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Five World Religions
Judaism Christianity
2500 – 250 BC
The religion of Hinduism developed and evolved over a long time in India,
giving rise to a variety of beliefs and practices and to other religions, including
One of the oldest religions of humanity, founded in 1500 BCE or earlier.
It is the 3rd largest religion in the world.
No particular founder
2500 – 250 BC
What do Hindus believe?
1. Brahman -the eternal being - created and preserves
the world. Everything in the world is an aspect of
2. Atman - the soul – each person has one that is an
aspect of Brahman. Can’t ever be destroyed.
3. Devas – manifestations of Brahman that are active in
the world and who help to maintain order.
 3 of the most common—Brahma, Vishnu, & Siva
4. Reincarnation – being reborn into this world
lifetime after lifetime (Samsara)
5. Karma – the sum effect of a person’s actions, good
and bad, which helps shape future experiences
6. Moksha - goal of human existence, escape from the
cycle of reincarnation to join with the Brahman.
7. Dharma – set of spiritual duties and obligations that
must be fulfilled to achieve moksha.
2500 – 250 BC
What are the Sacred Texts?
Oldest, most authoritative:
 1. Four Vedas (“truth”) – sacred
hymns of praise
Contain knowledge revealed by Brahman
2. Upanishads – philosophical
reflections on the Vedas
Also revealed to, not written by, people
the Great Indian Epics (composed by
Mahabharata (includes BhagavadGita)
Both tell stories that reflect on what it
means to live according to Vedic teachings
What are the religious
practices of Hinduism?
2500 – 250 BC
Vary greatly because worship can take place anywhere—usually a
temple or in the home.
Spiritual leaders are called gurus or sages.
Yoga-integrated physical and mental exercises. They teach people
to focus their minds and bodies which will aid their meditation in
order to attain moksha
Pilgrimage to Ganges (thought it flows through 2 devas so its water
is holy. Bathing in it will purify them and remove bad karma.
Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and
reunite with the divine, becoming as one with
Brahman (Moksha)
Who do Hindus worship? –
3 Most Important Devas
2500 – 250 BC
Brahma, the creator
Siva, the Destroyer
Vishnu, the Preserver
All these deities are but
Aspects of the
impersonal Brahman
Hinduism – Map!
Hinduism in 1500 C.E.
Hinduism Today
Hinduism located in India and SE Asia
Then and Now
2500 – 250 BC
•Buddhism, which
teaches people that
they can escape the
suffering of the world
through the Buddhist
teachings, developed in
Northeast India in 520
BCE and spread to
other parts of Asia
•4th largest religion in
the world
2500 – 250 BC
Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE)
Unlike Hinduism,
Buddhism can be traced
to one single founder,
Siddhartha Gautama
Prince of a small
kingdom; he lived a
sheltered life and
sought the answer to
ending suffering
After years of
meditation and
searching, he sat under
a Bodhi tree where he
became Enlightened
He transformed into the
Buddha-the Enlightened
2500 – 250 BC
The Teachings of Buddhism
What is the fundamental cause of all suffering?
Therefore, extinguish the self, don’t obsess about
oneself. Give up all materials and possessions of the
2500 – 250 BC
Four Noble Truths
There is suffering in the world. To live is to suffer.
The cause of suffering is people’s desires for
pleasure and material goods.
The solution is to eliminate desire and attachments.
(Nirvana = “extinction”)
To reach nirvana, one must follow the Eightfold Path.
Eightfold Path
2500 – 250 BC
Right Understanding
Right Speech
Right Intention
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Concentration
Right Mindfulness
2500 – 250 BC
Eightfold Path
 Nirvana is a state of perfect peace in which the soul would
be free from suffering forever. It would escape from the
cycle of rebirth.
If nirvana is not achieved, then the soul would be reborn to
live through the cycle of suffering again.
Spiritual leaders are called monks or lamas.
Worship takes place in a temple or meditation hall.
Sacred Texts
Pali Canon
 Dhammapada
 Both record the words of the Buddha
The Spread of Buddhism
Interactive Map
2500 – 250 BC
Types of Buddhism
2500 – 250 BC
Theravada Buddhism
The oldest school of Buddhism.
Found in southern Asia.
The monastic life is the best way to achieve nirvana.
Focus on wisdom and meditation.
Goal is to become a “Buddha,” or “Enlightened One.”
Over 100,000,000 followers today.
Mahayana Buddhism
2500 – 250 BC
Founded in northern Asia (China, Japan).
Buddhism “for the masses.”
One doesn’t need to be a monk or nun to reach nirvana;
anyone can do it with some help.
Seek guidance from Boddhisatvas, wise beings, people
who have found enlightenment but have stayed on
earth to help others find their way.
Goal: Not just individual escape from the wheel, but
the salvation of all humanity through self-sacrifice of
those who are already enlightened.d few.
2500 – 250 BC
Tibetan Buddhism
 Developed in Tibet in the 7c CE.
 A mix of Theravada and Mahayana.
 Boddhisatvas include Lamas, like
the Dalai Lama.
Buddhism – Map!
Buddhism in 1500 C.E.
Buddhism Today
Buddhism located in Southeast and East Asia (China) Then and Now
Judaism, Christianity, &
Brief History
Judaism- The Hebrew leader Abraham
founded Judaism in Mesopotamia
around 1300 B.C. Judaism is the oldest
of the monotheistic faiths (religions
with one God).
 Christianity - Founded by Jesus Christ,
who was crucified around A.D. 33 in
Palestine in the city of Jerusalem. It
was after his death when his followers
came to believe in him as the Christ,
the Messiah.
 Islam - Founded in Arabia by
Muhammad in A.D. 622.
4000–550 BC
Abraham’s Genealogy
All 3 Religions are linked by Abraham—He is the patriarch of all 3
12 Arabian
Jacob/Israel Esau
(the last
•Quran and the
Five Pillars of
12 Tribes of
•2 Tribes - (Jews) of Judah •Other 10 tribes(Israelites)
•Jesus Christ (son of God)
•The Hebrew Bible - Old
Testament in the Christian
Judaism Briefly
Judaism is over 3000 years old and is the
oldest of the world's monotheistic religions
(religions with only one God). It's also the
smallest, with only about 14 million (7th)
followers around the world.
 Its holy city is Jerusalem.
Judaism Beliefs
Jews believe that there is a single God
(Yahweh) who not only created the
universe, but with whom every Jew can
have an individual and personal
 They await the Messiah, who will be an
earthly king. They believe in heaven,
but that God determines where they go
after life on earth.
 Ten Commandments is the basic code
of law.
Judaism Holy Book
The most holy Jewish book is the Torah
(the first five books of the Christian Bible).
Others include Judaism's oral tradition,
the written form of which is known as the
 The Torah (scroll of teachings) contains
the five books revealed to Moses by God
on Mount Sinai.
 Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and
Judaism Place of Worship
Jews worship in
Synagogues or
temples. Men and
women usually sit
 Worship is led by a
 Saturday (begins at
sundown on Friday)
is time for worship.
Stamford Hill, London
The Temple
• According to the Bible, the First Temple for Jewish worship
was built around 900-1000 BCE and destroyed by
Babylonians in 586 BCE.
• The Jews were then sent out of Canaan, but returned after
50 years in exile.
• A Diaspora occurs when a group of people leave their
homeland and move to many different locations separately.
• All of the world’s Jewish communities today that do not live in
present-day Israel are part of the Jewish Diaspora.
The Temple
• A new temple was finished 70 years later
on the site of the First Temple, but was
badly plundered by invading Romans
about 54 BCE.
• King Herod, a Jew, ruled Judea for the
Romans. Under him the second temple
was rebuilt in 20 BCE.
• When the Romans attacked Jerusalem
again in 70 CE(AD), they destroyed
Herod’s temple.
• Today, the single remaining temple wall,
the Western Wall, is a place of prayer for
Jewish pilgrims.
• Jews moved away from the land again,
until the modern state of Israel was
formed in the late 1940s.
Judaism – Map!
Judaism in 1500 C.E.
Judaism Today
In 1500, located in Europe and
Middle East
Today, located in Israel and U.S.
Christianity briefly
Christianity is the world's largest religion,
with about 2.2 billion followers worldwide.
It is based on the teachings of Jesus
Christ who lived in the Holy Land 2,000
years ago.
Christianity Beliefs
Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the
Son of God
God sent his Son to earth to save humanity
from the consequences of its sins
Jesus rose from the dead on the third day
after his Crucifixion (the Resurrection)
Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah
promised in the Old Testament
Christians believe that there is only one God,
but that this one God consists of 3 "persons“God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy
Christians believe that God made the world.
Christianity Beliefs
Christians believe that they can have a
personal relationship with God, and that
they are saved by faith, and good works.
They believe in heaven and hell.
They believe that the Bible is the inspired
word of God.
Christians Holy Book
The Bible is the Christian holy book. It is
divided into the Old and New Testaments.
Parts of the writing contained in the Old
Testament are also sacred to Jewish and
Muslim people.
Christian Place of Worship
The Christian place of
worship is called a Church,
which are built in the shape
of a cross with the altar
facing east towards the
rising sun. Services are led
by a priest, pastor or
Day of worship is normally
Westminster Abbey London
Christian Sects
Roman Catholicism vs. Eastern Orthodox-Christian Church
divided when the Roman Empire was divided and then fell.
Orthodox Christians do not recognize the authority of the
Catholicism vs. Protestantism-as a result of the
Reformation, Protestant sects broke with the Catholic
Church and established their own separate churches.
Christianity – Map!
Christianity 1500 C.E.
In 1500, located in Europe and
Middle East
Christianity Today
Today, located in Americas and
Islam Briefly
Islam is the second most popular religion
in the world with 1.3 billion followers.
Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to
humanity by the Prophet Muhammad
(peace be upon him). Those who follow
Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe
that there is only one God, called Allah,
who speaks Arabic.
Islam Holy Book
The Muslim scripture is the Holy Qur'an. It
is 'the word of God'. Muslim beliefs and
practices are rooted in the Qur'an.
 Muslims treat the Qur'an with great
respect because they believe that the
Qur'an is from Allah, and every word and
every letter is sacred.
 Muslims regard the Qur'an as the
unaltered word of God.
Islam Place of Worship
The Muslim building for communal worship is called a Mosque.
The word comes from the Arabic for "place of prostration".
Worshippers are called to prayer 5 times a day from minarets –
towers on the mosque corners.
They contain only designs, no people or animals or furniture.
Normal day of worship is Friday.
Religious leaders are called imams.
Grand mosque in
Five Pillars Belief system/law code
Shahadah: declaration of faith
"I bear witness that there is no god, but God; I bear witness that
Muhammad is the prophet of God." By reciting this, one enters
Islamic faith.
Salah: Pray 5 times a day facing Mecca
Muslims are required to pray five times a day, washing
themselves before prayer and facing in the direction of Mecca
while praying.
Zakat: Give a fixed proportion to charity
Muslims are required to give away a percentage of their earnings
to those less fortunate, regardless of their religion.
Saum: Fast during the month of Ramadan
Muslims fast for one lunar month each year, a period called
Ramadan. During this time, Muslims reflect on their behavior and
strive to purify their thoughts.
Hajj: Make a pilgrimage to Mecca
If it is financially possible, Muslims are required to travel to Mecca
once in their lifetime.
The Hajj
The month of
pilgrimage during
which all
Muslims, at least
once in their life,
should try to
make the
pilgrimage to
Mecca and
worship at the
Muslim Sects
Sunni-the majority
 Shia-the minority
The split rose from an early dispute over who should be the leader
of Islam after the death of Muhammad. The Sunnis argued that
the successor should be appointed by election and consensus, as
tradition dictated. (Sunni comes from the Arabic word Sunna ,
meaning “tradition.”) The Shia believed that Muhammad's
successors should come from his family, starting with Ali, his sonin-law. These, the partisans of Ali, were named from the word
Shia , meaning “partisan” in Arabic.
Islam – Map!
Islam in 1500 C.E.
In 1500, located in Middle East,
Africa, and Southern Europe
Islam Today
Today, located in Middle East,
Africa, and Asia
View of Fellow Abrahamic Religions
Judaism – “Islam and Christianity are false
interpretations and extensions of Judaism.”
Christianity – “Judaism is a true religion, but
with incomplete revelation. Islam is a false
Islam – “Jews and Christians are respected as
fellow believers, but with wrong beliefs and
only partial revelation.”