World Religions A super brief overview… Michael HellerPalmdale High School email@example.com
Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of life."
Religion is… • Publicly shared beliefs that are passed down from one generation to the next • A way to determine right and wrong, good from evil and a moral code of conduct • A way to answer questions such as: Why are we here? What happens when I die?
Disclaimer • This unit DOES NOT say that one religion is better than another. • It is a way to introduce these concepts, not to tell you what to believe. • The following few days will be a BRIEF explanation of SOME of the world religions. Neither are all religions here nor are they explained in detail. • In either case, no disrespect is intended.
Terms • polytheism :The belief in many gods or goddesses.monotheism :The belief in one god or goddess. • Canon: what a religion believes in, doctrine. What they hold as true • Text: Holy Word of God, Scripture. Often contains history of the religion as well as law codes
Terms continued • Soul: spiritual part of a person • Myth: sacred story that explains the creation of something • Taboo: actions if performed have bad consequences • Priest: trainee who assumes an office with a varying degrees of responsibility and power
Law: a formal rule that governs proper behavior • Caste: your permanent social standing that you are born into • Omnipresent • Omniscient
Patriarchal: male or father figure dominated. Inheritance, social status, and family name comes through the male line. Wealth and power also comes through the male line • Matriarchal: female or mother dominated. Wealth, power, social standing and rule comes through the mother line.
Judaism • Founders- • Abraham: founder of Judaism due to his covenant with God. Around 2200BC • Moses: played a major role in the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt, and his delivery of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai sometime around 1250 BCE
Judaism: Canon • There is ONE God • God is the creator of all things and God is without form. • There is judgment since God is omnipresent and omniscient • The dead will be resurrected • The Jews are God’s chosen people: chosen to receive more responsibilities in life…
Canon continued • There are strict rules and regulations that govern all aspects of life. • beliefs come out of actions • There is no intermediary between you and God.
Significant Writings • The Tanakh corresponds to the Jewish Scriptures, (often referred to as the Old Testament by Christians). It is composed of three groups of books: • the Torah • the Nevi'im • the Ketuvim
Holy Text • The Talmud contains stories, laws, medical knowledge, debates about moral choices, etc
Judaism • Currently Practiced-Worldwide, but the greatest majority of Jews reside in Israel, the United States, and the former Soviet Union. • Morals held throughout a history filled with persecution • 1st documented monotheistic religion • Patriarchal
Hindu Canon • Salvation is achieved through a spiritual oneness of the soul with the ultimate reality of the universe, Brahman by breaking the cycle of reincarnation by doing good deeds and fulfilling one's duty in life • All things have souls so all life is sacred.
Deities • Brahma: Creator of Life • Gods and goddesses are manifestation of Brahma: • Vishnu; the preserver • Shiva the Destroyer • Kali-Ma; goddess, destroys the ego, rules compassion
Established-Elements of the Hindu religion can be traced back to the ancient Indus River Valley civilization (approximately 3000 BCE) in modern-day Pakistan. • Founder-It has been theorized that Hinduism is a result of cultural diffusion that occurred between Aryan invaders and the native peoples of India sometime around 1500 BCE
Significant Writings- • Vedas, • Upanishads, • Ramayana, • Mahabharata, • Bhagavad Gita.
Caste System • The Caste System is a rigid class structure • It you lead a good life, you will be rewarded by being reincarnated as a person belonging to the next highest level in the Caste System. • However, if you are wicked, you will be demoted, and possibly even removed from the Caste System altogether.
Outcasts, or Untouchables, are members of Hindu society thought to have been removed from the Caste System, with no hope of returning to it, due to their misdeeds in previous lives. Work that is deemed unclean for all other Hindus is reserved for these Outcasts.
A person who followed the rules of their caste would be reborn to a higher form in the next life. A Hindu who neglected their duties would be reborn in a lower form, perhaps as an animal or insect. The goal of Hinduism is to escape the cycle of rebirth by reaching Nirvana
Patriarchal. • Usually non violent to avoid bad or negative karma that will prevent you from growing closer to Nirvana.
Animism • Animism is the oldest known type of belief system in the world. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies. • It is a form of polytheism
Founder-There is no one person who is considered the founder of Animism.Geographic Origin-Developed simultaneously in different parts of the world.Currently Practiced-World-wide, but most common in areas of Africa and the Americas.Significant Writings- none due to the oral tradition of story-telling, rather than a developed writing system
Animists practice nature worship. They believe that everything in the universe has a spirit. Animists also believed that ancestors watch over the living from the spirit world. • This belief resulted in ancestor worship as a means of communicating with and showing respect to ancestors.
Shintoism • Shinto, which means "Way of the Gods," is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on nature. Many consider Shinto to be a form of Animism due to the many similarities found between them
Established: Shinto was was founded around the year 500 BCE. • Founder: Mixture of tribal religions • Geographic Origin: Japan. • Currently Practiced: Most common in Japan. • Significant Writings: Kokiji, or Record of Ancient Matters and Nikong, or Chronicles of Japan
Shinto teaches that there is a sacredness of the whole universe and that humans can be in tune with this sacredness.
Buddhism • Founder-Siddartha Gautama, or Buddha, which means "enlightened one."dated to the 6th century BC • Gautama was a prince who left his life behind when he saw a suffering beggar outside of his palace. • He wandered for years until he achieved Enlightenment.
The Buddha said that it didn’t matter what a person’s status in the world was, their gender or what their background or wealth or nationality might be. All were capable of enlightenment, and all were welcome. This was radically different from what society was like. Buddhists DO NOT WORSHIP BUDDHA
Geographic Origin-Developed in India and spread throuhj Asia and especially South East Asia. • Currently Practiced-Most common in Southeast Asia and Japan..Significant Writings-Tripitka, or Three Baskets of Wisdom.The Pali
Upon reflection, Gautama deduced that desire was the root caused of all suffering. This idea has been recorded as the Four Noble Truths.
The 4 Noble Truths • Life is full of pain and suffering. • Human desire causes this suffering. • By putting an end to desire, humans can end suffering. • Humans can end desire by following the Eightfold Path
Buddhism is more of a guide line to how to morally and ethically live one’s life away from suffering. Many become monks or nuns, living an ascetic lifestyle.
Christianity • Christianity is currently the most popular religion in the world based on the number of worshippers found throughout the world. While this monotheistic religion developed from Judaism, there are several key differences in its teachings.
Founder-Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples who helped spread his teachings.Geographic Origin-Developed in Judea (now Israel), around the year 30 CE.Currently Practiced-Christianity is the dominant religion in North America, South America, Europe, and Russia.Significant Writings-The Holy Bible, consisting of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Christianity evolved from Judaism. • Christians believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God, sent to redeem the world of sin. • Salvation religion
This has led the Christian faith to proclaim that there is a Holy Trinity, formed by the Creator (Father), Redeemer (Son), and Sustainer (Holy Spirit). Christians believe that these three entities are all part of a single higher power.