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Reincarnation Versus Resurrection

Comparison or contrast papers often focus on religious topics that different between various cultures or religions. An interesting topic is to compare reincarnation versus resurrection and determine their similarities and the things that various religions believe differently.

Hindus have believed for many centuries that the soul, once created by God, comes into the world as a lower life form, not in human form. Their thought process goes along the following lines:

  1. A person could first enter the world as a worm, an amoeba, or some other simple life form.
  2. When that life form dies, it is reincarnated as a higher life form, and the life-death process is repeated.
  3. Finally, after an unknown series of incarnations, the soul finally enters a human body.

This process is called samsara by Hindus. When the human soul ultimately dies, only then is it united forever with God, in a state the Hindu belief calls Nirvana.

Reincarnation Verses Resurrection

Christian belief does, in the broadest sense, also believe in reincarnation, but not on Earth. The Christians' more than 2000-year-old tradition has always been that people are created by God and never in any other life form. They are expected to live their lives according to the Golden Rule, treating others as they would have others treat them, and through good actions, thoughts and words, merit an eternal reward. Christianity also teaches that those people who do evil or who not repent of their sins will be eternally punished in a place called Hell, where the damned souls are tortured forever, having turned away from God. That is why Christians strongly believe in forgiving those who wrong them and even going beyond that, to do good to even those who have done serious harm. As Jesus himself said: “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14).

We can see that Hindus and Christians both believe in a final happy place, but they differ widely on how that place is attained. Christians do not believe animals have immortal souls as the Hindus do. Yet, both faiths do believe in the soul and its final outcome – Nirvana or Heaven, depending on the person’s belief.

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