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Hinduism and Christianity: Hindu Teaching or the Bible?

Hinduism and Christianity:
How Does Hindu Teaching Compare to the Bible?

Hinduism compared to Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ: What about such Hindu concepts as polytheism, pantheism, idolatry, reincarnation, karma, nirvana, and meditation?

How does Hinduism compare to Christianity and the gospel of Jesus Christ? How do Hindu gods such as Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, Rama, and Krishna compare to the God of the Bible? Should people accept polytheism, pantheism, and the use of images (idolatry)? What about Hindu concepts of reincarnation, karma, nirvana, and meditation? Should a Christian accept or oppose Hinduism?

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Introduction:

The purpose of this study is to compare the main doctrines of Hinduism to the teachings of the Bible.

Influence of Hinduism

Years ago Hinduism had few adherents in Western countries, but many would be surprised how much influence it has in Western cultures today.

Hinduism has several missionary movements [WR-137]:

(1) Ramakrishna Mission

(2) Krishna Consciousness Society - The Hare Krishna movement

(3) Divine Light Mission

(4) Transcendental Meditation

As evidence of the success of these movements, consider:

(1) Hinduism claims to be the oldest religion on earth with many believers: "Hinduism ... is our planet's original and oldest living religion, with over one billion adherents." - Hinduism Today. It has built palaces in the United States and its devotees are often seen in airports and other public places. 

(2) Many popular musical groups have songs with Hindu themes including Moody Blues, John McLaughlin, John Lennon, and George Harrison of the Beatles, and many others. Harrison, in particular, was a practicing Hindu. His song "My Sweet Lord" was written to praise the Hindu god Krishna.

(3) Transcendental Meditation has become extremely popular, yet is Hindu to the core.

(4) Games such as "Dungeons and Dragons" and similar computer games are filled with Hindu concepts.

(5) The New Age Movement also promotes Hindu ideas.

(6) Many Hindu concepts, such as reincarnation, are taken seriously by many people who would not consider themselves to actually be Hindus.

Among people who respond to materials on our Bible websites, Hindus respond nearly as much as any other one religious group.

Definition of Hinduism

The term Hinduism refers to the religious and social institutions of India. We are concerned mainly with the religious aspects, but both are tied together and are referred to by the term.

Hinduism developed progressively, so modern Hinduism differs from its historical roots. There is much variation and sectarianism in Hinduism as in other religions. Our discussion will generally emphasize beliefs and practices that are presently held in common by most Hindus.

[See bibliography at the end of our study for sources cited.]

I. Religious Authority

A. Hindu Religious Authorities

Hinduism recognizes many different religious authorities. Different Hindu groups may emphasize different authorities.

The highest written authorities in Hinduism are the Vedas.

Lesser authorities include the epic poems Ramayana and Mahabhrata. The latter includes the Bhagavad-gita (BG, p. 24). These are not considered quite as high in authority as the Vedas, yet in practice they have had greater popular influence.

"The Absolute Truth is contained in the Vedas, the oldest scriptures in the world. The essence of the Vedas is found in the Bhagavad-gita, a literal record of Krishna's words" - (Back, inside front cover; cf. BG, p. 13).

The Brahmanas are authoritative commentaries on the basic Vedas. Upanishads and Aranyakas are more recent writings generally considered authoritative.

In addition, the highest caste called the Brahmans (religious teachers) are considered authorities.

Hindus do not claim these authorities were all revealed by a direct, deliberate act of God (as the Bible claims to have been). In general Hindus believe God is everywhere in nature, and godly men can perceive the truth revealed within or around them. These Scriptures are viewed as truths these godly men have perceived from their own study. The Bhagavad-gita, however, does claim to be the very words of Krishna.

[WR136-140]

B. The Bible Doctrine of Authority

Men can learn how to please God only by means of Divine revelation.

Isaiah 55:8,9 - God's thoughts and ways are higher than ours like the heavens are higher than the earth.

Jeremiah 10:23 - The way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps.

Galatians 1:8,9 - No teaching except the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring salvation and a right relationship with God.

Man cannot discover spiritual truth within his own conscience or his own human wisdom. No amount of meditation within oneself can show man how to have a proper relationship with God. We will see that this is because man is not part of God and God is not part of man.

So a man cannot find spiritual truth by looking within himself. God must speak to man to reveal spiritual truth from outside the man himself.

[John 6:44,45; Proverbs 14:12; Romans 10:17,14; 1:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Acts 8:26,29,35; 9:6; 11:14; 2 John 9-11]

The Bible is a perfect revelation of God's will.

The Bible was spoken by God.

1 Thessalonians 2:13 - It is not the word of men, but the word of God. God sent the Holy Spirit to guide inspired men and teach them the will of God. So every word, as originally given, was exactly the word God wanted.

1 Corinthians 14:37 - Paul claimed that the things he wrote were the commands of the Lord. Nearly all other Bible writers made similar claims. Such statements are found repeatedly in the Bible.

So Hindu writings generally make no claim to be the very words of a god, but Bible writings claim that the whole Bible speaks the very word of God. This message came, not from within man, but from outside man by the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

[Galatians 1:11,12; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Ephesians 3:3-5; 2 Peter 1:21; John 16:13; Matthew 10:19,20; 2 Timothy 3:16,17; Luke 10:16.]

The Bible contains all truth regarding God's will for man.

John 16:13 - The Holy Spirit guided the inspired apostles into all truth. This is the message that they then recorded for man in the Scriptures.

2 Timothy 3:16,17 - As a result, the Scriptures make the man of God complete, furnished completely to all good works. No further revelation is needed.

[John 14:26; 16:13; 2 Peter 1:3; Acts 20:20,27.]

God preserves the Scriptures since they were written so they will always be available to instruct men.

1 Peter 1:22-25 - The gospel will live and abide forever, unlike grass that springs forth and then dies.

2 John 2 - The truth will be with us forever.

So the Bible is a complete and perfect revelation of God's will preserved by the providence of God Himself to reveal His will for man today (cf. James 1:25). We need no other source of religious authority or guidance to determine our beliefs or practices.

[Psalm 12:6,7; 119:152,160; Isaiah 40:8; 30:8; John 12:48; 2 Peter 1:12-15; 2 Timothy 3:16,17]

No religious guides other than the Bible are acceptable to God.

Since the Bible is a perfect revelation of God's will, no other authoritative guides are needed. And since no spiritual truth can be found within man that was not revealed to him by God, God has decreed that we must follow only His message revealed in the Bible. No other sources of spiritual authority should be accepted.

Man-made laws and human traditions are not acceptable as spiritual guides.

Matthew 15:1-9,13 - Doctrines of men make our worship vain.

Proverbs 14:12 - When men follow ways that seem right by human wisdom, the end result is death.

This again shows that religious truth cannot be determined by man's mind or conscience.

[2 John 9-11; Colossians 3:17; Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12; Revelation 22:18,19; 1 Timothy 1:3; 2 Timothy 1:13; John 5:43]

God has revealed no new truths, no new revelations, since the New Testament was given.

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 - The gift of prophecy ceased when the complete revelation of God's will had been recorded. But the record was completed in the life of the original apostles (as shown in passages already listed).

Jude 3 - The faith was delivered to men once, just like Jesus only had to die once. It was done so perfectly that it need not be repeated and will not be repeated.

So, any teaching different from the gospel is not acceptable.

Galatians 1:8,9 - If anyone teaches as religious authority a gospel different from what inspired men recorded in Scripture, that person is accursed. No other guide is acceptable, because no one is wise enough to reveal a message as good as the Bible.

2 John 9 - Whoever does not abide in Jesus' teaching does not have God. But the Hindu scriptures do differ from Jesus' teaching, therefore they are unacceptable to God.

Not only has God revealed all His will in the Bible, but He has provided evidence in the Bible itself sufficient to convince any honest, diligent student that it is in fact His message to man. This evidence includes fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness testimony of miracles, the resurrection of Christ, etc. That evidence is a study of its own, beyond the scope of this current study.

Summary: Hinduism contains numerous sacred writings, most of which do not even claim to be directly revealed from God. It necessarily follows that no Hindu can ever know that he has a complete revelation of religious truth. But the Christian holding a Bible can be confident that he has in his hand all truth that God ever has or ever will reveal for mankind - a complete and infallible spiritual guide - and he can offer convincing evidence that the message is from God.

To learn more about the evidence for the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we urge you to study our free articles on that subject listed at the end of this article.

II. The Nature of God

A. The Hindu Concept of God

Pantheism

Hinduism teaches that God is ultimately an impersonal, eternal force, essence, or power of existence, having none of the attributes or characteristics of persons (such as knowing, thinking, loving, etc.). This force, called Brahman, is present everywhere in everything in nature, especially in all living things: every plant, every animal, and especially every man.

Brahman can be thought of as a sort of spirit force that has no personal qualities, but which pervades everything in the Universe. The attributes of personality are believed to exist only in physical, material beings. But God, in pure form, is impersonal and has no personal characteristics.

This impersonal essence, pervading all things, is also found within us. So, the "spirit" within us is Divine. It is part of God. The real inner you is God. Your inner essence is the essence of Deity.

The Bhagavad-gita says our eternal souls are "part and parcels of God." "The soul is a small God" (BG, Back - inside front cover and page 6).

When you understand such concepts, you begin to notice common references to them. For example, the "Force" in the Star Wars movies is essentially Brahman - the impersonal universal force present in everywhere and in everything.

These concepts are also popularized by the New Age Movement.

Polytheism

The Divine Essence or Brahman manifests or expresses itself in the physical world in the form of physical beings that possess personality. As such, Deity is manifested in many gods of many forms.

"Hindus believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments and personal devotionals create a communion with these ... Gods." Hinduism Today

There are three Supreme gods: (1) Brahma, the creator, (2) Vishnu, the preserver, and (3) Siva, the destroyer. These are generally recognized as equal, though certain sects emphasize one or the other. And note that they differ in realms of power and authority.

Avatars are incarnations of these gods who have come to earth as men. The best known are avatars of Vishnu: (1) Rama, and (2) Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita.

There are also many lesser deities having various levels or realms of authority. Some rule over certain areas of the earth or certain aspects of nature, such as fire, sun, wealth, water, etc.

Religious teachers and dead ancestors are also worshiped.

The worship of various deities and images is popular among the people. This worship often involves the use of many images. The concept of the all-pervading Brahman is mainly theoretical among the religious leaders.

[WR140-142; EB-III, 1011ff; EB-XI, 577ff; EB-XII, 182f]

B. The Bible Concept of God

God possesses the characteristics of a living, personal spirit Being.

The Bible says that God is spirit (John 4:24), and is not flesh and blood (Matthew 16:17).

However, God possesses the qualities that characterize living, personal, individual beings. These include the following:

* Living (John 5:26)

* Loving (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-11)

* Speaking (Matthew 3:17)

* Working (John 5:17,20)

* Knowing (Matthew 6:8,32)

* Willing (Matthew 7:21)

* Seeing (Matthew 6:4,6,18)

God is not just an impersonal force, nor does God need a physical body in order to possess personal characteristics. God is spirit, not material or physical, and yet He possesses the characteristics of a personal individual.

Man is not divine and cannot become God.

Spiritually man is in the image or likeness of God (Genesis 1:26f; 5:1; 9:6; James 3:9; 1 Corinthians 11:7). But our inner being is not divine, not of the essence of God, and not to be worshiped.

Acts 10:25,26 - Peter refused to accept worship from Cornelius because Peter himself was "a man." [Cf. Revelation 22:8,9; 19:10]

Acts 14:15 - When the people of Lystra tried to offer sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas as gods (vv 8-18), the inspired men said the people should cease such practices and worship the living God. They said they were men like with those attempting to worship them.

1 Samuel 15:29 - God is not a man.

It is not true that our inner essence is that of God. Therefore, it is not right to worship any man, neither ancestors nor religious teachers. God is different from man, infinitely above us.

[See also Matthew 23:8-12; Ezekiel 28:2,6-10; Genesis 3:5; Acts 12:22,23; Isaiah 55:8,9; Hebrews 2:7; John 10:33; Numbers 23:19.]

There is only one true God.

Three separate Beings possess Deity: the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But unlike Hindu deities, these three are completely united in will, goals, purposes, etc. All have complete authority over all aspects of creation (in contrast to one over fire, one over wealth, etc.). So, they are completely united to form one God (John 17:20,21).

Deuteronomy 4:35-39 - The Lord is God and there is none else besides Him.

Isaiah 43:10,11 - Before Me there was no God formed, nor shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.

Exodus 20:3 - You shall have no other gods before Me.

[Isaiah 44:6-8; 1 Corinthians 8:4-6; Matthew 4:10; 2 Corinthians 6:16-18]

Use of images in worship is forbidden.

Exodus 20:4,5 - You shall not make any graven image nor bow down to such.

Acts 17:29 - Since we are God's offspring, we should not think the Godhead is like gold or silver or stone graven by art or device of men.

2 Corinthians 6:16-18 - Christians should have no agreement with idolatry, but should separate ourselves from it.

Summary: Hindus may believe in an all-pervasive god who has no characteristics of personality or in a multitude of different personal gods, often worshiped by images of gold, silver, stone, etc. But Christians believe in one true God, who is the living all-powerful, all-wise Creator of the universe. Since God has real personal characteristics, we can have a loving, caring personal relationship with God. We can communicate with God, so He speaks to us in His word and we speak to Him in prayer and worship.

[Isaiah 42:8,9; 40:18-26; 44:9-20; 46:1-11; 48:3-6; 41:21-24; Psalm 115:1-9; 96:5; 97:7; Leviticus 19:4; 26:1; Exodus 32:1-35; 23:24; 34:12-17; Hab. 2:18,19; Deuteronomy 16:21-17:7; 27:5; Daniel 3; Romans 1:23,25; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 5:21; 1 Corinthians 5:10,11; 6:9,10; 10:7,14; Revelation 21:8; 22:15; Acts 14:8-18.]

III. Belief about Human Destiny

The Hindu Concept of Man's Destiny

Hindus believe that, when a person dies, his spirit is given another earthly body, that of an animal, a person of another caste (social level), or a god, depending on how he lived his current life. This cycle of death and rebirth continues on and on until one is finally released.

Note some specific beliefs:

Reincarnation

"Hindus believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and ... liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny." Hinduism Today

This concept is widely believed in our society. People often speak of what they were or did "in another life."

Karma

Hindus believe that ones circumstances in life are completely determined by his previous conduct, either in this life or in previous lives. This is called "karma" (action). Everything good and everything bad that happens to us in this life comes as a payment for our own past conduct. Nothing is ever the fruit of what others did, but always the consequences of our own conduct.

By doing good deeds in this life, therefore, one can improve his circumstances in the future, especially in future reincarnations. (BG, p. 9,10)

The term "karma" is also becoming popular and is often seen or heard in the entertainment industry - movies, music, television, etc.

Liberation

"Hinduism explains that the soul reincarnates until all karmas are resolved and God Realization is attained. All souls, without exception, will attain this highest spiritual summit, though it may take many lives. This is a mystical religion ... finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are forever one." Hinduism Today

"Not a single soul will be deprived of this destiny." Hinduism Today So it follows that: "There is no eternal hell, no damnation, in Hinduism, and no intrinsic evil--no satanic force that opposes the will of God." - Hinduism Today, 9/2011

So, the final goal of Hinduism is to escape or be released from the cycle of reincarnation. Hindus seek to be set free from birth, death, and rebirth, so they exist in a state of pure impersonal being without a physical body. The exact nature of this final state is not clearly defined. Some view it as a ceasing of consciousness, others as a sense of bliss. But the end result is that man is somehow absorbed into the eternal Being (Brahman), becoming part of God.

To the Hindu, therefore, punishment consists of continuing to exist on earth. "Eternal life" consists of ceasing to exist in a bodily form and becoming part of the impersonal God. There is no concept of a bodily resurrection, and no ultimate punishment of the wicked. In fact there is no ultimate spirit being who opposes God or urges men to do evil. So all will eventually progress, after a sufficient number of lives, to liberation.

[BG, p. 19-28; WR142-144; EB-III, 1014; EB-XI, 580; cf. Renou, 40-44]

B. The Bible Teaching about Man's Destiny

Death

Man has only one earthly life and death.

Hebrews 9:27 - It is appointed unto man once to die.

Ecclesiastes 12:7 - At death, the body returns to dust and the spirit returns to God who gave it (not to another body).

Luke 16:26 - When one has died, his destiny is fixed. He cannot pass from a destiny of suffering to one of bliss, nor vice-versa.

It follows that there is no such thing as reincarnation. This defeats the whole Hindu concept of future life. If there is no cycle of death and rebirth, the entire Hindu concept of man's future destiny is cut off at the root.

[Ecclesiastes 9:5,6; 2 Corinthians 5:10]

Resurrection

John 5:28,29 - All in the tombs will come forth to the resurrection of life or damnation. Rather than reincarnation, the Bible teaches resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:22 - After Jesus died, He arose from the dead: His spirit was reunited with His body. As in Adam all die, so in Jesus all shall be made alive. The guarantee of this is the fact that Jesus Himself arose (vv 1-23). Like Jesus arose, so the spirit of each person will be reunited with his body when Jesus comes again. It will then be changed to a spirit body to receive an eternal reward.

Notice that each person will come back from the dead as himself or herself - the same person - not as an animal, a god, or some other person. We will be reunited with our own body, not that of someone else. Once again, the Bible doctrine of resurrection from the dead flatly contradicts the whole Hindu concept of man's future destiny.

[Matthew 22:23-33; Acts 24:15; John 11:24; James 2:26]

Judgment

Hebrews 9:27 - Just as it is appointed to man once to die, so it is appointed after that to face judgment. In contradiction to the doctrine of karma, the Bible teaches that, on earth, men often do not receive fair or just rewards for their lives. So, when Jesus returns, He will judge all men and declare our eternal rewards on the basis of our lives, good or bad.

2 Corinthians 5:10 - At judgment, each one will receive a reward according to the life he lived in the body, good or bad. Note that this reward is for what he did in the body - just one body, not many.

Acts 17:30,31 - Paul told the idol worshipers of Athens that they must repent because God has appointed a day in which He will judge all men. The proof of this is Jesus' resurrection. So once again the gospel not only describes man's future destiny, it gives historical eyewitness evidence to confirm that it will be so.

[Romans 2:1-16; 14:10-12; 8:17,18; Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; Matthew 25:31-46; 5:11,12; Revelation 20:11-15; Luke 16:19-31; 1 Peter 4:12-16; 2:19-23; 1 Thessalonians 3:2-4; Acts 14:22; Hebrews 11:32-38; Job 1 & 2; 2 Timothy 3:12; John 15:20]

Final destinies

Matthew 25:46 - After judgment, men receive their eternal destinies. The righteous receive eternal life, a state of bliss, in the presence of God. The wicked receive eternal punishment, suffering and sorrow, separated from God.

Revelation 20:11-16 - The punishment of the wicked is called "the second death." This confirms that souls do not face a repeated cycle of deaths and rebirths as in reincarnation.

So, the Bible teaches that both the righteous and the wicked will be rewarded or punished after we leave the earth, not while on the earth. The idea that man's future after death will involve living here on earth simply is not true, regardless of whether we are good or bad. And we have already learned that man can never become part of God.

And remember, unlike any other religious system, the gospel of Christ offers eyewitness historical proof that the future it describes must be true: The founder of our faith has already demonstrated the truth of resurrection. Just as surely as Jesus arose from the dead, so we too will arise, be judged and rewarded.

Whereas the Hindu concept of man's future destiny is based on unfounded speculation, the Bible not only contradicts Hindu teaching, it offers proof that no other religion in the world can offer or even attempts to offer.

[Matthew 25:34,41; Titus 3:7; Romans 6:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:17; 5:9,10; Matthew 18:8,9; 5:10-12,22; 13:39-42; 1 Peter 1:3,4; Revelation 21:1-22:5; Philippians 3:20,21; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-9]

IV. The Doctrine of Salvation

How does a person achieve or reach the goal of man's ultimate destiny?

A. The Hindu Concept of "Transcending"

The hope of Hinduism is to escape material existence and the reincarnation cycle. This occurs when each person ultimately becomes absorbed into God. But Hindus often use other terms for this goal other than "salvation." Leaving this material life or moving beyond it is commonly referred to as "transcending"; whatever helps achieve that goal is called "transcendental." (This term is used repeatedly in the introduction to the Bhagavad-gita.)

There are several ways taught by which this can be done. Different groups emphasize different methods, but they do not reject the methods taught by others.

"Each soul is free to find his own way, whether by devotion, austerity, meditation, yoga or selfless service ... Hindus believe that no religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine paths are facets of God's Light, deserving tolerance and understanding." Hinduism Today

Here are some of the common ways Hindus seek to reach liberation:

Good deeds (karma)

It is believed that, if people do enough good works - especially works that are unselfish and de-emphasize material interests - they will achieve a better reincarnation. This process continues till finally one escapes reincarnation and material existence completely.

Austerity and self-denial

One must live as a recluse, withdrawing from the pleasures and personal interests of life, putting no emphasis on possessions, etc. As a result, physical life loses its hold on the person's inner being. When he dies, he is released forever.

Knowledge

As one learns more and more, especially by studying the Vedas, he comes to understand that his true nature is part of the Diving Being. As he fills his mind with such ideas, his thoughts and deeds are less concerned with material interests. When he dies, physical life has no power over him, so he is released.

Devotion (worship)

If one continually expresses love and dedication to God, he will become so concerned for God that this life loses its attraction. When he dies, he is released from the reincarnation cycle.

This is especially emphasized in the Hare Krishna movement. If one dies thinking proper thoughts about Krishna, he is guaranteed to immediately be taken out of the reincarnation cycle to the spirit realm. In order to be sure one is thinking right when he dies, his life must be filled with constant thought of Krishna. This proper thinking comes by reading the Vedas, but especially it comes by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra (BG, pp. 19-28).

"The recommended means for achieving the mature stage of love of God ... is to chant the holy names of the Lord. The easiest method for most people is to chant the Hare Krishna mantra: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare" (Back - inside front cover).

"The Hare Krishna mantra is both a glorification of God and an appeal to be engaged in His service" (Back, p. 3).

Meditation (Yoga)

Life (physical circumstances) is thought to be a temporary illusion (maya). It is not the ultimate reality. We think it is reality only because we do not understand that our inner self is part of God, which is the ultimate reality.

By deep inner meditation in his self-conscious mind, one can discover his real self. This is called self-realization. As we understand this and begin to think and act accordingly, we become detached from the importance of this life. Things in this life become better, but especially when we die we are released from the reincarnation cycle. This method is also described in the Bhagavad-gita (6.20-23) and is the method involved in Transcendental Meditation.

In all these avenues, repeated reincarnations may be required as a person gradually moves to higher and higher levels till he leaves the cycle. He must bring this about by his own effort. The gods may help, but there is no concept of a Supreme Being who pays the penalty of sin on behalf of the sinner.

[WR, 144-148f; EB-III, 1014; EB-XI, 580; Renou, 40-44]

B. The Bible Teaching about Salvation

Our sins spiritually separate us from God.

Romans 3:23 - All people are guilty of sin, which is disobedience to God's will (1 John 3:4).

Isaiah 59:1,2 - Because of our sins, we are out of harmony and fellowship with God. He is then not dwelling within us. Because of this spiritual alienation from God, we will be separated from God eternally (as described above) if our sins are not forgiven.

It follows that, contrary to Hinduism, God cannot be found within the heart of the sinner, because God is not there. Our souls simply are not part of God, nor are sinners in fellowship with Him. No amount of meditation or other form of soul searching can find in the heart of man that which simply is not present there.

[Ephesians 2:11-19; Romans 6:23]

Because of God's love and grace, Deity came to earth in the form of man (Jesus) and died as a sacrifice to pay the penalty of man's sins.

John 3:16 - God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that those who believe in Him might not perish but have eternal life.

1 Peter 2:24 - Jesus bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might live.

The incredible beauty of the gospel is that God Himself chose to do for His creatures what man could not do for himself. He did this at incredible cost of suffering and anguish to Himself. That is the gospel concept of Divine grace, but the concept is totally absent from Hinduism.

[Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 9:11-14,23-10:18; Isaiah 53:4-11; 1 Peter 1:18,19; 3:18; Revelation 1:5; Matthew 26:28; Acts 20:28; John 1:29]

No human effort can achieve forgiveness or restore a relationship with God apart from the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 2:8,9 - Our good works cannot save us apart from faith in Jesus. We ought to live good lives, worship God, pray, etc. But if we do not receive forgiveness by Jesus, none of these can save. Yet every Hindu avenue to God is based on human works apart from Jesus.

Matthew 6:7 - Heathen idol worshipers believe they can please God by endless repetition of certain phrases. This is clearly illustrated by Hindu mantras. But such cannot save, for God says He will not accept it.

Acts 4:12 - So, there is salvation in no one other than Jesus.

John 14:6 - He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Him. There simply is no salvation apart from the sacrifice of Jesus.

It follows that no Hindu deity can save, because none of them died as the sacrifice for our sins. Furthermore, there is no choice of several or many ways any one of which can save. There is one way and only one way for man to come back to God: only through receiving forgiveness of sins by the crucified Christ.

To receive the forgiveness God offers, man must meet conditions.

The fact that man's works cannot earn salvation apart from Christ does not mean there is nothing for us to do to obtain the forgiveness Jesus offers.

Believe - Mark 16:16; John 8:24. Note that this requires belief in Jesus and in His gospel. Without this faith, man cannot be saved. Salvation is impossible apart from trusting in Jesus' saving death.

Repent of sins - Acts 17:30.

Confess Christ - Romans 10:9,10. We must not only believe in Jesus, we must be willing to confess that faith.

Be baptized - Acts 2:38; 22:16; Mark 16:16. Baptism requires an immersion in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. No rituals in the name of other gods can possibly save.

Live a faithful life - 1 Corinthians 15:58

These conditions do not earn God's forgiveness but are necessary so He will grant the forgiveness we do not deserve.

Summary: Although Hinduism offers a choice of many avenues to God, we have now seen that none of those avenues are valid. All Hindu methods of achieving liberation are fundamentally based on reincarnation, which the Bible disproves as being untrue. Further, all require achieving liberation by human efforts apart from the sacrifice of Jesus. In fact, Hinduism offers no means of forgiveness by any Divine sacrifice.

The gospel of Jesus Christ stands unique among all the religions of the world. The founder of our faith alone offered the perfect sacrifice of the sinless Divine Son of God who paid the price for our sins. Then He arose from the dead to prove He can give us eternal life.

[Hebrews 10:39; 5:9; James 2:14-26; Romans 6; 1 Peter 3:21; Acts 2:40; Philippians 2:12]

Conclusion

Again, Hinduism offers no objective evidence that its teachings were revealed by God or that its Scriptures are truly divine in origin. They may try to show they are reasonable, but mainly they urge you to try it to see if you find it satisfying.

"This is a mystical religion, leading devotees to personally experience its eternal truths within themselves..." Hinduism Today

As with other experiential religions, when people become emotionally committed to it, they tend to reject contrary evidence based on reason. But there is no valid evidence why anyone should believe it.

Only the Bible offers consistent reasonable evidence to convince the unbeliever that it is truly revealed by God. That evidence is found in fulfilled prophecy, eyewitness testimony of miracles, the resurrection of Christ, etc. Only in Christ can we have assurance for our faith.

Hinduism cannot save because it worships the wrong God, follows the wrong religious authority, seeks the wrong destiny, and teaches the wrong ways to achieve that destiny. True salvation can be found only in Jesus Christ. It can be understood only through the gospel of Jesus. And it can be obtained only by faith and obedience to Jesus' teaching.

To learn more about the evidence for the Bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we urge you to study our free articles on that subject listed below.

Bibliography

Back — Back to Godhead, "The Magazine of the Hare Krishna Movement; Vol. 10, No. 12.

BG — Bhagavad-gita (Hindu Scripture)

EB — Encyclopedia Britannica, 1956 edition (followed by volume and page #)

"Hinduism: An Overview," Hinduism Today, 9/2011; 

www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/wfchannel/index.php?wfc_cid=5 

and “Nine Beliefs of Hinduism,” Hinduism Today, 9/2011;

www.hinduismtoday.com/modules/wfchannel/index.php?wfc_cid=19

WRThe World’s Religions, Norman Anderson, ed.

(C) Copyright 2001, 2011, David E. Pratte
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