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World’s Major Religions
The major religions of the world are Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
Christianity is based on the teaching of Jesus Christ who lived in Holy Land 2000 years ago.
Jesus Christ was a Jew, who was born in Bethlehem. He came to earth to teach about love and friendship. He lived for 33 years before being crucified by Romans.
Christians believe that there is one God, but it consists of three “persons” – God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.
There are three main branches of Christianity – the Catholic Church, the Church of England and the Orthodox Church. All Christians share common beliefs that God revealed himself in Jesus Christ, that Christ was crucified and resurrected.
The Christian place of worship is a Church, also a Chapel and a Cathedral. They are often made in the shape of a cross with the altar facing east toward the rising sun.
The Christian Holy Book is the Bible. It is divided into Old and New Testaments.
Islam began in Arabia and was revealed to humanity by Muhammad (570 – 632), a holy man born in Mecca to whom God told many things.
The Holy Book of Islam is called the Koran. It is translated as “the word of God”.
Those who follow Islam are called Muslims. They believe that there is only one God called Allah.
The Muslim building for worship is called a mosque. Very often mosques have a domed roof with a tall tower called a minaret, from which Muslims are called to prayer.
Muslims pray five times a day. They take off their shoes and use prayer mats to kneel on them. They wash themselves before prayer and face the direction of Mecca while praying.
Judaism is around 3500 years old and is the oldest of the world’s four great religions. Jews believe in one God who created the universe.
This religion originated in Israel. The founder of Judaism is Abraham who is regarded as the father of Jewish people. Jews see Abraham as a symbol of trusting and obeying God.
Moses is also an important figure of Judaism, as he gave the Jews the Torah, the Jewish Holy Book, which contains the Laws of God.
Jews worship in synagogues. Men and women sit separately. Men are required to cover their heads.
Buddhism began in India and is based on the teaching of the Buddha. The religion is 2500 years old. Buddhism is the main religion in many Asian countries.
It is a religion about suffering and need to get rid of it. A key concept of Buddhism is Nirvana, a state without suffering. Buddhism is not centered on the relationship between humanity and God.
The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. He was born around the year 580 B.С. in Nepal. He found the path to Enlightenment and became known as Buddha or “awakened one”.
Buddhists worship at home or at a temple.
Buddhists believe that there is cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. Breaking out the cycle is called Nirvana. It is perfect peace, free of suffering.