Hinduism And Christianity—A Contrast -- By: John R. Jones

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 055:220 (Oct 1898)
Article: Hinduism And Christianity—A Contrast
Author: John R. Jones

Hinduism And Christianity—A Contrast

Rev. John R. Jones

Christianity is engaged to-day in India in the greatest conflict of faiths that the world has ever witnessed; and with a religion truly remarkable, from whatever standpoint it may be studied. The recent study of Hinduism, in its philosophic and practical aspects, by Western savants, has opened the eyes of the Christian world to the greatness and difficulty of the task of bringing the two hundred and fifty million Hindus of the Indian peninsula to an acceptance of the Christian faith. Whether regard be had to the hoary age of this ethnic religion, to its transcendental philosophy, to its resistance to other faiths, or to its absolute power over so large a portion of the human race,— in every particular it impresses one as a mighty power whose strength has not yet been adequately appreciated by the West. To one who has spent nearly two decades of the best years of his life as a missionary in this wonderful land of the Orient,—the birthplace and home of the two greatest of all ethnic religions,—a comparison of the religion of the New Testament with that of the Vedas has become almost a second nature. To institute such a comparison is the object of this article. It would be pleasant and

profitable, had we time, to study the affinities of these two faiths; for certainly they possess not a few striking resemblances—resemblances such as should be, and often are, used by the Christian missionary as means of access to the Hindu mind.

For the present, however, we shall study the dissonances of the two religions; thus emphasizing the contrast between them, and, inferentially, the real difficulty of speedily Christianizing this vast population.

The task which I have set before me is a great one; chiefly because of the manifold, complicated, self-contradictory character of the thing called Hinduism. It is rather a congeries of faiths, embracing nearly all kinds of beliefs and unbeliefs, and representing three thousand years of conflicting philosophies, internecine institutions, diverse forms of worship, contradictory legends, and warring sects. All this vast diversity of religious aspiration and practice, reaching over thirty centuries, and sanctified by numberless tomes of a very sacred literature, is lumped into the amorphous thing called Hinduism. And yet the difficulty is much less than at first seems; for there are a few fundamental and all-pervasive beliefs, doctrines, and institutions which have reached down from the most primitive times, and have united together the otherwise conflicting elements into a real whole, whose identity has not been obscured during the many ages of its existence.

Some of these a...

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