World Religion Project

5 of the World Largest Religions

Christianity

Christianity takes its beliefs very seriously. The christians are monotheistic meaning that they only believe in one god. Christians go to worship every sunday where there will normaly be a sermon, prayer, and singing. Most christians will have been baptized either as an infant or as an adult to clean themselves of their parents sins, and most christians will join in communion or gods feast at the end of every worship. Their holy book is the bible which the christians regard as the highest athourity to religon and practices. An example of a highly celebrated holiday is Christmas.

The christian religion began when a jewish man named Jesus was baptised and began preaching about the kingdom of god. An opposition was formed against him and he was executed by crucifixion. His pupils followed where he left and a man named Paul went on missonary to other places building churches and giving belief. A major turning point for Christianity was when Emporer Contestine converted to the belief. When Emporer contestine died his sons took over. This split the church into Roman Catholic and Greek orthodox. In 1948 the world council of churches was formed to help people and today christianity is the largest religion in the world.

Buddhism

Buddhism has many different beliefs but the main ones are atheism and polytheism. In 1966 two monks from the Theravada and Mahayana traditions met to form a connection of the similarities to their beliefs and bridge the differences. The main beliefs of Buddhism are that you will be reborn into a new body unless you reach enlightenment in which case you enter Nirvana and exit the path of suffering. A deep respect for the Buddha, and that the reason for life is to end the suffering. There are many rituals in Buddhism including meditation which is the central point of Zen Buddhism and the only way to liberation in Theravada Buddhism. There is also mantras which are sacred sounds (ex. Om), and Mudras which are sacred hand gestures. Pilgramidge which is the visitation of sacred sites and Prayer Wheels that are spun while reciting Mantras.The Tripitaka is the earliest group of Buddhist teachings and the only text recognized as a rite by Theravada Buddhists. The Mahayana buddhists add the Mahayana Sutras to the Tripitaka which is strictly there beliefs. And the Tibetan book of the dead which was written by a Tibetan monk and describes the stages of death. There are many buddhist holidays, including The Buddhist new year, Vesak (Buddha day) the birthday of the Buddha, Dhamma day to celebrate the Buddhas first Sermon, and the festival of the floating bowls which is when Buddhists fill bowls with leaves flowers and incense and float them on the river when they leave bad luck is supposed to go with them.

Buddhism was founded by Siddharta Gautama who was a very sheltered prince. When he traveled and saw a sick man,poor man, old man, and corpse he was shocked. He tried to gain enlightenment through asceticism, but even the most extreme asceticism would not work. So one day he vowed to sit beneath a tree and not move until he had gained enlightenment. Days later he rose from the budhi tree as the Buddha. For the next 45 years of his life he taught about the path to liberation from suffering, reincarnation, and establishing a community of monks.


Hinduism

Hinduism has no concrete beliefs but there are similarities between what one hindu believes and what another hindu believes. These similarities include, the regard of the Vedas (oldest indian texts) and the Brahmans (priests), the belief in the surviving soul that transmigrates to another body at death or reincarnation, and the law of karma which determines your destiny both in this life and the next. One of the belifs that is not included is god or gods. Many hindus are devoted followers to the principle gods such as Shiva, Vishnu or Shakti or many others, but these gods and goddesses are all though of as manifestations of a single reality. The vedas is the most highly rgarded sruti or heard book which deals in religious sacrafices and other philisophical things. Holi is the festival of colors and spring, Diwali is the festval of lights and Lakshmi, and Mahashivarati is the night sacred to Shiva. Hatha yoga is anmeditative movement that some hindus do, and the namaste greeting (means the light in me sees the light in you) is seen as a heartfelt greeting.

Hinduism is unique in the fact that it has no founder or date of origin. Hinduism is simply, the religion of India and has developed over the last 4,000 years. Hinduism's roots stretch all the way back to 2000 BC which makes it one of the oldest surviving religions. The early history of india is unclear and the most ancient texts have yet to be deciphered, so the history of hinduism is not known.



Islam

Islam is a monotheistic belief, and in arabic the word Islam means submission which represents the basic belief of the reliogion. This belief is that you must submit to the will of god. The religion began because of the relevations of Muhammad in the 7th century which were later written down in the Qur'an which is Islams sacred text. The Islamics rituals are defined by the 5 pillars of Islam, Faith, Prayer, Fasting, pilgramedge, and alms. Radaman is the Islam month of daytime fasting, and 'Ashura which is a day of voluntary fasting.


Judaism

Judaism is one of the oldest religions still around today with 14 million followers, and 3.5 billion others follow belief systems that are directly influenced by Judaism including Christianity, Islam, and the Bah'ai faith. The jewish people are monotheistic and have staunchly remained so even though when Judaism was first created polytheism was greatly viewed. The Torah or Law is the holy book of the Jewish people. Bar and Bat mitzvahs are when a boy or girl first read from the Torah and there is a large party afterwards, and the Jewish wedding does include the breaking of the glass. Every saturday Sabbath is held to worship god. I'm sure most of you have heard of Chanukah but it is the festival of lights, where for eight nights you light the menorah and give gifts.


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Judaism and Christianty

Islamic

Buddhism & Hinduism