Religion, Philosophy, and Belief Systems

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Religion, Philosophy, and Belief Systems
There are many religions of the world and each has been a major contributor to the human thought and artistic expression. From the beginning of time to the present day people have expressed their deepest convictions about the universe and mortal life in worship through their religion, philosophy, and belief systems. The Oxford English Dictionary defines religion as “the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship” (web definitions for religions). A belief in a God or Gods is found in most faiths and many commonalities exist within the more major religions of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism and Confucianism, as well as some of the secondary belief systems.

Buddhism began during the reign of Gautama Buddha in India (Upshur, et al, 2002). From India, Buddhism spread to Persia, central Asia and into China via the Silk Road. Gautama believed that ‘samsara,’ known as the passing of the soul at death into another body or form, and ‘karma,’ the belief that all deeds have their consequences, a shared belief with the Hindus, were the fundamental laws governing the universe (Upshur, et al, 2002). Guatama Buddha believed in family, relationships, duty, and responsibility as shown in his “Address To Signala,” where he instructed, “Husbands should respect their wives,” “Wives should be … gentle and kind to the whole household,” “A man should be generous to his friends,” and “Employers should treat their servants and workpeople decently” (Upshur, et al, 2002 p. 101). This model of thought is in common with the teachings of Confucius, who taught “that each person has obligations toward the other” (Upshur, et al, 2002 p. 106).

Buddhism has shared many commonalities with other religions throughout changing times. The Mahayana Buddhists believed in the idea of a ‘suffering savior,’ (Upshur, et al, 2002) much like the Christians believe in the idea of...
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