"the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, Hindus, Chinese, Greeks and Romans"
Map of ancient Babylonia
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMap of ancient Babylonia - Credit: MapMaster

Babylonia refers to a culture that flourished in what is today Iraq, starting as far back as 1894 BC. In 586 BC the Southern Kingdom of Israel fell to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. The Old Testament books of 2 Chronicles, Jeremiah, Daniel, and Zechariah recount the events of the captivity and eventual return of the Jews to Israel.

Hinduism is rather difficult to define succinctly. According to religioustolerance.org,

Four-armed Hindu god Vishnu on his mount, the garuda
Public DomainFour-armed Hindu god Vishnu on his mount, the garuda

"Hinduism differs from Christianity and other monotheistic religions in that it does not have:

  • a single founder,
  • a specific theological system,
  • a single concept of deity,
  • a single holy text,
  • a single system of morality,
  • a central religious authority,
  • the concept of a prophet."

In addition, "Most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic religions. They recognize a single deity, and view other Gods and Goddesses as manifestations or aspects of that supreme God."

When turning from general "theism" to a specific religion, Lewis considered both Christianity and Hinduism, finally settling on the former. He recounts the decision in Surprised by Joy, pages 235-36:

Public Domain"Jesus Sits by the Seashore and Preaches," by James Joseph Jacques Tissot

The question was no longer to find the one simply true religion among a thousand religions simply false. It was rather, "Where has religion reached its true maturity? Where, if anywhere, have the hints of all Paganism been fulfilled?" . . . The God whom I had at last acknowledged was one, and was righteous. Paganism had been only the childhood of religion, or only a prophetic dream. Where was the thing full grown? or where was the awakening? . . . There were really only two answers possible: either in Hinduism or in Christianity. . . . But Hinduism seemed to have two disqualifications. For one thing, it appeared to be not so much amoralized and philosophical maturity of Paganism as a mere oil-and-water coexistence of philosophy side by side with Paganism unpurged. . . . And secondly, the were no such historical claim as in Christianity. I was by now too experienced in literary criticism to regard the Gospels as myths. . . . If ever a myth had become fact, had been incarnated, it would be just like this. And nothing else in all literature was just like this. . . . And no person was like the Person it depicted; as real, as recognizable, through all that depth of time, as Plato’s Socrates or Boswell’s Johnson . . . yet also numinous, lit by a light from beyond the world, a god. But if a god—we are no longer polytheists—then not a god, but God. Here and here only in all time the myth must have become fact; the Word, flesh; God, Man. This is not "a religion," nor "a philosophy." It is the summing up and actuality of them all.