World Religions Religion involves: • Systematic rituals of worship • Shared and common belief system • Shared concept of a “life beyond life” • A reward • A punishment THE LEGACY OF MONOTHEISTIC RELIGIONS Several ideas crucial to the shaping of a democratic outlook emerged from the early monotheistic religions: • the duty of the individual and the community to combat oppression • the worth of the individual • the equality of people before God
The Most Popular Religions in the World Today Religions with the most members: • Christianity • Islam • Hinduism • Folk Religions - Africa mainly • Buddhism • Chinese Folk Religions - Taoism and Confucianism • Shinto • Sikhism • Judaism
Judaism First known as it developed in the Eastern Mediterranean region • Grew out of declaration of tribal leaders demanding that members pay homage to a creator (their God - Yahweh) • Judaism was the first known religion that was monotheistic - Belief in only one god • The first Jews (followers of Judaism) were the Israelites or Hebrews . • These ancient Jews were called “Hebrews,” or the “dusty ones” because they wandered through the desert. • For thousands of years this was the goal of the Hebrews – to find a “homeland” - Today most consider that homeland “Israel”
Judaism Followers of Judaism were encouraged to focus on Ethics or proper conduct • Called Ethical Monotheism • One of the first leader of the Hebrews was Abraham • He united the twelve tribes of Israel • Abraham and his people called themselves the “chosen ones.” • The early history of the Jews/Israelites was one of constant hardship, where they were captured and forced into slavery • Babylonian captivity • Egyptian captivity • “The Exodus” was when the ancient Hebrews (Jews) left Egypt for the “Promised Land.”
Judaism • Moses was the leader of the Hebrews during their exodus from Egypt. During these times of hardship and slavery, followers were encouraged to have faith in Yahweh and he would reward his “Chosen People” with deliverance from their captivity by means of a savior. ** - “Messiah” is the term used for the savior, or deliverer, who is awaited by Jews.
Judaism The “Torah” contains the sacred writings of the Jewish religion • The “Torah” is very similar in content to the first five books of the Christian bible. • Both Christianity and Islam were offshoots that evolved from Judaism; in fact, early Christians were considered to be a sect (or faction) of Judaism. During Roman times, Jews were dispersed throughout the Mediterranean lands of the empire • This migration of Jews away from their homeland to other parts of the world is called the Diaspora • Later, Jews moved throughout most of Europe, North Africa and Arabia
Judaism • Jews in lands around the Mediterranean were known as Sephardic Jews • Those in Central and Eastern Europe were known as Ashkenazim i. Many Ashkenazi Jews later migrated to North America • In 1948, the independent state of Israel was designated as a homeland for Jews
QUICK FACTS ON JUDAISM: • Monotheistic - First organized, recognized religion to honor ONE god. • Worshiped a creator they named Yahweh • Torah – Books of sacred teaching, early history and laws (moral) • Forms the cornerstone of Jewish religion and law • Star of David – the sacred symbol of Judaism • Jerusalem – sacred site, considered to be the center of Judaism
QUICK FACTS ON JUDAISM: • Abraham – earliest leader of the Hebrews • Name means “father of many” (led all 12 tribes of Hebrews) • Abraham is a sacred figure to three religions: • Judaism • Christianity • Islam • All three of these religions trace their heritage to Abraham and Judaism • Most consider Abraham to be the first historical figure/leader to • Follow a faith with one supreme deity (God) • He was the first Rabbi or minister of the faith
QUICK FACTS ON JUDAISM: • Jesus Christ, Christian religions based on his teachings, was a Jew. • Orthodoxy is the most traditional form of Judaism. (Orthodox Judaism) • Jews call all those who are not of the Jewish faith “gentiles.” Special days of celebration/worship for Judaism Passover – spring Rosh Hashanah – fall Yom Kippur – fall Hanukkah – late fall/winter
Hinduism • Began about 4000 years ago on the Indian subcontinent • World’s oldest organized religion • Hinduism took its name from the word “hindu,” which means “river.” • Today it is the main religion of India and the third most popular religion in the world • Hinduism has no clear beginnings, no founder, no central authority • It is Polytheistic which is the belief in many gods
Hinduism • Common Beliefs among all Hindus are: • Chief among these is the belief in the sanctity of the Vedas – ancient religions writings • Another is the belief in the Brahman – an infinite source of reality • Third is the philosophy of Ahimsa – non-injury to living things (Pacifism) • Fourth is Samsara – a continuous form of rebirth/reincarnation
Hinduism - Samsara The concept of samsara is closely associated with the belief that one continues to be born and reborn in various realms in the form of a human, god, animal, or other being (depending on karma) To the Hindus, life is not considered to begin with birth and end in death, but as a continuous existence in the present lifetime of the organism and extending beyond. The nature of the actions (karma) committed during the course of each lifetime, (good or ill) determines the future destiny of each being - what you will be in your next life. Samsara is closely linked with the idea of rebirth (or reincarnation), but mainly refers to the condition of life, and the experience of life.
Hinduism According to Hinduism, the soul (inner spiritual being) does not die with the body; it is reborn in the body of another being (human or animal) • Hindus believe that dharma is reaching one’s moral duty in life (live morally good) so the soul can progress in the next life • karma is the positive or negative force created by a person’s actions • People who fulfill their dharma are rewarded with good karma and are reborn into a higher social class. • If you don’t fulfill your dharma, you are reborn into a lower social class
Quick Facts About Hinduism • Sacred text – the Vedas or the “Rig Veda”. • Sacred site – the Ganges River is considered the “Mother of India” and is sacred to Hindus. • Sacred creature – Cow • Hindu spiritual leaders are called “gurus” or “sages.” • “Holi”, or the Festival of Lights, is the only major Hindu holiday. • Buddhism and Taoism sprouted from Hinduism.
Buddhism Buddhism began in India about the year 600 B.C. • Was an offshoot of Hinduism (also founded in India) • Began with the teachings of the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) • Buddha means “the enlightened one” • Siddhartha Gautama was born the son of an Indian Prince • After an early life of luxury, Siddhartha entered into the contact with the realities of the World i. He left home and began to travel in India • He concluded that there was too much suffering and sorrow in the world
Buddhism • Buddha renounced (reject or disown) his life of luxury to become an ascetic Leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement Practiced yoga and meditation to relax his body and allow him to think more clearly; realized the connection between bodily fitness and clarity of mind. Under a fig tree (the Bodhi tree), Siddhartha vowed to remain in meditation until he found “truth". After several years he attained “enlightenment” - his form of truth
Buddha He had chosen the Middle Path - away from both extremes. He came to find his personal inner peace. He was "Enlightened". Enlightenment is the “place of perfect inner peace” which Buddhists refer to as Nirvana For the rest of his life, he traveled through India, teaching his doctrine and discipline
BASIC PREMISES OF BUDDHISM • Basic doctrine found in “The Tripitaka” - Teachings of Buddha • You must strive to follow The Four Noble Truths in order to attain Enlightenment, or Nirvana, • You must acknowledge that the Four Noble Truths are true
The Four Noble Truths 1. Life means suffering. Nothing or none last to eternity 2. The origin of suffering is attachment. Do not want something so much it consumes your happiness 3. The cessation of suffering is attainable. Good works - Dharma - causes loss of suffering 4. The path to the cessation of suffering. find the middle path by living the ideals of the Eightfold Path
Buddhism The Eightfold Path – Do these so you do not cause suffering for others: • Right Understanding – Understand and live the 4 noble truths • Right Thought – Think positive, good thoughts • Right Speech – Don’t lie, slander, or use bad language • Right Action – Don’t kill, steal, etc.; be honest • Right Livelihood – Don’t make money at the expense of others – be ethical in business • Right Effort – Mental discipline to stay on the Middle Path • Right Mindfulness – Mental discipline to be aware of what your body is sensing and mind is thinking • Right Concentration – Use meditation to focus on breathing to bring about enlightenment
Quick Facts About Buddhism: • The Buddhist faith says vegetarianism is preferable. • Through his teachings, the Buddha taught us to be kind and compassionate to all living things – especially animals • Today there two major branches, or divisions, of Buddhism: • Theraveda, the more traditional followers of the religion • Mahayana, or the progressive sect • Buddhism is the dominant religion in many parts of Asia • Today there are about 250 million Buddhists throughout the world
Christianity Religion that was founded in Israel which was part of the Roman Empire Based on the teachings of Jesus Christ - a Jew who was a citizen of the Roman Empire living in and around the cities of Jerusalem and Nazareth (present day Israel) He was born in Bethlehem, in the province of Jordan Originally thought to be a branch of Judaism, later referred to as the Catholic Church, later and at present includes all Protestant churches and basically anyone who claims to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ At present there are 18 major religious groups that are Christian - and hundreds of other smaller sects
Christianity • Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God and is the Messiah. This shows the close connection with Judaism • The followers of Jesus were called his apostles or disciples • They were instructed to spread the “word of Christ” ( his teachings) throughout the world and convert people to Christianity • Christianity spread rapidly i. Helped by the efficiency of the roads throughout the Roman Empire
Christianity • After Christ's death his disciples began to preach his message throughout the Roman Empire • One man, Paul, a former high ranking officer in the Roman army, had enormous influence on Christianity’s development • He became its most vigorous and outspoken missionary At first Christians were persecuted by the Romans because the Romans claimed the Christians were trying to overthrow the Roman Empire WHY?????
Christianity in the Roman Empire • Their dogma, or beliefs, were different than the Romans 1. “god” came first – before the worship of the emperor 2. It was a religion for all peoples – of every nationality 3. It influenced all aspects of life – religious, social and political 4. It stressed the equality of all humans, regardless of nationality or social classes; no slavery was condoned 5. Monotheistic - Romans were polytheistic 6. created a religious leader in Rome – the Pope – in the same city of the Roman Emperor 7. Became the Roman Catholic Church because it was headquartered in the city of Rome Catholic means "universal"; the religion for all men
Christianity in Rome The persecution of Christians stopped throughout the Roman Empire whenthe Emperor Constantine made it the official religion of Rome by official decree
Christianity • The Christian Bible contains both the Old and New Testaments. • Again the close connection to Judaism • The Gospels are the basis of the New Testament • Contains thefirst books of the Christian Bible these tell of: i.The messages of Christ, his Gospels as told through his disciples ii. The life and times of Jesus as he lived in and around Jerusalem area • Christianity is monotheistic, though Christians believe in a “holy trinity” which includes God the Father, the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit. • Christians believe in the existence of “heaven,” or an eternal reward, and “hell,” or eternal damnation.
Christianity • The basic belief of all Christians is that Jesus died in reparation for all of mankind’s sins. • Another basic belief of Christianity is that Jesus rose from the dead three days after his death, on Easter Sunday. • The leader of the Catholic Church is the Pope. • Carries on his duties as the leader of “Catholic” Church on earth from the city of Rome • Eventually the Pope became the single most powerful man in the Western world, BUT... • This led to some abuses in the use of that power • Pope tended to get more involved in secular issues than staying with religious ones • Many “Protestant” Christian factions of Christianity disagree with some of the beliefs of the Catholic Church
Christianity There are many Christian sects, or denominations, some of the larger ones are: • Catholic Church • Eastern Orthodox Church • Protestant • Lutherans • Baptists • Anglicans • Presbyterians • Major Christian holidays: • Christmas Day – December 25th • Easter Sunday – Spring • Holy Week – week prior to Easter Sunday
Islam Founded in Saudi Arabia about 620 AD • Another monotheistic religion that taught equality of all persons and individual worth also developed in southwest Asia. • Muhammad was a trader who had contact with many Christians and Jews • when he was 40 he reported he had been visited by an angel who told him it was hiscalling in life to be a prophet for god i. he was also instructed to teach others the words he would receive from god through the angel Jibreel
Islam • Islam, as his religion came to be called, was based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, as told to him through Jibreel The Islamic religion says that Muhammad was a direct messenger from Allah or god and there is but one God in the Islamic faith, and he is called “Allah.” Monotheistic religion based on the basic ideas of Judaism Bedouins were among the first to convert to Islam; they were known as the “desert dwellers. ”The followers of Islam are called Muslims or Moslems. “Islam” means “submission to God.”
Islam • Muhammad had been born and raised in the holy city of Mecca • As Muhammad preached the word of Allah in Mecca, the merchants grew angry with him and Muhammad was forced to leave. This was because his talk was making the Christian and Jewish merchants angry • This leaving of Mecca in 622 AD was called hijrah • His journey led him to Medina where his followers grew in great numbers • Muhammad then came back to Mecca with many followers
The Five Pillars of Islam The Five Pillars of Life provides Muslims with the basis for living a proper and moral life. The Five Pillars are: • A daily profession of faith • “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” • Daily Prayer • Giving charity to the poor • Fasting from dawn to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan • Making a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca once in a lifetime. This city was where Muhammad started the Islamic religion
Islam • The Kaaba in Mecca, was a stone building where statues to ancient pagan gods were kept • Many of the Arabs came there to worship these traditional gods of Arabia (Arabs were polytheistic) • Muhammad stripped the Kaaba of its idols, and then declared it the sacred mosque of Islam • When Muslims come to Mecca, they worship at the Kaaba, the center of Islam • Every day when they say their daily prayers they bow and face the east - Mecca
Facts About Islam: The Koran (or Quran) contains the words of Allah as spoken to Muhammed by Jibreel • It is the Islamic equal to the Bible. Islam emphasizes the importance of the jihad, the struggle to defend the faith • Muslims believe that anyone who dies defending Islam, or destroying anyone who is an enemy of Islam, will be rewarded in paradise Muslims worship in mosques • The clergy in Islam are called mullah, which means master or guardian in Arabic
Facts About Islam: Ramadan is one of the holiest periods in the Islamic religion. • Takes place during the entire ninth lunar month The two largest sects of Islam are the Sunnis and the Shiites The “hajj” is a pilgrimage to the Kaaba made by millions of Muslims each year.
Some Review Facts: • The living leader of the Catholic Church is the ________. • The _______ contains the words of Allah as spoken to Mohammed. It is the Islamic equal to the Christian _____. • The Christian religion was founded upon the teachings of ________. • The ______ is a pilgrimage to the _____ made by millions of Muslims each year. • _________ are the holiest days in the Islamic religion. • The _______ was when the ancient Hebrews left Egypt for the “Promised Land.” • Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, was born a prince and became known as the Buddha or the “________"