Comparing Eastern and Western Religions
Religion is arguably one of the most complex aspects practiced by humans through history. There are numerous religions around the world, but each religion can either be classified under Eastern or Western religion. The Eastern religions comprise of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, while the Western religion is made up of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Zoroastrianism.
There are several similarities between the two groups of religions. One fundamental similarity is how both groups view their teachers and the belief in the existence of prophets. Both Eastern and Western religions also believe in the existence of a higher deity who is the creator of all things. They also value salvation, which, according to both religions, can only be truly acquired through strict obedience to God’s will. The belief that the soul is immortal and that there is eternal living after physical death is also a shared feature.
There are also many inevitable differences between the Eastern and Western religions. Eastern religions mainly originated from countries like China, India, and Japan, while the Western religions are traced back from Europe and America. However, the main differences are not based on where the followers are located but rather on their beliefs and practices. Eastern religions are typically polytheistic or atheistic, meaning that they can have more than one Deity. Hindus, for instance, worship many deities similar to the Shintos, who worship many gods known as Kami. Western religions, on the other hand, revolve around one God who is the supreme Deity. For instance, Christians have God as their savior, while Muslims consider Mohammed as theirs.
Another major difference between the Eastern and western religions is in regards to the way the followers worship. In Western cultures, as seen in Christians and Muslims, followers form congregations where they worship together at a particular place and time. The gatherings are meant to create a sense of belonging and community, and members often socialize after worship. With Eastern religions, the followers can worship at any place and time. There are no specific days and times to visit the place of worship, and instead, the worshippers will visit wherever they are free, and often worship privately at home. They also tend to incorporate some of their religious practices into their daily activities, as seen with frequent meditation in Buddhism.
The two groups of religions also differ significantly in how they view the relationship between humans and animals. For the western religions specifically in Christianity, there’s a hierarchy where God is at the top followed by humans and animals at the lowest level. Eastern religions, Buddhism to be precise, humans and animals are seen as equals. The Shinto followers believe that animals, even a tiny ant, can have divine power.
Despite all the differences, both religions have one major goal, to help everyone see past everyday concerns in pursuit of a higher moral drive. All religions do not have to take the same path to achieve this goal. The most important thing is the spiritual encouragement and emphasis that indeed, there is more to life than what meets the eyes.