Brief overview on comparative religion
Posted by Adi pe Aprilie 21, 2011
We might reasonably expect the one true religion to stand out from others in many ways. It should for example teach a demonstrably superior morality, or at least take the lead in making moral advances. It might be more vigorous, more certain, more rational, more enlightened or more appealing. It might be less given to error, less likely to follow social trends, less likely to be confounded by science, and so on.
In some ways even modern Christianity does not compare well with Islam. Christianity is not as vigorous or comprehensive as Islam. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, and provides not only religion but also social, political and legal systems. It suffers much less from apostasy. Its record on supporting education, learning, scientific endeavour, and medicine is much better than that of Christianity. The giving of alms is one of the five pillars of Islam. Muslims have a great reputation for charity and freely-given hospitality — much better than that of Christians. Muslims have always been encouraged to learn Arabic so that they could read the Koran for themselves. By contrast the Christian Church spent centuries preventing ordinary people from having access to the Bible. Again, Islam also has a far better record on racial tolerance. Conflicts between black and white are almost unknown outside Christendom. So too was anti-Semitism until the twentieth century. Historically, Muslims have been not only more tolerant than Christians but also more chivalrous. We have already contrasted the behaviour of Christians and Muslims when they in turn took Jerusalem. In 1089 the Christian inhabitants had slaughtered the inhabitants, men, women and children. When the Muslims recaptured the city in 1187 not a single citizen was harmed.
If we look at Hinduism we find a religion that is older and far more tolerant than Christianity. Its texts have not been deliberately tampered with, as those of Christianity have been. It embraces beliefs from polytheism, through monotheism, to virtual atheism, and yet it is almost unknown for one group to persecute another as heretics. In truth it is difficult to find a religion with a worse record than Christianity of schism, or the treatment of heretics, or persecution. Again, Christianity’s record on animal rights compares badly with those of Buddhists and Jains. Its record on ecological matters compares badly with almost all other religions, especially Taoism, Shintoism, and animist religions. Its morality and philosophy fare badly in any objective comparison with Buddhism. Christianity’s certainties have been decimated by science, while the views of Buddhism have been largely unaffected. Indeed there are some scientists who find that modern theories in physics closely harmonise with traditional Buddhist teachings. Early figures in Buddhism, as in many religions, seem even to modern minds to have been perceptive, compassionate and admirable. In contrast many of the main figures in the earliest days of Christianity appear much less wholesome. Had they been alive today, many Church Fathers would probably be regarded as psychologically maladjusted, sexually disturbed, or clinically insane.
If we compare Christianity to the teachings of Buddha, Lao Tse, Socrates, Confucius, or a host of others, it seems to most impartial observers to be surprisingly backward. Many non-Christians were more moral, more liberal, and had their beliefs more soundly underpinned by philosophy than Christians. Christians were responsible for destroying much ancient learning, and were almost totally responsible for the long night of the Dark Ages and today.