East vs. West (Dharmic vs. Abrahamic)
We don't have the time or space in a single blog post to really dive into any of the big four "Eastern Religions", Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism, or Sikhism, but we will attempt a broad overview of some key concepts. It is my hope that this post will highlight some of the major differences between these religions and Abrahamic religions, specifically Christianity, as well as some common ground that we share. I also hope that your curiosity will be sparked, prompting further reading on the subject of what are commonly known as "Eastern Religions". (I have not included some religions commonly classified as "Eastern" that are highly divergent in theology and philosophy. Some of these include the Taoic religions, such as Taoism and Confucianism and animistic folk religions, such as Shinto.)
"Eastern" religions could be more accurately categorized as "Dharmic Religions". A few key examples of Dharmic Religions are:
"Western" religions are more accurately categorized as "Abrahamic Religions". The largest of the Abrahamic Religions are:
Some examples of less common Abrahamic Religions would include:
The concept of "Dharma" can best be defined as the “path of righteousness” or "duty". Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism emphasize following this path. Although they approach of each is very different, there are some strong commonalities in core areas, such as the concept of universe and our role in it and the nature of time.
The Dharmic approach says that time is cyclical, while the common Abrahamic view of time is linear. While there are many Christians who will posit cyclical theories of time or certain aspects of it, these theories are almost always hypothetical or figurative in nature.
Self and the Concept of SalvationAbrahamic
All major religions focus heavily on being a good person, albeit for very different reasons. A good example of this is found in Buddhism, in the form of “The Noble Eightfold Path”:
Check out the previous posts:
(Un)Common Ground - Week 1: (Un)Comfortable Christianity
(Un)Common Ground - Week 2: The Wolves and the Sheep
(Un)Common Ground - Week 3: Connecting with the Unchurched and Non-Religious
(Un)Common Ground - Week 4: Connecting with Atheists, Agnostics, and Anti-Theists
(Un)Common Ground - Week 5: Connecting with Muslims
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I'm a random guy.