The Major
Religions of the
How Many Do You Know?
List all of the RELIGIONS
of the world that you can
think of.
We will study these….
 Judaism
 Hinduism
 Buddhism
 Christianity
 Islam
What are the characteristics
of a religion?
What is a Religion?
Religion – an organized system of
beliefs, ceremonies, practices and
worship that centers on one or
more gods
Monotheism vs. Polytheism
 Mono – “one”
 Poly – “many”
 Theism – the belief in god
 What do these terms mean?
Timeline info…
Note-Taking Format
 Important Text and Places
 Important People
 Symbols
 Rituals and Celebrations
 General Information
World Religion Populations
World Religion #1
 14 million people world wide
 1st “monotheistic” religion in history
 The Torah, or Jewish holy book, teaches
the basic laws of Judaism
 The universal symbol of Judaism is the
Star of David, the emblem of King David
who ruled the Kingdom of Israel from
1000 – 962 BC
Ritual, Worship & Celebration
 At age 13 Jewish children enter into the
religious community
– Bar Mitzvah – Men
– Bat Mitzvah - Women
 House of Worship
– The Synagogue
 Leadership
– Religious services are conducted by a rabbi
Ritual, Worship & Celebration
 Many Jews make the pilgrimage to the “Wailing
Wall in Jerusalem
– Built in the 2nd century BCE
– Remains of a temple that had stood for close to 500 years
• Destroyed by the Romans
– Thought to be the most sacred of places
– Temple itself was thought to be the place where God
resides on earth.
 Praying at the Wailing Wall signifies being in the
presence of the Divine
The “Wailing” Wall
Ritual, Worship & Celebration
 What is “Kosher”
– Strict dietary laws
– Forbids the eating of “unclean” animals such
as pigs or shellfish
– Dictates how certain foods should be prepared
 Important Jewish holy days include:
– Chanukah, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and
Review Questions & Homework
 What is the holy book of Judaism?
 What is the role of rabbi in Jewish
 What does the term “kosher” refer to?
 HOMEWORK (Due tomorrow)
– Define and explain:
Rosh Hashanah
Yom Kippur
World Religion #2
History of Christianity
 Founded c.33CE in Palestine
– Founded by Jesus and his followers
– Jesus is believed to be the messiah
 The most important symbol is the Cross
– Symbols the death of Jesus
 Currently, main locations are:
– North America
– South America
– Europe
Christian Population throughout the World
Christianity Facts
 Over 2B followers…largest religion in the world
 Major Sects
– Roman Catholic (RCC)
– Eastern Orthodox (EO)
– Protestant
 House of Worship
– Church or Chapel
 Leaders of the Church
– Hierarchy of priests and Pope (RCC) and (EO)
Christianity Beliefs
 Sacred Text
– The Bible (Old and New Testament)
 Important Rituals & Worship Practices
– The Seven Sacraments
• Baptism & Communion are two examples
 Major Holidays
– Easter and Christmas
 Belief in God
– One God (a trinity of Father, Son, Holy Spirit)
Canterbury Cathedral, England
The Cathedral of The Resurrection of Christ
in Saint Petersburg
Review Questions
 Why is Jesus Christ central to the Christian
 What do Christians hope to achieve by
following the teachings of Jesus Christ?
World Religion #3
 Third largest religion in the world
– Over 800 million followers
 One of the oldest surviving religions
– Formulated by 1500BCE
 Basic principles are found in The 4 Vedas –
sacred writings
 Priests are called Brahmins
 There is no one “leader” or “founder”
 It is the major religion of India
Early Hinduism
 Polytheistic Religion
– Thousands of deities
– One universal spirit – Brahman
– Three Major Gods
• Brahma, Vishnu, & Shiva
 Reincarnation – passing
through many lives to reach the
 Karma – consequences of how
a person lives
Hinduism Beliefs
 God in Hinduism is the Supreme Being
– Everywhere, all-knowing, and all-powerful
 The purpose of life is to obtain liberation
from the cycle of reincarnation
– People reach true enlightenment and happiness
when they free themselves of earthly desires
Hinduism Information
 Rituals
– Worship at home and in
– Temples can have
multiple shrines to gods
– Worship as individuals
and families, not as a
Hinduism Information
 Sects
– Shaktism
• Shakti – supreme
– Vaishnavites
• Vishnu – the Preserver
– Shaivites
• Shiva – the Destroyer
– Reform Hinduism
• Monotheistic & more
Hinduism Information
 Celebrations
– Diwali
• Hindu New Year
– Festival of Holi
• Triumph of good over
– Pilgrimage to the
Ganges River in India
• Hindus believe the
river has healing
Hinduism Review
 According to Hindu beliefs What is the
importance of the Ganges River in India?
 What are the three main gods of
World Religion #4
Who is the Buddha?
 Founder-Siddhartha Gautama (c.520BCE)
– Known as the Buddha or “enlightened one”
 Present spiritual leader -Dalai Lama
– Head of Buddhist Church
 4th largest religion in the world today
– Over 300 million followers
– Mainly found in China, Japan, Korea, SE Asia
Buddhist Beliefs
 Purpose of life is to escape the cycle of
rebirth (reincarnation) and attain nirvana
– Nirvana – a state of wisdom
– All living things can be reincarnated
• Animals can possibly be reborn into humans
 How to achieve Nirvana?
– Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path
– Key to happiness was detachment from all
worldly goods and desires
Buddhism Information
 Worship Practices
– Meditation – deep
thought & reflection
– Offering of gifts of food,
flowers, or candles
 Rituals
– Importance of the lotus
• Believer can blossom
while rooted in the
impurity of the world
Buddhism Information
 Major Buddhist Sects
– Theravada
• As close as possible to
Buddha’s teachings
– Mahayana
• More accepting of the
changing world
The Dalai Lama –
The present spiritual leader of Buddhism
Current Population of Worldwide Buddhism
Buddhism Review
 According to the Buddha, how does a
person achieve happiness and fulfillment?
 Why do Buddhists take special care as to
not kill a living being?
World Religion #5
History of Islam
 Founded in 622CE
– Founded by Muhammad in Saudi Arabia
• Muhammad is considered to be a prophet
– A messenger of Allah (God)
 Two Major Sects (split c.650CE)
– Sunni
– Shi’a (or Shiite)
• Leader of Muslim community must be a
descendant of Muhammad’s son-in-law (Ali)
Islamic Beliefs
 Five Pillars of Islam
– Faith
• Allah is the one true
– Prayer
• Five times a day
– Charity
• Giving to the poor
– Fast
• During Ramadan
– Pilgrimage to Mecca
Islamic Beliefs
 One God – Allah
 Believe in all the prophets
of Judaism and
 Holy Celebrations
– Id al-Fitr
• End of Ramadan Fasting
– Eid al-Adha
• End of Islamic calendar
Islamic Beliefs
 Sacred Text
– Qur’an (Koran)
– Hadith
 Religious Law
– Sharia
 House of Worship
– Mosque
 Leaders of the Religion
– imams
Islam Facts
 Second largest religion in the world
– Over 1 billion followers
 Month of Ramadan
– Muslims fast during the day
– Most important day is the “Night of Power”
• The night that the angel Gabriel 1st spoke to
 Major Areas in the World
– Middle East
– SE Asia
The Kaaba
Saudi Arabia
Blue Mosque
Istanbul, Turkey
Islam Review
 What is the most important night of
Ramadan? Why?
 What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
World Religion #6
 The Church of Ladder-Day Saints (LDS)
Followers are known as Mormons
 Founder-Joseph Smith
Translated a sacred history of the Americas,
known as the Book of Mormon in 1830
The Mormon Church
 Way of Life
– Belief in prophets (Gordon B. Hinckley)
– God (Father), Christ (Son), & the Holy Ghost
are three separate individuals
– Must give up alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea
– Must give 10% of income to church
– House of Worship: Temple or Church
San Diego Mormon Temple
San Diego, California
Salt Lake Temple
Salt Lake City, Utah
The Mormon Church
 Sacred Texts
– The Book of Mormon, the Christian Bible,
Doctrines & Covenants
 Current Headquarters: Salt Lake City,
 To Achieve Salvation: Faith and
works…works are emphasized (missionary)
 Today there are more than 12 millions
followers, half outside the US

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