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Christianity

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Christianity
Christianity (from the Ancient Greek: Χριστιανός Christianos[1] and the Latin suffix -itas) is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion[2] based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings.[3] It also considers the Hebrew Bible, which is known as the Old Testament, to be canonical. Adherents of the Christian faith are known as Christians.[1]
The mainstream Christian belief is that Jesus is the Son of God, fully divine and fully human and the savior of humanity. Because of this, Christians commonly refer to Jesus as Christ or Messiah.[4] Jesus' ministry, sacrificial death, and subsequent resurrection are often referred to as the Gospel, meaning "Good News" (from the Greek: εὐαγγέλιον euangélion). In short, the Gospel is news of God the Father's eternal victory over evil,[5] and the promise of salvation and eternal life for all people, through divine grace.[6]
Worldwide, the three largest groups of Christianity are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the various denominations of Protestantism. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox patriarchates split from one another in the East–West Schism of 1054 AD, and Protestantism came into existence during the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century, splitting from the Roman Catholic Church.[7]
Christianity began as a Jewish sect in the mid-1st century.[8][9] Originating in the Levant region of the Middle East (modern Israel and Palestine), it quickly spread to Syria, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and Egypt. It grew in size and influence over a few centuries, and by the end of the 4th century had become the official state church of the Roman Empire, replacing other forms of religion practiced under Roman rule.[10] During the Middle Ages, most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized, with Christians also being a sometimes large religious minority in the Middle East, North Africa, Ethiopia[11] and parts of India.[12] Following the Age of Discovery, through missionary work and colonization, Christianity spread to the Americas, Australasia, sub-Saharan Africa, and the rest of the world.[13][14][15]
Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible. The foundation of Christian theology is expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds which contain claims predominantly accepted by followers of the Christian faith.[16] 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 him for the remission of their sins (salvation).[17] They further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven where he rules and reigns with God the Father. Most denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge all humans, living and dead, and grant eternal life to his followers.[18] He is considered the model of a virtuous life, and both the revealer and physical incarnation of God.[19]
As of the early 21st century, Christianity has approximately 2.2 billion adherents.[20][21][22][23] Christianity represents about a third of the world's population and is the world's largest religion.[24][25] Christianity is the state religion of several countries.[26] Among all Christians, 37.5% live in the Americas, 25.7% live in Europe, 22.5% live in Africa, 13.1% live in Asia, 1.2% live in Oceania and 0.9% live in the Middle East. Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of sub-Saharan African and Western civilization.

Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion indigenous to the Indian subcontinent that encompasses a variety of traditions, beliefs and practices largely based on teachings attributed to Siddhartha Gautama, who is commonly known as the Buddha (meaning "the awakened one" in Sanskrit and Pāli). The Buddha lived and taught in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE.[1] He is recognized by Buddhists as an awakened or enlightened teacher who shared his insights to help sentient beings end suffering (dukkha) through eliminating ignorance (avidyā) by way of understanding and seeing dependent origination (pratītyasamutpāda) and eliminating craving (taṇhā), and thus attain the highest happiness, nirvāņa.[2]
Two major branches of Buddhism are generally recognized: Theravada ("The School of the Elders") and Mahayana ("The Great Vehicle"). Theravada has a widespread following in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar etc.). Mahayana is found throughout East Asia (China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Singapore, Taiwan etc.) and includes the traditions of Pure Land, Zen, Nichiren Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Shingon, and Tiantai (Tendai). In some classifications, Vajrayana—practiced mainly in Tibet and Mongolia, and adjacent parts of China and Russia—is recognized as a third branch, while others classify it as a part of Mahayana.
While Buddhism remains most popular within Asia, both branches are now found throughout the world. Estimates of Buddhists worldwide vary significantly depending on the way Buddhist adherence is defined. Conservative estimates are between 350–750 million.[3][4][5] Higher estimates are between 1.2 - 1.7 billion.[6][7][8] It is also recognized as one of the fastest growing religions in the world.[9][10][11][12]
Buddhist schools vary on the exact nature of the path to liberation, the importance and canonicity of various teachings and scriptures, and especially their respective practices.[13] The foundations of Buddhist tradition and practice are the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the community). Taking "refuge in the triple gem" has traditionally been a declaration and commitment to being on the Buddhist path, and in general distinguishes a Buddhist from a non-Buddhist.[14] Other practices may include following ethical precepts; support of the monastic community; renouncing conventional living and becoming a monastic; the development of mindfulness and practice of meditation; cultivation of higher wisdom and discernment; study of scriptures; devotional practices; ceremonies; and in the Mahayana tradition, invocation of buddhas and bodhisattvas.

Shintoism
Shinto (神道 Shintō?) or Shintoism, also kami-no-michi,[1] is the indigenous spirituality of Japan and the people of Japan. It is a set of practices, to be carried out diligently, to establish a connection between present day Japan and its ancient past.[2] Shinto practices were first recorded and codified in the written historical records of the Kojiki and Nihon Shoki in the 8th century. Still, these earliest Japanese writings do not refer to a unified "Shinto religion", but rather to disorganized folklore, history, and mythology.[3] Shinto today is a term that applies to public shrines suited to various purposes such as war memorials, harvest festivals, romance, and historical monuments, as well as various sectarian organizations. Practitioners express their diverse beliefs through a standard language and practice, adopting a similar style in dress and ritual, dating from around the time of the Nara and Heian Periods.[3]
The word Shinto ("Way of the Gods") was adopted from the written Chinese (神道, pinyin: shén dào),[4] combining two kanji: "shin" (神?), meaning "spirit" or kami; and "tō" (道?), meaning a philosophical path or study (from the Chinese word dào).[3][4] Kami are defined in English as "spirits", "essences" or "deities", that are associated with many understood formats; in some cases being human-like, in others being animistic, and others being associated with more abstract "natural" forces in the world (mountains, rivers, lightning, wind, waves, trees, rocks). Kami and people are not separate; they exist within the same world and share its interrelated complexity.[3]
Fact books and statistics typically list some 80 to 90% of Japanese people as Shintoist.[5] However, polls suggest that most Japanese consider themselves non-religious and believe that there are currently only 4 million "actual" observers of Shinto in Japan.[6] The vast majority of people in Japan who take part in Shinto rituals also practice Buddhist rituals. However, Shinto does not actually require professing faith to be a believer or a practitioner thus a person who practices "any" manner of Shinto rituals may be so counted, and as such it is difficult to query for exact figures based on self-identification of belief within Japan.[7] Another problem is that Shinto is sometimes seen more as a way of life rather than a religion by the Japanese due to its long historical and cultural significance. Due to the syncretic nature of Shinto and Buddhism, most "life" events are handled by Shinto and "death" or "afterlife" events are handled by Buddhism—for example, it is typical in Japan to register or celebrate a birth at a Shinto shrine, while funeral arrangements are generally dictated by Buddhist tradition—although the division is not exclusive. According to Inoue (2003):
"In modern scholarship, the term is often used with reference to kami worship and related theologies, rituals and practices. In these contexts, ‘Shinto’ takes on the meaning of ‘Japan’s traditional religion’, as opposed to foreign religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and so forth.

Jainism
Jainism (pronounced [dʒɛːnɪzəm][citation needed]), traditionally known as Jaina dharma, is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. It is one of the oldest religions of the world finding its roots in ancient India.[1] Tradition says that this belief has been preached by a succession of twenty-four propagators of faith known as tirthankara. Jainism emphasises spiritual independence and equality between all forms of life. Practitioners of this religion believe that non-violence and self-control is the means by which they can obtain liberation from the cycle of reincarnations.
Jainism is a religious minority in India, with 4.2 million followers, and has adherents in immigrant communities in Belgium, the United States, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.[2] Jains have the highest degree of literacy for a religious community in India,[3] and their manuscript libraries are the oldest in the country.
Taoism
Taoism (modernly: Daoism) is a philosophical and religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (modernly romanized as "Dao"). The term Tao means "way", "path" or "principle", and can also be found in Chinese philosophies and religions other than Taoism. In Taoism, however, Tao denotes something that is both the source and the driving force behind everything that exists. It is ultimately ineffable: "The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao."[1]
The keystone work of literature in Taoism is the Tao Te Ching, a concise and ambiguous book containing teachings attributed to Laozi (Chinese: 老子; pinyin: Lǎozi; Wade–Giles: Lao Tzu). Together with the writings of Zhuangzi, these texts build the philosophical foundation of Taoism. This philosophical Taoism, individualistic by nature, is not institutionalized. Institutionalized forms, however, evolved over time in the shape of a number of different schools, often integrating beliefs and practices that even pre-dated the keystone texts – as, for example, the theories of the School of Naturalists, which synthesized the concepts of yin-yang and the Five Elements. Taoist schools traditionally feature reverence for Laozi, immortals or ancestors, along with a variety of divination and exorcism rituals, and practices for achieving ecstasy, longevity or immortality.
Taoist propriety and ethics may vary depending on the particular school, but in general tends to emphasize wu-wei (action through non-action), "naturalness", simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility.
Taoism has had profound influence on Chinese culture in the course of the centuries, and clerics of institutionalised Taoism (Chinese: 道士; pinyin: dàoshi) usually take care to note distinction between their ritual tradition and the customs and practices found in Chinese folk religion as these distinctions sometimes appear blurred. Chinese alchemy (especially neidan), Chinese astrology, Zen Buddhism, several martial arts, Traditional Chinese medicine, feng shui, and many styles of qigong have been intertwined with Taoism throughout history. Beyond China, Taoism also had influence on surrounding societies in Asia.
After Laozi and Zhuangzi the literature of Taoism grew steadily and used to be compiled in form of a canon – the Daozang, which was at times published at the behest of the emperor. Throughout Chinese history, Taoism was several times nominated as state religion. After the 17th century, however, it fell much from favor. Like all other religious activity, Taoism was suppressed in the first decades of the People's Republic of China (and even persecuted during the Cultural Revolution), but continued to be practised in Taiwan. Today, it is one of five religions recognized in the PRC, and although it does not travel readily from its Asian roots, claims adherents in a number of societies.

Islam
Islam (English pron.: /ˈɪzlɑːm/;[note 1] Arabic: الإسلام‎ al-ʾislām IPA: [ælʔɪsˈlæːm] ( listen)[note 2]) is a monotheistic and Abrahamic religion articulated by the Qur'an, a text considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God (Arabic: الله‎ Allāh) and by the teachings and normative example (called the Sunnah and composed of Hadith) of Muhammad, considered by them to be the last prophet of God. An adherent of Islam is called a Muslim.
Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable and the purpose of existence is to love and serve God.[1] Muslims also believe that Islam is the complete and universal version of a primordial faith that was revealed at many times and places before, including through Abraham, Moses and Jesus, whom they consider prophets.[2] They maintain that the previous messages and revelations have been partially misinterpreted or altered over time,[3] but consider the Arabic Qur'an to be both the unaltered and the final revelation of God.[4] Religious concepts and practices include the five pillars of Islam, which are basic concepts and obligatory acts of worship, and following Islamic law, which touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, providing guidance on multifarious topics from banking and welfare, to warfare and the environment.[5][6]
Most Muslims are of two denominations, Sunni (75–90%),[7] or Shia (10–20%).[8] About 13% of Muslims live in Indonesia,[9] the largest Muslim-majority country, 25% in South Asia,[9] 20% in the Middle East,[10] and 15% in Sub-saharan Africa.[11] Sizable minorities are also found in China, Russia, and the Americas. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world (see Islam by country). With about 1.57 billion followers or 23% of earth's population,[11][12][13] Islam is the second-largest religion and one of the fastest-growing religions in the world.

Judaism
Judaism (from the Latin Iudaismus, derived from the Greek Ioudaïsmos, and ultimately from the Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, "Judah";[1][2] in Hebrew: יהדות, Yahadut, the distinctive characteristics of the Judean ethnos)[3] is the religion, philosophy and way of life of the Jewish people.[4] A monotheistic religion originating in the Hebrew Bible (also known as the Tanakh) and explored in later texts such as the Talmud, Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship God established with the Children of Israel.[5] Rabbinic Judaism holds that God revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of both the Written and Oral Torah.[6] Historically, this assertion was challenged by various groups such as the Sadducees and Hellenistic Judaism during the Second Temple period; the Karaites and Sabbateans during the early and later medieval period;[7] and among segments of the modern reform movements. Liberal movements in modern times such as Humanistic Judaism may be nontheistic.[8]
Judaism claims a historical continuity spanning more than 3,000 years. Of the major world religions, Judaism is considered one of the oldest monotheistic religions.[9][10] The Hebrews / Israelites were already referred to as "Jews" in later books of the Tanakh such as the Book of Esther, with the term Jews replacing the title "Children of Israel".[11] Judaism's texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha'i Faith.[12][13] Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law.[14]
Jews are an ethnoreligious group[15] and include those born Jewish and converts to Judaism. In 2010, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.4 million, or roughly 0.2% of the total world population. About 42% of all Jews reside in Israel and about 42% reside in the United States and Canada, with most of the remainder living in Europe.[16] The largest Jewish religious movements are Orthodox Judaism (Haredi Judaism and Modern Orthodox Judaism), Conservative Judaism and Reform Judaism. A major source of difference between these groups is their approach to Jewish law.[17] Orthodox Judaism maintains that the Torah and Jewish law are divine in origin, eternal and unalterable, and that they should be strictly followed. Conservative and Reform Judaism are more liberal, with Conservative Judaism generally promoting a more "traditional" interpretation of Judaism's requirements than Reform Judaism. A typical Reform position is that Jewish law should be viewed as a set of general guidelines rather than as a set of restrictions and obligations whose observance is required of all Jews.[18][19] Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law; today, these courts still exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary.[20] Authority on theological and legal matters is not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and rabbis and scholars who interpret them.

Shamanism
Shamanism (pron.: /ˈʃɑːmən/ SHAH-mən or /ˈʃeɪmən/ SHAY-mən) is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world.[2] A shaman is a person regarded as having access to, and influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who typically enters into a trance state during a ritual, and practices divination and healing.[3]
The term "shamanism" was first applied to the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighboring Tungusic and Samoyedic-speaking peoples. The word "shaman" originates from the Evenk language (Tungusic) of North Asia and was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan(later became a Muslim state, Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, such as the Orthodox Christians of Russia, as well as the new faith of the Kazan people, Islam, tend to suppress shamanistic beliefs) in 1552. Upon learning more about religious traditions across the world, western scholars also described similar magico-religious practices found within the indigenous religions of other parts of Asia, Africa, Australasia and the Americas as shamanism. Various historians have argued that shamanism also played a role in many of the pre-Christian religions of Europe, and that shamanic elements may have survived in popular culture right through to the Early Modern period. Various archaeologists and historians of religion have also suggested that shamanism may have been a dominant pre-religious practice for humanity during the Palaeolithic.
Mircea Eliade writes, "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, and perhaps the least hazardous, will be: shamanism = 'technique of religious ecstasy'."[4] Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness. The shaman also enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements. The shaman operates primarily within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment.[4]
Shamanic beliefs and practices have attracted the interest of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, archaeologists, historians, religious studies scholars and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced[citation needed], with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanisms[citation needed]. In the 20th century, many westerners involved in the counter-cultural movement adopted magico-religious practices influenced by indigenous shamanisms from across the world, creating the Neoshamanic movement.

Bulacan State University
S.Y. 2012-2013

Religions in Asia

Submitted by:
Mary Jenica P.Pagdanganan
BSHE-II-A
Submitted to:
Mrs.Silay Cruz

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