fulfillment of needs to convert
  • Show of false dreams and visions
  • Use of political, social, religious influence
  • Evangelism

Traditional Differences

1. marrage rituals

Hinduism– The Hindu marriage is held in a big marquee, either in the bride’s home yard or in a rented wedding hall. Different rituals are held pre marriage, on the main day and post marriage. Customs like Ganesh puja, Haldi, Sagan, Sangeet and Sagaai are held before the wedding day.

Christianity– A Christian Wedding celebration in India is simple yet charming. The wedding ceremony is conducted in the church. On the day of the wedding, the best man greets the bride with a bouquet. The best man is someone very close to the bridegroom. She is than accompanied by her father to the altar. In the presence of two witnesses from both sides the bride and the groom declare themselves to be husband and wife. The groom declares his wedding vows. The couple exchanges their rings and the priest blesses the newly wedded couple and declares them husband and wife.

2. Death rituals

Hinduism– For a Hindu funeral, cremation takes place within 24 hours after death. The deceased’s body stays at home until this time. During the time that the body is at home, a funeral service takes place. Unlike Christian funerals, loved ones at Hindu funerals should not dress in black, which is inappropriate; rather, dressing in white is preferable. 

Christianity– After one’s passing, the body is washed and embalmed for burial, or prepared for cremation. The funeral takes place about a week after the death. At funeral ceremonies and Masses it is appropriate to be dressed in black out of respect for the dead. Despite the diverse range of denominations, most Protestant funerals tend to be similar.

3. Symbolism

Hinduism– Hindus represent their belief by the sacred syllable Aum, Swastik, Tulsee plant or yantras.

Christianity– The shape of the cross, as represented by the letter T, came to be used as a “seal” or symbol of Early Christianity by the 2nd century. The use since the earliest Christianity of the first and the last letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha (α or Α) and omega (ω or Ω)

Questions which Christianity cannot answer, But Hinduism Can !

  • When is The Day of Judgement ?

No verse in any scripture of Christianity answers this question. For 2000 years, they have been saying the end of the World is any day soon. Whereas Hinduism says, The day of Judgment is after the death of the living entity.

  • What is total Number of Species ?

Christianity have absolutely no idea about it. Hinduism says, Of the 84 lakhs species  : 9,00,000 species are aquatics; 20,00,000 species are plants and trees; 11,00,000 species are insects; 10,00,000 species are birds; 30,00,000 species are beasts, and 4,00,000 ‘species’ are human beings.

  • Why some suffer more and some less ?

Why some are born in poor family and some in rich, why some have more intelligence and some less, why some are successful and others not ? Are these things just coincadences or injustice of God ? Christianity cannot answer these questions. Hinduism can solve all these question by a single law, ‘Karma’.

  • Do aliens exist ?

The Bible gives us no reason to believe that there is life elsewhere in the universe. The “discovery” of alien life would throw some effect on genuine Christianity. The Bible says the earth and mankind are unique in God’s creation, but no mention of life on other planets. Whereas Hinduism presents complete picture of material existence and indicate towards the possibility of alien life. The aliens or beings on other planets are mentioned as -Yakshas, Sidhas, Gandharvas, Vidyadharas, Kinnaras, Devas.

  • Why is there variety of living beings?

Christianity have Absolutely no idea. The animals see other animals as food, they also see animals as food. Due to the variety of mentalities/desires/consciousness and actions taken (karma) by humans, there is variety of bodies so the ‘free will’ can be satisfied. Humans, who eat flesh, will have their desire satisfied by getting the body of a flesh-eating animal like a lion, at the end of this life.

‘Only in Hinduism’

Avatara Avatar, “one who descends,” refers to one of the Supreme Person’s many incarnations or expansions who periodically visit the material world. In this material world Krishna incarnated 24 times. Avatars either fully or partially possess God’s omnipotence, and they act in extraordinary ways to attract the interest of the residents of this world.                     

 Chakras– These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. 

Meditation– Christianity doesn’t believe in meditation as it refuses the presence of God within us. Meditation is feeling the presence of God within our heart and accepting the mode of a servant.

Mandalas– The word mandala is a Sanskrit term that means “circle” or “discoid object”. A mandala can be defined in two ways: externally as a schematic visual representation of the universe and internally as a guide for several psychophysical practices that take place in many Asian traditions, including meditation.

Cycles of yugas– The smallest cycle is called a maha yuga. A maha yuga is 4,320,000 human years. Each maha yuga is subdivided into the following four ages, whose lengths follow a ratio of 4:3:2:1. They are known as- Satya, , Treta, Dwapar, Kali.

Concept of demigods– The demigods are incharge of particular duties prescribed to them. They are 33 million in number and all stay in the heaven. They are mortals.

Concept of Vahana – Vahana denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular Hindu deity is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana is often called the deity’s “mount”.

Fire sacrifices– Yajña, sacrifice, is an act by which we surrender something for the sake of the God. Such an act must rest on a sacred authority (Vedas), and serve for man’s salvation (Moksha).

Conclusion

I think those who are Christian priests, they should cooperate with this movement, chant the name of Christ or Christo and stop animal killing. This is according to Bible. This is not according to my philosophy, but their Christian philosophy. Simply let them do it and see how the situation becomes nice. -Shrila Prabhupada

“In the list of incarnations you’ll find Lord Krishna’s name also, Lord Rama’s name also, Lord Buddha’s name also. Lord Buddha is mentioned. Do not think that the Hindus have disregard for Lord Buddha or for Lord Jesus Christ. No. They have all regard.”

So Lord Jesus Christ said, “My Lord, hallowed be Thy name.” He wants to glorify the name of the Lord. And some people says that there is no name of God. How? If Lord Jesus Christ says “Hallowed by Thy name,” there must be name. The name is there, but he did not pronounce it because the people at that time will not be able to understand or maybe some reason, but he says there is name. So we are making this propaganda, Krsna consciousness movement, the “Hallowed by Thy name. My Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, let Your holy name be glorified.” This is our movement. It is not a sectarian.

Although we studied all the differences, we cannot find any difference in the root of all the religions which is GOD. Thus, we should try to aspire to respect and love all but follow what is best for ourselves.

prabhupada-quotes2

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