The Similarities Of Hinduism And Christianity
Many people believe there is a gap between the teachings of Hinduism and Christianity; but I don’t hold that opinion. When you really break it down and look at the facts, there are several important similarities between the two that may help us to understand why these two seemingly totally contradictory theologies share much in common.
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Most people don’t realize this, but Hinduism is a monotheistic religion, just like Christianity. Granted, there are millions of deities; but most Hindus don’t view them as independent entities. Rather, they’re viewed as emanations of one spirit- the same spirit that brings us all together. Sure, there are a few sects within Hinduism that believe the deities are literally real, but the vast majority believe in that deities, just like humans and all of creation, are connected and manifested by a supreme being. Hinduism believes this supreme being is without form, personality, or thought…in effect, it is the only reality.
Of course, many people know that Hinduism believes in reincarnation; but did you know many Christians believed it as well? I was really surprised to learn this years ago. In the early days of Christianity, the concept of reincarnation was not outright dismissed, as it is today. In fact, many Christians embraced it.
One of the early church fathers, Origen, even went so far as to say:
“Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings.” -De Principalis.
There was a divide in the church as to whether or not this doctrine should be embraced; after all, there isn’t a direct mention of reincarnation in the Biblical texts. The emperor Justinius called a meeting in 553 AD to discuss this issue and others. However, the Pope at the time was boycotting the meeting for political reasons, and the emperor’s plans, known as the “Fifteen Anathemata”, were approved. In effect, this put a damper on the Pope’s powers, and banned the teachings of Origen. From that moment forward, the movement of reincarnation in Christianity was gradually forgotten.
Mother Mary Worship
There was a rumor that the apostle Thomas traveled to India to spread the message of Christ long ago. And that rumor seems to have some basis, because there are several Mother Mary temples in India dedicated to her worship. They believe she’s an incarnation of a goddess. This has led Catholic missionaries in India to sometimes travel to traditional Hindu temples, worshiping her likeness.
Incense, sacred bread (prasadam), similar ornamental decorations on buildings (angels and gods), and the rosary (like malas) all bear similarities in each religion.
The Birth of Christ VS the Birth of Krishna
The similarities here are almost too many to mention, but here’s a quick list:
- Both were born of virgin mothers
- Both were of a holy trinity (Father, son and holy ghost- Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu)
- Spirit was their father
- Bother were visited by shepherds and wise men following a star
- Angels warned the parents that a dictator would kill the babies
- Both undertook ritual fasting and deep meditation when they became adults, finding their connection to spirituality
- Both performed numerous and similar miracles, including raising the dead
- Though the had the power to destroy others, in many cases they embraced their meekness
- Both were resurrected
- Both taught similar doctrines of morals
Teachings: Morals and Values
There are many similarities here…even more than the birth of Jesus and Krishna!
- Love your neighbor just as much as yourself
- Give without expectation, and do it frequently
- Live without attachment to the world
- Put your spiritual life above anything else
- Meditation (direct communion with the Divine)
Anything I missed here? Let me know in the comments below!
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