- Religion and Philosophy
*Religious Beliefs & The Prophets*
Despite that it actually is the world's oldest and ancient religions and being the smallest of the major religions of the world in the number of its adherents, is historically one of the most important. Its roots are in the Indo- Iranian spirituality that also produced the religions of India. It was the first of the world’s religions to be founded by Zoraster (Zartosht - in Farsi). The prophet himself is from Persian on whose teachings the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism is based and whose name means “Shining Light.” He lived and taught in the early part of the 6th century BC. Zoroaster was born in Northeast Iran or Southwest Afghanistan.
Zoroaster's monotheistic tendencies were a new movement from the polytheistic religion previously known in Persia. Zoroastrianism is also dualistic, meaning it focuses on a twofold nature of the world (good and evil or heaven and hell, for example). Zoroaster believed that the universe was constantly under the conflict between good and evil.
- Universal God
- Duality of Good and Evil - The place is a battle ground of good and evil, and of course the good always trumps the evil.
- Divinity of Creation
- Spiritual nature of the world and human beings
- Goodness of the Humanity
- Belief in afterlife
The Zorastrian holy book is called the Avesta. This includes the original words of their founder Zoreaster, preserved in a series of five hymns, called the Gathas. The latter represent the basic source of the religion. The Gathas are abstract sacred poetry, directed towards the worship of the One God, understanding of righteousness and cosmic order, promotion of social justice and individual choice between good and evil. Worldwide, there are 190,000 Zoroastrians at most, and perhaps as few as 124,000 by some estimates
This faith rose from the teachings of a man called Shakyamuni, who is also known as Siddhartha Gautama and referred to throughout the world by his honorific title, the Buddha. According to Buddhist scriptures, Shakyamuni was born near the ancient city of Kapilavastu in Lumbini Gardens in southern Nepal.Several theories regarding his birth suggest that he was born in 463, 566 or 624 BCE, although it is not clearly known as to exactly when. From the moment he was born, Shakyamuni did not lead a typical life. For example, legend states that Shakyamuni was born from his mother’s hip while she remained standing in a grove of trees. In his youth, Siddhartha's father provided him with everything he wanted and encouraged him to excel in his studies. However, he would not permit him to leave the palace grounds. Siddhartha grew up with many luxuries and married a beautiful princess, but he still was not happy. He longed to see what was beyond the palace gates, thinking that a clue to his search for the meaning of life lay beyond the safety and luxury of the palace. He wanted to understand more about life, why human beings suffered, and how one could help relieve suffering in the world. And so, he began his religious quest.
Through meditation and analysis, he attained an enlightened state of being that marked the end of attachments (and therefore suffering), and ultimately, at his death, release from the cycle of rebirth (aka. samsara). The Buddha's teachings are often summarized in the Four Noble Truths, which form the basis of the first sermon he delivered after attaining enlightenment, and the Eightfold Path, which provides a basic guide for how to live in the world.
Teachings - The first, Change, points out the basic fact that nothing in the world is fixed or permanent. We ourselves are not the same people, either physically, emotionally or mentally, that we were ten years or for that fact 5 minutes ago. The second Sign, we have already seen how it was the experience of Suffering that sent the Buddha off on his great spiritual quest, though suffering is not a very good translation of the original word, Dukkha. Dukkha implies the generally unsatisfactory and imperfect nature of life. He also indicated that even in the most fortunate of lives there is suffering. Happiness is subject to the law of change and impermanence. Buddhists do not believe that there is anything everlasting or unchangeable in human beings, no soul or self in which a stable sense of 'I' might anchor itself. The whole idea of 'I' is in fact a basically false one that tries to set itself up in an unstable and temporary collection of elements.
The Four Noble Truth - 1. The Noble Truth of Suffering 2. The Noble Truth of the Origin of Suffering 3. The Noble Truth of Cessation of Suffering 4. The Noble Truth of the Way leading to the Cessation of Suffering: The Noble Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Paths - 1. Right View 2. Right Though 3. Right Speech 4. Right Action 5. Right Livelihood 6. Right Effort 7. Right Mindfulness 8. Right Concentration.
To this present day there are around 376 million followers worldwide. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha. The Tripitaka (Pali Canon), Mahayana Sutras and the Tibetan Book of the Dead are three major non-canonical Buddhist texts.
Hinduism differs from other faiths like Christianity and Islam in two ways. First of all, it does not believe in any dogma and rejects the exclusive claim of any individual, however highly evolved, to the monopoly of Truth. It believes that the Supreme Being may be approached through several paths such as Knowledge (Dnyana), Devotion (Bhakti), Action (Karma), and Yoga (Psychical Control).
Lord Krishna is the Supreme Person. Lord Krishna appeared over five thousand years ago in Mathura, India to Devaki and Vasudeva in the jail cell of the tyrant Kamsa. The place of His birth is known as Sri Krishna Janmasthana or Birthplace of lord krishna. We start from very beginning from the birthplace of lord Krishna. Mathura is the birth place of lord Krishna. The city of Mathura is located in the western part of the state of Uttar Pradesh, in the northern region of India. It is situated on the bank of the river Yamuna. Mathura is 150 km south of Delhi and 50 km northwest of Agra.
There are certain beliefs in the Hindu faith, some of which include:
Truth is eternal - Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. According to the Vedas, Truth is One, but the wise express it in a variety of ways.
Brahman is Truth and Reality - Hindus believe in Brahman as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal. Brahman is not an abstract concept; it is a real entity that encompasses everything (seen and unseen) in the universe.
The Vedas are the ultimate authority - The Vedas are Hindu scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Hindus believe that the Vedas are without beginning and without end; when everything else in the universe is destroyed (at the end of a cycle of time), the Vedas remain.
Everyone should strive to achieve dharma - Dharma can be described as right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty. Anyone who makes dharma central to one’s life strives to do the right thing, according to one’s duty and abilities, at all times.
- Individual souls are immortal - A Hindu believes that the individual soul (atman) is neither created nor destroyed; it has been, it is, and it will be. Actions of the soul while residing in a body require that it reap the consequences of those actions in the next life the same soul in a different body.
Today there are an estimated 950 million people worldwide who follow this religion and Lord Krishna's teachings. The most ancient sacred texts of the Hindu religion are written in Sanskrit and called the Vedas. Hinduism does not just have one sacred book but several scriptures. TheVedas scriptures guide Hindus in their daily life.
Judaism is a religious tradition with origins dating back nearly four thousand years, rooted in the ancient near eastern region of Canaan (which is now Israel and Palestinian territories). Originating as the beliefs and practices of the people known as "Israel," classical, or rabbinic, Judaism did not emerge until the 1st century C.E. Judaism traces its heritage to the covenant God made with Abraham and his lineage that God would make them a sacred people and give them a holy land.
In the West, in the Middle East, in most of Africa and Asia, the legacy of Hebrew religion permeates nearly everything you see. This religion, so important and far-reaching in its influence on human culture, did not spring up overnight. Along with the Hebrew history, the development of Hebrew religion was a long and rocky road. In 586 BCE, the Babylonians took over Jerusalem, taking many captives into exile and destroying the temple. A second temple was built when the Jews returned about 538 BCE, and to only find it to be destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. This destruction was decisive for the future of Judaism, replacing a sacrificial religion based around a temple with a tradition of studying and learning centered around local synagogues (Place of Prayer.) Jewish history begins with the covenant (agreement) established between God and Abraham around 1812 BC, during the Bronze Age, in the Middle East. Abraham is considered as the father of the family of Jews. Prophet Moses, is also an important figure as he gave the Jews the Torah around 1250 B.C. The Torah contains the laws of God.
There are certain laws in which the Jews abide by. They believe they must follow God's laws which govern daily life. If you are familiar with the 10 Commandments then you know what they are (But in case you don't know here is a list):
The Ten Commandments, as written in the Torah, are:
•Worship no other God but me.
•Do not make images to worship.
•Do not misuse the name of God.
•Observe the Sabbath Day (Saturday). Keep it Holy.
•Honor and respect your father and mother.
•Do not murder.
•Do not commit adultery.
•Do not steal.
•Do not accuse anyone falsely. Do not tell lies about other people.
• Do not envy other's possessions.
The Tenakh is the ancient collection of writings that are sacred to the Jews. They were written over almost a thousand years from 1000 to 100 BCE. The Torah is written on scrolls and kept in a special cabinet called the aron hakodish, the holy ark, in synagogues. The Torah is read with a pointer called a yad (hand) to keep it from being spoiled. Each week, one section is read until the entire Torah is completed and the reading begins again.
Based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago, Christianity is one of the most influential and biggest religions in history. Although it began as a small sect of Judaism during the first century in ancient Israel, the Christian religion has nearly 2 billion followers at the beginning of the 21st century and can be found in virtually every corner of the globe in every single country.
God created man in His image. This does not mean that God has a body of flesh and bones. Image means the likeness of God's character, rationality. Because we are made in the image of God, every person is worthy of respect and honor. To expand on that, this means that we did not evolve through random processes from a single-celled organism into rational, emotional beings. God created Adam and Eve and put them in the Garden of Eden and gave them the freedom to choose between right and wrong. They chose to sin. Sin is doing that which is contrary to the nature and will of God. For example, God cannot lie, therefore, lying is sin. The sin of disobeying God that Adam and Eve committed resulted in their being expelled from the Garden of Eden as well as suffering the effects of death.
Catholics are, first and foremost, Christians who believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, in which he is. The Catholics share some beliefs with other Christian practices, but essential Catholic beliefs include the following:
The Bible is the inspired,error free holy book and the revealed words of God.
Baptism, the rite of becoming a Christian, is necessary for salvation, whether the Baptism occurs by water, blood, or desire.
God’s Ten Commandments provide a moral compass an ethical standard to live by.
The existence of the Holy Trinity one God in three persons. Catholics embrace the belief that God, the one Supreme Being, is made up of three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
For one to grow properly certain rules must be observed for good spiritual health.
- Read your Bible daily.
- Learn the secret of prayer. Prayer is communicating.
- Rely constantly on the Holy Spirit.
- Attend church regularly. The visible church is Christ’s organization upon earth.
- Be a witnessing Christian.
- Let love be the ruling principle of your life.
- Be an obedient Christian. Let Christ have first place in all the choices of your life.
- Learn how to meet temptation.
- Be a wholesome Christian.
- Live above your circumstances
Some of the most important Christian Holidays include:
- Ash Wednesday - 40 days, during which Christians fast and repent to prepare for the holiday of Easter.
- Palm Sunday - The Sunday before Easter (the sixth Sunday of Lent) is called Palm Sunday. This day commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem before his crucifixion.
-Good Friday - Good Friday is the day during Holy Week that commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus.
-Easter -Easter is the holiday that commemorates the resurrection of Jesus.
-Pentecost - Happens 50 days after Easter, and is the remembrance of the coming of the Holy Spirit.
- Christmas- Christmas is the celebration of Jesus’ birth, occurring on December 25 each year.
SAWS - Muhammad
Islam, began in Mecca, claimed to be the revelation of God (Allah) through the angel Gabriel to a man named Muhammad. Muhammad was born in approximately AD 570-571. He was born to the powerful tribe of the Quraish in Mekkah (Mecca). His father's name was Abdullah. His mother's name was Aminah. Apparently Abdullah was a merchant who made caravan trips. He died on a trading trip soon after his marriage to Aminah, leaving Muhammad fatherless at birth.
The Quran which is the, sacred text of Islam, contains the teachings of the Prophet that were revealed to him from Allah. Essential to Islam is the belief that Allah is the one and true God with no partner or equal. Islam has two branches and much variety within those branches. The two divisions within the tradition are the Sunni and Shi'a, each of which claims different means of maintaining religious authority. . These five practices include a ritual profession of faith, ritual prayer, the zakat (charity), fasting, and the hajj (a pilgrimage to Mecca). Many Muslims are characterized by their commitment to praying to Allah five times a day. Muslims gather at mosques to worship Allah, pray, and study scripture.
There are certain laws and beliefs that Islam has the most important one is:
- Oneness of God
- The Divine Angels -The angel Gabriel brought the divine revelation to the prophets.
- The Holy Book Of God (The Quran)
- Believe in the Prophets/Messengers of God
- The Day Of Judgement
The Five Pillars of Islam include:
- The Declaration of Faith (shahada):
- Prayer (salat):
- Charity (zakat)
- Fasting (sawm):
One of the greatest duties for Muslims is going on Pilgrimage to Mecca. Every Muslim is required to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, located in Saudi Arabia, once in their lifetime if financially and physically able. Mecca is home to the first house of worship of God, the Kaaba, said to have been built by the prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. Muslims all over the world face towards the Kaaba when they pray. All outward symbols of rank and wealth are erased during the pilgrimage, as Muslim from every part of the globe come together for the purpose of worshipping God. There is no judging during pilgrimage! Muslims who complete the pilgrimage are referred to as "Hajji" and greeted with great celebration and respect in their communities when they return.
Eyd Al' Adha (aka The Festival of Sacrifice) is the second major holiday in Islam. It falls on the tenth day of the month at the conclusion of the pilgrimage, and is celebrated by all Muslims with special prayers, feasts, gifts and the sacrifice of an animal (usually a lamb or goat). The meat is distributed to relatives, friends and the needy. As of the year 2010 there has been as estimate of around 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, and that makes Islam the second largest religion worldwide.
Bahá’u’lláh & The Bab
The Bahá’í Faith began with the mission entrusted by God to two Divine Messengers The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh. Today, the distinctive unity of the Faith They founded stems from explicit instructions given by Bahá’u’lláh that have assured the continuity of guidance following His passing. This line of succession, referred to as the Covenant, went from Bahá’u’lláh to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and then from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, ordained by Bahá’u’lláh. Baha'is are open to all who accept the teachings of Baha'u'llah. Baha'i religious practices include daily prayer and devotions. Baha'i followers are expected to fast for nineteen days a year and participate in the Nineteen Day Feast. The fast takes place in March of every year and depending if it's a leap year or not it usually starts on the 1st or 2nd day of March and ends on the 20th or 21st. The 21st of March is considered a great and amazing day full of joy, this day is known as Nowrooz, meaning 'New Day'.
The life of the Ba'b: The Báb is the Herald of the Bahá’í Faith. In the middle of the 19th century, He announced that He was the bearer of a message destined to transform humanity’s spiritual life.
The life of Bahá’u’lláh (aka. the “Glory of God”) is the Promised One foretold by the Báb himself and all of the Divine Messengers of the past. Bahá’u’lláh delivered a new Revelation from God to humanity. Thousands of verses, letters and books flowed from His pen. In His Writings, He outlined a framework for the development of a global civilization which takes into account both the spiritual and material dimensions of human life. For this, He endured 40 years of imprisonment, torture and exile.
The Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: In His will, Bahá’u’lláh appointed His oldest son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as the authorized interpreter of His teachings and Head of the Faith. Throughout the East and West, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá became known as an ambassador of peace, an exemplary human being, and the leading exponent of a new Faith.
The Universal House Of Justice: The development of the Bahá’í Faith worldwide is today guided by the Universal House of Justice. In His book of laws, Bahá’u’lláh instructed the Universal House of Justice to exert a positive influence on the welfare of humankind, promote education, peace and global prosperity, and safeguard human honour and the position of religion. Bahá'ís have no clergy, sacraments or rituals. 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings to audiences of infinitely varied backgrounds. Many of His talks included discussions of such Bahá'í principles as:
• The oneness of mankind.
• Universal peace upheld by a world government.
• Independent investigation of truth.
• The common foundation of all religions.
• The essential harmony of science and religion.
• Equality of men and women.
• Elimination of prejudice of all kinds.
• Universal compulsory education.
• A spiritual solution to the economic problem.
• A universal auxiliary language.
Members of the Baha'i Faith: pray each day, observe the 9 holy days, fast 19 days a year, work to abolish prejudice, regard work as a form of worship, make at least one pilgrimage, if they are able, to the Shrine of the Bab and the houses in which Baha'u'llah lived, which are situated near the Bahá'í world headquarters (Currently in Haifa, Israel), Bahá'ís do not consume alcohol or any drugs. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas or Aqdas is the central book of the Bahá'í Faith written by Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the religion, 1853-1873. It has the same status as the Quran for Muslims or the Bible for Christians.
The most important dates include:
April 21, 29 & May 2: Baha'u'llah's public declaration of his mission
May 23: Bab's declaration of his mission
May 29: Passing of Baha'u'llah
July 9: Martyrdom of the Bab
October 20: Birth of Bab
November 12: Birth of Baha'u'llah
Around the world, there are an estimate of 7.3 million Baha'is around the world from the continent of Asia, all the way to Africa and North and South America.
The Baha'i Faith
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Religious beliefs and Prophets
© 2015 Mahsa S