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World Studies Bell Ringer. Today marks the 12 th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. How has life changed for Americans in the past 12 years? How has your life changed since the 9/11 attacks? What do you think the future holds?.

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world studies bell ringer
World Studies Bell Ringer
  • Today marks the 12th Anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
  • How has life changed for Americans in the past 12 years?
  • How has your life changed since the 9/11 attacks?
  • What do you think the future holds?
religions of the world

Religions of the World

World Studies

September 11, 2013

foundations of world studies religions
Foundations of World Studies - Religions

Just like geography, religion is a foundation of World Studies. We will continually talk, read, and discuss religions of the world. The purpose of studying different religions is to understand people’ s beliefs, why some conflicts have originated due to these beliefs, and the role they have played in history.

In no way is one religion being taught as being better than another, nor can we address all religions in the world. This is unit is to give you a basic foundation of some of the different, major religions of the world.


Origin: Appears throughout history, including Greek, esp. after 19th C. Enlightenment

Followers:1.1. billion

God(s) No God or divine being – scientific based

Life’s Purpose: None

Afterlife: No afterlife – Humans can only help themselves and each other to solve the world’s problems

Practices: None

Texts: No specific text but some authors are popular (Marx, Freud, Voltaire)


Origin: Founded by Siddharta Gautama (the Buddha) in 520 BC in Northeast India

Followers: 360 million

God(s): Varies -

Life’s Purpose: Purpose is to avoid suffering and gain enlightenment and release from cycle of rebirth, or at least attain a better rebirth by gaining merit

Afterlife: Reincarnation until gain enlightenment

Practices: Meditation



Origin: Founded by Jesus Christ in c. 30 AD, Israel

Followers:2 billion

God(s) One God who is a Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

Life’s Purpose: Salvation is through faith in Christ and sacraments and good works

Afterlife: Eternal heaven or hell (or temp. purgatory)

Practices: Prayer, baptism, church

Texts: The Bible


Origin: Founded by Confucius c. 551-479 BC, China

Followers:5-6 Million

God(s) Not addressed

Life’s Purpose: Fulfill one’s role in society, with propriety, honor, and loyalty

Afterlife: Not addressed

Practices: Honesty, politeness, propriety, humaneness, perform correct role in society, loyalty to family, nation

Texts: Analects


Origin: Indigenous religion of India

Followers: 900 Million

God(s): One Supreme Reality (Brahman) manifested in many gods and goddesses

Life’s Purpose: Humans are in bondage to ignorance and illusion, but able to escape – Gain release from rebirth, or at least a better rebirth

Afterlife: Reincarnation until gain enlightenment

Practices: Yoga, meditation, worship, pilgrimage to holy city, live to one’s dharma (purpose/role)



Origin: Muhammad, 622 AD,

Saudi Arabia

Followers: 1.3 Million

God(s): One God - Allah

Life’s Purpose: Humans must submit to the will of God to gain Paradise after death.

Five Pillars:

  • Affirmation of the belief in Allah and Muhammad as his prophet
  • Group prayer
  • Tithing (giving money to charity)
  • Fasting during Ramadan
  • Pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) once in a lifetime if able

Afterlife: Paradise or Hell

Practices: Five Pillars: Faith, Prayer, Alms, Pilgrimage, Fasting – Mosque on Fridays, No Alcohol or pork, celebrate Ramadan

Texts: Qur’an


Origin: Religion of the Hebrews, c. 1300 BC

Followers: 14 Million

God(s): One God - Yahweh

Life’s Purpose: Obey God’s commandments, live ethically. Focus on this life, not next

Afterlife: Not emphasized -

Practices: Circumcision at birth, bar/bat mitzvah at adulthood, synagogue services on Saturdays, no pork or other non-kosher foods

Texts: Torah (five books of Moses) and Hebrew Bible


Origin: Joseph Smith – 1830, New York

Followers: 12.2 Million

God(s): God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost (three separate beings)

Life’s Purpose: Humans existed as spirits before this life, salvation is returning to God by having faith in Christ, good works

Afterlife: All return to spirit world for a period of instruction before resurrection – to heaven with God and family – hell for those who reject God

Practices: Abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and tea, baptism for the dead, eternal marriage

Texts: Christian Bible, Book of Mormon


Origin: Founded in 16th Century by Guru Nanak. Punjab district of India

Followers: 20 million

God(s): One God, who spoke with Guru Nanak

Life’s Purpose:  Overcome the self, align life with will of God, and become a "saint soldier," fighting for good

The way to lead a good life is to:

  • keep God in heart and mind at all times
  • live honestly and work hard
  • treat everyone equally
  • be generous to the less fortunate
  • serve others

Afterlife: Reincarnation until resolve karma and merge with God.

Practices: Wearing of a turban and the Five Ks. Sikhs also pray regularly and meditate by repeating God's name, often with the aid of rosary beads.

Texts: AdiGranth