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Religion Assignment

January 10, 2018
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
Shatara Gbeminiyi
SOC 3210 Cultural Diversity
Religion/Holiday Assignment
Sylvia Haikio
October 25, 2017
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
The United States is a very rich country in terms of culture, diversity, and religion. Each religion
is celebrated based on culture and population. The most widely known religion in the world is
Christianity and it’s also the largest religion in the United States however, Christianity has a
close relationship with Judaism, both historically and theologically, Jesus, his disciples, Paul
(who wrote most of the New Testament), and the members of the earliest Christian churches
were all Jews. Buddhism is centered upon the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha, whereas
Christianity is centered on the Life and Teachings of Jesus Christ. Buddhism is a nontheistic
religion meaning it does not believe in a supreme creator known as “God” whereby Christianity
is a monotheistic religion and believes that Christ is the Son of God. Buddhism is an offshoot of
Hinduism and is a Dharmic religion. Christianity is an offshoot of Judaism and is an Abraham
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
Where did Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism originate?
The largest religion in the world is Christianity which has over 2 billion followers and 42
million people in Britain today describe themselves as Christians but there are 6 million who are
actively practicing Christianity (Davis, 2017). Christianity originated in Roman which was
occupied in Jerusalem, a predominantly but not entirely Jewish society, with traditional
philosophies distinct from the Classical Greek through which was dominant in the greater
Roman Empire at the time. Christianity is focused on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ who
Christians believe to be the Son of God. Jesus was born in Bethlehem in the Middle East over
2000 years ago.
Judaism originated in Israel around 4000 years ago and the religion has about 13 million
followers throughout the world, mostly in the United States and Israel. It is in fact one of the
oldest monotheistic religions and Jews believed that God appointed the Jews to be his chosen
people to set examples of holiness as well as ethical behavior to the world. There are
approximately 270,100 people in the UK who practice Judaism and who identifies themselves as
Jews (ReligionFacts 2017). Moses was the main founder of Judaism as well as being an
important figure of the religion because he gave the Jews the Torah (the laws of God) around
1250 B.C. Jews can trace their history back as far as Abraham. Abraham is considered as the
father of the family of Jews. Sadly, 6 million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust to wipe out
the religion of Judaism.
Buddhism is a religion that more than 300 million people around the world currently
practice. It is an Indian religion attributed to the teachings of the Buddha as well as
encompassing a variety of traditions, beliefs and spiritual practices. Buddhism is the fifth largest
religion in the world where it is largely based on original teachings of Buddha and interpreted
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
philosophies. There are approximately 150,000 active Buddhists in the UK and the number is
increasing over time. The religion originated in northeastern India by Prince Siddhartha around
the sixth century B.C. and the essence of Buddhism is the attainment of enlightenment where it
points to a way of life which avoids self-indulgence and self-denial (ReligionFacts, 2017).
However, those who practice Buddhism do not believe in a supreme God or deity like other
religions. Buddha means to enlighten. Siddhattha Gotama later became the Buddha and he lived
in the 5th century BC where he had a good life born into a rich family. He also had an easy life,
living in what is now Nepal. He then witnessed the suffering of old age, sickness and death
whereby he decided to renounce his life in the palace and live among the holy men of the day in
search of truth and enlightenment. Siddattha Gotama’s search took him six years, but he then
became enlightened whilst meditating under a Bodhi tree (ReligionFacts, 2017). Soon after his
meditation, he decided to dedicate his life to spread the teaching of Buddhism. Many people
think the Buddha is a “god” or idol, but he is not considered a god by his followers. Most
Buddhist call Buddha their “god” just as how the Christians and the Jews look to Jesus Christ as
their “god”. Many Christians were taught that Jesus Christ is actually “god” when he is not. Jesus
is the Son of God while God himself, is a spirit and this has been argumentative among many
The followers of Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism
People who follow and practice Christianity are usually called Christians. They are the ones
who have been baptized in the Son, the Father and the Holy Spirit as well as accepting Jesus
Christ as their Lord and Savior. They also follow the Bible and obey his commands although no
Christian is perfect because everyone sins and falls short of the word which is why Christians
pray, repent and ask for forgiveness. Christians are sometimes called Followers of Christ because
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
they are strictly based on Christianity who follows the Bible religiously including the Ten
Commandments which are outlined in the book of Exodus and Deuteronomy.
The followers of Judaism are known as Jews or Jewish. Judaism is based on belief in the
God of Abraham, who Jews believe made an agreement with the patriarch that his descendants
would dwell in the promised land of Canaan. However, there is a difference between Jews who
follow the Judaism religion faithfully and those who do not follow the religion faithfully. For
instance, Jews who follow Judaism are called “Practicing Jews” whereby those who are not
religious are called “Secular Jews” and this is because not all Jews follow the Judaism religion
(ReligionFacts, 2017). Jews believe there is only one God and they also believe they have a
special agreement or covenant with God. In exchange for all the good that God has done for
them, Jewish people keep God’s laws and try to bring holiness into their everyday life. It is a way
of showing appreciation for God’s goodness.
People who follow and practice Buddhism are called Buddhists, and they are divided into
two groups such as ordained monks and lay-people. The ordained monks practice their religion
with extreme dedication and teach others about Buddhism while the lay-people have families,
work for a living as well as living their lives according to the Buddhist teachings (ReligionFacts,
2017). Buddhists follow the Buddha’s example. When they meditate, Buddhists focus on
awakening to truth just like the Buddha did. In most Buddhist countries, there are many temples
where people can make offerings of flowers and incense for the shrine and food for the monks.
Buddhists may also have a shrine in their homes where they will burn incense, candles as well as
having a statue of Buddha. Also, when entering a temple, Buddhists will take off their shoes,
then they will put their hands together and bow to the image of the Buddha (ReligionFacts,
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
The sacred text of Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism
The Bible is the primary sacred text of Christianity and its name is derived from the Latin
word biblia, which simply means “books”. The Christian Bible is made of two parts which
includes the Old Testament whereby it displays Christian writings that includes biographies of
Jesus Christ and the apostles such as the Apostle Paul, letters to new churches, and an
apocalyptic work (ReligionFacts, 2017). The names of the two parts in the Bible are significant.
The word testament means “covenant”, so the notion of old and new testaments reflects the
Christian perspective that the Church is the successor to Israel as God’s chosen people. The Old
Testament is viewed as foundational, authoritative, and relevant, and is read as well as cherished
by Christians along with the New Testament. But it is also regarded as having been super ceded
and fulfilled by the new testament (covenant) that God has made with the Church.
The importance of Judaism’s sacred texts extends far beyond their religious
significance. The most holy Jewish book or sacred text is the Torah, the first five books of the
Hebrew Bible. The Torah was revealed by God to Moses on Mount Sinai over 3,000 years ago
where it told the story of the creation of the world, God’s covenant with Abraham and his
descendants, the Exodus of Egypt, the revelation at Mt. Sinai, the wanderings of the Israelites in
the desert, and a recapitulation of that experience shortly before the entrance into the Promised
Land (Embassies, 2017). The Torah also give the Jewish people rules for everyday life and how
they should be living. Observing these rules is central to the Judaism religion because the Torah
has a principal message which entails the absolute unity of God. It outlines God’s creation of the
world, His concern for it as well as His everlasting covenant with the people of Israel.
The Torah is divided into fifty-four “portions” and it’s read at the synagogue (Jews place of
worship) every Sabbath in an annual cycle, beginning and ending shortly after the Jewish New
RUNNING HEAD: Religion/Holiday Assignment
Year (Embassies, 2017). Most synagogues maintain well-stocked libraries of Jewish sacred texts
and other collections of religious books. Sacred texts can be found on the bookshelves of many
Jewish homes, but prayer books are standard in the homes of almost all Jews.
Buddhist sacred texts are known as The Sutras. The Buddhist canon consists of the Sutras

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