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What are the differences between Abrahamic & Eastern Religions

Krishna & Christ

QuestionWhat are the differences between Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Islam & Judaism & Dharmic Religions Like Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism & Sikhism?

  • Founder:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Abraham is the Common founder of all these religions. There were prophets before, but he is crucial, They share many Prophets.
    • Dharmic Religions: There are no common founders, but the teachings have commonalities.
  • Heaven/ Hell:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Believe in Heaven/ Hell to be the finality. Which are given to us according to our actions on earth.
    • Dharmic Religions: Believe Heaven/ Hell to be transitory phases, Enlightenment is said to be the final state to be achieved.
  • Reincarnation:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Do not believe in reincarnation, there is one Life on Earth, one in the afterlife. Judaism's stand is not rigid, Some argue, Reincarnation is part of it, though not in the Dharmic Way.
    • Dharmic Religions: Believe we are reborn as long as Mind finds attractions in the world, Liberation when there is no more craving for world experiences.
  • Karma:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Believe our actions on earth play a part in our future in the hereafter.
    • Dharmic Religions: Believe our intentions/thoughts/actions come back to us, even after many life times. 
  • Monotheism:
    • Abrahamic Religions: All Abrahamic Religions are Monotheistic.
    • Dharmic Religions: Hinduism in Monistic, Pantheistic, Multiple Monotheistic, Non-Theistic, Agnostic; whereas Sikhism is Panentheistic, Monotheistic; Buddhism is Agnostic, Non-theistic; Jainism is Atheistic, Non-Theistic.
  • Food Habits:
    • Abrahamic Religions: There aren't many restrictions except for few animals; Like Pork & Shellfish for Jews; Pork or Porcine meat for Muslims; Alcohol is prohibited in Islam, not so in Christianity where it forms part of Religion.
    • Dharmic Religions: Jainism restricts all kinds of Non-Vegetarian food along with Onions, Sikhism restricts eating Cow, Hindus & Buddhists eat everything, but are advised to not eat Higher animals like Dogs, Cows & Monkeys. Some Caste Hindus are vegetarian and don't consume any meat, just like the Jains. Most Hindus don't eat Cows in particular, some do. All Dharmic Religions don't oppose Alcohol, but caution to use in limit, in fact sometimes used by specialists for spiritual purposes.
  • Authority of the Books:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Have higher authority to Books, rules and commandments are drawn from them directly and sometimes literally. One can not reject the book.
    • Dharmic Religions: There are too many books, books are considered guidelines, One can reject the book.
  • Belief system Vs Enquiry:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Start with the Belief there is a God, and has laid out rules and commandments for our betterment on earth and easy access to Heaven. Rejection of scriptures amounts to blasphemy.
    • Dharmic Religions: Do not necessarily Believe there is a God (Sikhism & Some sects of Hinduism Do), main focus is on Liberation, Each one is free to pick a way suitable to him, there are no commandments, however there are recommendations. Rejection of scriptures isn't frowned upon.
  • Top Down Vs Bottom-Top Approach :
    • Abrahamic Religions: Religion starts with Belief in God, Everything that comes from God is revered, believed and followed.
    • Dharmic Religions: Religion starts as a solution to Human Condition (Pain, confusion, no-reality of appearance), God is found as the finality of Quest.
  • View of Humans:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Treat humans as unruly beasts, who need to be controlled, chained through rules and made to behave in a morally upward way as a means to Heaven & everlasting happiness.
    • Dharmic Religions: Treat humans as birds caught in the Net of Samsara, purpose is to make humans lose the bondage of Net and learn to fly to Liberation.
  • View of Other Religions
    • Abrahamic Religions: There are many God given Religions, however ours is the right one, others are messed with.
    • Dharmic Religions: There can be many right ways to the Truth, there will be some in the future too. All right religions are valid.
  • Societal Rules:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Borrow rules for the society from the books directly.
    • Dharmic Religions: There are numerous books, inherently believe in social rules changing with time.
  • Relationship with God
    • Abrahamic Religions: Christianity: We are children of God, Islam: we are servants of God.
    • Dharmic Religions: Hinduism: We Are Children of God/ We are the God. Buddhism: Consciousness is everything. Jainism: There is a state of enlightenment where one becomes omniscient/ Omnipotent/ Omnipresent. Sikhism: we are children of God.
  • Idol Worship:
    • Abrahamic Religions: It's very Bad. Something worthy to be sent to hell for.
    • Dharmic Religions: Use idols if that's useful. Sikhism in particular doesn't recommend it though. Hindus use idols as forms of God & Gurus; Buddhists, Jains as Gurus.
  • Homosexuality
    • Abrahamic Religions: Oppose it, it is unnatural and a wrong act, criticized in scriptures; But with modern time people look for the verses of peace and love which are more inclusive of people. 
    • Dharmic Religions: Philosophical books don't discuss it, as sexuality doesn't affect one's spiritual growth. However there are code books which are meant for continuity of society, some of which oppose homosexuality & some accept it as natural.
  • Evolution
    • Abrahamic Religions: There is some hesitation to acceptance, especially the human evolution, because of the texts, however texts can be interpreted differently. Texts generally support Creationism.
    • Dharmic Religions: Believe in Evolution of Souls, thus evolution of body is naturally acceptable. There are many creation stories too, but with long time scales like billions of year, as opposed to thousands, thus allowing for evolution as well.
  • Abortion:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Oppose abortion on philosophical lines. However it is not very concrete and text based.
    • Dharmic Religions: Don't support abortion, however don't oppose it either. It has to be decided on case by case basis. 
  • Atheism
    • Abrahamic Religions: They are frowned upon, They go to hell for their disbelief in God.
    • Dharmic Religions: Atheism is considered a valid way of thinking though not ultimate by Hindus; Jains are in a way Atheist; Buddhists Agnostic; Sikhs believe in God-disbelief is not good though not punishable. 
  • Agnosticism:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Okay, but still not Good enough. Heaven isn't open yet.
    • Dharmic Religions: Good enough, try to find the truth through Meditation, by cultivating Right Perspective of Life, through Right Actions which make sense regardless of belief
  • Time:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Time is Linear, Once one dies, he goes to heaven/ Hell.
    • Dharmic Religions: Time is cyclical, One dies, stays temporarily in transient state(heaven/hell), takes birth, dies. Even the creation is cyclical, all of it disappears and re appears.
  • Proselytization:
    • Abrahamic Religions: Believe in spreading their religion as one of the good things to get to heaven. Judaism doesn't believe in spreading the religion.
    • Dharmic Religions: Do not believe spreading Religion can lead to heaven, mostly don't proselytize. There are no rules against and some do.

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