Five Major World Religions

World Religion Project by Pilar Celorio

Christianity

Christianity is a monotheistic religion and it was developed out of Judaism in the 1st century, it is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and those who follow christianity are called Christians. Christians believe in only 1 God, he exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The sacred text of Christianity is the Bible, including both the Hebrew scriptures (also known as the Old Testament) and the New Testament. The most common Christian practice is the gathering at churches for worship, fellowship, and study, and engagement with the world through evangelism and social action. Some of the important holidays include good Friday, it is a Friday before Easter and it marks the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world. Churches sometimes hold services. Easter- is it the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21 when Jesus Christ resurrected. To Christians, the resurrection gives hope that they too will experience a resurrected life in heaven. Christmas is a very important holiday on December 25 and it is the observance of Jesus' humble birth to a virgin in a stable in Bethlehem.


Hinduism

Hinduism is the world's oldest religion, it has neither a specific moment of origin nor a specific founder. Hinduism is a mystical religion, leading the devotee to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. Its collection of sacred texts is known as Sanatana Dharma, "The Eternal Teaching." Hinduism has many God's but the main ones are Shiva and Vishnu and their well known goddess is Shakti, their holy book is called Veda. Some of their major holidays are Holi, it is the festival of colors and spring. Mahashivaratri, which is is the night sacred to Shiva (one of their God's). Diwali is the festival of lights and Lakshm. Their highly practiced rituals are Puja, yoga and going to temples. Hindus believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds. They also believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved.


Buddhism

Founded in India 2,500 years ago, Buddhism is an apatheistic religion, meaning that they do not believe in a certain god or it does not matter. Their holy book is called Tipitaka. Buddhists believe in The Four Noble Truths which comprise the essence of Buddha's teachings. The Four Noble Truths just explain that suffering exists, that it has a cause and an end. Buddhists believe in Karma, it refers to good or bad actions a person takes during her lifetime. Good actions, such as generosity, righteousness, and meditation, bring about happiness in the long run. Bad actions, such as lying, stealing or killing, bring about unhappiness in the long run. Karma plays out in the Buddhism cycle of rebirth. People who had good karma will rebirth and live a happy life while the ones who had bad karma will have a life full of jealousy and won't be happy. Some of the Buddhists rituals include meditation and pilgrimage which is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. Buddhists also have a lot of holidays, the most significant celebration happens every May on the night of the full moon, when Buddhist all over the world celebrate the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha over 2,500 years ago. It has become to be known as Buddha Day, people will go the the local temple or monastery and offer food to the monks then they will distribute food to the poor to make merit.


Judaism

Judaism is a monotheistic religion, they believe in one god, Jesus, the messiah. Their holy book is called Tanakh.

Judaism is one of the oldest religions still existing today. People who follow Judaism are called Jewish. Judaism focuses on the relationships between the Creator, mankind, and the land of Israel. Some of their holidays include Passover which is a holiday commemorating the Exodus from Egypt, it also marks the beginning of the harvest season. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days and nights. It starts on the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev, which coincides with late November-late December on the secular calendar. Some of their highly practiced rituals are going to the synagogue, praying and worshipping their god, and keeping kosher(the Jewish dietary laws). Mikvah (MIK-vuh) is a ritual bath used for spiritual purification. It is used primarily in conversion rituals and after the period of sexual separation during a woman's menstrual cycles.



Islam

Islam is a monotheistic religion based on revelations received by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7th century, which were later recorded in the Qur'an (Koran), Islam's sacred text. Those who follow the Islam religion are called Muslims. Islamic practices are defined by the Five Pillars of Islam: faith, prayer, fasting, pilgrimage and alms. Muslims believe that there is one God, the Muslim name for God is Allah. Muslims believe there will be a day of judgment when all humans will be divided between the eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell. Some of the Muslims holidays include Muharram, it is the Islamic New Year. The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram, and is counted from the year of the Hegira the year in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina. The Islamic new year is celebrated relatively quietly, with prayers and readings and reflection upon the hegira. Mawlid al-Nabi is the Prophet Muhammad's Birthday. This holiday celebrates the birthday of Muhammad, the founder of Islam. It is fixed as the 12th day of the month of Rabi I in the Islamic calendar. Mawlid means birthday of a holy figure and al-Nabi means prophet. The day is commemorated with recollections of Muhammad's life and significance.