The five major religions
- Christianity is monotheistic, so Christians only believe in one god.
- Their god is named God.
- They believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and he came down to Earth and died for their sins.
- Their holy book is called the Bible.
- Their major holidays are Christmas (Jesus' Birthday) and Easter (The day Jesus rise from the dead.)
- Every Sunday, Christians go to church.
- Most Christians are baptized when they are a baby, and later in life they start to receive to Eucharist at mass each week.
Christianity started with Jesus coming to Earth. It was lead by the twelve apostles, mostly Peter and Paul. Christians were subject to persecution by Jewish authorities who didn't agree with the apostles teachings. In the 4th century, they were no longer persecuted. Christianity became the state church of the Roman Empire. When the Roman Empire fell, Christianity started to spread to other countries. Much later, people started to have complaints about the religion, and Martin Luther posted 97 complaints on a church door. Christianity split into multiple religions, and one of them was named Lutheran because of Martin Luther
- Judaism is also monotheistic.
- Their god is named YHWH, but he is usually referred to as Lord.
- They believe that Jesus wasn't the messiah. They believe the messiah hasn't come yet, but he will come eventually.
- Jews are expected to pray 3 times a day, and even more on the sabbath day. Going to a synagogue or temple to pray is ideal.
- Males are expected to cover their heads in synagogues or temples.
- Their holy book is the Torah.
- Jewish holidays are Days of Awe, Feast of Weeks, Hanukkah, Passover, Purim, Rosh Hashanah, Sabbath, Sukkot, and Yom Kippur.
Judaism started with Hebrews who had similar beliefs. God makes covenants and laws that set the Hebrews apart as his people. When they stray away from God, he sends prophets to make them come back. Abraham is known as the founder of Judaism, because God called him into a covenant which promises them the land of Canaan. The religion was centered on the agreement between Abraham and God. Later, Hebrews were forced to move to Egypt, where they became slaves. God rescued them by plaguing the Egyptians. God and Moses led the Hebrews to Canaan, which was the land that was promised to them. When they arrived at this land, they continued to build their religion. Many people would worship God and some became priests.
- Hinduism is Polytheistic.
- Some of their Gods are Ganesha, Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi.
- They believe the purposes of life are to get a job, prosperity, pleasure, and enlightenment.
- They believe in Karma, which means your actions will all have an effect that may happen in your next life. So if something bad happens to you and you don't think you deserve it, it may be because of what you did in your past life.
- They believe Brahman is the source of everything, and is in everything.
- They go to a temple to worship their gods.
- They do Hatha Yoga to raise their spiritual power and remove diseases in the mind and body.
- They don't have a holy book, but the scripture they all consider holy is the vedas.
- Their Holidays are Diwali, Holi, and Mahashivaratri.
Hinduism has gradually developed over 4,000 years. Its origins are unknown. Its roots date back as far as 2000 BC, so its early history is unknown. It is one of the oldest surviving religions. The Indus River Valley has some things in it that might mean the religion in it was Hinduism. It was a very active place between 2300 BC and 2000 BC. It began to decline around 1800 BC, possibly because of flooding or drought.
- Buddhists don't believe in a God, so Buddhism is atheistic.
- Their master is the Buddha.
- They believe the purpose of life is to end suffering.
- They believe that the soul moves from one body to another.
- They believe four noble truths: All life is marked with suffering, suffering is caused by desire and attachment, suffering can be stopped, and the way to end suffering is the noble eightfold path.
- The noble eight fold path is right knowledge, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.
- They believe in reincarnation. Once you die, you become alive again in another body, and you can't remember anything about your previous life. If you end suffering, you enter Nirvana, which means you will no longer be reincarnated.
- Buddhists meditate to still the mind so they can concentrate.
- Their holy book is the Tripitaka.
- Their holidays are Buddhist New year, Vesak, Sangha Day, Dhamma Day, Observance Day, Kathina Ceremony, Festival of Floating Bowls, Elephant Festival, The Festival of the Tooth, and Ancestor Day.
The Buddhas life is divided into 12 parts that are significant for Buddhist life. 1. He saw that the dark ages were leading humans into spiritual impoverishment, so he decided to come to Earth as a human to relieve people from their sufferings. 2. He chose who his parents would be, and his mom had a dream of him coming down to Earth. 3. When he was born, he immediately stood up and took seven steps, and said "worlds above and worlds below, there's no one in the world like me!" 4. At a young age, he got into sports. There was a contest for winning the hand of a princess. An elephant was placed inside the city gate to test who was the strongest. He picked it up and threw it over the city wall.
5. He assumed royal duties and became a true man. 6. He started to encounter people who were old for the first time, and was surprised to see how much people change. 7. He left his father to proceed in his quest for truth. He cut off part of his hair, threw it into the air, and said "If I am to become a Buddha, let it stay in the sky." They rose into the air. 8. For six years, he joined a way of discipline based on fasting. The first two years he ate a single grain of rice, and the second two years, he had a single drop of water. He didn't have anything the last two years. 9. He decided he wasn't going to move from his spot until he was fully enlightened. Mara, the Buddhist of death and desire, felt threatened, and tried to make him move. Mara made an army of hideous creature and sent them to Gautama, but he still didn't move. This caused Mara to withdraw, and Gautama became fully enlightened. 10. He met 5 apostles who became his followers. 11. When his mother died, she went into heaven. He went up there to be with his mother. This heaven had 33 gods. Eventually, people on Earth wanted him to come back, so he climbed down to Earth on a ladder with 33 rungs. 12. He was about to turn 18, and was also about to die. Trees bent down over him and showered him with their flowers.
- They are monotheistic.
- Their God is named Allah.
- Their purpose of life is to live a way that is pleasing to Allah.
- They believe there will be a judgement day where Allah will send some people to paradise and the others to hell. Until the judgement day, dead souls remain in their graves.
- They have five pillars which are five religious duties expected of every Muslim.
- They have a ritual prayer called Salat that they do five times a day.
- Their holy book is the Quran.
- Their holidays are new year, Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr, Eid Al-Adha, and Ashura.
Muhammad was born in Mecca in 570 AD. In his late 30's, he regularly visited a cave for solitude and contemplation. When returning from one visit, he told his wife he was visited by an angel. She became his first convert. The angle told him to proclaim. With his wife's support and more visits form the angel, he became confident that he was the messenger of God. He told people to worship the only true God, Allah. In the first three years, he only gained 40 followers. Him and his followers received heavy persecution. Later, the city of Yathrib said they needed a strong leader, and the wanted Muhammad to be their leader. They agreed to only worship Allah, obey Muhammad, and defend him and his followers to the death. Allah gave Muhammad approval to do this, so he escaped to Yathrib. Yathrib was renamed Medina when he arrived. In 630, Muhammad and his forces defeated Mecca, and their temple was rededicated to Allah. Muhammad died in 632.