One of the oldest religions in the world is Hinduism and is certainly the most internally diverse. Although it is the third largest religion in the world, Hinduism exists primarily in India and Nepal. People who follow the Hindu religion are known to be very into meditation and calmness. The Hindu religion does not only follow one god, but they have many gods who they look up to. Hindus are meant to be good people who stay away from sinfulness and they focus on finding their own true self. Ancient Hindu texts, particularly the Upanishads, perceived the individual self or "atman" as the immortal pure essence of each being. The problem in Hinduism is that people do not have means of attaining enlightenment. Another problem in Hinduism is the existence of suffering and evil which is the central concept of Karma. The word Karma means “Action,” basically the meaning is that if you do good action you will have good effects, bad actions have bad effects. Thoughts have effects as well. Hindus believe in reincarnation, they have different levels of castes because they believe in the caste system. When you are born into Hindu families your caste is fixed and weather you’re a good human during your life then you get to move up in your caste when you die and if you were not a good human then you get to move down in your caste. The castes go from; Brahmin, Nobles, Soldiers, Merchants, Farmers, and the untouchables, but if an untouchable touched a non-untouchable they would be killed as punishment. The goal in Hinduism is to move up in your caste, so basically what you’re supposed to do to be a good Hindu is to follow your scriptures and to be a good person.
The Buddhist religion is based on the life and teaching of the Indian sage Siddhartha Gotama. Although, Buddhist believe in Gods there is no story about how the universe was originally created, the Buddhist universe has no beginning in the sense that the Christian universe does. Buddhist believes that the universe had been created and destroyed over and over again over vast periods of time. The main goal in Buddhism is to become like the enlightened one, or Buddha. To become enlightened is to overcome the misery of the world and reach their own Buddha status by a process of mental and moral purification. Buddhism has spread throughout most of Asia. The Buddhist canon has three main forms; Theravadian, Mahayanan, and Tibetan. They have hundreds of scriptural fascinating overview of the early history of the Buddhist tradition and insight into the contemporary life of Buddhists everywhere. The problem in Buddhism is that people have too many desires. To solve this problem they want people to be humble and to try to reach enlightenment by doing the right things and by walking the path of enlightenment which is to; life according to the highest ethical principles (The five precepts and the eightfold path), develop wisdom (study the self and its relationship to other people), practice meditation daily, without fail. Jainism dates to the 6th century B.C.E. in India. The religion derives its name from the Jinas (“Conquerors”), a title given to twenty-four great teachers, through whom their faith was revealed. Mahivira is considered the founder of Jainism. The ultimate goal of Jainism is the liberation of the self from rebirth, which is attained through the elimination of accumulated karma. You can achieve this by avoiding desire. When all desires have been truly conquered and all the karma has been rumored, one becomes a Jina, and you are no longer subject to rebirth. Jainism conceives of multi-layered universe containing both heavens and hells. Movement through these levels of the universe requires a very strict peaceful and disciplined life. The religion of Jainism has their “commandments” like other religions also do. Their principles include non-violence, speaking truth, sexual monogamy, and the detachment from material things. Jains typically are strict vegetarians and don’t have jobs where they use violence which one of them is farming. Sikhism arose in the time of social change. In the 1500, northern India was in transition between Muslim empires, the political system was corrupt. People who are Sikhs and follow Sikhism are very humble people who keep everything natural from the time that they are born to the time they die. When you are a believer of Sikhism you don’t cut your hair or your beard, you keep everything natural. The Sikh ideal for human life is to live within the divine will. Sikh teaches that the sense of “self” is the primary cause of suffering. When the individual puts the self at the center of everything, he or she loses reality; the Sikh truth is that each person is part of a much larger whole, a universe in which Kartar is the master. By giving yourself to the Shabad (the divine word), the Sikh believes that he or she is ready to receive the divine grace that will inspire righteous living and lead the path of liberation. Liberation means the best result possible in the afterlife. Doing well in the cycle of birth and death is the way to reach the divine court. Sikhs believe in reincarnation which means that if you do well in your life now you will have a good afterlife. The goal in a Sikhs life is to act as a reasonable person would and to do good to others to be able to have a good afterlife. The founder of Confucianism was Kon Qiu. The religion of Confucianism is mostly common in Asian countries like China. Confucianism was spread throughout the world by Confucius who traveled from region to region with a small group of disciples. Confucius did not discuss the question of good and evil in the human personality. He had the idea that people are by nature good. The religion of Confucianism is a very simple religion; have a good attitude, have manners, and help others. Confucius did not think there was bad in anyone and also saw the good in people. Some say that Confucianism is not a religion, because there are no Confucian deities and no teachings about the afterlife. Confucius was a teacher to sons of the nobility at the time when formal education as just beginning in China. Confucius considered himself to be a failure. Confucius said heaven and the afterlife were beyond human capacity to understand, and one should therefore concentrate instead on doing the right things in this life. Confucius believed in having the right attitude, respecting your parents, teachers, and elders. He also encouraged his students to honor others’ cultural norms. Taoism is, after Confucianism, the most influential religion among Chinese people. It urges following of the Tao which means the way or the road. People who practice Taoism are encouraged to do things in effortless action. You are to not glorify heroes. Don’t treasure rare objects. And no one will steal. Practice non-action. They regard death and life with equal regard. Tao is not a strong moral character, but the doctrine of reward for virtue and punishment for evil. The rewards and retributions are very specific on when people get punished or die and if people’s lives get shortened or lengthened. Taoism does as for you to do a few things in order to prolongation of your life. Never weary of circulating your breaths. Practice sexual intercourse in the right fashion; you will eat and drink moderately; you will avoid drafts and dampness; you will not trouble about things that are not within your competence. Basically this religion wants you to be happy and to live stress free. Shinto, the ancient Japanese national religion, is unique among the religious traditions of Asia and the world. The religion of Shinto has no scripture, no canon, and no formalized doctrines or ethical systems that could be shaped by a scripture. The followers of this religion believe in more than one God. Shinto (The way of the Kami) understands that the kami not only exists as spiritual beings, but also in nature; they are within mountains, trees, rivers, and even geographical regions. Kami followers are supposed to live in harmony and peacefulness with both nature and other human beings. Zoroastrianism became the official religion of the Persian Empire, but it disappeared in Persia after the Muslim invasion. Only 10,000 survived in remote villages in Iran, but over the centuries many sough religious freedom in India. The people who follow Zoroastrianism call their god Ahura Mazda, the creator of all that is good and who alone is worthy of worship. Zoroaster taught that man must enlist in cosmic struggle because of his capacity of free choice. Zoroastrianism is a very ethical religion in which the choice of good over evil is very important. Humans are free to choose between right and wrong, truth and life, and light and dark, and that their choices will affect their eternity destiny. Those who do more good than evil go to heaven and those who do more evil than good go to hell. The good outweighs the bad and the bad outweighs the good depending on how you do during your life. When people who follow this religion die they are put on top of a tower of silence naked while birds eat their flesh until there is nothing left but bones.
Judaism is a religion dating back to nearly four thousand years, rooted in the ancient near eastern region of Canaan which is now Israel and Palestinian territories. Jews have a particular covenant with God as the children of Israel, the rest of humanity is perceived to have a universal covenant associated with the children of Noah. Jews believe in a heaven and hell. Jews obey God’s commandments, and they act as the commandments tell them to act in order to reach heaven rather than not following the commandments and then going to hell after dying. The religion of Jews is very similar to the religion of Christians, but the Jews do not believe that our Messiah has arrived yet. Christians believe that the Messiah (Jesus) has already came, but Jews don’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Humans were created with free will, so God gives them the choice of pursuing “life and prosperity” or “death and adversity”. The ultimate purpose of human existence was to praise God as the creator of the universe and to engage in imitating God. Jews address the relation between God, Evil, and human suffering by demonstrating a spectrum between those who defend, justify, or accept God’s relationship to evil and those who refuse to ascribe any positive meaning for the presence of evil in the world. Jews must obey God’s demands in order to go to heaven and to stay away from hell. The commandments of a Jew are the same commandments that Christians are commanded to follow. This next religion is very sacred to my heart because this is the religion that I practice. Christianity is a very kind, warm hearted and forgiving religion. Christianity was in the West, though it has spread to every continent and is now the largest religion in the world. Traditional Christian beliefs include the belief in the one and only true God, who is one being and exists as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and the belief that Jesus is the divine and human Messiah sent to the save the world. Christianity teaches salvation from sin and the gift of eternal life though the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus Chris is seen as the savior, the Messiah for all Christians. Jesus Chris is who died for our sins so that we could start from new. Like most religions, Christian believers are meant to do the right thing and to treat others like they want to be treated. Christians are meant to follow the Ten Commandments which are in the bible and those Ten Commandments are basically the guidelines to a Christian believer’s life. The Ten Commandments are simple laid our rules of the religion that people should follow in order to reach spiritual goals which is to go to heaven after we pass and to stay away from committing a sin. First commandment is simple; thou shalt have no other gods before me, this means that there is only one god. Second, thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, basically this means that you should not worship anything living as God. Third, thou shalt not take the name of the lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain. Fourth, remember to take Sunday off and to make it a holy day. Fifth, honor and respect your mother and father. Sixth, you should not commit murder. Seventh, you should not commit adultery. Eight, you should not steal. Ninth, thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. And last, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house; thou shalt not covet their neighbor’s wife, or his manservant. These Ten Commandments are not only for Christian people to follow, but any one because they truly are the rights things to do in order to maintain a healthy and sane lifestyle. To fix the problems that were created by Eve who ate from the unbidden tree which unfolded all kinds of evil in the world, we must follow the Commandments in order to lessen sins throughout the world. Christians believe in one God who created all living things and even the universe, heaven, earth. All which God created was creating in love. Christians use God’s parental love, teaching God created humans to be God’s children. God wants to love all of us and to share a close relationship with each one of us. The Christian god wants all creatures to enjoy perfect love and justice. The purpose of life as a Christian is to love and serve God in order to help bring about God’s glorious plan for creation. Islam is a monotheistic religion that developed in the Middle East in the 7th century. Islam means “surrender”. Islam was founded by the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. Allah (Muslim God) is the creator and the sustainer of the world. The Quran is their sacred text which contains the teachings of the Muhammad that were revealed to him from Allah. Islam must believe that Allah is the one and true God and no other man are equal. One of the things that Islam must follow is the five pillars. The pillars consist of ritual profession of faith, ritual prayer, zakat (charity), fasting, and the hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca). Muslims pray to Allah five times a day and they have to always face the direction of Mecca. What is asked for a person who is into the Muslim faith is to worship Allah and to be oriented to serving him. In Islam sin is associated with unbelief. Sometimes people forget to serve God and to follow what the prophets told them and this is a state of unbelief. Islam does not condemn human passions or human needs. Basically what you need to do as a Muslim is to revolve your life around Allah and to not forget what you are meant to do. You are to not be enslaved by your own desires because that by itself is a sin.
Patheos | Hosting the Conversation on Faith." Patheos | Hosting the Conversation on Faith. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2013. Van, Voorst Robert E. Anthology of World Scriptures. Seventh ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Pub., 1994. Print.