ONTEMPORARY ISSUES FACING THE HINDUISM RELIGIOUS TRADITION
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Discuss the common characteristics the Hinduism religion shares with the other religions
The answer to what actually constitutes religion is not well-known and different people have different answers to what constitutes religion. The adherence to certain groupsa or culturesa beliefs has been referred to as religion (Beversluis, 2000). There are ancient cultures that have practiced religion for many centuries and the practices have blended to constitute religions. There are beliefs that have emanated from modern socio-political thought like nationalism, communism and capitalism that are considered as religions (Beversluis, 2000). This means that these movements have something in common with what societies understand as constituting religion. Their religion can be considered as mainstream religions like Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, atheism, and so on. The fact that there are some movements that are implicitly regarded as religions in their very nature and characteristics is an indication that all religions share a common characteristic or a number of characteristics which can be sorted out. One such religion that shares many characteristics with other religions is Hinduism, and in this paper, the common characteristics that Hindu religion shares with other religions will be outlined and discussed.
Like many other religionas mythologies, Hindu mythology is rich, multifarious, and inclusive. In this case, like many other religions, Hindu mythology is a portrayal of terrible in benevolence, triviality alongside the cosmic and sublimity in grotesque (Vaz, 2001). Many religions are based on these pillars and are not an ordinary ideation but an ideation of powers that are beyond human understanding. Apart from Christianity and Islam, most religions draw or associate the powers with some form and in many cases, the forms are numerous and hierarchical (Vaz, 2001). Like many religions, Hinduism has many Gods and each God has its own association, function, and associated shape or form.
Moreover, Hinduism like many other religions such as Islam, Christianity, and Jewish religions draws their inspiration and religious knowledge from texts. Christianity draws from a number of texts combined into a Bible and Islam has a number of texts combined into a Quran. Hinduism has important texts such as Upanishad, Rig Veda, and Bhagvad Gita; usually referred to as the four Vedas or a?books of knowledgea? (Beversluis, 2000, p. 52).
Religion constitutes a belief in a power and Hinduism, like many religions is a power and not an ordinary ideation. Hinduism acknowledges the presence of four major goals, namely material, satisfaction of desire, human position, and beyond life. The acknowledgement of an existence beyond life is among all religions and entails a goal of achieving liberation from unending cycles of rebirth in which all living beings are locked. Like Christianity, Hinduism believes in the trinity of god. Whereas Christians acknowledge God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit; Hinduism believes in a?Brahama the creator, Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the destroyera? (Flood & Olivelle, 2003, p. 273).
Many religions integrate various heterogeneous elements and like them, Hinduism is a complex and a continuous whole with religious, artistic, social, and economic aspects. These aspects inhere in that Hinduism, like many other religions, covers the wholeness of life. As a result, Hinduism is not fit explained in terms of a single definition but rather a characteristic.
In addition, there are countless rituals that are associated with Hinduism as in other religions. Christianity, Islam, and many other religions base their belief and knowledge on various rituals, which are meant to appease their gods and spirits (Vijay, 2001). Hinduism is a religion that is associated with many gods and goddesses. Like many other polytheist religions, these gods are believed to rule the world. The three gods that are associated with Hinduism namely; Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer and these gods have consorts.
As with many religions, it is possible to find divisions among the Hindus and the gods they worship. This means there are different beliefs among the Hindi and not all Hindi worship the same god or goddesses because some of the gods are predominant in other religions. Like in many other religions, Hindi people worship Gods in accordance with their personal needs. For example, there are goddesses of fertility who is consulted by people who want to have children; there is for example Hanuman worshipped by Hindi who is engaged in wrestling and body building and physical sports (Vijay, 2001). There is Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth worshipped by business people and so on. This is a common characteristic with other religions, especially the polytheists where each God is allotted a specific role in the society.
Interestingly, like Christianity, and Islam, there are Hindus who worship and believe in one of these numerous gods only. They perceive in this one God and goddess an image of one god because they do not ascribe to the concept of idolatry. They therefore, believe that idolatry is a wrong interpretation of Hinduism just as Christians understand their trinity as a unified one and idolatry as unacceptable.
Another common characteristic of Hinduism and other religions is its demand for its adherents to submit to authority. In most religions, authority is believed to come from gods or a group of gods. The system of social organization in Hinduism started in the primitive times in what was seen as a response to tribal conditions (Vijay, 2001). There were authorities, who required obedience and Hindus are supposed to observe such adherence and obedience to authorities as a religious duty. In addition, Hinduism has been classified among many religions, which have hijacked cultural tendencies to perpetuate their beliefs and adherence. Therefore, studying Hinduism and other religions reveals that all religions are referred to as religions because of some shared or common characteristics. Most of these religions share characteristics and differ materially in ideologies and perspective of beliefs. While some perpetuate themselves through cults, others do so through dogmas and others through ritualistic practices. Hinduism is a religion that has shared characteristics with both monotheistic and polytheistic religions.
Analyze the interactions between the modern world and Hinduism
Hinduism is the most dominant culture in India. It mainly includes Srauta, Shaivism, and Vaishnavisn. Hinduism is a collection of clear-cut philosophical and intellectual points of view that are designed to govern and inform the moral choices of its members. In the modern capitalistic economy, individuals are generally inclined toward personal development and private ownership of property. However, the Hindu religion has always held that happiness and satisfaction cannot be found in such self-serving attitudes (Vijay, 2001). According to Hinduism, the primary goal of all humanity should be to offer unconditional and selfless service to other individuals. In fact, this seems to be the central tenet of Hinduism. The Vedanta philosophy, which is one of the key doctrines in Hinduism, appeals to individuals to appreciate the existence of an infinite God in a finite body. As such, they will be able to feel His presence everywhere, and therefore turn their lives into an incessant service to others.
The Hindu law and the contemporary legal systems appear to contradict. Hinduism teaches against death sentences for charged criminals. This is due because of the strong belief that life is sacred and can only be taken by the giver of life. The great teacher of Hinduism, Sir Ramakrishna, taught that it is not the duty of man to kill the perverse, but to focus on avoiding recurrence of the same evil deed by helping the victim to refrain from wrongdoing (Flood & Olivelle, 2003). In terms of gender issues, the Hindu society has been labeled by some quart