Hinduism the Worlds Third Largest Religion
Uploaded by sinbaaad on Oct 30, 2011
This essay briefly examines the world’s third-largest religion, which isn’t a religion at all!
Hinduism is a system of belief that claims over 700 adherents, most of them in India. It is based on the practice of Dharma, the Code of Life, and is not strictly a religion. Nevertheless, it has influenced the conduct of men for millennia.
This paper examines Hinduism, its influence, how it might help create world peace, and how it connects with other faiths.
II Hinduism’s Influence
Although it is unfortunately not a “good” influence in Western eyes, Hinduism is considered to be responsible for the caste system in India; that is, Hinduism had such a great influence that it created the entire societal structure.
The caste system is actually based on distinctions among people as they progress in the religious life (Ross, PG), but has permeated all of society to the point where its origins seem largely forgotten. All that’s left is the injustice of a system that denies people the opportunity to advance through their own efforts.
III Hinduism as a Way to Resolve Conflict
Because Hinduism is not a formal religion but a way of life, those who practice it are free (as I understand it) to learn as much as they can; disagree as much as they desire, even with the scriptures; and seek for the truth in whatever way seems best to them. It is a search for perfection and truth, strongly influenced by Buddhist tradition.
My positive scenario for the resolution of some of the world’s conflicts (Israel/Palestinians comes to mind) would be to encourage learning, growth and self-discovery. (OK, but it’s a fantasy.) When people are involved in the process of learning, they have little time to fight. Perhaps as they studied the Hindu religion, they would draw parallels to their own, and thus begin to find common ground with each other through the Hindu mediation. (Madras, PG).
IV Hinduism and Other Faiths
Other great faiths have characteristics that Hinduism shares. We’ll examine some common beliefs and what Hinduism has in common with them. First, many faiths deal with people’s relationship to the “unseen,” the world of spirits, gods and demons. In Hinduism, the gods speak directly to men by possessing certain members of the community, who then function as oracles and healers. The men chosen by the gods are known as “dhamis.” (Baker,...