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World Religions. Jainism. Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation. The essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself .

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  • Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation and bliss is to live lives of harmlessness and renunciation.
  • The essence of Jainism is concern for the welfare of every being in the universe and for the health of the universe itself.
  • Jains believe in reincarnation.
  • Jainism is a religion of self help.
  • Most Jains live in India, and according to the 2001 Census of India there are around 4.2 million living there. 
  • Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development and the attainment of a deep insight into the true nature of life.
  • There are 376 million followers worldwide.
  • Buddhists follow the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC.
  • There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.
  • Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament.
  • Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  • Christians believe that God sent his Son to earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins.
  • One of the most important concepts in Christianity is that of Jesus giving his life on the Cross (the Crucifixion) and rising from the dead on the third day (the Resurrection).
  • Christians believe that there is only one God, but that there are three elements to this one God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
  • Christianity is the most popular religion in the world with over 2 billion adherents
  • The word Islam means 'submission to the will of God'.
  • Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. 
  • Muslims believe that there is only One God.
  • According to Muslims, God sent a number of prophets to mankind to teach them how to live according to His law.
  • Judaism is the original of the three Abrahamic faiths, which also includes Christianity and Islam.
  • There were around 13.1 million Jewish people in the world in 2007.
  • Judaism was founded by Moses, although Jews trace their history back to Abraham.
  • Jews believe that there is only one God with whom they have a covenant.
  • Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It has over 900 million adherents worldwide.
  • In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, or at least elements within it stretch back many thousands of years. Yet Hinduism resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it.
  • Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings.
  • Throughout its extensive history, there have been many key figures teaching different philosophies and writing numerous holy books. For these reasons, writers often refer to Hinduism as 'a way of life' or 'a family of religions' rather than a single religion.
key characteristics of religions
Key Characteristics of Religions
  • Belief System
  • Community
  • Central Myths
  • Ritual
  • Characteristic Emotional Experiences
  • Material Expression
  • Sacredness
belief system
Belief System

Several beliefs fit together into a fairly complete and systemic interpretation of the universe and the human being’s place in it; this is also called a worldview.


The belief system is shared, and its ideals are practiced by a group.

central myths
Central Myths

Stories that express the religious beliefs of a group are retold and often reenacted. Examples of central myths include the major events in the life of the Hindu god Krishna, the enlightenment experience of Buddha, the exodus of the Israelites from oppression in Egypt, the death and resurrection of Jesus, or Muhammad’s escape from Mecca to Medina. Scholars call such central stories: myths (the term myth does not mean that the stories are historically untrue but only that the stories are central to the religion).


Beliefs are enacted and made real through ceremonies.

characteristic emotional experiences
Characteristic Emotional Experiences

Among the emotional experiences typically associated with religions are dread, guilt, awe, mystery, devotion, conversion, “rebirth”, liberation, ecstasy, bliss, and inner peace.

material expression
Material Expression

Religions make use of an astonishing variety of physical elements- statues, paintings, musical compositions, musical instruments, ritual objects, flowers, incense, clothing, architecture, and specific locations.


A distinction is made between the sacred and the ordinary; ceremonies often emphasize this distinction through the deliberate use of different language, clothing, and architecture. Certain objects, actions, people, and places may share in the sacredness or express it.