Religions across the world

How are religions across the world different from each other?

Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism are called the five religions of the world because most people follow one of these religions. All believers search for a release from worldly sufferings, but in different ways. Buddhists follow teachings of the Buddha; Hindus believe in reincarnation, while Christians, Jews, and Muslims do not. Although Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are different religions, they have common origin – they have a sacred book, the Bible for the Christians, the Koran for the Muslims and the Torah for the Jews.

What is salvation?

Salvation is the belief that God saves his believers from sin and its effects. Suffering and the exposition of evil plays an important role in most religions. Christians believe that as an act of mercy, God sent Jesus Christ to the Earth to release humans from suffering and their sins. Similarly, Allah is the merciful God for the Muslims, who sends righteous men to Paradise after their death and releases them from their suffering. Jews are waiting for a liberator or a Messiah, who will liberate their people and the land of Israel assigned to them by God. Hinduism and Buddhism, on the other hand, see salvation as liberating the human form from the greed of possession.

What is the ‘wheel of life’?

Hindus believe that their soul is reborn in a different body after death. They believe that they will go through this circle of rebirth and death, the ‘wheel of life’, till they achieve nirvana and escape the cycle of rebirth. The Buddhists too believe in the wheel of life, but they do not believe that their soul is reborn in a new body.

How did the Bible originate?

Like most holy books, the Bible was not written by a single author; rather, it is a collection of writings of more than 40 authors that were put together and translated. These were written in three languages: the 39 texts of the Old Testament in Hebrew and Aramic, and the 27 texts of the New Testament in Greek. The Old Testament was written before the birth of Jesus Christ. Its content is quite similar to the sacred writings of the Jews. The Christians consider Jesus Christ as their liberator, and the New Testament describes his life and deeds.

What do Jews, Christians and Muslims have in common?

They all believe in a single, all-powerful God. The Jews call him Jehovah, the Christians God or Father, and the Muslims call him Allah. All three religions refer to a holy book: the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, which also includes the Torah, for the Jews, the Bible with the Old and the New Testament for the Christians and the Quran for the Muslims. In addition, all three religions have prophets, Abraham, Jesus Christ, and Mohammed, who conveyed the will of God to the people. Judaism is the oldest of the three religions.

Who was Buddha?

Buddha founded the religion Buddhism. His name was Siddhartha Gautama and he lived in the fifth century BC. He was given the title ‘Buddha’ after he achieved his enlightenment. Like the Hindus, he believed in the eternal cycle of birth and death, but rejected the unfair classification of society into castes. The Buddhists believe that everyone can become a Buddha through enlightenment. Siddhartha Gautama taught his disciples how to reach enlightenment: he said that you can find your way to happiness, when you free yourself of your possessions and the greed to possess.

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