Human beings have constantly been attracted to the mystery of life surrounding its origin, meaning and finality. In an attempt to seek answers to some of the fundamental questions regarding creation, life, and death, people have resorted to religious approaches.
The Religious View of Human Beings
According to Theravada Buddhism, human beings are just an illusion or better still a temporary combination of aggregates none of which is real. Pantheist religions view humans as a tiny part of the Ultimate Reality that is locked up by the physical experience illusion. Manichaeism and Gnosticism which are referred to as dualistic religions, state that humans are spiritual beings that came from another world. Lastly, monotheistic religions such as Christianity and Islam regard human beings as people who were created in the image of God.
The Human Condition in Hinduism
According to Hindu religion, both men and gods originated from an impersonal primordial entity. The creator known as Prajapati appeared from the golden egg and created the world as well as humans from his own body through the power of his ardor. The product of the golden egg known as Purusha is what led to the building of the physical world, the animals, the four-castle system as well as the duality of sexes.
Human beings are dependent on the gods which include Agni, Indra, Yama, Soma, and Varuna. The destiny of human beings according to Hinduism is eternal life in a celestial world. Yama, the god of death is the one responsible for the souls of the dead and receives offerings of the respective families to the benefit of the departed.
The Human Condition in Buddhism
In Buddhism, humans are painted as a body that is diseased, full of wounds, and many thoughts which are neither stable nor permanent. Humans are a product of five factors which are interdependent and in a constant process of becoming. These five factors also known as aggregates are:
- The body which is referred to as rupa
- Sensations and feelings which come from the sense organs
- Cognition which involves classification and labeling mental and sensory objects that enable us to recognize them
- Mental constructions which initiate action and shape our character
- Consciousness which is the sense of awareness that generates the illusion of a self
Therefore, Buddhism views human beings as a cluster of dynamic physical and mental processes which are movers nyc with no underlying self. In addition to humans suffering, life itself is suffering.
Human Condition in Monotheistic Religions
Judaism and Christianity perceive humans as creations of God who created the universe from nothing. Man was created according to the Bible from the dust of the ground and God himself breathed life into his nostrils and that is how he became a living being.
The human being in monotheistic religions has a physical dimension known as the body as well as a spiritual one known as the soul. Both the physical and spiritual are created by God at the same time and hence human beings are not a pre-existent celestial soul that fell into a material body.