Religions Of The World Essay, Research Paper
Religions of the World
Religion has played a huge role in world affairs since almost the beginning of time, and is still a very influential subject today.
In this paper I will give a brief description of the world s three predominant religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I also will describe their beliefs, similarities and differences.
Three of the major religions of the world, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all began in the same basic area of the world. This area is what we know today as the Middle East. Today many of these people s hatreds of each other are based on the origins of their religions. These three religions have similarities and differences because they all basically began in the same part of the world , but more importantly Islam and Christianity are based on the religion of Judaism, and all share many of the same beliefs.
Judaism is the religious culture of the Jews. Judaism has always been
Monolithic. Monotheists are people that believe in one God. They believe in one God who is the creator of the universe. Nothing that humans experience is meaningless everything has a meaning. The God that created the world revealed himself to Mosses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai. When Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, he had the world of God with him. He had the ten commandments which today is found in the Torah, the sacred word of God his actual laws to live
by.(Encarta Judaism 1)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am God Almighty; walk before Me and be perfect, and will make My covenant between Me and you and I will multiply you exceedingly. Abram fell on his face and God spoke with him, saying, as for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. Neither shall your name be called anymore Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, because I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. And I will make you exceedingly fruitful and I will make nations of you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your seed after you. And I will give to you, and to your seed after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God. (Rice 79)
The second major concept of Judaism is the covenant or the contractual
agreement between God and the Israelites. The God of creation entered into a special relationship with the Jewish people at Sinai. Thus they acknowledge that God is the sole ultimate king and his people must obey his commandments or laws. All Jews believe that the great prophet or Messiah will come God and take away the suffering. The earliest of Jews were not monotheistic completely. They worshipped one God but they did not deny that there were other gods that people of other nation believed in. Yahweh had redeemed the Israelites from Egypt and brought them into the promised land. Israelite religion made the people bound to the land and the agricultural cycle of the year. Yahweh was believed to bring the rainfall that guaranteed a good harvest. If the community was unfaithful there would be a drought. (Rice101)
Five times a day the Muslims turn toward Mecca, the Holy City where the Prophet Muhammad first received the Message from Allah that He alone was supreme, to testify to the great truth of that Message. There is no god but God , cries the Muezzin, from the top of the minaret as he calls the faithful to worship. LA ILAHA-ILLA ALLAH, says each man as he prays in the ritual that is commanded five times a day, day in and day out, for a man s entire life.(Rice109) The Muslims must pray to Allah at dawn when the sun rise, noon, late in the afternoon, just before sunset, and at night before going to sleep (but not later than midnight) the Muslim prays. (Time 102)
Muslim will put down there prayer rugs were ever they are when it is time to pray. They will do this no matter what because they must never miss prayer. Their praying each day is their acknowledgment that Allah exists, and they must bow to his authority always. Everything -love, charity, knowledge, mysticism, the law, the family and the state-flows from this one act of submission, Islam. Islam itself means submission, and Muslims are those who submit. (Rice p109,110)
Islam was founded in Arabia and based on the teachings of Muhammad, who is called the prophet. The Arabic word Islam, literally means to surrender. In religious terms in the Koran, it means to surrender to the will or law of Allah A person who practices Islam is a Muslim. A Muslim is a follower Muhammad and is a member of the Islamic community. The Muslims object to the spelling Moslem which they think is a distortion of Muslim.(Encarta 4)
The Muslims regard the Koran as the word of Allah to Muhammad, mediated by Gabriel, the angel of revelation; they believe that God himself, not Muhammad, is the author and therefore that the Koran is infallible. (Encarta p 1.) The Koran is a collection of the passages revealed to Muhammad during the twenty-two years life as a prophetic Muslim prophet. It is divided into 114 chapters of unequal length. The shortest contains only three verses, the longest containing 306 long verses. (Time 101)
The Sunna is an example of the prophet or known through the Hadith , the body of traditions based on what the prophet said or did regarding various issues. Unlike the Koran the is memorized-either in whole or in part-by many followers of Muhammad during their life time. The Hadith is mainly transmitted orally, however it is possible that error could occur because it is usually carried through word of mouth from person. Therefore, the Hadith is a secondary source to the Koran even though it is almost equally fundamental for most Muslims. (Time102)
The Muslim religion is monotheistic because they believe in one God. God provided the element of creation with its own proper nature, or laws governing its conduct, so that it follows a characteristic pattern. According to Islam, God has four fundamental functions with respect to the universe and to humanity in particular; creation, sustenance, guidance, and judgment. The ultimate purpose of humanity, however is to be in the service of God, that is ,to worship him alone and to construct an ethical social order free from corruption. (Encarta Islam 2.)
Because of humanity s moral weakness, God has sent prophets to teach us correct moral and spiritual behavior. Adam was the first prophet after his expulsion from the Garden of Eden, God forgave him for his lapse for this reason Islam does not accept the doctrine of original sin. All prophets are human.(Encarta 3)
The next religion I will speak of is Christianity. Christians believe in Jesus Christ. His teachings are told in the Gospels of the New Testament of the Bible. Jesus was crucified on the cross, resurrected from the dead on the third day, and this was the first Easter. Easter is the most important holiday in the Christian religion. A new religion founded in Jerusalem, Christianity. Jerusalem was the center of Christianity until it s destruction by the Romans in 70AD then the center grew to other cities in Palestine. Much of this new religion came from Judaism. Jesus himself was a Jew. (Time177,178)
A sacrament is an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. There are seven sacraments Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. Baptism and Penance are called sacraments of the dead because their main purpose is to give the supernatural life of sanctifying grace to souls spiritually dead through sin. Confirmation, Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are called sacraments of the living because their chief purpose is to give more grace to souls already spiritually alive through sanctifying grace. Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders can be received only once. They imprint on the soul a spiritual mark, called a character, which lasts forever. (Connell 181)
Similarity s and differences of these religions I have talked about are, each of these religions believe in a God or supreme leader. Judaism believed that the Messiah will come and take away the suffering for the Jews. Muslims believe in Allah as there god they pray to him five times a day. Christians believe in Jesus Christ as there god. The Christian religion is based on Judaism. These two religions get most of the resources from the same places. These religions came from the same part of the world Palestine.
These religions and their beliefs have sparked many conflicts throughout the world, mostly in the middle-east. Though religion may just be a belief, it still generates violence, indifference, and hate. People feel so strongly about their belief, that they can hate others who believe differently. Since the beginning of religions, and probably until the end of time, the strong feelings of the believers will lead to many more conflicts, and many more senseless deaths.
Connell, Francis. The New Revised Baltimore Catechism and Mass.
Massachusetts: Boston, 1949.
Encarta. Christianity, Islam, Judaism.
Rice, Edward. The five Great Religions. New York. 1973.
The Worlds Great Religions. New York. 1957.