Global Missiology English, Vol 4, No 15 (2018)

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An Outsider Perspective of the Human Predicament in Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism - by Wanjiru M. Gitau

Wanjiru M. Gitau - Author, "Megachurch Christianity Reconsidered" (IVP 2018); GM-E Ed Team Mbr


While most religious traditions emerged from discrete contexts, major world religions have been brought into new forms of contact, calling forth broadminded reciprocity in social discourse. How well do Christians (including readers of Global Missiology) understand basic ideas of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism, the three world religions that have increasing salience in contemporary affairs alongside Christianity? This paper, developed with rudimentary resources from insiders of these religions, explores the question of the core human predicament, to which essential teachings of these religions are addressed. Granted, the theologies of these religions would present much more complex understandings, but here we begin to see the outlines that frame primary beliefs and practices of followers. In Islam, humanity’s core problem is separation from Allah, resulting in Allah’s displeasure and possibility of judgment on the final day. Balance is established by a healthy fear of Allah. In Buddhism the human problem is delusions that come from worldly attachments, leading to the cycle of kamma and samsara. Salvation begins with right understanding followed by renunciation of all desire. In Hinduism the human problem lies in the fixed status of moksa, where a human being is pulled into perpetual struggle between the higher and lower self. Moksa is made immutable by the caste system. Salvation or eventual bliss issues out of the unity of the self, known as atman, and the ultimate reality, known as the brahman through a path of renunciation from all attachment. Note that while the unfamiliar, non-English words have been italicized, their meanings are implied within the text, therefore no extra glossary is independently proffered.