There are two basic types of religious teachings in the world at the present time. The first type consists of the belief-oriented systems that predominate the organised Western religions. They emphasize sin and salvation leading to hell or heaven. Their idea of cosmic law is something imposed from above by the will of God, which appears to be arbitrary or even vengeful.
The world of Nature is looked upon not as part of our own being but as a hostile reality to be controlled or conquered. Thinkers in belief-oriented religions generally identify universality in religion with monotheism, which is not universal but exclusive.
History has revealed how monotheism has been characterized by invasions, colonialism and genocide, which is the very end result of a rigid, one-sided and ultimately violent view of the Divine. This one God of monotheism becomes jealous, wrathful and communal and promotes such actions among his followers. The second basic type includes Dharmic traditions of the Eastern world, which emphasize natural law, meditation and Yoga leading to self-realization. Dharmic traditions seek to know the truth of things and do not set any dogma over their own inquiry.
Sanatana Dharma accepts all sincere efforts to find truth and to help all living beings. In this regard, it can honor atheists, if they are doing good or searching for truth. It values doing good more than the mere belief in God, which can be utilized to mask doing harm. It cannot sanction the exclusivism of any particular group. For example, Sanatana Dharma accepts Christ as a great saint, which does not mean that it accepts the Christian claim that Christ is the only son of God. Why should God have only one son when all things come from God? Why should there be a final prophet when there were previous prophets, while the capacity of spiritual knowledge can be found in all people? Why should God be addressed in masculine gender when the infinite must transcend sexual characteristics and possess as many feminine as masculine qualities? Why should there be only one Bible or religious book when any number of books are possible? And finally, is the word of God so simple that it can be put in one book and reduced to one human language? Such questions have no answer in belief-oriented religions.
Sanatana Dharma does not accept any particular theological morality. It says that we raise ourselves by good actions and lower ourselves by actions that are bad. It does not matter what we believe in but how we live. Sanatana Dharma says that an individual who leads a righteous life, even if that person has never come into contact with any scripture and has no religious belief at all, will come to a good end. On the other hand, a person who leads a harmful life, even when that person believes in a true religion, will come to a bad end.
Sanatana Dharma emphasizes freedom, and Hindus have complete freedom in their spiritual life. They have any number of sacred books from which to choose and are not required to believe in any of them. They have any number of avatars (incarnations of Brahman) and gurus to select from, and they need not follow any one of them exclusively. They have many sacred sites everywhere they live. They can do their spiritual practices in their own homes and require no church or mosque.
Hindus are not restricted from studying other religions or respecting truth wherever and in whomever they see it. They never invaded any country and tried to convert people to their religion. There is no excommunication in Sanatana Dharma, nor do Hindus condemn anyone to eternal hell. Hinduism seeks no converts, nor does it send out missionaries. To be Hindu, all that we need to do is purify our minds and hearts so that we can recognize our Eternal being (Atma). It only requires giving up exclusive beliefs that cloud our perception.