Essay, Research Paper: Hinduism


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Hinduism was founded sometime between 1500 and 500 CE in the are of the Indus
valley civilization. There is no individual founder and no names given to say
who developed it. They are many gods in the religion of Hinduism. Many Hindu
followers believe that one of the gods is the true god, this creates a division
in Hinduism, Vaishnavaism and Shivaism. People who follow Vaishnavaism believe
that Vishnu is the one true god and people who follow Shivasim believe that
Shiva is the one true god. Yet there are many sects that worship both gods. Over
eighty percent of Hindu people worship the Lord Vishnu. One out of six people in
the world is a Hindu. Hinduism can be described as a monotheistic or a
polytheistic religion depending on the point of view but Hindu people describe
themselves as henotheisitic, which is the belief in one god without denying the
existence of others. Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and re-enters a
body of flesh and blood to resolve experiences and learn all the lessons that
the material life has to offer. Hindus also believe in karma. They believe that
karma is one of the natural laws of the universe. If you do good things, good
things will happen to you. If you do negative things, negative things will
happen to you. Hindus also believe that the cow is sacred. The cow represents
their life and all other animals. They also regard the cow as sacred because it
gives and gives but only takes grass and grain. Not all of the Hindu people are
vegetarian, they are given the freedom to make their own decisions. Hinduism
claims over 793,076,000 people, which is 13.7% of the world's population. Most
of the Hindus are concentrated mainly in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The Hindu
purpose is basically to learn all that they can from this life so that they can
pass their knowledge to the spiritual world. Taoism The founder of Taoism is
Lao-Tse, which lived between 604-531 BCE. Taoism began as a combination of
philosophy and psychology but was later turned into a state religion in 440 CE.
Lao-Tse was later established as a deity. In 1911, support for Taoism had
disappeared and with the communist victory in 1949 there was very little room
for religious freedom. Taoism has many sects and groups that have been
influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism. Taoism is still practiced in China,
Taiwan and Hong Kong although the current government has made attempts to
suppress it. The Taoist beliefs are that there is no god and that Tao is a force
that flows. There are no personified beliefs in Taoism and they do not pray to a
god. They seek out life's problems through meditation and observation. Much like
Hinduism, time is cyclical. There are five organs of the earth water, fire,
wood, metal and earth. Lao-Tse developed "Yin" and "Yang"
which are two competing energies found in all things which must be
"balanced." There are two different denominations of Taoism, Ortodoxes
and Spirit Claud Taoists. Ortodoxes are Tao masters and Black Headed Taoists.
They stress the importance of rituals, cosmic renewal, and controlling spirits.
Spirit Claud Taoists are Masters of Methods or Headed Taoists they concentrate
on meditation, not rituals. There is not a specific number of Taoists in the
world. It's hard to find the exact number of Taoists because at one time a
person in China could be a Buddhist, a Taoist and a Confucian. The main
concentration of Taoists are in China and Taiwan. Shintoism Shinto was started
about 500 CE or earlier. The Shinto people believe in nature deities, Buddha was
regarded as one of these deities. There was a divine couple, Izanagi and Izanami
who gave birth to the Japanese Islands. Their children became the deities of the
various Japanese clans. The Sun Goddess is regarded as the chief deity. There
are "four affirmations" in Shinto. Tradition and Family, Love of
Nature, Physical Cleanliness and Matsuri. Matsuri is a festival that honors the
dead. Shinto is divided into three different forms. Jinja, which is the original
form of Shinto. The Emperor of Japan was worshipped as a living god. Kyoha,
which is further divided into thirteen sects. Lastly, Folk Shinto is not
actually a sect in Shinto but a form seen in local practices and rituals. Once
again there is no exact number for the people that practice Shinto because they
may also practice Taoism or another religion native to those parts. Judaism The
beginnings of Judaism begin around 2000 BCE. God made a covenant with Abraham
and made him the patriarch of many nations. There are four other religions that
have roots in Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and he Baha'i World Faith.
Moses led the Israelite people out of bondage is Egypt and later Joshua led them
into the Promised Land. The Jewish Scriptures consists of the Torah, the Nevi'im,
and the Ketuvim. They also use the Talmud contains stories, laws, medical
knowledge and other things. The Jewish beliefs include that God is the creator
of all, he is worthy of all praise. God monitors humans and rewards good things
and punishes evil. They also believe that they are God's chosen people. In no
way is this meant to say that they are better than any specific group of people
but they were chosen to study the Torah and to worship God only. The Jewish
people rest on the Sabbath day, which begins at sundown on Friday evening. They
celebrate Passover which to recall the deliverance of the Jews from Egypt. There
are three large groups of Judaism in the world today. Conservative Judaism: A
group that was created in the nineteenth century to counteract the reform
movement. Orthodox Judaism: The oldest, most diverse and most conservative form.
They attempt to follow the initial form of Judaism. Reform Judaism: A liberal
form in which many North American's are enrolled. They follow the principled
laws of Judaism but they leave it up to personal decision to follow or ignore
the original laws. Currently there are about 18 million Jews in the world. The
main concentrations are in Israel and North America. There are about 4.5 million
Jews in Israel and around 7 million residing in North America. Christianity
Christianity was "formed" around 15 to 30 BCE. Although some people
say that it has existed since Adam and Eve because they were followers of God.
Probably the most important figures in the Christian religion are Jesus Christ,
the Savior. Most Christians believe in a trinity, the Father, the Son, and the
Holy Spirit. They are three separate beings but they form a single unified
deity. After the execute of Jesus, the disciples spread across the world and
taught Christianity. Christianity spread to Europe and then to the Americas.
Christians believe that Jesus was atoning sacrifice and removed the burden of
sin from the world. They also believe that God is the one true god and that
Jesus will return to the earth and bring all of his believers to heaven.
Christians pray to God for guidance and read the Bible because it is the
"handbook" for life. The largest denominations in Christianity are
Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Protestant. At one point in time the church
was not separated but in 1054 CE the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek
Orthodox Church split because of a dispute over the use of religious icons. The
total number of Christians in the world are is than 1,955,229,000. Eighty-seven
percent of North Americans identify themselves as Christian. Around 33 percent
of the world's population regards themselves as Christian. Through missionary
activity the Christian religion is currently active all over the world. Islam
Islam is one of the three major monotheistic religions. It was founded in Arabia
by Muhammad between 610 and 632. Muhammad was dubbed the prophet of Allah, the
only god. He was considered last in line of prophets they went from Abraham to
Jesus. Islam spread fairly fast, it went from Spain in the west to India in the
east only a century after Muhammad's death. Muslims believe that Muhammad was
visited by Jibreel (the angel Gabriel) and given the duty of converting his
countrymen from their pagan ways. There are two mains texts that used Qur'an and
Hadith. The Qur'an are the words of god and the Hadith are the words of
Muhammad. The Muslims have five duties known as the Five Pillars of Islam. The
first is to recite the shahadah at least once during their lifetime. Most
Muslims say it everyday. The second is to perform the salat, which is prayer,
five times a day. It's done during the morning, noon, mid-afternoon, after
sunset and just before sleeping. The third is to donate through the zakat, which
is a 2.5 percent charity tax. The fourth is to fast during the month of Ramadan.
The fifth and final is if physically and financially able, to make one
pilgrimage to Mecca. The Muslim's are strictly monotheistic, there is one true
God that is merciful. They believe that Satan drives people to sin and they also
believe that Jesus was only a prophet, nothing more. They also believe that
Jesus was not executed on the cross and the Christian concept of Jesus is
blasphemous. There are three main types of Muslims. The Sunni Muslims are 90
percent of the Muslim believers and main stream traditionalists. The Shi'ite
Muslims split from the Sunnis over a quarrel over Muhammad. They have their own
translation of the Qur'an which they enforce. The final group is Sufism they
took ideas from Christianity and Buddhism but they are more of a different style
rather than a different school. The Muslim religion has about 1,126,325,000
members. They represent about 22 percent of the world's population and are the
second largest religion. The largest concentrations of Muslims are in Africa and
Asia. Buddhism The Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, founded Buddhism in Northern
India. He left his family to search for the truth and later reach enlightenment.
The most important individual was Siddhartha Gautama, he had many disciples and
that is how the religion was able to spread. Buddhists believe in reincarnation,
life is a cycle. As soon as a person releases their attachment to desire and
self they can attain Nirvana. The Buddha's Four Noble truths are 1. To be fully
understood: the universality of suffering 2. To be abandoned: the desire to have
and control things, which causes suffering 3. To be made visible: the supreme
truth and final liberation of nirvana, which is achieved as the cause of
suffering is eliminated. The mind experiences complete freedom and liberation.
4. To be brought into being: the truth of the eightfold ariya path leading to
the cessation of suffering. The path leading to the termination of suffering is
the eightfold path. The eight steps are: 1.right understanding 2.right thinking
3.right speech 4.right conduct 5.right livelihood 6.right effort 7.right
mindfulness 8.right concentration The Buddhist religion is not set in stone,
many local rituals and customs. There was a split after Buddha's death creating
three different systems of thought. The first is Southern Buddhism that is in
Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Being the largest of the
three, it has over 100 million followers. The second is Eastern Buddhism, which
predominantly occupies China, Japan, Korea, and most of Vietnam. The third is
Northern Buddhism, which is in China, Mongolia, Russia and Tibet. There was
conflict when it entered Tibet because of Tibet's native religion of Bon but
Buddhism underwent a revival in the 11th century. Currently there are
325,275,000 people subscribing to the Buddhist religion. They make up 5.6
percent of the world's population. The main concentration of Buddhists are in
Southeast Asia. Mormonism Joseph Smith founded The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in 1830 with five other members. Joseph Smith was visited by
an angel and given golden tablets containing the Book of Mormon. He also claimed
to be the next prophet. He was known for his drunkenness and practices of
polygamy. He also made many failed prophecies of Christ's Return and the fall of
the American government. Smith's following grew quickly due to the amount of
missionary work done by him and his followers. The followers moved to Utah and
began an agricultural community called Salt Lake City. From that center is
spread further in the west. The Mormons believe that there are many gods
"and that we can become gods and goddesses in the celestial kingdom"
(Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20; Gospel Principles, p. 245; Achieving a
Celestial Marriage, p. 130). Which is a direct contradiction to Christianity,
which teaches: 1. DEUTERONOMY 4:35,39 - Unto thee it was shown, that thou
mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside Him. (39) Know
therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in
heaven above and upon the earth beneath: there is none else. Mormon doctrine
also teaches that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are three different
gods. Mormon doctrine also teaches that Mormonism is the only true way. They
also say that the book of Mormon is the "most correct of any book on earth,
and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding
by its precepts, than by any other book" (History of the Church, 4:461).
However, over grammatical 4000 errors were found in the Book of Mormon. The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints call themselves a Christian
Denomination but their beliefs contradict the bible which is the cornerstone of
Christianity.There aren't any divisions within The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints. It's hard to tell exactly how many Mormons there are because
they are filed under Christianity but there are about 10 million members in The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The center of the church is in Utah
but the religion is spread worldwide with at least once church in 160 countries.
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