World Religions Project

By: Zach Norman

Christianity-

It is monotheistic, founded in the early 1st century AD, with the teaching, miracles, crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. Today it is the largest religion in the world, with around 2 billion followers. Especially dominant in the western world, today's Christianity has a wide variety of forms, beliefs and practices but all center around faith in Jesus Christ.


History-

The foundations of Christian theology are expressed in ecumenical creeds that are accepted by followers of the Christian faith. These professions state that Jesus suffered, died, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead in order to grant eternal life to those who believe in him and trust in him for the remission of their sins. The creeds further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven, where he reigns with God the Father. Most denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge all humans, living and dead, and to grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life.


Holidays

Christianity has given us heaps of holidays every year, which is not surprising considering it has been around for more than 2,000 years. Even as society has become more secular, the Christian feast days persist in our lives.


The Holy Bible

The Bible is a very special book. It is the most popular book of the world. The Bible was written by different authors with different backgrounds at different times, yet there is no contradiction among the books since the Scripture is inspired by God. The theme of the Bible is the same - the love of God to mankind. In the past, people, people tried to destroy the Bible in various ways. However, they were not successful. Instead, some of them became Christians. Moreover, the Bible has a tremendous effect on people's lives. Its influence is beyond all boundaries. Therefore, of all the books, the Bible has been translated into the greatest number of languages including some tribal language.



What is Christianity?

Judaism-

Judaism is a monotheistic religious tradition with origins dating back nearly four thousand years, rooted in the ancient near eastern region of Canaan (which is now Israel and Palestinian territories).


History-

Originating as the beliefs and practices of the people known as "Israel," classical, or rabbinic, Judaism did not emerge until the 1st century C.E. Judaism traces its heritage to the covenant God made with Abraham and his lineage — that God would make them a sacred people and give them a holy land. The primary figures of Israelite culture include the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophet Moses, who received God's law at Mt. Sinai. Judaism is a tradition grounded in the religious, ethical, and social laws as they are articulated in the Torah — the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Jews refer to the Bible as the Tanakh, an acronym for the texts of the Torah, Prophets, and Writings. Other sacred texts include the Talmud and Midrash, the rabbinic, legal, and narrative interpretations of the Torah. The contemporary branches of Judaism differ in their interpretations and applications of these texts.


Holidays-

All Jewish holidays begin the evening before the date specified on most calendars. This is because a Jewish "day" begins and ends at sunset, rather than at midnight. If you read the story of creation in Genesis Ch. 1, you will notice that it says, "And there was evening, and there was morning, one day." From this, we infer that a day begins with evening, that is, sunset. Holidays end at nightfall of the date specified on most calendars; that is, at the time when it becomes dark out, about an hour after sunset.


Torah-

Torah, "instruction" or "revelation," is the way of imitating God and becoming holy like Him. The Torah (using the article) is the Holy Book of Judaism and is comprised of first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy). They are also called The Pentateuch.


What Is Judaism?

Hinduism-

Hinduism is polytheistic and is considered the world's oldest living religion. It originated in India approximately 4,000 years ago. Most Hindus live in India, with approximately 83% of Indians belonging to this faith. The Immigration Act of 1965 has increased migration of Hindus to the United States. The USA census of the year 2000 is expected to report 1,000,000 people with Indian ancestry.


History-

Hinduism is different from most religions. There is no prophet, no book, no dogma. They use poetic phrases passed down thousands of years to express their philosophy of life. Writings such as the Bhagwad Gita (BUHG un vvhd GEE tah) contain statements such as, "Truth is one, the wise perceive it in many ways". Statements such as this recognize the possible limitations of their viewpoint. They are receptive to the opinion of others. They refuse to condemn society to a single interpretation of reality.


Gods and Goddesses-

Hindus have numerous gods and goddesses; but they are all manifestations of one supreme being, Brahmam or the Universal Spirit. Hindus believe that everything is cyclic. The universe has been created, sustained, and destroyed many times. There are three major expressions of Brahman who rule over these manifestations of the universe:
  1. Brahman, who created the world
  2. Vishnu, who sustains the universe for 432 million human years
  3. Shiva, who destroys the universe. This begins the cycle again.


Holidays-

As in most ancient religions, many of the Hindu holidays are based on the cycle of nature. They mark the change of seasons, celebrate the harvest, and encourage fertility of the land. Others are dedicated to a particular deity, such as Shiva or Ganesh. Still other popular holidays commemorate events in the lives of Rama or Krishna. In addition to the major Hindu festivalsthat are celebrated throughout India, many regional festivals are also held in honor of various deities.


Holy books-

The main Hindu scriptures are:

  • the Vedas, a collection of hymns praising the Vedic gods. Veda means 'knowledge'
  • the Ramayana, long epic poems about Rama and Sita
  • the Mahabharata, which includes the Bhagavad Gita
  • the Puranas, a collection of stories about the different incarnations and the lives of saints.


A Short Introduction to Hinduism

Buddhism-

Buddhism is a religion to about 300 million people around the world. The word comes from 'budhi', 'to awaken'. It has its origins about 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened (enlightened) at the age of 35.



History-

Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who lived about 25 centuries ago in what is now Nepal and northeastern India. He came to be called "the Buddha," which means "awakened one," after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. In English, the Buddha was said to be enlightened, although in Sanskrit it isbodhi, "awakened."In the remaining years of his life, the Buddha traveled and taught. However, he didn't teach people what he had realized when he became enlightened. Instead, he taught people how to realize enlightenment for themselves. He taught that awakening comes through one's own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.



Holidays-

There are many holidays and festivals celebrated by Buddhists around the world each year, most of which commemorate important events in the life of the Buddha or various Bodhisattvas. The date of the holidays are based on the lunar calendar and often differ by country and tradition.

Buddhist holidays are joyful occasions. A festival day normally begins with a visit to the local temple, where one offers food or other items to the monks and listens to a Dharma talk. The afternoon might consist of distributing food to the poor to earn merit, circumambulating (walking around) the temple three times in honor of the Three Jewels, chanting and meditation.



What is Buddhism - Buddhism classes

Islam-

Islam is a monotheistic religious tradition that developed in the Middle East in the 7th century C.E. Islam, which literally means "surrender" or "submission," was founded on the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as an expression of surrender to the will of Allah, the creator and sustainer of the world.


History-

The Quran, the sacred text of Islam, contains the teachings of the Prophet that were revealed to him from Allah. Essential to Islam is the belief that Allah is the one and true God with no partner or equal. Islam has several branches and much variety within those branches. The two divisions within the tradition are the Sunni and Shi'a, each of which claims different means of maintaining religious authority. One of the unifying characteristics of Islam is the Five Pillars, the fundamental practices of Islam. These five practices include a ritual profession of faith, ritual prayer, the zakat (charity), fasting, and the hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca). Many Muslims are characterized by their commitment to praying to Allah five times a day. One of the defining characteristics of Islam is the primacy of sacred places including Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. Muslims gather at mosques to worship Allah, pray, and study scripture. There is not a sharp distinction between the religious and secular aspects of life in Islam; all aspects of a Muslim's life are to be oriented to serving Allah. Islam expanded almost immediately beyond its birthplace in the Arabian peninsula, and now has significant influence in Africa, throughout Asia, Europe, and the Americas.


Holidays-

Islam has relatively few holidays compared to most other religions. Traditionally, Muslims celebrate just two major festivals ('Id Al-Fitr and 'Id Al-Adha), a month of daytime fasting (Ramadan), and a day of voluntary fasting ('Ashura, also an important Shiite festival).



Quran

The holy book of Islam is called the Quran.The Quran is organized into chapters called surah, and verses called ayat. In addition, the entire text is divided into 30 sections called ajiza', in order to facilitate its reading over a month-long period.


What is Islam?