Ideological Differences between Hinduism and the Semitic religions.
The Hindu ideology is open to potential of divinity being realised in more ways than one. They welcomed Jews, Christians and Muslims with open arms and even helped them to settle down in their hour of need. Hindus accept family, friends and even neighbours to be of different sect than themselves with an open mind. Their open minded, holistic ideology is often seen as an enigma by the other religions who cannot comprehend that anyone can be as accepting as that, especially religions !
The Abrahamic religions on the other hand do not allow people any choice, they believe theirs is the only way to approach God and if you don’t follow them, you are destined for hell ! Throughout history, they have been uncompromising on their dogmatic stand and have willingly wiped out cultures and civilisations to impose their homogeny on all who came in contact with them. Despite the proofs of history, they call themselves the religion of peace, love and mercy !!!!
Muslims and Christians consider it perfectly OK for people to convert to their sect, but, never for their members to go to another sect ! Such one-way traffic is the key to retaining their numbers. Hindus have been covertly and overtly forced to convert for centuries, and yet, when they refuse, or resist, they are called “close minded” or “fundamentalists” – their aggressor reserving the right to denigrate them and their culture with impunity.
However, among the Abrahamic religions, the Jewish history is different. They settled peacefully in
and have not tried to convert anyone to their faith by force or inducements. Though the Christian Bible and Koran are loosely based on the Torah (Jewish sacred literature – comprising of the Hebrew Bible, Talmud and Kabbalah), there are major differences between them and they all have their individual identities. India
This article is written to mainly help Hindus compare the Semitic and Hindu religions, side by side and realise that some the absurd claims made for conversion are foolish at best and dangerous at worst. Hindus need to realise what their religion offers them !
1) Hindus believe in the divinity of soul – every soul – human or otherwise. We say, your soul is eternal and has an everlasting life, belief not withstanding – eternal life is the natural characteristic of a soul !! It does not need following or believing to activate it.
Soul resides in all living things - from a microbe to a man. In some species, the soul uses up its karmic balance. In human species, should the soul choose, it can create new karmic balance.
Others say that only if you believe in their God, through a specific prophet or person, can you hope to have everlasting life.
There is no patent on "eternal life". Soul is eternal and does not need endorsement from a religion or "God" to be eternal. Its not something you should be bribed with, it is yours as a right and hence not a matter to be converted for !
2) Hindus believe in an absolutely omnipresent, omnipotent God that is neither jealous nor feels threatened by “other gods”. All aspects of divinity are aspects of the self same GOD and hence no jealousy or competition !
There is no satan waiting to bait God - if there was, wouldn't that "satan" be challenging the omnipotentness of GOD ? We believe the universe to be a "play" of the divine and hence all the good and bad we see are characters in the divine play.
Hinduism preaches the truest, most purest form of Monotheism – there is only one God, and He exists everywhere, at all times, in all ways. We celebrate the diversity within the nature of God. The multitude of "Gods" in our pantheon are simply the many facets of the One !
Abrahamic religions say they are monotheistic, whereas really, they believe in the duality – God and Satan. Satan seems to have the power to pull people away from God ! How can Satan exist if Satan is despised by God ? How can anything, anyone, any where exist without His express permission ? If it does, it must do so by defying God – which negates the very nature of God !!!
God does not need humans to fight for Him – He is omnipresent and omnipotent.
Muslims and Christians believe you have to fight for God and do His work to please Him.
How ? Why ??
An omnipotent, omnipresent God does not need anyone’s help – surely, He is the person others turn to for help !
God of Christians and Muslims seems to need people to "believe" in Him. How vain to think that if you believe in me, you are OK, if not, you are condemned to eternal hell ! Sounds more like the rant of a bad tempered school bully than a "compassionate God" !
3) God does not need intermediaries to communicate with His creation.
Jews believed that only a few prophets came to talk on behalf of God.
Christians believe God fathered a human son and so we can only communicate through him.
Muslims believe God sent a messenger to talk on His behalf and he is the only intermediatory for all times.
Hindus believe GOD Himself came to talk to us !
Whose message would you rather hear ? One that is delivered through others like Chinese whispers or from GOD Himself !
Vedas are the words of God, as heard by the ancient seers. Hindus believe the Vedas to be the breath of GOD. As breath is constant and eternal, we believe God talks to all His creation all the time and there is no end to this conversation ! The Vedas we have are but a fraction of that conversation. As a result when the Jews, Christians and Muslims came to our shore and said theirs was a message of God, we readily accepted that it could be a continuation of the eternal conversation ! The medieval pundits could not imagine a religion that imagined a single book to be the be all and end all of God’s conversation with his creation.
S.M.B. Gita is the word of God, as delivered by Him ! It is the most concise book on divine philosophy and is a gem amongst Hindu sacred literature. God spoke many other words too, and they are there in Valmiki Ramayan, S.M. Bhagvatam, Mahabharata etc.
Surely, as a responsible creator, God has been communicating with His creation from day one. Why would God choose to send “the last prophet” or “only son” to deal with man kind after such long intervals ? Surely, if mankind needed instructions, those should be given when the problems occur – not with such huge time gaps ! It helps no one to be told “refer back to 2000 / 1400 years ago” – for how god wants you to behave !!!
Why would god, an immortal, need to sire a mortal son to talk to mankind ? And having done it once, what’s to stop him doing it again ? Indeed, if he did, who would stop him ? What is to stop god from sending another "son" or "prophet" ? If he deemed it necessary once, he can deem it necessary once again !!! To insist that only one person can speak on behalf of God is illogical ! How can anyone one person have an exclusive right to talk on behalf of God ?
4) We believe time to be eternal. There was no time when there wasn’t God and there will be no time when God will not be there. The divine play is eternal too. The universe manifests and dissolves in to the infinite, infinitely, infinite times.
Events in the universe are cyclical. There is no “perpetual heaven or hell”. It all comes and goes, and like the seasons, repeats itself time and again. Based on the scientific laws of Karma, souls keep moving in this eternal cycle.
This is more scientific and logical than the perpetual haven and hell of Christians and Muslims.
5) We believe in the universality of the law of Karma, which enjoins everyone to work to better their lives. It clearly states that what you do now will affect your future, so work and work hard to have a wonderful future. God does not interfere, and hence the Law of Karma is so much more aligned with the laws of science than any other religion.
Laws of karma validate the unequal nature of life. Why should one soul be born as a beggar and another as a prince ? Its all down to karma ! Your karmas in previous life dictate what sort of life you have now. Your karmas in this life will dictate what you will get in the next life !
Why would God, any god, wait to judge people till the “end of time” ? What a chaotic way to run the universe ! Where do the dead souls of people wait till judgement day ? Does this mean some will wait a longgggg time, and some will be judged much sooner – depending on how close to zero time they died ?!?
6) Reincarnation. We believe the soul is eternal and does not suffer death. Hence, when the physical body “dies”, the soul simply moves on to another body.
Without the laws of karma, and reincarnation there is no way to explain the unequal nature of life. Why would a "compassionate God" make one person rich and another poor ? Why should any one suffer on earth ? If they have only one life, surely, they came from God and hence have no reason to "suffer" in this life. If their "sins" were committed in one life time, why should there be perpetual reward or punishment for it ? Surely, that goes against the very idea of being compassionate or just !
As in any merit based society, your "work" dictates your rewards. If you have been good in this life, some rewards are given here, and some in the lives here after. Rewards depend on the karma and like the seed you sow, they mature at different pace. E.g. - mustard seeds germinate and grow to maturity faster than an apple tree. The rewards from sowing mustard are quick, but only last a season. Reward of planting an mango will reap benefit after years of patience, but than, it will keep rewarding you season after season for decades to come.
Theory of karma is both logical and scientific. It is far more in tune with nature and life on this planet than any other theory trying to explain the inequality in the world.
7) Semitic religions talk of idolatry as sin, yet, Bible says, god made man in his own image – what does that mean ? Man and God look alike ! So, idols are the best way to view what god would look like !! Surely, in that case, there in no "sin" in seeing the face of the universal spirit reflected in a human statue !
If God did make man in His own image as the bible says, what is so wrong in making an image of God in man’s image ? Surely, we, the idolatrous Hindus are simply rendering the real divine image in art !!
Hindus worship ideals embodied in the idol rather than the idol itself. The ideals of grace, beauty, strength, generousness, etc are expressed in an idol and that is what we worship. Never do we feel that God resides in that one idol only and if that breaks, God is dead / gone forever ! That is what the Muslims and Christians think and for that reason, at every opportunity, they destroy or deface "pagan" idols, hoping to wipe out their God. To their amazement, Hindus have simply taken this in their stride, built new statues, and new temples and carried on ! The invaders could never understand how the Hindus could do this. Little do / did they realise that to us, idols are simply an idea and not the ultimate truth !
The fervor with which the Christians worship their saints and crosses, they out perform Hindus in their dedication to the idols ! They worship every scrap of item that may be related to their saints. Holy relics abound. What are these if not idols ?
Muslim are equally attached to their "book". Any word written on any scrap of paper, cloth or even stone has to be revered and preserved with relentless devotion. They all face the Kaaba, five times a day and every home has a picture of the grand mosque to show their dedication to it. Graves of their saints and holy men litter the Islamic landscape. Thousands go there to pray, beseeching them to talk to God on their behalf. Even a minor comment or cartoon on their prophet, saints or Koran causes riots. The recent "Dutch cartoon" controversy just goes to show how attached they are to their symbols of religion. Is this not idolatry ?
8) Abrahamic religions believe, eating from the tree of knowledge is what threw them out of paradise. Hindus believe, knowledge is what will get us back to paradise ! Knowledge is the only way to get back to god !
What a contrast !! Knowledge should liberate and enlighten you. How can it lead you to darkness and misery ? If a god condemns you for gaining intelligence, how can that god be just, kind or benevolent ? Hindu God insist of knowledge as a prerequisite for enlightenment.
9) In the Bible, Eden incidence says something else that is very telling – the very first thing they perceived on receiving knowledge was, they were naked and covered themselves accordingly. As soon as they clothed themselves, God turned them out of Paradise !
So, either Jehovah is a proto naturalist, or, he is saying we are suppose to enjoy ourselves as we are. This negates the ridiculous notion of the Muslims that you have to cover yourself to please god ! Indeed, it was this covering up that condemned them to leave Eden !!
Guess what the missionaries are doing around the world – telling the tribal people that they are naked and need to cover themselves up – are they not acting like the snake ? Are they not forcing tribals out of their paradises and into the wilderness, where they must toil and work for the big bucks rather than enjoy life as it is meant to be ?
10) Amongst Hindus, all women, apart from your wife, is considered to be as sacrosanct as your mothers and sisters. Women need not fear violence from men in the society, indeed, they expected to be protected, as members of a larger, extended family !
In Muslim society, women must become faceless to escape men’s unwanted attention. Are Muslim men so weak willed that the very sight of naked flesh incites them to rape an violence on women ? Must women cover themselves up simply because men can't control their lust ?
Hindus have been far more egalitarian. Women were compatriots and were allowed full freedom to move about in the community. They were allowed to conduct business and be topless without the fear of rape or censor. Invasion, followed by rape and pillage by the Muslim armies forced Hindu women to hide and cover themselves up to protect their honour.
Hindus worshiped women as goddesses and indeed, some of the most important jobs in the divine pantheon were female dominated - such as wealth, knowledge and prowess in war ! In Hinduism, God had male and female persona, identified as ArdhaNarishwar.
This is in sharp contrast to how Christians and Muslims viewed women - as weaker vessel, a spare rib !!
11) Many contend that Islam and Christianity are the first multicultural religions that was a melting pot of races.
They forget that Hinduism, from its earliest days, had Gods, seers and followers from all corners of the vast subcontinent and beyond. Just look at the main Gods in its pantheon, they are of all hues of mankind, and its sages and seers come from all races of the subcontinent, encompassing area from Afghanistan to Assam and Kashmir to Shri Lanka. Beyond the sub-continent, Hinduism spread to Java, Sumatra and Cambodia. It was truly an international brotherhood.
12) Promise of paradise in Islam is one of debauched orgy for men, fuelled by a constant stream of wine. But, there is nothing more you can do – this is your final destination. In Islam, women, faithful or otherwise, are promised none of the rewards of heaven !
Promise of Christian paradise is full of musical souls, but once again this is also a dead-end destination.
Hindu heaven is full of nymphs, music and wine, but it is not the ultimate destination – it is simply a staging post and with sufficient effort, you can transcend that to higher planes of consciousness, away from such material excesses.
The path to Muslim heaven is knee deep in blood and gore of the innocents. Those who do not believe in the Koran, be they good people, women or children, are all sentenced to death by Koran. The best way to get into their Jannat – paradise – is to kill as many non-Muslims as you can – men, women and children of any age ! Even if the person is of good conduct, and has the highest morals, if they are not Muslim, they are to be consigned to hell, so why not speed up the process and guaranty your place by killing them !?!?! And women, their place in heaven is anything but guarantied ! From descriptions of the place, where wine flows in the rivers and perpetual virgins wait on all the good men therein, it often resembles a topless men’s only club than a spiritual abode of the All Mighty !
Christian heaven has only one sign on it - rather like the "customs" at an airport - "Nothing to declare" and "Declare". What you do or don't do in life doesn't matter - so why not be bad all your life, and than embrace Christ at death ? That way, you have enjoyed life to the full and your entrance in heaven is guaranteed no matter how good or bad you have been !!
Why should bad people go to heaven by converting at the last moment, or killers of innocent go to heaven for claiming to "believe" in God - surely, God does not need anyone to "believe" in Him/ Her ! How vain would that be !
Hindu heaven has to be "earned" by good deeds.
It is a truly egalitarian, merit based heaven.
Surely, this is more logical and "just" !
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