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A Short Overlook of Five Significant World Religions

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Hinduism

The Bhagavad Gita teaches of God’s existence through the stories from unique manifestations of the higher power. Krishna (Manifestation of God) indicates the truth of all existing in God within the Bhagavad Gita, “As the mighty wind, going everywhere, dwells eternally in space, so all beings dwell in Me” (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 9:6). Through real-world phenomena such as wind which cannot be seen but rather felt and the expanse of space which we come to understand exists but cannot be reached, allows us to appreciate how God is portrayed in the Hindu religion. Professor Rambachan also brings forth the idea of not perceiving items as separate from each other but rather one entity in different forms (Anantanand,16). To provide an example of this concept let’s use the earth, God is present within the earth, but the object noted does not assume the place of God but rather holds sed God acting as a vessel. This infinite expanse of God allows all followers of Hinduism to create their own personal relationship with God.

Judaism

The concept of cause and effect throughout history has been so influential that religions and their traditions are known to be centered around it. Consider, for example, the festival of Pesach which came into existence because of the Israelite enslavement in Egypt (Ariel, 33). The foundation of Judaism is its past, and history is its core. Yaakov Ariel responds with the key sentence, “…history stands at the foundation of Judaism, offering an ethos that explains and sustains the tradition” (Ariel, 39). The events that occurred during the time of the Israelites paved the way for traditions and holidays to form. As stated by Yaakov Ariel, “holidays are connected to the history of the Jewish people as narrated in the sacred scriptures” (Ariel, 32). To guarantee these holidays are being represented correctly during the year, the Jewish calendar ensures these holidays occur at the same seasons as they primarily did in the past. Judaism in its entirety was constructed by its history as a result of the wrongdoings against the Israelite people.

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Buddhism

Distractions are extremely predominant in today’s society due to technological and cultural advancements such as cell phones and advertisements that aim to capture our attention. Concentration is limited to a certain extent when the mind is focused on other things leading to unwanted emotions. Patricia Phelan a Taitaku Sensei provides the example, “ Sometimes the mind in meditation is compared to a murky lake that has been disturbed… When the mind is active, it is often too active” (Phelan, 55). By entering into positive states of consciousness during meditations, thoughts are easier to be cleared and Right Mindfulness may be achieved. One of Buddha’s sayings from his teachings in the Dhammapada includes, “On hearing the Teachings, the wise become perfectly purified, like a lake deep, clear and still” (Dhammapada, Line 82). The mind described in Phelan’s text serves as the precursor which segue’s into how Buddhism and Buddha’s teachings can aid in fixing one’s mind and consciousness.

Christianity

The Christian religion continuously brings forth the idea of salvation and paradise after death on earth. Heaven has been the motivation for many people to follow Christianity because whatever happens after death is incomprehensible. As written in the bible, “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for, in the same way, they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew, Chapter 5, Verse 12). Injustices in the world are inevitable and for the followers of Christianity who deal with these hardships, these injustices are mere obstacles for obtaining their reward in heaven. I now propose the question, If eternal paradise is guaranteed after death should people need to live to their fullest potential on earth? Christians follow the morals and life lessons taught in the Bible because as Amanda Millay Hughes states, “Belief in resurrection from the dead and everlasting life in a world yet to come establishes eternal conditions and consequences for all of our beliefs and actions” (Hughes, 81). Adding the stipulation of consequences being transferred over to heaven almost forces the followers of Christianity to live a righteous life on earth. Having roughly 2 billion followers around the world who strive to develop beneficial relationships, live morally and treat others with respect are minute examples of how the Christian religion plays a role in the world.

Islam

Devotion to God/Allah in the Islam religion is unparalleled to any other religions presented. God is viewed as the creator of all, the most powerful and unforgiving. As stated in the Qur’an, “ To Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is within them. And he is over all things competent” (Surah 5:109-120). This domination of everything by bringing and taking away from the world may ensue fear which only gets suppressed by prayer to the higher power. Amy Nelson states, “We begin to fear creation rather than Allah” (Nelson, 96). Devotion is extremely necessary because there is a constant fear that Allah can force negativity upon those who do not follow his orders. The most significant wrongdoing or sin that does not get forgiven is shirk, or the association of others on the same level as god (Nelson, 95). This Ying-Yang idea of creating or destroying is supported by the names given to Allah in the Islamic Tradition, such as Al Khaliq meaning The Creator and Al Mumit which translates to The Bringer of Death, The Destroyer (Ninety-Nine Names of God, 11 and 61). Praying five times a day, fasting, and pilgrimage to the Ka’aba are just three of the many ways Muslims show their devotion to Almighty Allah.

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