Hinduism vs Christianity
credit to differ.com, wikipedia, and Peter Kraft
Please understand this information if collected from our quick research and experiences in a primarily Hindu nation. We have checked our facts where possible and asked for input from Indians we have met. However, we are practicing Christians and not Hindus and understand our perspective is different. We hope this might help our homeschool friends at home, and also serves as a study guide for our kids test on Hinduism!
- Christianity originated out of Judea around 33 AD from Judaism (which evolved around 1812 BC), while Hinduism evolved from the Indian Subcontinent around 3000BC.
- Hindus worship in a temple or “mandir,” while Christians worship in a church, cathedral, chapel, or personal dwellings
- Hindus commonly practice meditation, yoga, contemplation, yagna (any ritual done in front of a sacred fire, often with mantras – hymns), and make offerings in the temple. “In Hinduism, puja is done on a variety of occasions, frequency, and settings. It may include daily puja done in the home, to occasional temple ceremonies and annual festivals, to few lifetime events such as birth of a baby or a wedding, or to begin a new venture. The two main areas where puja is performed are in the home and at temples to mark certain stages of life, events or some festivals … Puja is not mandatory; it may be a routine daily affair for some Hindus, periodic ritual for some, and infrequent for other Hindus. In some temples, various pujas may be performed daily at various times of the day; in other temples, it may be occasional.” wikipedia
- While Christians primarily practice readings from the Bible, acts of charity, take communion, and pray; some branches practice sacraments.
- While Christians rarely utilize statues and pictures in their worship (except for Catholic and Orthodox churches, this is common for Hindus.
- Christians believe in the trinity – One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Hindus, on the other hand, believe in many gods, but believe that all came from Atman
- The Goal of Hinduism is to reach enlightenment or moksha by one of the following:
- Path of Knowledge – study of the Vedas as well as sciences, history, psychology, and more. Considered the most difficult path.
Path of Devotion – Hare Krishnas fit this path. This path encourages “puja” or worship of a deity or deities daily anywhere as long as there is a shrine. You are free to choose which deity to worship. This is the most common path.
Path of Good Deeds – Committing oneself to others through compassion, must involve selfless action.
Path of Raja Yoga – by utilizing yoga in the service of meditation one is able to realize Oneness. The goal is to minimize the need for unconscious use of energy for the body till the practitioner enters psychic realms.
These four paths offer different options for different personalities.
Christians are saved through Christ’s suffering on the cross, death, and resurrection.
- Leaders of the Christian religion include priests, bishops, ministers, elders, deacons, monks, and nuns.
- Leaders in the Hindu religion include:
Gurus – personal spiritual teacher or guide
Yogis – practitioners of yoga
Rishis – sages who practice intense meditation to gain eternal knowledge
Brahmins – priests, practice daily rituals in temples
In addition to priests, priestesses, monks, and nuns.
- Christians believe in an eternity in either Heaven or Hell, and in some cases temporal Purgatory.
Hindus believe in a constant cycle of reincarnation until enlightenment is
reached or purification of the soul from desires so that it can attain mystical consciousness – similar to Buddhism.
- Christians utilize the Holy Bible originally written in Aramaic, Greek, and Latin; while Hindus utilize a variety of scriptures including: Vedas, Upanishad, Puranas, Gita. Smrti and Sruti are oral scriptures. These were originally written in Sanskrit
- Both Christians and Hindus generally believe one man may marry one woman.
- Protestants confess sins straight to God, while Catholics and Orthodox confess mortal sins to a Priest, and venial sins straight to God. Anglicans confess to Priests but considered optional. God always forgives sins in Jesus.
Hindu sages prescribe repentance for unintentional sins, but intentional sins have to be repaid through karmic consequences – or you pay for them in the next life.
- Most Christian faiths celebrate The Lord’s Day, Advent, Christmas, New Year, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
Hindus celebrate Diwali, Holi, Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, etc.
- Buddhism evolved out of Hinduism. Some Hindu sects claim Buddha was an avatar of Vishnu. Others believe he was a holy man. They believe that Buddhists, Jains, & Sikhs should reunite with Hinduism.
Christianity evolved out of Judaism
- Symbols of Christianity include: cross, ichthys (“Jesus fish”), Mary and baby Jesus.
Hindu symbols include: Om, Swastika, etc.
- The founder of Christianity was the Lord Jesus Christ, while Hinduism is not credited to anyone in particular
- The goal of Christianity is to love God and obey his commandments while creating a relationship with Jesus Christ and spreading the Gospel so that others may also be saved.
The goal of Hinduism is to break the cycle of birth, death and reincarnation, and attain enlightenment which leads to the attainment of moksha – the realization that at the center of your being is not individual ego but Atman, universal self which is identical with Brahman, the All.
- Christians believe humans cannot save themselves. Only God is good and therefore only God is able to save a person. Jesus came down from Heaven to save mankind.
Hindus Beliefs vary by sect. Upanishads (scriptures) say God chooses who gets salvation. Salvation is attained via good deeds and righteousness (following the “dharma” and avoiding sin).
- Christian virtue is based on love, while Hindu virtue is based on following dharma (righteouness), eternal law.
- Charvakas and Sankyas are atheistic groups in Hinduism. Christianity does not have atheists.
- Christians are more prominent in Europe, North and South America, and Australia and New Zealand – or the Western World
While Hinduism is found primarily in India and Nepal.
- While Christians believe Christianity is the True Faith. Hindus believe all religions have some truth in them.
- Christians primarily worship on Sunday, while orthodox schools of Hinduism prescribe three prayer times a day: at dawn, noon and dusk.
- Hindu Monists believe only Brahman exists, Pantheists believe all things/entities are God, Monotheistic sects consider God as immanent and transcendent and different from others. The Nasadiya Sukta even explores creation-ex-nihilo. Christians view God One who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- Christians believe that Christ will return; while Hindus believe Kalki, the 10th Avatar of Vishnu is the promised one.
- Christians believe individuals have free will. Hindus believe individuality is an illusion, that we are not distinct from God or each other.
If you find this interesting, check out C.S. Lewis’s discussion on Hinduism and Christianity. Hinduism is really the only other religion he strongly considered to be correct, but decided against it.