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World Religions Project

By Ryan O’Cain

The five religions with the most international


followers are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism,
Buddhism, and Judaism.

Hinduism
Hinduism is the oldest of the five main world
religions. It originated over 3,000 years ago in
India. The founder of Islam is unknown.
Currently, there are about 900 million Hindus in
the world. Most of the world’s Hindu population
live in India and its neighboring countries.
Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. The sacred
texts of Hinduism are the Vedas and the
Upanishads.

While they believe in thousands of gods, Brahma


is their main god. They worship Brahma and the
other Hindu gods in temples. They believe in
Karma, which is the idea that how you acted in
your current life will affect your next life. If you
are a bad person in one life, you will punished by
being born into a low caste, or social class, in your
next life. They believe that while one’s body will
eventually die, their soul is immortal. They also
believe that you can escape the reincarnation cycle
by reaching Moksha. Some important holidays for
Hindus are Diwali, Holi, and Navratri. Beef and
other meats from cows are forbidden in the
Hinduism.

(Statue of Shiva)

Buddhism
Similar to Hinduism, Buddhism was founded in
India. In fact, Buddhism derived from
Hinduism. Buddhism was founded in the 6th
century B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, who was
later known by the name Buddha. Currently,
about one eighth of the world’s population are
Buddhists. Most of the world’s buddhist
population live in Asia. Buddhism is a
polytheistic religion. Its sacred texts include the
Tripitaka, the Sutras, and the Four Noble Truths.

The main god of Buddhism is Buddha himself.


Buddhists pray to Buddha in temples. They
follow the Eightfold Path, which includes
practices such as Right Speech, Right View, and
Right Conduct. They believe that when you die,
you are reincarnated in a new life. You can
escape the reincarnation cycle by gaining
perfect wisdom and achieving Nirvana. A
couple important holidays for Buddhists are
Vesak and Asalha Puja Day. Buddhists don’t
have food regulations, as long as they aren’t
killing living things.

(Statue of Buddha)

Judaism
Judaism traces its roots to ancient Mesopotamia,
the home of the first civilizations. It was
founded by Abraham around 1820 B.C.
Abraham is also an important religious figure in
Islam and Christianity. Currently, there are
about 17 million Jews worldwide. Most of the
world’s Jewish population live in Israel and the
United States. Judaism is a monotheistic
religion. Its most sacred texts are the Torah,
which includes the first five chapters of the Old
Testament of the Bible.

The only god in Judaism is named Yahweh.


This god is also worshipped in Islam and
Christianity. Jews worship Yahweh in
synagogues. Jews believe in prophets sent from
Yahweh to deliver the Jewish people from strife,
war, and suffering. Jews follow the Ten
Commandments and other laws that are found in
the Torah. They believe that when you die, you
go to either Heaven or Hell based on how you
acted in your lifetime. Some important holidays
in the Jewish faith are Rosh Hashanah, Yom
Kippur, and Passover. They have a very
complex set of food regulations for strict
religious followers, but the main regulation is
that Jews can’t eat pork or other pig meats.

(Painting of Moses on Mount Sinai)

Christianity
Christianity was founded in the Middle East by
Jesus in the 1st century. The religion has many
similarities to Judaism and Islam, as all three
religions believe in the same god. Currently,
Christianity is the world’s largest religion, with
over one billion followers. Christianity is most
popular in the United States and Europe.
Christianity is a monotheistic religion. The
sacred texts of Christianity are both testaments
of the Bible, but the New Testament contains
most of the religion's beliefs.

The only god in Christianity is simply named


God. Christians believe that God, Jesus, and the
Holy Spirit are one person in three different
forms. They worship God in churches.
Christians follow the Ten Commandments and
the New Testament as spiritual guidelines. They
believe that when you die, you go to either
Heaven or Hell, based on how you acted in your
lifetime, much like Judaism. The most important
holidays in Christianity are Easter Sunday,
Christmas, and Pentecost. They also have
special days dedicated to Saints, or people who
lived holy lives in the past. Christians don't
follow any food regulations.

(Painting of Jesus at the Last Supper)

Islam
Islam was founded in the holy city of Mecca,
which is located in modern day Saudi Arabia. It
was founded by the prophet Muhammad in the
7th century A.D. Islam has almost one billion
followers, with the majority of them living in
the Middle East and North Africa. Islam has two
main sects, the Sunni and the Shia. The Sunni
believe that the inheritance of Muhammad’s
leadership belonged to the best scholar in
Mecca, while the Shia believe it belonged to
Muhammad’s nephew. Islam is a monotheistic
religion. The sacred texts of Islam are the Quran
and the Sunna.

Muslims believe in Allah, the one and only god


of Islam. They also believe that Muhammad and
the prophets were messengers sent by Allah.
They worship Allah in mosques. Muslims
follow the Five Pillars of Islam for spiritual
guidance. They believe that when they die, they
go to paradise to live with Allah forever. They
fast during the month of Ramadan, which was
the month that Muhammad spent in a cave in
which the Angel Gabriel spoke to him. Muslims
also go on an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the
holy city of Islam. The most important holidays
of Islam are Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Their
food regulations restrict them from eating pork
or wine.

(Painting of a mosque)