Axia College of University of Phoenix
September 19, 2008
Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion. Hinduism differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE" (Religious Tolerance, 2008).
Most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic religions. They recognize a single deity, and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God. Henotheistic and polytheistic religions have traditionally been among the world's most religiously tolerant faiths. However, until recently, a “Hindu nationalistic political party controlled the government of India. The linkage of religion, the national government, and nationalism led to a degeneration of the separation of church and state in India” (Religious Tolerance, 2008). This, in turn, has decreased the level of religious tolerance in that country. The escalation of anti-Christian violence was one manifestation of this linkage. With the recent change in government, the level of violence will diminish.
Hindus believe in one Supreme Being. In the Hindu pantheon there are said to be ‘three hundred and thirty-three million Lords(divine beings)” (Hinduism, 2008). The plurality of Lords are perceived as divine creations of that one Being. So, Hinduism has one supreme God, but it has an extensive hierarchy of Lords.
Hinduism views existence as composed of three worlds. The First World is the physical universe; the Second World is the subtle astral or mental plane of existence in which the devas, angels and spirits live; and the Third World is the spiritual universe of the Mahadevas, "great shining beings," our Hindu Lords. Hinduism...