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Author Topic: Hinduism and Christianity?  (Read 5364 times)
Lykos
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« Topic Start: August 24, 2010, 01:27:04 am »

So, I'm taking a philosophy of world religions class this semester.

Tonight in class on Hinduism a fellow student brought up the question of whether Christianity/Judaism could possibly have influenced the Upanishads. The professor didn't seem to agree much and said it was a pretty big strech.

However, do you think it is possible that perhaps the concept of the three prime Gods of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) could possible be partially inspired by or otherwise linked with the concept of the Christian trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The professor said one could possibly equate Brahma with the Father and Vishnu with Christ, but said it was a pretty large leap to equate Shiva God of destruction with the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts? Opinions?

 I, personally, can see somewhat of a link. However, I think the links between Vedic religion and the Greco-Roman mytho are much stronger. I certainly don't think the Upanishads were inspired by Christian thought, but somewhere in the cultural exchange its always possible some things crossed over, but its a bit of a stretch for me as well.
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« Reply #1: August 24, 2010, 01:39:27 am »


I'd keep in mind that correlation doesn't equal causation. Hinduism is way older than Christianity. Now, I can buy there being similar themes across Indo-European cultures (which sometimes seem to include parts of the Middle East and sometimes not - at any rate, I'm sure cultural exchange happened anyway) because of a common ancestry(ies). But I seriously doubt the "trinity" of Hinduism was inspired by Christian thought.
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« Reply #2: August 24, 2010, 03:39:09 am »

I'd keep in mind that correlation doesn't equal causation. Hinduism is way older than Christianity. Now, I can buy there being similar themes across Indo-European cultures (which sometimes seem to include parts of the Middle East and sometimes not - at any rate, I'm sure cultural exchange happened anyway) because of a common ancestry(ies). But I seriously doubt the "trinity" of Hinduism was inspired by Christian thought.

Right, I agree.

I'm referring to the Upanishads specifically though. Which were written, I believe, somewhere arougn 300 CE on... but I could have my dates mixed up. Certainly the traditional Hindu deities are MUCH older than Christianity or even, one could argue, Judaism.
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« Reply #3: August 24, 2010, 08:54:49 am »

However, do you think it is possible that perhaps the concept of the three prime Gods of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) could possible be partially inspired by or otherwise linked with the concept of the Christian trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The professor said one could possibly equate Brahma with the Father and Vishnu with Christ, but said it was a pretty large leap to equate Shiva God of destruction with the Holy Spirit.


While it is certainly not impossible that the idea of the Christian trinity influenced Hinduism, their is no evidence I know of to show that it actually did. Just as it is not impossible that the Hindu idea of three prime deities somehow influenced early Christians into coming up with the Trinity. Again, however, I haven't seen any evidence that would support this actually happened. It's a long stretch from "not impossible" to "probable".
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« Reply #4: August 24, 2010, 06:38:14 pm »


While it is certainly not impossible that the idea of the Christian trinity influenced Hinduism, their is no evidence I know of to show that it actually did. Just as it is not impossible that the Hindu idea of three prime deities somehow influenced early Christians into coming up with the Trinity. Again, however, I haven't seen any evidence that would support this actually happened. It's a long stretch from "not impossible" to "probable".

That was pretty much what my thoughts were on the issue.
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« Reply #5: August 27, 2010, 01:09:39 pm »

So, I'm taking a philosophy of world religions class this semester.

Tonight in class on Hinduism a fellow student brought up the question of whether Christianity/Judaism could possibly have influenced the Upanishads. The professor didn't seem to agree much and said it was a pretty big strech.

However, do you think it is possible that perhaps the concept of the three prime Gods of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva) could possible be partially inspired by or otherwise linked with the concept of the Christian trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The professor said one could possibly equate Brahma with the Father and Vishnu with Christ, but said it was a pretty large leap to equate Shiva God of destruction with the Holy Spirit.

Thoughts? Opinions?

 I, personally, can see somewhat of a link. However, I think the links between Vedic religion and the Greco-Roman mytho are much stronger. I certainly don't think the Upanishads were inspired by Christian thought, but somewhere in the cultural exchange its always possible some things crossed over, but its a bit of a stretch for me as well.

When it comes to divine triads, I don't think either Hinduism or Christianity have any sort of monopoly. They show up in so many cultures that it's impossible to say who, if anyone, had it first. Egypt had a three-in-one arrangement from early on as well.
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« Reply #6: March 09, 2011, 10:01:46 pm »

3 is a magic number.

There are 3 big gods in Greek mythology, three wise men, three pure ones, the tripple goddess, and three little pigs.

Hinduism was more influenced by the Indo-Europeans.
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« Reply #7: March 09, 2011, 10:05:37 pm »

3 is a magic number.

There are 3 big gods in Greek mythology, three wise men, three pure ones, the tripple goddess, and three little pigs.

Hinduism was more influenced by the Indo-Europeans.

Fravashi,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder.  No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!
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« Reply #8: March 09, 2011, 10:21:32 pm »

3 is a magic number.

There are 3 big gods in Greek mythology, three wise men, three pure ones, the tripple goddess, and three little pigs.

There are hundreds of gods in Greek mythology. There are three sons of Kronos - Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon - but all of Greek mythology does NOT revolve around these guys. Who are the three pure ones?

Quote
Hinduism was more influenced by the Indo-Europeans.

Hinduism has been influenced by SEVERAL different cultures over a 5000+ year period. The original Indus Valley culture (Dravidians) were invaded by the Aryans, an I-E culture who brought with them the Vedas (hence the term "Vedic", also used instead of calling them Aryans). Muslim empires came, the British plucked around for a bit, and each of these layers added to each other rather than totally supplanting the last cultural completely. "Hinduism" isn't codified, and while many Hindus may look to the Trimurti as the core manifestation of Brahman - that is, seeing universal divinity formed into the three deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva - there are many other Hindus who do not. The three largest segments of Hinduism worship Vishnu, Shiva, or Shakti (the feminine divine principle) as the core spiritual reality; Smartism looks towards five or six particular deities (Ganesh, Shakti, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva, and Skanda) as faces of the one divine; some Hindus forgo "gods" entirely and just work with Brahman.
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« Reply #9: March 09, 2011, 10:35:35 pm »

Fravashi,

Just a quick note:  Please remember to quote, even if you're just replying to the first message in the thread.  It makes the discussion easier to follow, and it's required by our rules.

This isn't a formal warning, just a reminder.  No reply is necessary, but if you have questions or need clarification, please feel free to contact a member of staff privately.

Thanks!
Melamphoros, Message Board Staff

Thanks. I'll remember that next time.

There are hundreds of gods in Greek mythology. There are three sons of Kronos - Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon - but all of Greek mythology does NOT revolve around these guys. Who are the three pure ones?

Hinduism has been influenced by SEVERAL different cultures over a 5000+ year period. The original Indus Valley culture (Dravidians) were invaded by the Aryans, an I-E culture who brought with them the Vedas (hence the term "Vedic", also used instead of calling them Aryans). Muslim empires came, the British plucked around for a bit, and each of these layers added to each other rather than totally supplanting the last cultural completely. "Hinduism" isn't codified, and while many Hindus may look to the Trimurti as the core manifestation of Brahman - that is, seeing universal divinity formed into the three deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva - there are many other Hindus who do not. The three largest segments of Hinduism worship Vishnu, Shiva, or Shakti (the feminine divine principle) as the core spiritual reality; Smartism looks towards five or six particular deities (Ganesh, Shakti, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva, and Skanda) as faces of the one divine; some Hindus forgo "gods" entirely and just work with Brahman.

Ture Apollo and Artemis got respect, but the three you listed are generally considered the biggest.

I also said that it was more inspired by the I-Es than Christians. You are right that it has been changed bits through history, as with many other religions. THX for the info.
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« Reply #10: March 09, 2011, 10:37:30 pm »

Thanks. I'll remember that next time.

Ture Apollo and Artemis got respect, but the three you listed are generally considered the biggest.

The Twelve Olympians got respect, as did a host of other beings (plus some foreign cults as well). I'm not arguing that Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon weren't big, but Greek religion did NOT focus around those focal three.
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« Reply #11: March 09, 2011, 10:41:19 pm »

Ture Apollo and Artemis got respect, but the three you listed are generally considered the biggest.

Along with Athena, Hera, Aphrodite, Demeter, Hestia, Ares, Hephaestus, Dionysos, Persephone, Hermes, Herakles, Eros, Asclepius...
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