In my view the greatest thing about being a Hindu is that one can be an open-minded, ‘normal’ human being, who is given plenty of insights and tips from the Vedas and other ancient texts on how to refine one’s character, how to anchor one’s awareness in the present and how to ultimately realize one’s oneness with the Divine Presence that is inside us and in everything.
A Hindu is not forced into a mental straitjacket. He does not need to think certain thoughts, which are against common sense and which are divisive, like for example the dogma of Christianity and Islam that “we alone have the full or final truth, and the Almighty will make all those, who do not accept this ‘truth’ and convert to ‘our only true’ religion, suffer in hellfire forever.
A Hindu has his conscience and the insights of the ancient Rishis as his guide.
In contrast, a Christian or Muslim has to suspend his conscience if it contradicts what his religion demands from him. This is a very serious point. The Jihadis for example might otherwise be kind youth, who would not kill people of other religions, if they had not been taught that it is their religious “duty” to ‘make the whole world for Allah’.
A Hindu is free to enquire into the truth and is encouraged to ask questions.
A Christian or Muslim is bound to his belief system and must not question it. The threat of eternal hell after only one life looms large even over the believers if they are not believing strongly enough and are not living fully up to the mark.
I suspect that this freedom of thought of Hindus and the assurance that ultimately all will reach the Divine (and actually are it already, even if they can’t feel it) has one more big advantage. It may be one of the reasons why Hindus are generally highly intelligent, because they don’t have to twist their mind into narrowness and fear.
(This article was first published on the author’s blog and has been reproduced here in full.)