5 Major Religions

Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism

Hinduism

History

Hinduism was created in 1500BC or earlier in India with no known single founder.


Beliefs

Hindus believe in karma, reincarnation, as well as that the universe undergoes a constant cycle of creation, preservation, and dissolution. They also believe that all life is sacred and that there is no one religion that will lead you to Heaven.


Rituals

Some Hindu rituals are Ayurveda which is an ancient system of healing and medicine, different yoga and meditation, and Puja which is bathing and dressing before eating anything.


Fun Facts

  • Hindus are polytheistic
  • Their major book is the Vedas but they have many more
  • They have over 900 million adherents
  • They are the third largest religion in the world


Holidays


  • Holi- Festival of colors and spring
  • Diwali- Festival of Lights
  • Dassera- Victory of Rama over demon king Ravana
  • Mahashivaratri- Night sacred to Shiva


Gods

There are many Hindu gods but some of the main ones are


  • Devi- The mother goddess
  • Ganesha- clears away life's obstacles
  • Shiva- The destroyer
  • Vedic gods- A number of deities, most of whom are personified forces of nature
  • Vishnu- Protector of the world and restorer or moral order


Crash Course Hinduism

Christianity

History

Jesus is born of Mary. At age 30 he is baptized and receives the Holy Spirit. He then begins his teachings. People don't like what he is preaching and teaching, so Jesus is Crucified. His followers the branched off of the teachings of Judaism and called themselves Christians. It then spread throughout the world thanks to Paul and Constantine.


Beliefs

  • The Christian God
  • Creation and Evolution
  • Jesus Christ
  • The Virgin Mary
  • Human Nature
  • The afterlife in Heaven or Hell
  • The Holy Trinity
  • The Seven Deadly Sins
  • The Holy Spirit
  • Angles
  • Demons and The Devil


Rituals

Some of the main Christian practices include attending church every Sunday, being baptized, and receiving Communion. There are many more religious practices that are specific to certain denominations of Christianity. For example, in Catholicism, they practice confession, canonization, and papacy.

Fun Facts

  • Christians are monotheistic.
  • Their Holy Book is the Bible which is comprised of the Old Testament and the New Testament.
  • There are over 2 billion Christians around the world.
  • Their symbol is the Cross.


Holidays

  • Advent- Beginning of the church year and approach of Christmas
  • Christmas- The birth of Jesus
  • Epiphany- The visit of the Magi
  • Lent- A 40 day period of fasting in preparation for Easter
  • Good Friday- Remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus
  • Easter- The resurrection of Christ
  • All Saints Day- Recalling the lives of Christian Saints


God

Christians believe there is one God and that he is in the Trinity as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.


What is Christianity?

Islam

History

In about 5th century BC arabs started settling in Mecca on the Arabian Peninsula. It was originally animistic polytheism, but after Muhammed, they became monotheistic and started praying to their one god called Allah.


Beliefs

  • Six Articles of Faith
  • Allah
  • The Prophets
  • Human Nature
  • Life and Salvation
  • Afterlife


Rituals

Islam doesn't have very many rituals, but they practice the 5 pillars of faith.


  • Confession of faith
  • Ritual prayer
  • Alms tax
  • Fasting during the month of Ramadan
  • Pilgrimage to Mecca

Fun Facts

  • Muslims are strictly monotheistic
  • Their Holy Book is Koran
  • There are over 1.3 billion Muslims worldwide
  • Their symbol is the crescent moon and star


Holidays

Islam has very few holidays, but the most known holiday is Ramadan. Ramadan is a holy month where people fast and abstain from sexual activities to celebrate the Koran being sent down.


God

Muslims call their God Allah. They believe that he is the creator of a perfect, ordered universe. They believe he was revealed to the prophets, but will not reveal himself to anyone else. They believe he is present everywhere and will help anyone in need.


Islam, the Quran, and the Five Pillars All Without a Flamewar: Crash Course World History #13

Judaism

History

Judaism begins with Abraham and the Hebrews. Abraham is called by God after the great flood and God tells Abraham that he will have many descendants. The religion based off of actions and that is what jews believe to this day.


Beliefs

  • 13 Articles of faith
  • God
  • The coming Messiah
  • Human nature
  • Afterlife


Rituals

  • The Mitzof- the divine commandments given by God in the Torah
  • The 613 Commandments- Maimonides found these in the Jewish Bible
  • Rabbinic Law- rules and laws to follow in life
  • Going to weekday and sabbath prayer services
  • Keeping kosher


Fun Facts

  • Judaism is a monotheistic religion
  • Their religious text is the Tanakh and the Talmud
  • Judaism has around 14 million adherants
  • Their spiritual leaders are called Rabbi's


Holidays

  • Purim- a Spring holiday where there is a dinner and gift giving and costumes in celebration of Esther
  • The Sabbath- not working on saturdays for a day of joyful celebration and rest
  • Rosh Hashanah- Jewish new year
  • Hanukkah- the festival of lights
  • Yom Kippur- jews refrain from work, attend synagogue, and fast
  • Passover- to celebrate the liberating of the Hebrews in Egypt


God

Jews believe in a single, all powerful God whom they call Yaweh. They believe he created everything, including man and pray to him often.


The Story of Judaism

Buddhism

History

Buddhism is based off of the teachings of a man named Buddha who lived in India around 5th century BC. His disciples multiplied over time and hence was the religion of Buddhism born.


Beliefs

In Buddhism, people think its centered over beliefs, but it is actually mainly centered over the understanding of human nature and ultimate reality. They believe in


  • The teachings of Buddha
  • Buddhas and Deities
  • Human nature
  • Purpose of life
  • Reincarnation and afterlife

Rituals

  • Meditation- the only way to liberation
  • Mantras- sacred sound
  • Mudras- symbolic hand gestures
  • Prayer Wheels- reciting prayers while turning a wheel
  • Pilgrimage- visiting sacred sites


Fun Facts

  • Buddhism can be considered atheistic or polytheistic depending on which denomination
  • Their holy book is the Pali Canon
  • There are about 360 million buddhists in the world today
  • Buddhist spiritual leaders are called monks


Holidays

Most buddhist holidays commemorate the life of Buddha. A few are:


  • Buddhist New Year
  • Vesak- The birthday of Buddha
  • Dhamma Day- Commemorates the Buddha's first sermon
  • Uposatha- Observance day

God

Buddhists do not believe there is a single God who created everything. They kind of treat Buddha like their God. People make pilgrimages to the places he walked and have shrines set up for him. They don't call him their God, but they treat him like it.


What is Buddhism? How is it Distinctive from other religions?