Why learn about the world’s religions?
• In order to learn about other cultures you must learn
what they believe and how this governs their
everyday life. It is vital that we make ourselves
aware of these beliefs so that we can function better
in a world culture.
Why learn about the world’s religions?
• RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE
– To accept people and to not judge them – this could be the beginning
of global peace
– Through history there have been many battles and wars started
because of religion
• Historically Christians and Muslims have not gotten along
• Historically Christians have targeted Jews
Prophet: model of holiness. Chosen to convey a
message or teaching
Monotheistic: Belief in one god
Polytheistic: Belief in more than one god
All 3 Monotheistic Religions are stemmed
from the same founder
All 3 religions essentially came from the same founder –
Judaism was started by Abraham
Christianity branched off of Judaism around the year 0
Islam branched off of Judaism approximately in 620
Basic background of Judaism
GOD: Jews believe in God, he is
referred to as Yahweh
Jerusalem / Israel - the land that
God promised to Abraham and his
Synagogue: The Jewish holy building
or the equivalent of a church,
mosque, or temple.
Torah: The first five books of the
bible. Contains the entire body of
Rabbi: A religious teacher.
Moses: The greatest of prophets.
Judaism cont. – Interesting facts
Hebrew: Language of the Torah and orthodox Jews.
13 Principals of Faith: Basic Jewish beliefs
Bar Mitzvah: A celebration in which a boy at the age of 13
becomes obligated to the commandments.
Bat Mitzvah: A celebration in which a girl at the age of 12 does
the same as a boy.
Chanukah: 8-day celebration that occurs in December. Yarmulke:
The skullcap covering, worn by men of the Jewish faith.
Free will: Believe that we are born with an impulse to do what is
right and an impulse to do what is wrong.
Talmud: Collection of Jewish oral tradition.
Kosher: To make proper or ritually pure. Serving or preparing
food in accordance to Jewish dietary laws.
There are Seven Sacraments or “Rites of
passage in which God is present”
• Baptism- Initiation into the church,
usually occurs at infancy but can be
done at any age.
• Eucharist-representation of the last
• Confession-Takes place with a priest and
a person confesses their sins. The sins
can then be absolved by repentance as
described by the priest.
• Bible: Christian holy book: they
read both the Old Testament (The
Jewish Torah) and the New
Testament – stories of Jesus’
life and teachings
• Church: Christian holy building/
house of worship
• Crucifix: Image of Jesus on the
• Saint: A person who performs 3
miracles in the service of
• The Ten Commandments: 10 Rules
Christians live by
• Hierarchy - any system of persons or things ranked
one above another
– Pope: Head of the church. Lives in Vatican
City. There is only one and he has the
job for life.
– Arch Bishop: Next step down from the Pope.
Controls large districts of the
– Bishop: Next step down from an Archbishop.
Outnumber Archbishops and control
smaller church districts.
– Priest: Runs a community or local church.
Performs the mass services and most
of the sacraments.
• Followers of Islam are Muslims. A Muslim is one who submits
to the will of Allah.
• Allah is what Muslims call “God”.
• The key figure in Islam is Muhammad who was chosen by
Allah to receive his divine message.
• This message from Allah has been written in the holy book,
the Qur’an (Koran).
• According to Islam, Muhammad is Allah’s last and final
prophet – after Abraham and Jesus.
• Jerusalem is important to Muslims because it is believed that
Muhammad ascended into heaven from there.
• Being a Muslim means practicing the Five
Pillars of Islam.
–1. Believe in Allah as the only God
–2. Pray five times a day
–3. Give to the poor (giving alms)
–4. Fast during Ramadan
–5. Go to Mecca on a pilgrimage (hajj)
Interesting Facts and basic
beliefs about Islam
• Women are seen as equals according to the Qur’an.
• Mosque - An Islam place of worship
• Arab-Ethnic group based in the Middle East - Not all Arabs are Muslims
• Imam – an Islamic prayer leader (holy man)
• Forbidden items for Muslims: Pork, Images of God/Allah, Drinking,
Gambling, Portraying Muhammad or any of his companions.
• There are two main factions of Muslims:
– Sunni Muslim- Believe that the successor of Muhammad should
have been his uncle Abu Bakr.
– Shiite Muslim-Believe the successor of Muhammad should have been his
• The most misinterpreted word within Islam is Jihad.
• Jihad basically means “directed struggle”. Muhammad states that “the
supreme jihad is against oneself.” Therefore it is a struggle against the ego,
greed, and insatiable desires.
Prince Siddhartha Guatama became “The Buddha”
• He was a prince who left his palace life in search
of Enlightenment and the meaning of life, once
he found it - he became Buddha. His followers
spread his message after his death. He realized
that people suffered because they were never
content with what they had.
• Polytheistic Religion:
• Buddhists believe in Buddha
as well as many of the Hindu
gods and ancestor worship
Here are the two sets of basic
Buddhist Beliefs -
One must believe in “The Four Noble Truths”
1. Life is filled with suffering, pain, and sorrow
2. Suffering is caused by our desires
3. The only way to end suffering is to conquer
4. The way to conquer desire is to follow the
Meditation is the key…
Nirvana, one must follow the
1. Right belief: A personEightfold PathTruths
must know the Four Noble
2. Right intention: A person must commit to living by the Four Noble
3. Right Speech: A person must always speak the truth and must not
gossip or use bad language
4. Right behavior: A person must not kill, steal, or do anything that is not
moral and right
5. Right occupation: A person must quit a job that is not good for him or
her and find one that will help the person live according to Buddhism
6. Right effort: A person must develop good attitudes and behaviors and
keep bad ones from developing
7. Right mindfulness: A person must be constantly aware of the senses in
order to control the body
8. Right concentration: A person may receive enlightenment by
World’s oldest religion
No singular founder or text
Started from many beliefs and
Polytheistic - Many Gods that make
up one major God
Most people from India are Hindu
Krishna - Widely worshipped God.
Guru - Spiritual Master or Leader
Samsara - Reincarnation, cycles of
the soul’s birth and rebirth
Cows and Bulls:
– Sacred animals because they were Krishna’s
companions, plus they provide food such as milk and
cheese. Killing them is a sin. Eating them is also
against the religion.