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Major Religions Of The World
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Major Religions Of The World

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  • 1. Non-Religious World View
  • 2. Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism
  • 3. Agnosticism
    • Agnosticism is a belief about the existence or non – existence of God
    • An agnostic usually holds the questions of whether God exists or not open, pending the arrival of more evidence.
    • Agnostics are willing to change their belief if some evidence or solid proof is found in the future.
  • 4. Atheism
    • An atheist is a person who lacks a belief that a god(s) and/or goddess(es) exists
    • They have a belief that there is no God.
  • 5. Humanism
    • Humanists think that science and reason provide the best basis for understanding the world around us.
    • They believe that moral values are properly founded on human empathy and scientific understanding.
    • “ I am a Humanist. I don’t believe in any higher power that the best expressions of the human spirit, and those are to be found in personal and social relationships. Evaluating my life those terms, I’ve had some mixed results. I’ve hurt some people and disappointed others, but I hope that on balance, I’ve given more than I’ve taken.”
    • Professor Fred Hollows
  • 6. SMART’S DIMENSIONS OF RELIGION
  • 7. Smart’s Dimensions
    • Due to the vastness of the subject of religion there is a need to make the study of it more manageable; there is a need for an ordered strategy.
    • Ninian Smart is a Professor of Religious studies at Lancaster University.
    • His work has concentrated on the characteristics that are found commonly across different religious traditions.
  • 8. 7 Dimensions
    • Smart’s Dimensions
    • The practical and ritual dimension
    • The experiential and emotional dimension
    • The narrative or mythic dimension
    • Doctrinal and philosophical dimension
    • Ethical and legal dimension
    • Social and institutional dimension
    • Material dimension
  • 9. 1. Practical and Ritual
    • In all religions people come together for different purposes, and when they do, the words they say and the things they do tend to follow a certain pattern. This formalised behaviour is a ritual, of which, there are a number of different types:
    • Rites of Passage or Initiation rites – Initiation rites are most often associated with the transition from childhood or infancy into adulthood.
    • Rites of worship or devotion – There are both communal and private acts of worship or devotion.
  • 10. 2. Experiential and emotional
    • All religions regard an inner experience as very important, and such experiences are often highly emotional. They are understood to be contacts with gods or spirits, or insights into truth.
    • Immediate experience: the believer is in direct contact with the unseen world.
    • Mediated experience: the believers understand that it is through some person, object or act that they are united with the unseen world.
  • 11. 3. Narrative or mythical
    • This is the story side of religion and refers to the sacred stories within various religious traditions which seek to explain the meaning of various aspects of reality i.e. the origins of the world, death.
  • 12. 4. Doctrinal and philosophical
    • This refers to the beliefs and values which play an important part in all the major religions because there comes a time when a faith has to formulate some kind of intellectual statement of the basis of faith i.e. the Catholic faith believes in the trinity, three persons but one God.
  • 13. 5. Ethical and Legal
    • Every religion has a code of approved moral conduct.
    • What is regarded as morally good or morally evil is not the same in all religions.
    • This dimension expresses the law that a tradition incorporates into its belief system.
      • It refers to various religious moral codes which seek to regulate the lives of believers in approved ways i.e. in Buddhism, there are the Five precepts or virtues that are universally binding.
  • 14. 6. Social and Institutional
    • In one way or another, all religions become organised, and they organise the world around them. It is this organisation of religion that we call social structure.
    • Sacred Time: Almost every religion has a religiously based calendar, and the religious calendars of no two religions are alike.
    • Sacred Persons: Religions also mark out and set aside ritual experts, spiritual guides and leaders.
  • 15. 7. Material
    • This refers to the visible and symbolic forms usually expressed as buildings, works of art, even special places of pilgrimage i.e. Mecca, the River Ganges.
  • 16. Major Religions of the World
  • 17. Major Religion Statistics
  • 18. Australia & the Major Religions
    • Table of the Major Religions
  • 19. JUDAISM “ Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people; and walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’” (Jeremiah 7:23)
  • 20. Practical & Ritual
    • Rites of Passage
      • B'rit Milah – Circumcision
      • Bar Mitzvah – Naming ceremony
      • Kiddushin – Marriage ceremony
      • Death
    • Rites if worship or devotion
      • According to their tradition, Jews pray 3 times a day: morning prayer is called sh ahari th , afternoon prayer is called minhah and evening prayer maarib
      • Sabbath Day: Friday afternoon until Saturday afternoon, every week.
        • For some Jews during Sabbath, no secular activity is allowed, while others allow themselves to perform normal activities beyond the core celebration.
      • Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri . In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year.“
        • The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet. One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue
  • 21. Experiential & Emotional
    • Sabbath – weekly day of rest (shortly before sundown on Friday night to shortly after sundown Saturday night).
      • Commemorates Gods day of rest after the 6 days of creation.
    • Prayer – three times a day, fourth prayer added on during Shabbat.
    • Three pilgrimage festivals
      • Passover: Beginning on the evening of the 14 th day of Nisan (1 st month Hebrew calendar).
      • Shavout (Pentecost): celebrates the revelation of the Torah to the Israelites.
      • Sukkot: Commemorates the Israelites’ 40 years of wandering through the dessert on their way to the Promised Land.
  • 22. Narrative or Mythical
    • The Torah is the most important document in Judaism.
    • It is otherwise known as the Law and is the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
      • Genesis
      • Exodus
      • Leviticus
      • Numbers
      • Deuteronomy
    • It was received by Moses on the top of Mt Sinai
  • 23. Doctrinal and Philosophical
    • Thirteen articles of Faith
      • God is creator
      • God is one
      • God is incorporeal
      • God is eternal
      • God alone is to be worshipped
      • God has spoken through the prophets
      • Moses was the greatest of the prophets
      • The whole of the Torah was revealed to Moses
      • The Torah is the unalterable word of God
      • God has knowledge of and concern for all the deeds of human beings
      • God rewards those who keep the mitzvot (commandments) and punishes those who transgress them
      • The Messiah will come
      • The dead will be resurrected
  • 24. Ethical and Legal
    • All Jewish behaviour is ultimately derived from the Torah.
    • Contained within the Torah is 613 commandments ( halachah ) that comprise the legal tradition of Judaism.
      • It is concerned with guiding believers in right relationship with God and right relationship with one’s families and neighbours.
    • Tikkum olam ‘repair the world’
      • Jewish principle of commitment to social justice and social order.
    • Tzedakah and gemilut chasidim (deeds of loving kindness).
      • Tzedakah: giving away of some material possession
      • Gemilut chasidim: investment of one’s personal time and energy.
  • 25. Social Structures
    • The local synagogue is at the heart of Jewish religious activity, led by a rabbi (teacher).
      • The Orthodox and Chasidim typically use the word "shul," which is Yiddish . The word is derived from a German word meaning "school," and emphasizes the synagogue's role as a place of study.
      • Conservative Jews usually use the word "synagogue," which is actually a Greek translation of Beit K'nesset and means "place of assembly" (it's related to the word "synod").
      • Reform Jews use the word "temple," because they consider every one of their meeting places to be equivalent to, or a replacement for, The Temple .
  • 26. Material
    • Synagogue
    • Jews at the Western Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The Western Wall is all that remains of the Second Temple, which was destroyed in 70 B.C.E. It serves as a gathering place for Jews to lament the Temple's loss.
    • The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, it is where God gathered the earth from which he formed Adam.
  • 27. Symbols
    • Mezuzah: A small box of wood or metal containing 15 verses of the Bible, the "Shema" attached to the doorpost of the house and of each room, reminder of God's presence everywhere.
    • Tefillin: Two small boxes containing verses of the Bible, adjusted to the forehead and left arm during the morning prayer, for the mind and the heart.
    • Yarmulke ("Kippa"): Yiddish word for the skull-cap, as a sign of respect to God.      
  • 28.
    • Menorah: 7 branches candlestick. It has been said that the menorah is a symbol of the nation of Israel and their mission to be "a light unto the nations."                             
    • Star of David
  • 29. Hinduism
  • 30. Rituals & Passages
    • Rites of Passage: Hindu rites of passage are called samskaras .
      • They serve to purify the soul, and mark the various stages of life.
      • The first rite is before conception.
        • Jatakarma – birth ceremonies (plus others in childhood)
        • Upanayana – initiation (the sacred-thread ceremony)
        • Vivaha – marriage
        • Antyeshti – funeral and rites for the dead
    • Rites of Devotion:
      • Puja – the ritual that honours a god or goddess as a divine guest, usually in a temple, but can also be a domestic ritual.
  • 31. Experiences and Emotional
    • Karma-yoga (the yoga of selfless action) - It is the way that leads to the attainment of God through selfless work
    • Jnana-yoga (philosophical research and wisdom) – It is the path of knowledge.
    • Astanga/RajaYoga (physical exercises and meditation) - How to develop concentration and how to commune with God
    • Bhakti-Yoga (the path of devotional service) - God can be realised only by means of a love as ardent and all-absorbing as the conjugal passion
  • 32. Narrative and Mythical
    • Vedas are the most ancient and sacred Indian scriptures organised in four collections (Rig, Sama, Yajur, Atharva) and consisting of hymns of praise, ritual/ceremonial manuals and mysticl/philosophical treatises.
      • The Upanishads are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B.C. They elaborate on how the soul ( Atman ) can be united with the ultimate truth ( Brahman ) through contemplation and mediation, as well as the doctrine of Karma -- the cumulative effects of a persons' actions.
  • 33.
    • Epics: A text usually very long depicting a total view of creation and society and exploring the deepest concerns of humans
      • Mahabharata: speaks of the nature of god, the nature of the devotee and the way in which the devotee communications in a devout way with God
      • Ramayana: The Ramayana is a moving love story with moral and spiritual themes.
    • Bhagavad Gita: This is one of the most popular and accessible of all Hindu scriptures, required reading for anyone interested in Hinduism. The book discusses selflessness, duty, devotion, and meditation, integrating many different threads of Hindu philosophy.
  • 34. Doctrinal and Philosophical
    • In the long history of Hinduism, there has never been a set of beliefs established by an elite group to which all ‘believers’ must give assent.
    • Instead Hindus operate on a set of assumptions about reality and the world.
    • However, the core of Hinduism is the belief in Brahman, the underlying universal life force that encompasses and embodies existence.
  • 35. Belief overview
    • Almost all Hindus believe that the real self ( atman ) is distinct from the temporary body made of matter ( prakriti ). The eternal soul identifies with matter and is entrapped by maya (illusion). Impelled by lust, greed, anger, etc., he undergoes samsara (the cycle of repeated birth and death).
    • Each soul creates its unique destiny according to the law of karma (the universal law of action and reaction). Under the influence of eternal time and the three gunas (material qualities) he moves throughout the creation, sometimes going to higher planets, sometimes moving in human society, and at other times entering the lower species.
  • 36.
    • The goal of most Hindus is moksha , liberation from this perpetual cycle, through re-identification with the eternal brahman (Supreme). Hinduism accepts different paths towards this common goal (union with God). Nonetheless, it stresses strict adherence to universal principles through the practice of one's dharma (ordained duty) as revealed through authorised holy books and usually received through the guru (spiritual mentor).
  • 37. Trinity
    • That the Supreme Reality is One and
    • can be worshiped in any form is a concept unique to Hinduism.
    • Hinduism gives form and shape to these "works“ of Infinite with the Hindu Trinity - Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva - " Brahma ", the creator, " Vishnu " the sustainer and "Shiva" the destroyer or the annihilator of the Universe.
  • 38. Ethical and Legal
    • In the Hindu framework, attention is placed on relationships between individuals as members of groups possessing different qualities and social requirements.
    • Dharma is a complex set of teachings to be understood and practised from the beginning to the end of one’s life.
      • It focuses on upholding harmony with the order of the world.
        • Purity and pollution
        • Class and caste
  • 39. Social Structures
    • Harmony and balance are achieved by means of ordering human groups in different levels, each one having obligations and privileges. These are called the four varnas .
      • Brahmin – priest/teacher
      • Kshatriya – warrior/king
      • Vaishya – farmer/merchant
      • Shudra – servant to the other three classes.
  • 40. Material
    • Shrines are found in Hindu homes and are used to worship the God/Goddess of that house.
    • Temples
  • 41. Symbol
    • The syllable Om is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its meaning. It represent several important triads:
      • the three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven
      • the three major Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva
      • the three sacred Vedic scriptures - Rg, Yajur, and Sama
    • Thus Om mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe .
    Hindu people greet each other by placing their two hands together and slightly bowing the head, whilst saying namaste or a similar phrase. They adopt the same posture when greeting the temple deity or a holy person. Thus when greeting another person, a Hindu is offering respect to the soul within ( atman ) and also to God within the heart (Paramatman).
  • 42.
    • Lotus ( padma ) – symbol of purity/transcendence. Growing out of the mud, it is beautiful, and though resting on water, it does not touch it.
    • Conchshell – used during arati: one of the four symbols of Vishnu. The others are the lotus, club and disc.
    • Swastika – an ancient solar sign considered to invoke auspiciousnes.
    • Trident ( trishul ) – the symbol of Shiva; often carried by Shaivite sannyasis (renunciates).
    • Kalasha – coconut circled by mango leaves on a pot. Often used in rituals such as the fire sacrifice.
    • Cow – symbol of purity, motherhood and ahimsa (non-violence).
    • Lotus feet (of guru or deity) – touching the feet of superiors shows an attitude of submission and service.
    • Dipa/lamp – symbol of light.
  • 43.  

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