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Assignment 1: World View Chart Writing Assignment

Autor:   •  December 13, 2015  •  Term Paper  •  7,781 Words (32 Pages)  •  1,846 Views

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44Religion

Cosmogony - Origin of the Universe

Nature of God

View of Human Nature

View of Good and Evil

View of “Salvation”

View of After Life

Practices and Rituals

Celebrations and Festivals

Week 2

Hinduism and Jainism

The origin of Hinduism is very diverse amongst other World religions, and there is no creator, founder or date that states the history. However, Hinduism may have existed amongst early Dravidian people of India in the Indus Valley around 1500, or 2500 B.C.E. Also origins of Brahman tradition can be drawn back to Vedic age. (Fisher, 2014)

Jainism origin of religion can be traced back to “yogic seals and Statues from the Indus Valley civilization 2500 BCE (Fisher, 2014).” On the contrary in Jainism, cosmogony has no beginning or end. (Fisher, 2014)    

Hinduism is a polytheistic religion that consist of about 300 million gods. The religious foundation of Hinduism expanded in Vedic times when priest “Brahmins,” formed sacred chants, actions that were used to shape existence. On the contrary, Hinduism has many gods but the three groups worshiped most are “Shakta’s that worship a Mother Goddess, Shaivites that adore to Shiva, and Vaishnatives who worship Vishnu (Fisher, 2014).”

According to Jainism, the nature of God is nontheistic. Individuals that practice Jainism do not believe God as a spirit but rather a human being of perfection. Also, to reach a perfect state individual consciousness has to discover its perfection. On the other hand to reach the highest state the soul must be liberated blissful and omniscient. (Fisher, 2014)

In Hinduism the soul or atman is a source of Brahman obtained through spirit and peace. Through atman a person can be reincarnated in many life forms. The only way to be liberated from rebirth is to achieve the ultimate goal in as the ultimate life form as a human being.

According to Jainism, the ultimate goal is freeing the soul by discovering one’s perfection. One of the main focuses is purifying oneself by living an ethical life. (Fisher, 2014)

Karma means there are consequences to actions and is used as a way of guidance in good in evil in Hinduism and Jainism. However, in Hinduism “every act, thought or desire shapes future experiences (Fisher, 2014).” The ultimate goal in Hinduism is achieving good deeds rather than living a perfect life. When Hindus do not achieve the ultimate, they will go through the process of samsara or rebirth. To escape samsara moksha or liberation of spirit must be achieved. According to Jainism the soul can be freed by achieving perfection on earth. Jains believe the universe has no beginning or end, and our actions determine the future path of our life. Also, Jains believe karma is a subtle matter of minute particles that is stored through thoughts and actions. (Fisher, 2014)  

According to Hinduism eternal salvation and liberation of rebirth must be achieved through moksha. Hindus that accomplish moksha could find Brahma in oneself. Also for Hindu’s to reach salvation they must hold ethics as a key purpose in life. According to Jainism salvation is achieved as a human and time cannot be wasted. Jains try to eliminate themselves from falsifications and negative tendencies by developing pure beliefs and actions. To achieve salvation and avoid Karma principles of ahimsa (nonviolence), aparigraha (non-attachment), and anekantwad (non-absolutism) must be adopted. (Fisher, 2014)

Hindus believe that the soul can be set free in good karma but only in human form. If a person does not accomplish sufficient good deeds, a soul may be reincarnated into a lower life form such as an animal. The process of attaining spiritual liberation may take a lifetime, and human beings can only be liberated from the reoccurring cycle of rebirth. In Jainism, there is no belief in an afterlife. Jains acknowledge becoming content while leading the path of righteousness. One way to lead a virtuous life is through Tirthankara or enlightened teachings to purify the soul away from evil. (Fisher, 2014)

Hindus maintain practices of worshiping different gods and studying the Brahma. Hindus life is expressed in rituals. In fact, sixteen sites are arranged for purification and sanctification of individuals. Public worship is encouraged and performed by Brahmin priest. Worship ceremonies such as Havan are sacred rituals or fire ceremonies often performed. Other worship ceremonies and rituals involve devotion to employing all senses. Also, people who maintain devotion in Hindu temples may receive blessings through Darshan.  

Jainism is mostly practiced by monks and nuns who maintain low maintenance lifestyles. On the other hand, monks and nuns may adapt a life of fasting physical penance, and celibacy. Practicing Jainism involves living in ahisma (nonviolence) with strict vegetarian diets. (Fisher, 2014)

Hindu celebrations may be held every day in many locations in India. In fact, sixteen holidays are granted by the government. Festivals are articulated in a happy spiritual manner. Group energy is encouraged to attract gods to overcome evil. Divali is a ceremony that is well known in India and is celebrated with festivals, fireworks, and lights. Jainism festivals are characterized by meditation, renunciation, Hymns, fasting, and spiritual practices. On the contrary, many Hindu holidays are celebrated in a peaceful state by fasting and singing hymns for long periods of time.  Divali is one of the holidays that is celebrated by fasting for three days. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 3

Buddhism

The origin of Buddhism began with a path of spiritual discovery by Prince Siddhartha Gautama born in 563 B.C.E also known as Buddha. Siddhartha rejected self-indulgence and self-denial. (Wangu, 2002) On the contrary, the cosmogony of Buddhism relates to a world revolving from collective Karma and actions conveyed through Abhidharma texts. Also other perspectives of Buddhism is based on the nature of mind of clear light and luminosity. (Fisher, 2014)  

Buddhist are nontheistic and believe that liberation and suffering depend on the individual determination in life. (Fisher, 2014)

The Four noble truths is the foundation of human nature in Buddhism that mentions human conditions can be cured through Sarnath’s teachings. (Fisher, 2014) The four noble truths includes:

“1. Life inevitably involves suffering, dissatisfaction, and distress. 2. Suffering is caused by craving, rooted in ignorance.

3. Suffering will cease when craving ceases.

4. There is a way to realize this state the noble, enlightened path (Fisher, 2014).”  

The wheel of birth and death is based on consequences of Karma through engagements of the body, speech and mind. According to Buddhism “the wheel of birth and death functions off three afflictions: attachment, aversion, and delusion (Fisher, 2014).” Buddhist believe that a person experiencing the cycle of birth and death is a result of their actions and wrongdoings in life that causes suffering. The only way to purify the mind from evil, greed, hatred, and ignorance is by accomplishing nirvana. In other words reaching nirvana is the only way to be released from the consequences of Karma. (Fisher, 2014)  

According to Buddhism an important aspect to accomplish salvation is through achieving the last goal of liberation through the Noble Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path proposes ways to purify the body and mind of selfish emotions and unethical actions. On the contrary, following the eight paths can lead Buddhist to achieve Nirvana the primary state of mind. (Fisher, 2014)  

Buddhist do believe that someone’s conscious can be reincarnated if they do not follow the passages or teachings of Buddhism with a mindset of wisdom and compassion. Five elements continue into the afterlife that includes physical phenomenon, emotions, sensory perceptions, responses to sensory and consciousness. According to Buddhism, there is no immortal soul and the cycle of reincarnation can cease through nirvana. (Fisher, 2014)

In Buddhism, meditation is a central focus of liberation. Also, Buddhist practices Zen to preserve the spirit of Buddhist teachings. Zen triggers the mind to focus on Dharma and underlines the nature of the mind. The early practice of Zen is a meditation process of inhalation to exhalation from one to ten. (Fisher, 2014) However, the goal is not getting to ten but “relaxing the mind and letting go without attachment and preference (Fisher, 2014).”  

Buddhism has evolved into many forms in different countries, so most festivals are not reliably celebrated. Vesak is an important festival in which the birth of Buddha, enlightenment, and death is celebrated. This festival begins on the first full moon of April or May. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 4

Daoism and

Confucianism

Daoism originated from the oldest religious tradition known as shamanism that involves belief in the existence of two worlds. The Daoism religion contains many elements of Shamanism. Daoism emerged from Shamanism teachings as a single religion offering healing, well-being and ability to communicate with many deities. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997) On the contrary, Daoism view of the universe is composed of the nature of negative and positive forces. (Fisher, 2014)

Confucianism originated around the sixth century BCE a period of spiritual and intellectual cultures. The origin of the universe in Confucianism “focuses on ways to developing a just and orderly society (Fisher, 2014 pg.207).”  

Daoism is a religion where people believe that every human has a spirit. Today the general qualities of Dao deal with childbirth, wealth, and health. On the contrary, the nature of God is revealed through teachings of heaven and earth as a pure focus on human manifestation. Legendary teachings of Daoism includes stories of Tao Te Ching, the founder of Spirit. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)

Confucius originated around 551 BCE during the Zhou dynasty and felt that classical rites, standards, and virtue are the only way to escape the chaos and seek god’s nature. Confucius believe in the immanent moral will of heaven by connecting human beings to intuitive ways of living. (Fisher, 2014)  

In Daoism people think life and human nature are aligned with a natural force known as yin and yang that brings harmony and understanding. Yin and Yang are two opposite forces that combine into one. These two forces are locked into everything and create the energy of life through interaction or cause and effect. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)

Confucianism is known to be a religion that brings order and harmony into humans lives. Among a Confucianism society virtues of Ren can save society. The characters of Ren are conveyed by two people forming a relationship with goodness, love benevolence, and virtue. (Fisher, 2014)  

Daoism focuses on experiences of a real alliance of all things rather than separation. People that practice Daoism believe in an excepting universe, not labeling things as good and evil but off balance. (Fisher, 2014) “Flowing water is Daoist model of being (fisher, 2014 pg.195).”

Teachings of Confucianism does not involve opinions on what is good and evil. Instead, learning is an exemplary process of understanding the way of life and heaven. (Fisher, 2014)

 Taking a humble and quiet approach to life is necessary to conserve life and achieve salvation through Dao. Also, one must detach themselves from all material gain, and fame to pursue the ultimate state of Dao.(Fisher, 2014)

To achieve salvation in Confucianism, one must obtain morals and live up to the obligations of society. For example, Confucianism can be achieved through adherence of Ren. (Fisher, 2014)

Individuals that practice Daoism believe in the preservation of morality through the human’s soul. It is thought that becoming immortal involves changing into an imperishable form. On the contrary, Daoist scriptures may counsel views of birth and death while others teach about the way of nature through morality. (Fisher, 2014) According to Confucianism, individuals must behave in a supreme social manner to achieve mortality. For example “what you do not want done to yourself do not do to others (Fisher, 2014 pg.211).” Through Confucianism cherishing what is right will bring one's soul into heaven. (Fisher, 2014)    

Feng shui is a ritual practiced to restore the balance of yin and yang in many areas. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997) Many temples of Daoism have institutionalized feng shui to determine qi through the earth and the best places to instill harmony in a temple, dwelling, or grave. (Fisher, 2014) Another ritual that is practiced in Daoism is fortune telling. Fortune tellers strain that fortune is at the hand of an individual and provide guidance so people can obtain harmony with the flow of Dao. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997) On the contrary practices of inner alchemy is a popular tradition. Inner Alchemy is a spiritual practice of transformation, self-cultivation, longevity, and mortality.

Confucians maintain practices of virtue and spiritual, intellectual flourishing. Moral teachings of Confucianism is presumed to be the basis for establishing proper relationships with family. (Fisher, 2014)

The Dragon Boat Festival is celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month that honors an official who tried to shock the emperor express greater kindness to the poor. The Dragon Festival is a Daoism celebration of honest government and physical ability. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997) The Hungry Ghost Festival is held for the dead that did not have proper burials. To be released from the underworld the living must try to claim the ghost of those who weren’t buried. Each year Daoist’s hold offerings and prayers to prevent the spirit from causing chaos. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)

In Confucianism, the emperor acquires religious ceremonies to give thanks and receive blessings from heaven. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 5

Shinto

Shinto is not referred to as a religion tradition but rather a way of honoring the spirits of nature and ancestors. The Shinto religion has no founder, sacred literature, specific codes, or ethical obligations. The cosmogony of Shinto refers to kami that corresponds to heaven, earth, and the solar system. (Fisher, 2014)  

Shinto is a pantheistic practice, and people believe that gods and spirits partake in many forms. People that follow Shino believe in ancient forms of spirits in the natural world known as Kami. Kami is a single or plural essence that may partake in many locations. (Fisher, 2014) The Kami refers to the quality and signifies “that which is above (Fisher, 2104 pg.224).”

According to Shinto the environment, humans, and animals is joined through “kinship as the spiritual creation of Kami (Fisher, 2014 p.226).” However, Kami is a fundamental sense of Kannagara. The meaning of Kannagara signifies unity with natural forms of beauty such as mountains, snow, rain or a calm breeze. When individuals respond to the beauty of nature and natural order Kannagara can be expressed in their lives. People that express Kannagara are living up to the natural flow of the universe and will develop and benefit by following these standards. (Fisher, 2014)  

In the tradition of Shinto, the world is safe and full of good spirits. Sexuality is not evil, and the world has many deities. On the contrary, evil may enter the world through impurity that can cause tragedies such as drought and war. According to Shinto impurity or misfortune is called tsumi or kegare.  Tsumi may require purification to release from obstruction and problems. Someone may experience impurity or trouble if they come in contact with harmful spirits.  The harmful spirits may bring negative energy from death, negative vibrations from a corrupt mind, and hostility towards others or disasters occurring within the environment. However, repentance can purify the body from evil and sin. (Fisher, 2014)  

People that practice Shinto are concerned with maintaining balance and purity throughout a lifetime. On the contrary, balance and purity are important in the material world and spiritual world. Also, practicing Kami with an order will allow values and traditions to be passed down from generation to generation. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)  To achieve salvation tradition must be established and practiced on a daily basis. Also, individuals must constantly worship shrines to uphold spiritual communion with Kami. (Fisher, 2014)  

Unlike other religions, a person does not need to confess their belief in Shinto. According to Shinto to reach purity in the afterlife one must practice kami. On the other hand, people that practice Shinto believe that every human has an eternal soul or spirit. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997) After death, it is believed that spirits are inhibited into a spiritual world. Shinto followers uphold beliefs that their ancestor’s spirit protects them. On the contrary, Shinto expresses that a person’s soul may obtain Kami during some time after death. (Fisher, 2014)    

Shrines are used as a collective ritual to represent the practice of Kami. The Shinto shrines are used to honor Kami with special responsibilities such as healing, and protecting crops from insects. Today there are more than one hundred thousand shrines in Japan and most of them are dedicated “Inari the god of rice (Fisher, 2014 p.226).” Inari shrines are linked to a good harvest and are represented by fox statues. People that visit shrines often have a sense of spiritual renewal. Japanese may visit shrines for many reasons such as to pray to ancestors, or life events such as birth, conception, and marriage. Shinto shrines are considered to be sacred and before people enter a shrine they usually wash their hands and face to approach the Kami. (Fisher, 2014)  

 Shinto festivals are commonly held throughout the years of a person’s life. The first festival begins four months before the birth of a child when the soul enters the fetus. Then after thirty-two or thirty-three days of birth “parents take it to the family shrine for initiation by deity (Fisher, 2014 p.231).” In a traditional Shinto family many milestones are celebrated such as coming of age at thirteen, reaching women hood at sixteen, and reaching spiritual awareness and ritualism. On the contrary, local shrines celebrate kami through offerings of rice, fish, and vegetables. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 6

Judaism

Judaism is known to have a covenant with one God and is a diverse tradition that has no single founder, leader or group. On the contrary, Jewish history begins with stories from the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh. Judaism has no single founder, central leader or group that makes decisions and can be known as religion or ethnicity. “In religious terms Jews are those who experience their long and often difficult history as a continuing Dialogue with God (Fisher, 2014 p. 246).” Biblical tales began with the notion of one God that created the world and development began through patriarchs’ matriarchs and Moses. Moses was a man that had spoken to God and led people according to God’s ten commandments. God commanded Moses to free slaves from Egypt and if the leader did not wish to release them and obey the laws of God great consequences and suffering will arise. (Fisher, 2014)  

Judaism is a religion based on the belief that there is one God (Yahweh).  Jews believe that God is merciful, forgiving, sovereign, all-knowing, and powerful. In fact, the essential commandment is loving God. According to Judaism, there is a special relationship that needs to be maintained with God. (Fisher, 2014) Obedience to God is essential, and many Jews believe that “God grants favors and is bound by ethical agreements to the people (Fisher, 2014).” However, Jewish people must follow commandments, covenants, and Hebrew scriptures. (Fisher, 2014 p. 279)  

According to Jewish teachings, there are strong beliefs that human nature creates the image of God. In God’s eyes, everyone is potentially equal and are known to be mutual descendants of the first man and woman. The nature of human beings can reach perfectibility through the Tanakh and Torah. The Torah consists of five books and six hundred thirteen laws that were revealed to Moses. However, God limited the power of complete perfection by letting people exercise free will. (Fisher, 2014) The decision of free will involves “responsibility for the world’s condition and their own (Fisher, 2014 p. 279).”

The nature of good and evil began with Adam and Eve according to the Hebrew bible or old testament. Adam first male and Eve the first female were the first two humans on earth placed in a garden of paradise. On the contrary, according to scriptures Eve was promised wisdom by a serpent of Satan that encouraged her to taste forbidden fruit of good and evil against the will of God. She gave the fruit to Adam as well that ended their innocence God cursed the land and banished Adam and Eve from the garden. The legend of Adam and Eve has proven the risk and misfortune from straying from God’s commands. However, Jewish people believe they are spread throughout the world by God’s will and can help those of imperfection to reach the perfection created by God again. (Fisher, 2014)

Judaism upholds predicaments of the coming of God’s victory over evil. In Hebrew scriptures, it is proclaimed that Yahweh will reward good people and punish those that are evil. The only way to be saved from sin is to live a righteous life until judgment approaches. The best way to obtain obedience is to follow the laws of the Torah. The Torah refers to sacred laws and literature that is the absolute level of Gods will and wisdom. On the contrary, Jews believe they will continue the cycle of suffering until a Messiah is sent to save them. (Fisher, 2014) The Messiah will save the people and repair relationships with God. Also, peace will be established amongst Israel. However, there are contradictory beliefs that the Messiah will come when the world is at peace. Many Jews believe that following the Torah and improving the world will accelerate the Messiahs arrival. (Judaism, 2012)  

References to the afterlife are found in some scriptures throughout the Hebrew Bible. Jews believe that the body and soul remain immortal and will be resurrected from their grave. On the contrary, Orthodox Jews may not cremate the dead seeing it as a denial of bodily resurrection. When a Jewish person dies, the body must be buried as soon as possible and wrapped in white sheets. It is believed that the body and soul are immortal and will rise to God after death. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)  

Rabbis are important teachers of Israel that express and acknowledge the teachings of the Hebrew Bible. A Rabbi is a Jewish leader of spiritual guidance and rituals. The Rabbi teaches in Synagogues that means meeting place to read the Torah, worship, and pray to God. Rabbis are given the task of interpreting the Hebrew scriptures, and the study process is called Midrash. On the contrary, Rabbis have the responsibility of preserving the Babylonian Talmud, which has become the major version of theology and law for Jewish people. One of the leading practices in Jewish studies is daily religious education. Boys are usually taught how to read write and interpret Hebrew through the progression of exegesis or oral Torah. To seal god’s commandments to Abraham, boys are circumcised when they are eight. Another ritual that influences significance in studying the Torah is unhealthy foods. In Jewish culture, Kosher foods are ritually acceptable. The Kosher foods include meats that are from warm-blooded animals with hoofs such as cows, goats, sheep and poultry. Pork and shellfish are not considered Kosher and meats must be slaughtered in a traditional way. (Fisher, 2014)

Many celebrations and festivals occur every year in Judaism.  One of the most recognized practices is the coming of age ceremonies at age thirteen. Jewish boys have Bar Mitzvahs (son of commandment) ceremonies and are undertaken in religious instruction to learn passages and Hebrew. Girls partake in the celebration of Bat Mitzvah (daughter of commandment) with the responsibilities of non-Orthodox congregations. (Fisher, 2014) Another known and public celebration is “Hanukkah the Feast of Dedication (Fisher, 2014.” Hanukkah is celebrated by lighting eight candles one each night to increase the amount of sunlight. According to history, Hanukkah was a celebration of the victory of the Maccabean rebellion. Jews acknowledge this time to give thanks and observe the time for gift giving. On the Contrary, the Spiritual year commences with the celebration of High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah is celebrated New Year’s Day and is a time of spiritual remembrance of the original creation of the world. Also, people are encouraged to follow Rosh Hashanah by looking at mistakes that were made over the year. Yom Kippur is the second holy day that renews sacred covenants with God in a spirit of atonement and cleansing. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 7

Christianity

Through God, all things were made. God is the creator of heaven and earth and all that is seen and unseen.  Jesus Christ is known as the only son of God who died for our sins, he was Jewish and born from the Virgin Mary 2,000 years ago.  Christianity is a belief that is based on the life of Jesus Christ, death, and resurrection. Jesus Christ pursued his life teaching the gospel of God and gave his life for our sins so humanity could be saved. (Fisher, 2014)  

Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the belief of one God, who is sovereign, loving forgiving and merciful. Many of Gods teachings and prayers refer to the father, son and holy spirit. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who was chosen to restore the relationship with humankind that had been broken by disobedience. On the contrary, Jesus Christ was born a Jew and was killed by Romans through crucifixion. Later after the death of Jesus Christ it is known that he rose from his death, and he is recognized as the savior of humankind. To follow the teachings and life of Jesus Christ many Christians study the New Testament bible. (Fisher, 2014)  

Through personifications of Adam and Eve humans are sinful beings by nature. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God, and human nature is saved because of his sacrifice. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)  The teachings of Jesus Christ is based on ethical standards and morals for human nature to follow to be forgiven for their sins. One critical philosophy taught in the Bible is to turn your cheek instead of Seeking revenge. On the other hand, repentance and prayer are the only way to seek forgiveness for your sins. (Fisher, 2014) According to the old testament, people can practice free will and can be for God and his teachings or against him. (Genesis 1:31).

According to the old testament, people can practice free will and can be for God and his teachings or against him. (Genesis 1:31). In fact, the Bible states that people are given the right to choose between good and evil. The way to live a good and righteous life is by following the ten commandments that were given by God to Moses. (Fisher, 2014) Also, Jesus and his disciples taught their followers about “laying spiritual treasures in heaven rather than material treasures on earth (Fisher, 2014 p.308).” Jesus taught others that God is generous, and those who love God must seek the path of righteousness through prayer. On the contrary, Christians believe when Jesus came to earth humans were given an opportunity to escape eternal death by following the teachings of Jesus Christ and asking for forgiveness of sins. Those who follow the path of righteousness will be welcome in the Kingdom of Heaven those who don’t will fall into a hell of eternal damnation and suffering.(Fisher, 2014) In fact the old Testament states “be not overcome evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).” In other words, evil can be overcome through good practices and deeds.

Christians are saved by grace through faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ. Strong faith must be exercised as well as forgiveness, repentance, and prayers to enter the kingdom of heaven. (Fisher, 2014) On the contrary Jesus taught others “to love thy enemies and pray for those who prosecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Fisher, 2014 p.310).” The ethical challenge may seem impossible but with God in mind all things are possible. On the contrary, Christians also believe that the resurrection is the basis of Christian faith through belief in Jesus Christ. (Fisher, 2014)

  In reference to Christianity death is not the end of life. Christians believe in life after death for those that maintain belief in God will be accepted into heaven. Heaven is a holy place where the soul escapes the body to be united with God. (Christianity: Beliefs about life after death. 2014) The Christian view of the afterlife is based on the foundation of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah. (Fisher, 2014) On the other hand, God is just and fair and evil may not go unpunished those who are evil may be subject to hell and eternal suffering. According to biblical texts to reach heaven or hell is based on a judgement of how an individual lived on earth. (Christianity: Beliefs about life after death. 2014)

The Church is the temple of God where teaching the Bible is a necessary foundation to maintain a strong faith in the word of God. In churches, worship takes place where a person can see and hear heavenly with the presence of the holy spirit. Also

Sacraments or sacred rites are made in a church such as a baptism purification by water to allow the soul to be saved from sin. Communion is another sacred ritual practiced in which people eat bread and drink wine as the body and blood of Christ in remembrance of his spirit and sacrifice. (Fisher, 2014)  

Celebrations and festivals are practiced every year in Christianity that symbolize the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Advent season is celebrated a month before Christmas as a time of joyous anticipation of buying and making gifts symbolizing God’s gift of Jesus Christ to the world. Christmas is the most common known Christian holiday that is a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Easter is the most important event of a Christian year. The Easter holiday is a commemoration of Jesus’s death Good Friday and the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday. Easter is celebrated in spring and is preceded by a forty day period of repentance called Lent. During Lent, sacrifices are made such as not eating meat on Fridays, acts of prayer and charity. Sacred rituals are also practiced that include Ash Wednesday and Palm Sunday that commemorates Jesus entry into Jerusalem. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 8

Islam

Islam is an Arabic word meaning to submit, and Muslim is a person that submits to God. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)  The religion of Islam teaches that "God is the creator that is all knowing, all powerful and the creator of all things (Fisher, 2014)." Muslims believe that God sent prophets such as Moses, Abraham, and Jesus to enshrine the commandments and the way of life for all humanity. However, the message was confused and Muhammad the last of the prophets’ revealed God’s intended words through the Qur’an. Muhammad’s words and actions are the second highest authority in Islam, but worship belongs to one God (Allah).  (Fisher, 2014)

Islam practices Monotheism and believe that “there is no God, but God and Muhammad is his messenger (Fisher, 2014 p. 377).” In Islam God is referred to as Allah and no one should be worshiped other than Allah. On the contrary, oneness with God is known to be the most important priority. Devotion to Allah underlies an essence of eternal unity. Muhammad expresses throughout the Qur’an that unity with God should be expressed throughout everyday life with every thought and action an individual might take. (Fisher, 2014) In Muslim beliefs, it is expressed that “God is all knowing and has intelligently created everything for a divine purpose governed by fixed laws that assure the harmonious and wondrous working of all creation (Fisher, 2014 pg. 388).” In other words, God’s words and laws in Islam serve a purpose that assure peace and prosperity.  

Unity amongst Muslim communities is critical to maintaining a peaceful society. Muslims around the world are supposed to embrace things such as a family. There are no “chosen people,” and everyone is encouraged to have a direct relationship with Allah. Individuals must always remember and focus on the oneness with God (Allah). However, humans will only find peace if they know the laws of the Qur’an and live by them. A Muslin that maintains God’s relationship freely and willingly accepts the power of God and makes every effort to organize their life around God’s teachings and guidance. (Fisher, 2014)  

According to Islam major human sins involves a person’s relationship with God. In Islam, pure monotheism is highly encouraged, and one must worship anything but God. Idol worship is considered a great sin because humans may forget God that can result in Kufr (ungratefulness to God, unbelief, or atheism). Muslims that forget God can develop evil or bad habits. On the contrary, those that serve, praise and follow the laws of the Qur’an may experience peace and acceptance with God.  (Fisher, 2014)

Salvation in Islam depends on maintaining faith in one God (Allah). For people to achieve heaven they must follow the Qur’an’s scriptures and laws and abide by Muhammad’s prophecy. Muslims must also recite five daily prayers and should gather at a mosque on Fridays after midday prayers. Islam is taught as a way of life to be closer to God rather than a religion. Everything a Muslim does throughout their life reflects Allah. People that practice Islam will find peace by knowing the laws of the Qur’an and living by them. (Fisher, 2014)

The Qur’an states that during a period after a person’s death “humans will be bodily resurrected and assembled for the final accounting of their deeds (Fisher, 2014 p. 390).” During the time of resurrection, the final judgement of the world will come. Islam proclaims that experiences in the afterlife reveal actions in life. Muslims believe in paradise. However, hell is not everlasting. The only people that remain in hell are non-believers others will be lifted to paradise. (Fisher, 2014)

Muslim practices and rituals revolve around spiritual practices of the Five Pillars of Islam. The First Pillar is (the Shahadah) or belief in the unity of God and Muhammad as a messenger. The second pillar involves five daily prayers were Muslims face Mecca and recite various prayers from the Qur’an. In Islam prayer is necessary to strengthen belief in God and carry out good deeds throughout a lifetime. The third pillar connects prayer with Zakat (charity or almsgiving). On the contrary, by the end of each year Muslims are required to donate a percentage of their wealth to impoverished Muslims. The Fourth Pillar is Fasting that liberates the body from heavy food and teaches the soul a lesson to relieve a person to grow closer to God. In Islam fasting obligatory during Ramadan where a person must fast for forty days in the summer venerating revelations of the Qur’an to Muhammad. The Fifth Pillar is hajj or pilgrimage to Mecca. All Muslims that are physically and financially stable must make a pilgrimage in their lifetime. The pilgrimage involves seven walks through an ancient spiritual place called Ka’bah by the end of the walk people may experience a closer relationship with God. (Fisher, 2014)

Islam first celebration of the year is called Muharram takes place during the first month of an Islamic year. Muharram is not a festival but in the middle of the month the festival of Ashura takes place. Ashura is the celebration of the martyrdom of Ali and Muslims fast for two days prior to this holiday. Ramadan is the most known celebration of Islam and takes place during the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar. The month of Ramadan is a month of fasting where Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking, or sexual relations from dawn to sunset. However, children under puberty are exempt from participating. During the end of Ramadan, a celebration is made to break the fast. (Breuilly, O’Brien, & Palmer, 1997)  

Week 9

Sikhism

God (Nam) infuses cosmos and can be found in everything. Sikhism is understood as a path of life rather that a particular religion and is a statement of universal truth. The practice of Sikhism calls attention to universal spirituality and significance of worship in everyday life. Sikh’s are often referred to as disciples, students or seekers of truth. Guru Nanak founded the religion of Sikhism during the fifteenth century in India. Guru Nanak expressed that God is not Hindu or Muslim, and people should only follow the path of God. The religion spread rapidly in India and the world through Nanak and ten other Gurus that followed his beliefs. (Fisher, 2014)  

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that focuses on loving and devotion to one God, and Sikhs recognize as the same God that is worshiped by many names. (Fisher, 2014) According to Sikhism “God is formless, beyond time and space, the only truth, the only reality (Fisher, 2014 pg. 443).” The concept of God was presented by Guru Nanka’s scared chant. Sikh’s often refer to God as Sat (truth) or Ik Onkar supreme being. (Fisher, 2014)  

According to Sikhism, human nature endures the cycle of birth life and rebirth.  Also, Sikhism beliefs have some similarities with Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Sikhs see life as an opportunity to merge with the divine will of God. The ultimate goal in Sikhism is to maintain a healthy relationship with God while being part of a Sikh community. (Fisher, 2014)  

Like Hinduism, Sikhism focuses on Karma and past actions can reflect one's current life or next life. On the contrary, someone that doesn’t respect the laws of God may experience Karma and be reincarnated into a different life form such as an animal. In fact, the fundamental goal in life is union with holy living. (Fisher, 2014) Sikhism beliefs are similar to monotheistic religions and expresses that God grants free will. According to Sikhism mankind is born neither good nor evil and one must exercise good actions that lead to good deeds. Evil is not a state of mind but rather a result of wrong choices. (Sikhism: Belief about the Afterlife, 2014)

According to Sikhism mankind is born neither good nor evil and one must exercise good actions that lead to good deeds. Evil is not a state of mind but rather a result of wrong choices. (Sikhism: Belief about the Afterlife, 2014)    According to Sikhism, the ultimate purpose in life is to recognize God through everyday practices of work, love, worship, and charity. All people must be treated equally because Gods light may dwell in ego. On the other hand, to achieve one must serve God, accomplish good deeds, and defend the weak against tyranny. (Fisher, 2014)  

In Sikhism reincarnation can reoccur, and death can be a never ending cycle rebirth. Sikhs believe that that only human life can escape the cycle of reincarnation, but they must know the difference between right and wrong. According to Sikhism, a person’s soul cannot be set free if they express bad karma. “Freedom from the cycle of rebirth is known as Mukti. However five aspects can stop someone from reaching Mukti that are lust, anger, greed, pride, and attachment. (Sikhism: Good and evil, 2014)

The Five K’s is a ritual that’s symbolized every day in a Sikh’s life and represented spiritual sovereignty. However, the Five K’s is interpreted as symbols. The first symbol is uncut hair that is a gift from God. Second, a comb that represents an orderly life. Third, under breeches that are worn by Sikh soldiers. The fourth is a sword that symbolizes defense of the weak or oppressed. The last symbol is a circular bracelet that represents the relationship with God. On the contrary, to be a true Sikh one must live a disciplined life and maintain devotion to God by engaging in hours of daily prayer. Morning and evening prayers take about two hours a day. The first prayer is Guru Nanak’s recitation to God. The second-morning prayer is Guru Gobind Singh’s that addresses God’s presence in all. (Fisher, 2014)

Langar is a Sikhism celebration in which food and labor are contributed without discrimination of caste. Guru Nanak encourages langar as a symbol of discipline and charity to those that are hungry or in need. On the contrary, every spring a traditional harvest festival is held called Baisakhi. “Sikhs celebrate Baisakhi great enthusiasm every year as the birthday of Khalsa (Fisher, 2014 pg. 452). The ceremony is led by five baptized individuals representing the first five beloved sons. It begins with prayer and Guidance from Guru Granth Sahib. The process included reciting five daily prayers that can only be done by good members of Khalsa. (Fisher, 2014)

Week 10

New Religious Movements: (Mormon)The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints not only believe in the Bible but also another scripture known as The Book of Mormon. Mormons believe that in 1822 under spiritual guidance Joseph Smith found the book engraved on gold plates in New York State. On the contrary, Mormons have similar beliefs that God is the eternal Father and Jesus Christ is his son that died for our sins. However, Mormons believe that the word of God is still spread by chosen prophets of God such as Joseph Smith. (Fisher, 2014)  

Mormons are monotheistic and believe in one God that is the creator of heaven, earth, and all things. God is the eternal Father full of miracles and gave his only son for the redemption of mankind. The Death of Jesus Christ brought redemption to be reunited with the Lord in the kingdom of heaven. Mormons believe that Jesus Christ was crucified for the sins of the world and only by his mercy could anyone be saved. (Mormon 9: 11-17, The Book of Mormon, 2006) However, the nature of God was forgotten, and the scripture of God continued through the book of Mormon that was revealed unto Joseph Smith. (The Book of Mormon, 2006)

  According to The Book of Mormon, humans are the spirit of an offspring of the divine being. However, people are born with sin and spirits must recognize the presence of God who prepared a way to escape the devils wrath on earth. Eternal sacrifice to God is encouraged in scriptures. Which means one must follow the laws of God every day through prayer. According to Mormon scripture, Prophet Alma reveals that people are “children of God,” and those that show Faith and Good works are humbly accepted in the kingdom of heaven. (Givens, 2002)

The Book of Mormon shows that natural man is sinful because of the fall of Adam and Eve. However if individuals embrace the holy spirit and faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ, they are considered children of God. A person that does not follow scriptures or the word of God may be tempted by evil. God has given commandments to determine good from evil placing humans in a state of free will and actions. (Givens, 2002) “After having made known unto to them the plan of redemption that they should not do evil, the penalty thereof being a second death that was an everlasting death (Alma 12:32, The Book of Mormon, 2006).” In other words, those that do not obey god’s commandments will be subject to an eternal death of suffering and will not reach heaven.  

To achieve Salvation as a Mormon means one must live life through the grace of God and their actions. On the contrary, to live close to God and accomplish eternal salvation Mormons must follow specific steps such as believing that Jesus Christ is our savior. Being Baptized in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Receiving the holy ghost through ordain priesthood. Following the commandments and teachings of Jesus Christ and Apostles. The final step is to treat others the way you want to be treated (The Mormon Doctrine of Salvation, 2014).

According to Mormon scripture, the spirit leaves the earthly body and goes on to the spiritual world to be judged and resurrected. Those that are worthy to live with God again will resemble his traits and live with him in the kingdom of heaven. Mormons believe in eternal nature of man growing forever in heaven in glory and peace. (Mormon Afterlife Explained, 2012)

Mormons believe that baptism is an essential ritual that must be performed to enter the kingdom of God. Since humans are sinful, they must be baptized. For those that have died without being baptized a ritual is done where a person becomes baptized in the name of the deceased. However, the dead person may choose to accept the baptism or not. Another practice that is relevant to the Mormon faith is that all men are ordained to the priesthood as heads of the family household. The father teaches each child the priesthood of God. According to revelations, Mormons should avoid alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea and eat meat sparingly to maintain a healthy diet. Preaching is taught at an early age, and young adults are encouraged to become missionaries. Most of the success of the Mormon church is based on young adults that go on two-year missions to spread the word of God across the world. (Fisher, 2014)

Mormons actively encourage Sundays as the day of rest, community worship and a substantial amount of time is spent in meetings. However, Mormons only celebrate three major holidays. Similar to Christianity Mormons celebrate Christmas and Easter. Pioneer Day is the third most important holiday on July twenty-fourth. This holiday is a celebration of the first Pioneers in Salt Lake City. (Mormon Holy Days, 2014)


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