World religions visited

The Visitor Information Center in Haifa, Israel  at the Bahai Temple and Gardens,  which decorate the Mount Carmel slope overlooking the city, the port and the Mediterranean.
The Visitor Information Center in Haifa, Israel at the Bahai Temple and Gardens, which decorate the Mount Carmel slope overlooking the city, the port and the Mediterranean.

 

Baha’i

The Bahai Temple and Gardens

The Bahai Temple and Gardens in Haifa, Israel.

Baha’i is a form of faith that emerged in 19th century Persia and follows three core principles: unity of God, religion and humankind. The Baha’is believe that there is a single God and the spirituality of all religions in the world stem from this single god. The Bahá’i writings state that, “the gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of humankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion. World Religion Day is now observed around the globe by many faith traditions with conferences, interfaith activities and prayer services.

http://interfaithcenter.org/archives/10323

http://www.national-awareness-days.com/world-religion-day.html

Zoroastrianism

1984, England, UK -Singer Freddie Mercury performs during a Queen concert.

1984, England, UK -Singer Freddie Mercury performs during a Queen concert.

Monotheistic Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions. It has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith. It was founded by the Prophet Zoroaster or Zarathushtra in ancient Iran approximately 3500 years ago. It was once the religion of the mighty Persian Empire, but has since been reduced in numbers to fewer than 200,000 today. Most religious historians believe that Jewish, Christian and Muslim beliefs concerning God and Satan, the soul, heaven and hell, the virgin birth of the saviour, the slaughter of the innocents, resurrection, the final judgment, etc. were all derived from Zoroastrianism.

The world’s largest population of Zoroastrians are the Parsi community in India. A prominent Indian Parsi is rock star Freddie Mercury who was born in Zanzibar.

Judaism

Jerusalem, Israel -Worshiping at the Western Wall.

Jerusalem, Israel – Worshipping at the Western Wall.

Judaism is an ancient monotheistic religion considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenantal relationship that God established with the Children of Israel more than 3,000 years ago. Judaism’s texts, traditions and values strongly influenced later Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Islam and the Baha’I Faith.

Christianity

Prado, Madrid, Spain - Christ on the Cross by Diego Velazquez

Prado, Madrid, Spain – Christ on the Cross by Diego Velazquez.

Christianity is the most popular religion in the world with over 2 billion adherents. Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Christians believe that God sent his Son to earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins. One of the most important concepts in Christianity is that Jesus gave his life on the Cross and rose from the dead on the third day. Christians believe that there is only one God, but that there are three elements to this one God: God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Islam

Jakarta, Indonesia - Inside Istiqlal Mosque

Jakarta, Indonesia – Inside Istiqlal Mosque.

The word Islam means ‘submission to the will of God’ or Allah. Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers. Muslims, the followers of Islam, believe that Islam was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad by the One God over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia. According to Muslims, God sent a number of prophets to mankind to teach them how to live according to His law. Jesus, Moses and Abraham are respected as prophets of God. Muslims believe that the final Prophet was Muhammad. The five pillars of Islam are the declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving money to charity, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once.

Sufism

Whirling Dervishes perform at the Sirkeci train station in Istanbul. They spin to attain a trance-like state that brings them closer to God.

 

Sufism is Islamic mysticism. Non-Muslims often mistake Sufism is an aspect or dimension of Islam. Although Sufis are relatively few in number they have shaped Islamic thought and history. Through the centuries Sufis contributed hugely to Islamic literature. Rumi, Omar Khayyám and Al-Ghazali’s influence extended beyond Muslim lands to be quoted by Western philosophers, writers and theologians.

Hinduism

 Allahabad, North-Central India, - Kumbh Mela Hindu Festival occurs every 12 years.

Allahabad, North-Central India, – Kumbh Mela Hindu Festival occurs every 12 years.

Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It has over 900 million adherents worldwide. In some ways Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, yet it resists easy definition partly because of the vast array of practices and beliefs found within it. Unlike most other religions, Hinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Most Hindus believe in a Supreme God, whose qualities and forms are represented by the multitude of deities which emanate from him. Hindus believe that existence is a cycle of birth, death and rebirth, governed by Karma. Hindus celebrate many holy days, but the Festival of Lights, Diwali is the best known.

Buddhism

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama

Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.

Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development. Buddhists strive for a deep insight into the true nature of life and do not worship gods or deities. There are 376 million followers worldwide. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent. Existence is endless because individuals are reincarnated over and over again. The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom. Our mistaken belief that things can last is a chief cause of suffering.

Paganism

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Modern-day pagans gather at Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain to celebrate the winter solstice.

Paganism describes a group of contemporary religions based on a reverence for nature. These faiths draw on the traditional religions of indigenous peoples throughout the world. Wiccans, Druids, Shamans, Sacred Ecologists, Odinists and Heathens all make up parts of the Pagan community. Most Pagans share an ecological vision that comes from the belief in the organic vitality and spirituality of the natural world. Due to persecution and misrepresentation it is necessary to define what Pagans are not as well as what they are. Pagans are not sexual deviants, do not worship the devil, are not evil, do not practice ‘black magic’ and their practices do not involve harming people or animals.

Native American

 Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA - An American Indian medicine woman from the Isleta Pueblo burns white sage during a healing ceremony.

Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA – An American Indian medicine woman from the Isleta Pueblo burns white sage during a healing ceremony.

Native Americans love the land, which they call their ‘mother’. As the Sioux chief, Luther Standing Bear, said: Man’s heart away from Nature becomes hard. Many followers of Native American spirituality, do not regard their spiritual beliefs and practices as a “religion”. Their beliefs and practices form an integral and seamless part of their very being. Native Americans are true lovers of nature – the landscape, animals and plants – and believe that man should live in harmony with nature. Although many Native Americans believe in a great spirit – called Wakan Tanka, their religion is animistic. The Great Spirit is an active, personal, non-anthropomorphic Deity that is intertwined with the fabric of the Universe itself and yet is personally engaged with the web of living things and the world on an earthly scale.

 

 

 

 

 

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