Last evening I thought it would be nice to summarize major religions of the world,. I researched a bit and found some really interesting things which I thought I would share. First off I will list the major religions as per the population and tell you one special thing about each. Including old and new religions there are five major religions of the world. They are (1) Christianity (2) Islam (3) Judaism (4) Hinduism and (5) Buddhism .
(1) Christianity – The religion has the maximum followers in the world, and as per my research it is the most tolerant. Over the passage of time two major branches viz. Roman Catholics and Protestants have come up. However the basic philosophy remains the same, and the religious text “The Bible” is not only the best seller but full of knowledge which is simply excellent.
(2) Islam – The youngest religion and the one with the number of followers closest to Christianity. The best part of this religion is the brotherhood and the teachings against class and color. Humanity is taught to be above all.
(3) Judaism – This is the oldest religion which still has followers. Together with Christianity and Islam it is called the Abrahamanical religion.
(4) Hinduism – This is the religion which is reminiscent of the old pagan religions and is still followed by the majority in India.
(5) Buddhism – If we take the philosophy into consideration this is to me the best religion; but fully understood by only a few.
Religion has always fascinated me. In spite of being an atheist I respect all religions of the world. They all teach peace, love and empathy. I was just thinking last weekend about what religion is and why do so many people follow different religions. I would like to share some of my thoughts right here.
First I thought about what makes a religion or in simpler terms what are the essentials of a religion. I researched and read a lot of books since having the thought. Internet also helped with lots of content online. Now let us answer the question.
According most of the dictionaries and books religion is a set of beliefs, cultural system which connects us with our existence. We have always pondered about our existence and religion seems to be the answer. However hard science has tried it has not been able to answer all questions of existence. Essentially a religion will have:
- A belief of a super consciousness called God.
- Rituals to connect with god (Every religion will have different rituals).
- An understanding of birth and death the two realities everybody faces.
- The meaning of life.
Then there will be stories and laws which will govern the followers. Researching I found that all the laws are made by man trying to relate it to god in some way. These are my thoughts on the meaning of religion. Hope it throws some light or at least confuses you. We will discuss about why so many people are religious next time.
I am more of a spiritualist than religious. I dont follow any particular sect, but I try to take good things from all religions. Recently I met a man who had lost his son to an accident and was deriving strength from timeless wisdom of Bhagvad Gita. He told me that he was very unhappy when his son joined the Hare Krishna movement, as he thought it to be a sect, but days later he died in an accident chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. He was devastated, broken and completely shattered. He started looking for a shelter, and then he picked up this book which his son had brought home. The first verse he read said that the soul is eternal, and cannot be killed by a weapon, drenched by water, dried by air or burnt by fire. This verse alone brought him so much solace that his son is living somewhere, though he has disappeared from the vision, that he decided to read it from end to end. Now he carries this holy book with him all the time and keep reading it over and over again.
Hearing how this book is inspiring him, I decided to give it a try. I went to nearest Hare Krishna temple and bought a copy. I have read first two chapters, and I am really finding it good. It is no way teaching or promoting any sect, but everything looks so scientific, but the science of soul. Besides, it also beautifully explains the concept of karma. I cant wait to read more. Will keep you informed about my experiences.
Every Sunday mass I got to the church and listen to the teachings from the Holy Bible. The teachings have so much for everybody. Generally we only hear out the recitals. We do not understand the meaning of it. What Jesus says is to love but still we fight for trivial reasons. Jesus has told once that God lives in us, only we do not realize he is there.
In the present society which is heavy with greed and want of wealth the teaching are the most relevant. The teachings tell us the value of equality, much-needed in the present scenario. Slavery has changed form, but is not abolished. Do the big corporations treat their employees like humans? I beg to differ. A few people are reaping the benefits which should have been distributed.
Another aspect is the wide-spread and thoughtless exploitation of nature. Here is where Jesus teachings come into the picture. Love and caring for all fellow beings which includes animals and plants is the core of Jesus’ sermons. He teaches us contentment and empathy towards everyone. Protect those who are poor and helpless. This is like the shepherd shielding the lamb from the wolves. This will be the worship Jesus will want. He does not want prayers if you take forward his work. Prayers are a way to reach the feeling of compassion. If we follow what he said, the society will be better and the earth will be saved. Amen!
You may be of any faith but being offensive about another person’s religion is not done. Recently one of my friend’s had a horrible experience with a person least likely to be religious fanatic. I will tell you the story.
A blind person was coming to Christchurch to see his relatives. However his relatives were away to UK, and he had already booked his tickets. His relative incidentally was one of my friend’s friend. So he asked me to take this man around. He had come to visit a few places and meet some people related to his profession yoga. His yoga place was just next to Ferratum office.
I thought I would be helping a person in need. But he was so rude and was always talking about his religion and abusing other religions. I would not tell you either his name or religion because that can spread ill feelings. It is not about religion anyways. All religions teach only one thing that is to love your fellow human beings. Just get hold of any of the texts from any of the religion and you will experience that all teachings are same in different languages. All religions preach to love, to care and not to show that my religion is superior. Every religion is made by us humans so it will have faults. But god is one and only one with many facets. So, this man abused me and called me names , but remembering what all great preachers in all religions have said I still helped him. However, I told the man in the end that he is not living his religion rather is simply following the rules and walked away. I did not wait for his reaction. May god be by his side always to teach him what is humanity. Amen!
What is paganism? It is a real question that has really weird answers everywhere. Christians and Muslims think it is not good to have god as figures, and they detest it. However paganism is not that bad. In fact paganism is always connected to the local culture and is native to the place. It is very connected to nature and has many gods and goddesses.
In the present scenario where there is rampant exploitation of nature without much care about future results, these local religions might be the answer. They were developed keeping in mind the local factors and the central theme was nature. Whether it be the Mayans of South America, the Red Indians of North America or the Hindus of India they all revere in nature.
- In Pagan religion nature which includes plants, animals and earth was central to the religion base. The people used to live life according to natural cycles, and respected nature.
- The major religions are patriarchal (Christianity, Islam or Judaism). They have one god who is predominantly male. In Paganism there are many gods and goddesses. They live among us and in us. A person can become god over a period. It is unlike other religions where god is super-natural.
- The goddess is life-giving, nurturing and protecting. Pagan religion has great respect for the power to create life which rests in females.
- The four elements are earth,air,fire and water. Pagan religion is more realistic and the concept of spirit has been borrowed by the later patriarchal religions.
Overall, Pagan is more close to nature and would never hurt nature. It used to put us back if we exploited nature and there were ways known as rituals. In fact the religion is making its comeback with major life style changes like meditation and Ayurveda.
As an atheist it puzzles me that there are literally thousands of Christian denominations out there and that they all claim to be true Christians. How does anyone know which one to follow? Christianity, the Bible, Judaism, Mormonism, Muslims and the religion of Islam, New Age, atheism and agnosticism – is there anything in any of these that might give our lives more direction. Certainly the teachings of Jesus Christ seem to differ from the major religions.
Even as an atheist it appears as though there is evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ. Even if I don’t believe in god, the question of his historical existence is of interest to many atheists. Some suggest he is based on a real person and that he had a brilliant personality and compassion. This alone sums up a bit of interest in a world without love and pity.
I look at the like of Billy Graham and take not of his massive influence he had until fairly recently and wonder what the millions of Christians have discovered through his crusades. Many Christians say that the Bible presents convincing reasons to become a Christian. All I can say is that I’m having a fascinating time looking at why the different religions’ claims to be the one that holds the secret to the best life.