Comparison of World Religions

By : Hannah Homovich

Judiasm

Judaism began about 4000 years ago with the Hebrew people in the Middle East. Abraham, a Hebrew man, is considered the father of the Jewish faith because he promoted the central idea of the Jewish faith: that there is one God.They were monotheistic and had one God named Yahweh. A few basic beliefs include; there is only one God, God loves and protects his people, but also holds people accountable for their sins and shortcomings, persons serve God by studying the Torah and living its teachings. The Dancing Jews By Eliezer Steinman is a Judaism parable. A musician came to town and stood on a street corner and began to play. Those who stopped to listen could not tear themselves away, and soon a large crowd stood enthralled by the glorious music whose equal they had never heard. Before long they were moving to its rhythm, and the entire street was transformed into a dancing mass of humanity. A deaf man walking by wondered: Has the world gone mad? Why are the townspeople jumping up and down, waving their arms and turning in circles in middle of the street? This was the story of The Dancing Jews. In 2001 it was estimated there were 14.3 million followers. Judaism influenced other areas of Western civilization including religious belief, literature, and weekly schedules. A Western civilization book was based off of sacred texts originated in Judaism. There book was the Hebrew Bible, including the Torah. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses were important people. The rabbis are heirs to the traditions of the scribes and the Pharisee faction of the Judean nation, who rose to prominence during the late period of Roman occupation of Israel. The Pharisees, in opposition to the Sadducees, whose authority allegedly derived from their priestly lineage, stressed the study of Torah and obedience to its laws over the rituals of the Temple cult.

Buddhism

Most historians agree that Buddhism originated in northern India in the 5th century B.C.E. The tradition traces its origin to Siddhartha Gautama (or Gotama), who is typically referred to as the Buddha (literally the "Awakened" or "Enlightened One").Buddhism is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic. There is no personal god or monotheistic creator God in Buddhism, as there is in Christianity, Judaism or Islam. Buddhism is a spiritual path based on the teachings of the Buddha.One of the core foundations of Buddhism is the realization that suffering is an essential part of life due to human craving and desires. Impermanence, moreover, is the nature of life itself, and because all things in existence are impermanent, human beings face suffering sooner or later in life. The Buddha taught that there is a way out of suffering and rebirth. These Buddhist teachings are known collectively as the Four Noble Truths. The Buddhist path toward awakening is summarized in the teachings of the Noble Eightfold Path. Because there is no ultimate deity or dependence on faith in anything unseen, Buddhism is considered by many to be more of a spiritual philosophy than a religion. An example of a parable from Buddhism would be The old man and the scorpion. This parable is about a man trying to save an ungreatful scorpion even though he is stung multiple times.While estimates vary between 200-500 million adherents, the generally agreed number of Buddhistsis estimated at around 350 million (6% of the world's population). This makes Buddhism the world's fourth largest (in terms of number of adherents).Ashoka promoted Buddhist expansion by sending monks to surrounding territories to share the teachings of the Buddha. A wave of conversion began, and Buddhism spread not only through India, but also internationally. Ceylon, Burma, Nepal, Tibet, central Asia, China, and Japan are just some of the regions where the Middle Path was widely accepted.The sacred book of Buddhism is called the Tipitaka. It is written in an ancient Indian language called Pali which is very close to the language that the Buddha himself spoke. The Tripitaka is a very largebook. The English translation of it takes up nearly forty volumes.Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh were two important people to the Buddhist. Their social pyramid consisted of; Buddhist monasteries,Buddhist monks,Buddhist nuns,Buddhist lay people, and Buddhist pilgrims.

Hinduism

Hinduism began about 4000 years ago in India. It was the religion of an ancient people known as the Aryans ("noble people") whose philosophy, religion, and customs are recorded in their sacred texts known as the Vedas.Technically speaking, polytheism is the belief in many gods, none of whom participate in the divine essence of any of the others.So then technically, Hindus are not polytheists because most Hindusare nondualists and believe that all of the gods and goddesses are manifestations/embodiments of the one ultimate. Hindus believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world's most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God's word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end. A Hindu parable called The woman and the basket of bricks is about a woman that cares a basket of bricks on her head and working on a building site. She walks along but then the basket fell from her head. She begans crying uncontrollably and loudly chanting Vishnu's name. Hinduism is the third biggest religion in the world with nearly 900 million adherents, with only Christianity and Islam claiming to have more followers.Historically, the spread of Hinduism came via the travels of merchants to other nearby countries for business. The Chettiars (var. Chettyars), a Tamil banking community, extended their business to Burma, Malaysia, Mauritius and other parts of South East Asia. Additionally, strong trading links have existed for centuries between Western India and East Africa.The most ancient sacred texts of the Hindu religion are written in Sanskrit and called the Vedas. Hinduism does not just have one sacred book but several scriptures. The Vedas scriptures guide Hindus in their daily life. They also help to preserve the religious dimensions of family and society. Leaderships consists of Guru, holy man, and Brahmin priest. The social pyramid of the Hindu included the Brahmins, Kshatriyans, Vaisyas, Sudras, and Pariah.