Sure, enough in common and enough difference.
Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
Submitted by Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven (Netherlands), Jan 18, 2006 at 15:51LBD,
I kindly suggest you read some of Joseph Campbell's books with regard to mythology and religion. He really shows similar origins and parallels between a lot of myths and faiths.
I can definitely agree to that all, but there is also a lot of difference.
I am a buddhist myself, but I have read about and experienced a lot of religions firsthand and this is what strikes me (of course, this is my personal opinion and as always I am eager to learn more and what's stated below is not meant to discredit the people following said religion/belief):
in buddhism the principle that life is suffering is paramount and karma is the balance that will influence our lives based on the actions we take, henceforth compassion, kindness, and such virtues are put at the priority list for humans to reach, to excel themselves. There's no god in buddhism, although some 'sects' of buddhism do incorporate 'gods', but these are better thought of as spirits that fulfill functions.
In hinduism the srimad-bhagavad gita is one of the most influential books next to the upanishads and Arjun gets taught about the vices and their effects on humanity. As such hinduism also places a lot of emphasis on trying to achieve a life full of virtues and avoid the vices. Hinduism can be viewed as either a monotheist religion where all gods are incarnations of the ultimate one or a pantheon of different gods.
Judaism with its origin in the Tanakh has a god that is one of bloodthirst and mercy. In the old testament of the bible this is clear in the things that are expected of the believers. One could say a raw or primitive entity. God does not actively meddle in the daily affairs of man.
With christianity this vision of god changes due to the influence of Jesus (some current beliefs, due to the discovery of Judas' gospel, state he received buddhist training in India for a while) and from one that knows only mercy to one that knows love, compassion, and kindness. Still, god does not actively meddle in the daily affairs of man.
With islam we also see a god, like in judaism, that knows only mercy and is one of bloodthirst. His believers should fear him and hold him in awe. Different from the god in judaism the god in islam is not a god that put people on the planet and let them go about their own way. No, on the contrary, every action on the planet is one of the god's influence (or shaitan/the devil, but I am not quite sure if this entity is also governed by god or not).
One could see a religion like baha'i, or seichou no ie as new incarnations of islam and christianity that really learnt the lessons that needed to be learnt for the future where people can just live next to each other with their religion without it coming to any bloodshed.
Of course, such a short comment does not fully reflect the miniscule details. Perhaps I should, once I get more time, write a paper on this and sort the facts out clearer (doing it from my memory now, so mea culpa for any mistakes).
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