5 Major Religions
By: Skyler Seidman
Holy Book(s): The Bible
Christianity is one of the world’s major monotheistic religions. Christians believe in Jesus Christ and follow his teachings. Christians believe Jesus is God’s own son, sent by God to become human. As the son of God, Jesus is divine, but he was also a human being who lived among us on earth, over 2,000 years ago. Followers of Jesus are part of God’s people, whose heritage includes the Jewish people and the Christian Church throughout the world today. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew in Israel and was crucified by Rome. Christians are called to live there lives in service to the world. Through acts of love and justice, worship and witness. Christians believe in Heaven and in Hell. Heaven being where Jesus and God are and Hell being where the Devil resides.
Holy Book(s): Torah (Hebrew Bible)
Judaism is one of the oldest monotheistic faiths. It confirms the existence of one God, Yahweh, who entered into covenant with the descendants of Abraham, God's chosen people. Judaism's holy writings reveal how God has been present with them throughout their history. These writings are known as the Torah, specifically the five books of Moses, but most broadly conceived as the Hebrew Scriptures (traditionally called the Old Testament by Christians). The most important teaching of Judaism is that there is one God, who wants people to do what is just and compassionate. Judaism teaches that a person serves God by studying the holy writings and doing what they teach. These teachings include both ritual practices and laws. Jews believed that God would send a Messiah to save them. The Messiah will fix wrongs and defeat the enemies of the people. Many Jews still expect a Messiah to come, but others speak of a time of world peace. Its important to know that they believed that Jesus came to live on the earth, but they don't believe that he rose from the dead and that he's not the Messiah.
Holy Book(s): The Quran, The Hadith
People who practice Islam are called Muslims. Muslims live in every country and region on the earth. Muslims form a large percentage of the population in Russia, China, India, and Eastern Europe. Islam calls humanity to the service of the one creator, Who is known as "Allah, ". It further instructs people on how they may live together in peace and harmony regardless of race, class or beliefs. The purpose brought by all previous religious guides is highlighted as well, and the virtues of patience and humbleness. Muslims have two major sources from which they get their religious teachings. The first is a book known as "the Quran," the direct Revelation of God to His last Prophet, Muhammad. The second source is the collected sayings of the Prophet. These are known as "the Hadith". One of the major beliefs is that every Muslim who can afford it needs to make the haj to Mecca. The holy place for Muslims. Islam recognizes the close relationship from between the body and soul.
Holy Book(s): Tipitaka
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to Insight into the true nature of reality. Buddhist practices like meditation are means of changing yourself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom. The experience developed within the Buddhist tradition over thousands of years has created an great resource for all those who wish to follow a path, a path which ultimately leads to what Buddhist call enlightenment or Buddhahood. This is the goal of the Buddhist spiritual life, representing the end of suffering for anyone who reaches Buddhahood. Because Buddhism does not include the idea of worshipping a creator god, some people do not see it as a religion. Buddhist teaching are straightforward: nothing is fixed or permanent; actions have consequences; change is possible. Buddhism started with Buddha. He lived around 2,500 years ago. He didn't claim he was a god or prophet. He was just a regular human being who was became enlighted. Buddhism sees life as a process of constant change. It means that one can change for the better. The decisive factor in changing oneself is the mind, and Buddhism has developed many methods for working on the mind. Most importantly, Buddhists practise meditation. It makes you feel very calm and aware of your emotions.
Holy Book(s): The Vedas, The Upanishads, Shastras
Hinduism is the world's oldest extant religion, with a billion followers, which makes it the world's third largest religion. Hinduism is a collection of religious, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India, known by the belief in reincarnation, the law of cause and effect, following the path of righteousness, and the desire for being free from the cycle of births and deaths. Hinduism cannot be neatly slotted into any particular belief system. Unlike other religions, Hinduism is a way of life, Dharma, the law that governs all action. It has its own beliefs, traditions, ethics, meaningful rituals, and theology. Hinduism began about 4000 years ago in India. It was the religion of an ancient people known as the Aryans. Today, worldwide, there are almost one billion Hindu's.