Christianity vs Hinduism
R. from India writes:
Hi my name is R. from India. I belong to Hindu family. I recently watched all your articles of young earth creationism and it has blown up my mind. I am not able to concentrate on my studies and I also researched about conspiracy theories and new world order. I also became a believer but am still confused between my religion and Christ. These things go around my head 24 hours. Please help me. I also have my mother and sister to take care of.
CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:
Thanks for writing in.
To deal with your confusion, we need to ask: what are the differences between Hinduism and Christianity? The most important thing to remember about Christianity is that it’s not just another deity to add to all the others. God demands exclusive worship; all other ‘gods’ are fake or finite. They didn’t make the whole world. They don’t run everything. They don’t know everything about the past, present, and future (Isaiah 43:10, John 13:19). They are not the source of all truth, beauty, and goodness. The Triune God of Scripture is. And also, we must remember that the world is something God made, it is neither identical to God, nor a part of God. So, neither are we identical to God nor a part of God. For more on these issues, please see What’s wrong with Hindu pantheism? and Did God create time?
Most traditions in Indian religion are what we in the West call pantheistic; they say that God and the world are identical (there are some that are panentheistic (Templeton Prize goes to panentheistic Darwinist and Process theism) and some are even theistic (What’s the best metaphysical context for reincarnation?)). In this way, there is no ultimate distinction between you and me, you and the computer you typed your comment on, or you and some planet in a galaxy billions of light-years away from us. Everything ultimately reduces to just one thing. This is the basic force of the well-known Sanskrit phrase Tat Tvam Asi, which is translated in English as “you are that”. The force of that phrase is to dissolve the distinction between you and whatever you perceive.
Theistic traditions such as Christianity reject pantheism. We say, “you are not that”. You are not identical to what you perceive. When you perceive something other than yourself, you are perceiving something that really is distinct from you. For more on this, see Biology, purpose, and pantheism, Is the universe a simulation?, and Design argument: Usefulness of math in science.
Pantheism also dissolves the distinction between good and evil. If everything is one, then there is no real distinction between good and evil. Indeed, consider the notion that you should take care of your mother and sister. Is it distinct from the idea of neglecting them? Of course it is! You should take care of your family, and you shouldn’t neglect them. The former is morally right, and the latter is morally wrong. The moral distinction between them is real. But if the moral distinction is real, then pantheism is false, since it denies moral distinctions (Can pantheism explain morality? And, the fight-or-flight response and the Fall).
Morality also refutes polytheism (which may be the ‘popular’ Hinduism you’re more familiar with). The gods can’t dictate what is right, since they disagree with each other. But if they follow what is right, then someone above them commands what is right. This is a dilemma polytheism can’t escape. Instead, there has to be a single standard of morality. There has to be a ‘God of gods’ to which all other ‘deities’ should bow. But that just is the God of Scripture! (Can we be good without God? and What is ‘good’? (Answering the Euthyphro Dilemma))
You are not God, and God is not you. Rather, he made you. You may not be God, but you’re loved by God. As are your mother and sister. Indeed, God so loved the world that he gave his unique Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). This is the heart of the good news about Jesus Christ (Good News!).
Now, a word about ‘conspiracy theories’. They’re not a good thing to follow: Why CMI rejects ‘conspiracy’ theorizing.
I hope this helps,
Creation Ministries International