Comparative Religion

Religion is a set of practices and beliefs that allow human beings to search for the meaning of life and the purpose of their existence. These common practices set the foundation for such beliefs to have validity. Every individual must wonder why he/she exists on earth. Questioning about the purpose in one’s life and whether or not there is meaning allows an individual to seek a supernatural, Supreme Being or some form of deity. Technically, religion is essentially the passing of stories, embedded with morals and values as well as being a way of life.

During this course, I learned that religion is mainly needed for guidance, physically and psychologically. Since people are so easily vulnerable to be influenced by others, each person must rely on their beliefs in order to make a judgment that is morally and ethically pleasing through their knowledge and experiences. A person’s morals and ethics are formed through their religious beliefs and practices. Morals and ethics allow one to make a knowledgeable and responsible decision. One’s religious and spiritual beliefs shapes and molds the mind, body, and spirit of the person.

One would think that Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, and Buddhism have nothing in common, but in some ways they are. Generally, there are also differences between the five. Actually they are not so much a religion as a religion-social system. All religions share common goals and two main ones are to connect an individual to something behind the surface of life and to successfully reach a peaceful afterlife. Christians believe that their reward for a righteous life is to go to Heaven. For Muslims, the reward for following the 5 Pillars of Islam is pleasant dwellings in Gardens of Eternity.

These are the sole reasons for having the religions in the first place. Hinduism contains a whole farrago of theologies, philosophies, and sacrificial systems, nevertheless its one dominant note is that of caste. Hindu’s built a wall, in which the caste was the main portion, of law around the faith so that none could stray from it. These laws that regulate the caste are saved for there is no other unifying element in all Hinduism. Christians often form castes or endogamous bodies similar to castes.

This is done to form a more or less separate community. By popular account, it is known that Hinduism has thirty million gods and Christianity has just one main god and only one god. Buddhism has no god. Buddha was only seen as the founder of the religion and is considered more of an idol than a god. Buddhism teaches four Noble Truths and is considered a religion that unites its followers. Those who follow it are hardly ever violent. All five religions are alike because of temples and churches which are used to worship their gods and are very sacred.

Judaism is the oldest major religion and the first religion to teach the belief in one god. Christianity and Islam developed from Judaism. The Jewish holy book, the Torah, is also well known to Christians because we call it the Old Testament. Though some of the religions of the ancient world have disappeared, their heritage continues to influence the religions of today. Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism are the five major religions that are still present today. This course has helped me to realize and understand the five major religions of the world.

It has also helped me realize that ones actions is based mainly on their religious beliefs as well as their culture and family background. I understand why it is not right to judge a person by what they believe or their actions, for the fact that I do not understand or do not agree with him or her. It’s according to what you believe and how you feel is what determines what is said. Even though an individual from each religion would not be worshiping together, they are all still very unique and diverse. This course has helped me to appreciate other world religions.

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