The Character of God
(Actual Hindu quote by an Indian student studying in the USA):
“What I believe now is that Hindus and Christians are the same, we believe in the same god. Hindus are in actual fact Christians and Christians are Hindus...as our god is one. I know Christians are not ready to believe that, but it's true that Jesus, Lord Shiva (Hindu God), Lord Krishna (Christ Na)(Hindu God) are re-incarnation of the same god (a.k.a. Vishnu, Mahesh and Brahama (Abraham) - the trinity in Hinduism).”
The first difference between the two religions is in the nature of what is considered divine, and therefore worthy of worship. Christianity has a belief in one God, although that God is seen as a Trinity: the father (God), the son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the Deut 6:4 principal. Hinduism on the other hand, is and claims to be polytheistic. Their Gods are Brahma (Creator), Vishnu, a friendly form of Krishna (a preserver God, too), and Shiva, an evil God (a destructor.) While Christianity would never claim God or any part of the trinity to be tyrannical and evil, he (the Christian god) will punish evil.
All Paths Lead to God
The first difference between Hinduism and Christianity is that Hinduism embraces Christianity as a valid religion whereas the Bible does not. Hinduism is a religion that advocates tolerance. It teaches that all religions are different paths leading to one goal; all religions are a different means to one end. Hinduism is not exclusive and accepts all religions as valid. Christianity, however, teaches that Christ is the only way to God. John 14:6 says, "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" Philosophically, it is impossible for religions with mutually-exclusive doctrines to be equally valid. Where we find contradiction, we must find error. Either Christ was wrong or He was right when He claimed to be the only path to God. It is simple arithmetic, not spiritual elitism.
A comparison between Christianity and Hinduism reveals ancient practices which appear similar. In all ancient religions, Hinduism included, we find reparation for sins being done through sacrifices to an enraged God. In Hinduism and Judaism, this sacrifice is an animal sacrifice. Both theologies preach a divine commandment of righteousness, and failure to comply requires a penalty. This ancient instinct to make reparation for wrong doings suggests that Romans 2:14-15 is true: "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law. . .they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them."
The culmination of these sacrifices for sin is found in Christianity. We have all done things we know are wrong. Both Hinduism and Christianity preach a divine commandment of perfect righteousness and that we are held accountable for our actions. The difference is that Christianity preaches the penalty for our sin has already been paid by the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. To become a Christian is to accept the ultimate sacrifice to avoid the ultimate penalty.