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"What really determines the credibility of any one religion or belief system is the underlying foundation upon which it is built."
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Chapter 1:
The World's Religions
How did the world's major religions come into being?


  • “The history of Hinduism began in India about 1500 B.C. Although its literature can be traced only to before 1000 B.C., evidence of Hinduism’s earlier [background] is derived from archaeology, comparative philology, and comparative religion.”[2] According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Hinduism “is both a civilization and a congregation of religions; it has neither a beginning or founder, nor a central authority, hierarchy, or organization. Every attempt at a specific definition of Hinduism has proved unsatisfactory in one way or another, the more so because the finest scholars of Hinduism, including Hindus themselves, have emphasized different aspects of the whole.”[3]

  • As a religion, Hinduism involves a combination of diverse doctrines and ways of life; orthodox Hinduism includes an extraordinarily wide selection of beliefs and practices. Hinduism can include:

    pantheism -  a belief which identifies the universe with God
    polytheism -  the belief in many gods
    monotheism -  the belief that there is only one God
    agnosticism -  the belief that the ultimate cause and the essential nature of things are unknown or unknowable or that human knowledge is limited to experience
    atheism -  the denial or disbelief in the existence of any God or gods
    dualism -  the belief that there are two independent divine beings or eternal principles, one good and the other evil
    pluralism -  recognizing more than one ultimate substance or principle
    monism -  the belief in one ultimate substance or principle, such as mind or matter, or the ground of both

  • Hindus’ “only universal obligation, if they are orthodox, is to abide by the rules of their caste [hereditary social divisions] and trust that by doing so, their next birth will be a happier one.”[4]


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