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What Are the Differences Between Eastern And Western Religions?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Sunstone, Aug 2, 2006.

  1. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    In general, what are the major differences between Eastern and Western religions?

    Specifically, how do Eastern and Western religions differ in their views of the self?

    Also, how do they differ in their notions of the Human Condition? That is, in their notions of what it basically means to be human?
     
  2. Jaymes

    Jaymes The cake is a lie

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    The biggest I can think of is the view of God. When there is a view of a supreme being in Eastern religions, it's usually the view that it is part of everything and everything is part of it, not that it's an all-powerful being that doles out punishment and reward after death.

    I'm gonna have to tackle this again after I get a square meal, my blood sugar's too low to think properly. :cover:
     
  3. chuck010342

    chuck010342 New Member

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    wester religions? Eastern religions? please specify, remember Judiasm Christianity and Isalm all started in the middle east, so what do you mean?
     
  4. Bishka

    Bishka New Member

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    Eastern meaning Buddhism, Taosim, Janism, etc. (did I forget any guys?, oh yeah, shintonism)

    Western meaning: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

    I don't know why that's is so hard to understand
     
  5. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    I mean Western and Eastern religions in the commonly accepted meaning of the words. I'm not making any attempt to be esoteric about the meaning of Western and Eastern. I hope this helps.
     
  6. bigvindaloo

    bigvindaloo New Member

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    Reincarnation, Karma... Would you call those wacko cults that spring up from time to time, Eastern religions in the sense that they seem foreign to Western culture?
     
  7. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

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    What about the notion, which seems largely common to Eastern religions, that the self is impermanent, versus the notion, which seems largely common to Western religions, that the self is eternal?

    Also, what about the sense of sin found in the major Western religions versus the lack of a sense of sin found in Eastern religions?

    Last, what about the notion, found in some Eastern religions, that humans are a part of nature, versus the notion found in some Western religions that humans are seperate from and above nature?

    Are all of these valid differences between Eastern and Western religions?
     
  8. Scarlett Wampus

    Scarlett Wampus psychonaut

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    Oh boy Sunstone. Those questions are soooo big. I think we are naturally coming to terms with them as they play out on RF in the vast numbers of threads where the two are meeting, but its hard to see the wood from the trees.

    All I can think to say right now is that Eastern religions don't have a significant split between theology and philosophy as has occured with Western religions. The split between human and God, nature and human isn't so marked either (as you and Jensa have mentioned). Because of this I think as the boundaries between Western and Eastern thought dissolve, Eastern philosophy/religion may help to fill the gap between science and religion, philosophy and theology, human and nature, etc. that we have in the West.
     
  9. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    If I was to sum it up in two words I'd say the West has a more legalistic approach vs. the East has more of a metaphysical approach. Everything else is a domino affect of these two approaches.
     
    Seyorni likes this.
  10. bigvindaloo

    bigvindaloo New Member

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    I agree with you to some extent here. But not because Western models are rule-bound while Eastern ones are not. I would say that like law, Western religions are based on a construction of a fictional individual with rights. This sets the Western religious individual apart from nature, because these rights are abstract although they are perceived by the believer as reality or truth. Eastern religions view the individual in a more metaphysical sense perhaps as you say, viewing the self as a fictional individual in a very broad sense. Maybe there is also less attachment to beliefs in Eastern religious traditions than Western, due to this perspective of the individual resulting in a less dogmatic and absolutist view of reality. Eastern religions are capable of absorbing other perspectives, rather than viewing them as strictly competing with one's own beliefs. Surely an adversarial legal model is a good analogy for Western religions.
     
  11. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

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    The Abrahamic idea of a judgemental, anthropomorphic God does not fit well into the Eastern worldview.

    It also seems to me that Eastern and Western religion have different goals.
    The Western religions seek to avoid punishment and obtain reward by subscribing to correct beliefs and opinions. The concept of enlightenment is foreign to mainstream Abrahamic faiths.

    Eastern religions seek a mystical psychic transformation. The seek to "wake up" to a different consciousness. The Eastern religious traditions are thus more like what we westerners would consider psychotherapeutic modalities
     
  12. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    If this is true then Orthodoxy would be an eastern religion, which I don't think it is. Maybe Middle Eastern would truly work for us? We're certainly rather different to the eastern religions (as all Christians are) but we're also rather different in terms of legalism from western religions. I've often thought (having, as I do, a background in both Protestant Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism) that there are certain aspects of Orthodoxy that are closer to the east and others that are closer to the west. On the approaches you mention here, we're certainly well to the east.

    James
     
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  13. James the Persian

    James the Persian Dreptcredincios Crestin

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    A judgemental and anthropomorphic God is not a necessary idea for Abrahamic faiths. Orthodoxy sees God as neither jus=dgemental nor anthropomorphic.

    Whilst we have no concept of enlightenment as such, the idea of theosis is not so very different. Certainly, the focus of Orthodox practice is not simply to attain reward and avoid punishment but rather the transformation of the self in such a way as to become more perfect and, through God's grace, more godlike. It is not so far from eastern ideas (and we, as the second largest Christian church, are most certainly mainstream).

    As I said above, this is not so very different in Orthodoxy. We, too, see our practice in a therapeutic light and see God as the chief physician and His Church as hospital. Personally, I se the idea of eastern and western religions as being two wholly dissimilar groupings to be wrong. We, as I said in my reply to Victor, seem to stradle the two to some degree.

    James
     
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