Religion on Planet Earth

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Week 4 Assignment 1
Angel Vance
REL 212
Laila Khalid Ghauri

This week’s assignment is about religious life on planet earth. There are many different types of religion all over the world, and people are always free to pick what religion that they want to join or follow. There is never any one specific kind of religion that everyone follows. Religion can be found all over the place, and can be seen in things that people do every day. Some religions chant, some pray, and some have rituals that they perform each day, each one is different in its own right, but they are all centered around pretty much the same thing. Every religion around the world is centered on the belief of a higher being or beings in some cases, but they all believe that there is some kind of greater power than themselves, and put faith in that belief.

As an alien trying to determine the religious status of planet Earth, I would have to base the criteria of the determination on my location. Due to different cultural and spiritual beliefs, the area I am in may meet different criteria, than a religious group on the other side of the world. Religion is defined as: a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often contain a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. Currently there are twenty two major religions on Earth according to an analysis done by David B. Barrett’s religious statistics organization. Each of these religions has a specific set of beliefs and practices? Only sixteen percent of the world claims to be nonreligious while Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism are proclaimed by sixty-eight percent of the population. I will focus my report on these three religions and how they meet the criteria to be considered religious. The criteria to determine if Earth is a religious planet will be that the followers believe and follow the set beliefs and practices of their religious preference. To determine this involves understanding what each religion believes. These beliefs must be in regards to the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe as noted in the definition of religion. The way that followers observe rituals and live their lives are additional determining factors.

Christianity started as an institution, according to Mary Pat Fisher (Fisher, 2011), and now is the most common religion. Statistics show that thirty-three percent of Earth’s population study Christianity. Christians meet the criteria by believing that there is one God and he created the world and its inhabitants in seven days. God expects humans to live in his divine view of justice and love. Christians uphold this expectation by loving and serving God throughout their life using the Bible as their guide. Islam is the religious faith of Muslims based on the words and religious system founded by the religious prophet Mohammed and the Koran. Muslims worship Allah. The basic principle of Islam is complete submission to their unique and personal god. Rituals are a large part of the Muslim community. The basic spiritual practices incumbent on all Muslims are known as The Five Pillars of Islam. The pillars are viewed as Allah’s commandments and include rituals such as daily prayers. Muslims repeat the daily ritual prayer five times a day regardless of where they are. Since the prayers are at specific times, the entire Muslim community prays together. The practice of salaat, which is formal prayer, is always performed in Arabic uniting the community even more. Muslims definitely meet the criteria of religion by observing religious rituals as outlined by the Qur’an. Hinduism is a religion that emphasizes freedom from the material world through purification of desires and elimination of personal identity. Like Islam, Hinduism requires that followers observe life rituals. Hindu has sixteen rites that are performed throughout a person’s life for purification and sanctification. Additionally,...
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