Ryan on those things one can possess.

Ryan May

Dr. Payton

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Engl. 2332

11/29/17

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Living a good life is something people all
over the world strive to do.  There are
many avenues to go about this, and one of the most common paths to achieve this
good life is religion.  Through religious
beliefs, people find the guidelines that shape their lives, the way they live,
how they view the world around them, and especially, how they treat
others.  These principles are what shape
their spirituality and give them peace about the unknown.  Two examples of religions that offer
spiritual instruction and worldview in drastically different ways are Hinduism
and Christianity.

Atman, or the individual Self is one of the
most important concepts of Hinduism. It is central to the theme of creation and
existence. This Hindu term refers to the soul.  It is believed to be
distinct from both the mind and the external body.  According to Hindus, the Atman is the true
eternal self. It is not the life we portray or even the way we act, but the
internal quiet self that we know. The concept of
atman entails the idea of the self as a spiritual rather than material
being.  Therefore, in Hinduism, there is
an aspect of detachment from the material world and an attempt not to focus on
those things one can possess.  The
atman is a never changing soul that is connected to Brahma, the creator of
earth. Hindus believe the atman is meant for spiritual realization and
awakening; however, there are actions they must partake in before reaching what
Hindu’s call. “enlightenment.” The body must endure mortal struggles such as
old age, disease, and even death. According to Brahma, we are living a life
that will never give us full satisfaction of the Atman. This is because one can
be distracted when we fix our eyes on the wrong idols, such as guilty pleasures
or bad moral habits. But, Brahma does reveal the way out. The Bhagavad Gita
explains, “But renunciation, Great Arm, is hard to attain without yogic practice;
the sage disciplined in yogic practice swiftly reaches Brahman.” (Gita, 5:7)
Yogic discipline, also known as practices, is just another term for meditation.
The Gita explains that Yogic Practice is detaching from temporary idols and
focusing attention to Brahma. It explains that we are attached to things that
are temporary and one must strive not to be. When we meditate on temporary
idols, our attachment will result in a desire for those objects.  The desire for these things will cause anger
and confusion, forcing the meditator to lose focus on Brahma. Hindus believe desire
to be the destroyer of knowledge and insight. And to Brahma, a man who has no
knowledge is lost. Brahma wants us to release all desires, to rid ourselves of
possessions, and put egos aside.  Once one
has detached from all things, one can reach enlightenment. “This, Partha, is
the Brahman state; having attained it, one is not deluded; fixed in it, even
now of death one reaches the nirvana of Brahman” (Gita, 2:72).

The Christian faith has few
similarities to Hinduism.  While both
religions encourage right living towards one another, godly acts, and a focus
on doing right and not on material things, Christianity declares that each
person is made special and in the image of God. 
Hinduism suggests that each person is just another spirit reincarnated,
that the at war, or true self, is the true being just inhabiting a human
vessel.  Christian spirituality is based
on the principles of the Bible.  The
Christian believes that these guidelines were given to man himself by God.  But, what sets Christians apart is not their
belief that living a good life is the right thing to do, but following the
person, Jesus Christ, who they believe is the son of God.  This is the biggest difference between the
two belief systems. 

Another difference is that while Hindus rely on
meditation to help them focus on eliminating desires and possessions,
Christians believe they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and that he leads them
in the way they should live.  Through
this, Christians believe that each soul, each person has meaning and purpose,
and must strive to discover God’s will or plan for their lives.  Our actions should please God and demonstrate
to others that we are followers of Christ. 
Because Christians believe in the trinity, which is the notion that God
is one but in three persons, God the father, God the son, and God the Holy
Spirit, we can always know God’s will for our lives because we are connected to
God through the death of his son, Jesus, and indwelt with his Holy Spirit.
These were God’s two gifts to mankind. The Holy Spirit is there to help us rightly
follow God’s truths and convict us of our wrong when we sin. In simple words,
true spirituality for a Christian means we must rely on the Holy Spirit’s
leading, and not our own strength, to live a godly life. 1 John 2:27 says “Jesus gave you the Holy
Spirit and He lives in you. You do not need anyone to teach you. The Holy
Spirit can teach you all things. What He teaches you is truth and not a lie.
Live by the help of Christ as the Holy Spirit has taught you.”

Christians may find direction
for their lives in the Bible, which is God’s instruction book to his people. It
tells the believer to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit and not rely
on themselves.  In the Bible, the book of
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Even though it is
important to Christians to lead a good and holy life, they understand that this
will not get them to heaven.  To be with
Jesus eternally, one would have to turn from their wicked ways, accept Jesus as
the son God, and live a changed life.   What this means for a believer of Christ is that
every day they are called to live and portray the way Jesus would have walked,
so that when people see or think of you, they think of Jesus and want to come
to know him.

The similarities between
Hindus and Christians are very slight. 
While both encourage their followers to lead a good life, Hinduism is
about following principles, while Christians are encouraged to follow a man,
the son of God, Jesus Christ and to live as he did.  Living a good life and treating
others with kindness is important. 
Hindus use meditation to try to disconnect from material things, while
Christians may speak directly to the Holy Spirit through prayer.  Both religions want their followers to find
peace and comfort in a world that seems to have less and less of that every
day.