By J. Luis Dizon

Another set of worldviews that have recently become popular are those coming from the Eastern world. Among these we find Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and other similar worldviews. The most prominent of these is Hinduism, not only because it is the largest of the eastern religions, but also the oldest, influencing all the eastern religions that came after it. These religions have various concepts in common with one another, which will be further examined here.

One major tenet that many of these religions have in common is Pluralism: the view that all religions are equally valid paths to God, or that they are all true in one way or another. This is often likened to a mountain that has many paths, all of which lead to the top. The fallacy of this becomes clear once we get past the superficial similarities among the world’s religions and get to the core issues: Do we have the same concept of God? Some religions teach that there is only one God. Others teach there are many. Others teach there is none, or that we are all God. This is a violation of a basic law of logic called the Law of Non-Contradiction, which states that something cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense. Here is another example: Who is Jesus? A lot of eastern religionists claim Him as one of their gurus or great spiritual teachers (even though Jesus’ worldview was shaped by His 1st century Palestinian Jewish background and not Eastern religion). Christians say He is the Son of God, and that Jesus said His disciples were blessed for confessing this (Matthew 16:17). By contrast, Islam denies that He is the Son of God. The Qur’an even curses Christians for calling Him as such (Surah 9:30). Obviously, these views cannot all be right. Jesus taught something, but it wasn’t all of these things at once.

Another view that is common in eastern religions (especially in many forms of Hinduism) is Pantheism, the belief that the universe and everything in it is God itself. Corollary to this is the view that we are ourselves divine, and that all things are one. This view has certain problems associated with it: If all things are one, what ultimately makes human life more valuable than any other life, or that of non-life? If God is all and all is God, then the death of a human being is no more tragic than the death of a millipede or a blade of grass. Furthermore, what are we to make of good and evil? The answer, according to pantheism, is that there is ultimately no difference between good and evil, or cruelty and non-cruelty. Thus, all moral value judgments break down in the pantheistic system. An interesting anecdote illustrating this is told by the theologian Francis Schaeffer: In an encounter with a Hindu student at Cambridge, he asked him if he was correct in saying that in the Hindu’s view, cruelty and non-cruelty are ultimately equal. The Hindu nodded. Understanding the implications, a nearby student took a kettle of boiling water and held it above the Hindu’s head, repeating, “There is no difference between cruelty and non-cruelty.” The Hindu quickly walked out of that room.[1] This incident showed that Hindu Pantheism was not only illogical, but simply could not work in real life.

Finally, there is the Eastern concept of Maya, which states that the “reality” as we know it is illusory, a dream world. How does this concept apply to our daily lives? As apologist Greg Koukl likes to put it, if everything is illusory, how can we know it? How could we possess true knowledge if we do not exist? Do people in a dream know they are illusory? Also, think about the implications for human suffering—if this world is illusory, then what is the point of trying to make anything better? Thus, those who have taken this concept most seriously have generally made the least attempt to help the needy and suffering of this world, since their suffering is just another part of the illusion.[2]

Thus, we see that the Eastern religions fails the same tests as the Naturalistic and Postmodern worldviews. It is neither internally coherent nor can its tenets be lived out consistently. One will have to look elsewhere to find out what the truth is.

[1] Cited in Koukl, Greg. Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions. Zondervan, 2008.

[2] Ibid.


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