Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Hinduism vs. Christianity - Forgiveness for Sins

Christianity is often touted as a better religion because it offers forgiveness for sins and hence redemption. However, Dharmic traditions do not propose forgiveness for sins.  Does that mean Christianity is a better religion?  Are  followers of Dharmic tradition in a fix because they receive no forgiveness, no redemption?

When contemplating on this loaded question, Hindus should realize that concept of sin in Christianity is non-existent in Hinduism.  Without the burden of sin, there is no need to seek forgiveness, there is no need for redemption.  The idea of sin is a heavy burden thrust upon its followers by Christianity. To moderate its effect, Christians then speak of forgiveness.  

Unfortunately, this concept brings other burdens on the already suffering.  Imagine that a lady you know was raped.  Can you ask her to forgive the rapist?  Does she have to forgive?  Does she have a choice not to forgive?

Contemplate on what the bible says regarding forgiveness.  

Matthew 6:14-15
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Colossians 3:13

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Most Christian apologists defend the above biblical position by saying that forgiveness is a way to cope with bitterness.  It is not.  Forgiveness is saying that the person who inflicted the pain and suffering is freed of the blame.  There is simply nothing worse than imposing on the victim to forgive the offender: forgive or else you will not be forgiven.

Hinduism does not consider human beings to be stuck in the inescapable condition of sin. On the contrary, Hinduism considers the essence of human beings to be non-different from the Supreme Being. There is no sin but only ignorance in Hinduism.  Due to ignorance human beings are caught up in the stranglehold of Maya. Once freed from the veil of ignorance, human beings understand that Atman and Paramatman are one and the same.

Bhagavad Gita 4:36
Even if you were the greatest sinner, you will still cross the sea of past sin aboard the ship of (transcendental) knowledge.
You need redemption only when you are stuck in the inescapable condition of being a sinner.