Studying how religions are similar and different helps us to understand diversities in culture and beliefs of individuals and groups.¹ Questions in comparative religion will sometimes discuss the differences between two denominations (sects) within a larger religion (comparing Catholicism to Protestantism for example) or comparing major religions with their counterparts (Christianity and Buddhism, or Hinduism and Judaism, for example).¹
Comparative religion studies is not about finding what religion is “better” or “right” but about discovering the truths and even the similarities that join religious people as an international community.¹ These studies discuss ethics, the divine, and spirituality.
There are many paths up the same mountain. Religious pluralism is the belief that all religions are part of one ultimate belief, that all religions are true in their own way (including Bahá'í and Hinduism).¹ There are several religions and denominations within major religions that reject pluralism, including many Jewish, Christian, and Islamic sects.¹
The similarities between religious groups can also be found when comparing them: beliefs on reincarnation, the similarities in Abrahamic traditions (the “People of the Book”), and ultimately, the belief in a greater power (God, Enlightenment, etc).¹
1. The Great Courses. Comparative Religion. Retrieved May 22, 2014, from http://www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=6172