World Belief Systems Fac t Book

World Belief Systems Fact Book

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World Belief Systems Fact Book. World Map   Buddhism (Nina) Hinduism (Nina) Christianity (Brian) Islam (Victoria) Confucianism (Brian) Judaism (Brian) Shinto (Victoria) Daoism/Taoism (Victoria) Animism (Nina) Glossary Work Cited. Table of Contents. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: World Belief Systems Fact Book

World Belief Systems Fact


Page 2: World Belief Systems Fact Book

Table of ContentsWorld Map  Buddhism (Nina)Hinduism (Nina)Christianity (Brian)Islam (Victoria)Confucianism (Brian)Judaism (Brian)Shinto (Victoria)Daoism/Taoism (Victoria)Animism (Nina)GlossaryWork Cited








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World Religions


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"Thousands of candles can be lit by a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared."-Buddha 4

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Origins: Buddhism developed in India, and is based on Hinduism.               Founder: Siddhartha Gautama, also known as                       Buddha (the enlightened one) Areas where the religion is practiced today: There are followers worldwide (376 million); 151, 816 Buddhists in Britain (according to the 2001 census). However, the majority of followers are in Southeast Asia and Japan.


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Major rituals/beliefs:     The Eightfold Path- The Wheel of Life is one of the most important symbols of Buddhism. It represents the cycle of life through reincarnation, and its spokes represent the teachings of the Eightfold Path:1. Know that suffering is caused by desire. 2. Be selfless and love all life. 3. Do not lie, or speak without cause. 4. Do not kill, steal, or commit other unrighteous acts. 5. Do not do things which promote evil. 6. Take effort to promote righteousness. 7. Be aware of your physical actions, state of mind, and emotions. 8. Learn to meditate.

    The Four Noble Truths-1. Life is full of pain and suffering.2. Human desire causes this suffering.3. By putting an end to desire, humans can end suffering.4. Humans can end desire by following the Eightfold Path.


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Sacred texts: The Tripitaka (The Three Baskets of Wisdom)

Place of Worship: Temples and monasteries, although going to these are unnecessary. Many people worship at home, in rooms set aside for prayer, known as shrines.Symbols: 


This depicts the Wheel of Life. It represents reincarnation and the eight lessons of the Eightfold Path.

These are wooden blocks carved by monks that make up the three books of the Tripitaka. 

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Origins: Hinduism developed on the subcontinent of India, and around the Indus Valley near the River Indus in modern day Pakistan.

Founder: Hinduism is a result of cultural diffusion that occurred between Aryan invaders and the native peoples of India around 1500 BCE.

Areas where the religion is practiced today: Most believers are in India, but there are followers worldwide.

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Major rituals/beliefs:  Hindus believe in Samsara, also known as reincarnation, which is influenced by karma (material actions resulting from the consequences of previous actions), and dharma (fulfilling one's duty in life). They also believe in ahimsa, or that all life is sacred. For this reason, Hindus tend to be vegetarians.These beliefs provide the religious justification for the rigid social structure known as the Caste System.


The most popular festival celebrated is Diwali. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, extends over five days. It celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over darkness and knowledge over ignorance.

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The concept of reincarnation can be represented by the infinity symbol. 11

Places of Worship: Hindu temples exist, however, many worship at home, at their shrine. Shrines can differ from being an entire room to a small display.Symbols:

Their social system, the caste system, can be represented as a pyramid.

Sacred Texts: The main Hindu texts are the Vedas. These scriptures were introduced to India by the Aryans. The Vedas are made up of four compositions: The Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads

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Origins: Christianity developed for Judaism, in Judea (now Israel) around 30 C.E.


Founder: Jesus of Nazareth and his disciples who helped spread his teachings (prophets).

Areas Where the Religion is Practiced Today: Christianity is currently the world's most popular religion, dominant in North America, South America, Europe, and Russia

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Major Rituals/Beliefs:

Sacraments (chronological order):

• Baptism (anointed into the church)• First Eucharist (body and blood of

Christ)• Confirmation (confirming to become

a Christian)• Marriage and Weddings• Christian Funerals

* go to church on every Sunday, as well as holy days of obligation, such as Christmas and Easter** Significant people in the church include monks, nuns, deacons, priests, ministers, bishops, and the pope


The Ten Commandments: 1. Thou shall have no other gods

before Me2. Thou shall not make unto thee any

graven image3. Thou shall not take the name of the

Lord thy God in vain4. Remember the Sabbath Day to

keep it holy5. Honor thy father and thy mother6. Thou shall not kill7. Thou shall not commit adultery8. Thou shall not steal9. Thou shall not bear false witness

against thy neighbor10. Thou shall not covet

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Sacred texts:


The Holy Bible, consisting of both the Old Testament and the New Testament

Christians practice their religion in temples, called churches

Cross: symbol of the son of God, that Christians believe that he was executed on a cross as a symbol of suffering and defeatDove: symbol of peace and clean spirited (white color=starting new)


Place of Worship:

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Origins, Founders, and Where it's practiced today


 • Those who practice Islam are called

Muslims. Approximately 22% of Earth's population are Muslims, making it the second largest religion in the world.

• Muslims regard a man named Muhammad to be the 'last messenger of god', or the person who introduced the Qur'an to the world. However, he is not considered to be a founder of Islam, because Islam began with Allah, and Allah has no beginning himself.

• Muslims follow the Qur'an.• Islam is practiced worldwide, but most

Muslims inhabit the regions of South Asia, the Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

• Islam originated in the Middle East, with similar starting points as Judaism.

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Major rituals/ Beliefs• The foundation of the Islamic

faith is that Allah is the one true god, who according to the Qur'an "is God, the One and Only; God, the Eternal, Absolute; He begetteth not, nor is He begotten; And there is none like unto Him."

• Muslims believe in the Five Pillars of Faith. These are:o Testimonyo Prayero Alms-Givingo Pilgrimageo Fasting



A Muslim Alms-Giving, which is the act of the wealthy giving to the poor.

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Places of Worship/symbols

• Muslims worship in mosques.•  Examples of Mosques are the Great

Mosque of Kairouan and the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi, the second most sacred mosque in Islam.

•  It is against Islamic beliefs to attempt to envision what Allah looks like, as he is a holy being far beyond human comprehension. Instead, Muslims use this symbol to depict him, because it translates into meaning simply "Allah".


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Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” - Kong Fu Ti (Confucius)

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Origins: Confucianism was developed in China around 500 B.C.E.

Founder: Kong Fu Zi, which was translated as Confucius by Europeans, founded Confucianism. His teachings were later refined and spread by Mencius.


Areas Where the Religion is Practiced Today:Elements of this religion are still practiced in Southeast Asia

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The Five Relationships:1. Ruler to ruled 2. Father to son3. Older brother to younger

brother4. Husband to wife5. Friend to friend

   *In each of these relationships, the second role is considered subordinate to the first. It was taught that if each person learned their rules in society, then order would prevail.  


Major Rituals/Beliefs:FATHERRULER









During the Chou Dynasty, there was mass disorder and confusion and degrading moral standards. Confucius believed that the only cure was to stress a sense of social order and mutual respect.

*There are several concepts which needed to be practiced in order to achieve an ordered society: • Jen-Human kindness should be shown

towards one another• Li-Proper etiquette should always be used,

and one should strive to achieve perfect virtue

• Filial Piety-One should respect their elders

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The Lun-yü (Analects) are the most revered sacred scripture, based primarily on Confucius's sayings. Later, in the twelfth century, the Analects were put into their present form, the Confucian Canon

Confucianism does not participate in any rituals or practices, and do not have a place of worship. Instead, they live how the Analects tell them to.


Sacred texts:


Place of Worship:    


Although Confucianism is one of the eleven main living religions, it has no standard symbol for its belief system. Although, often, the Chinese ideogram for water is used, as a symbol of the "source of life" in Chinese philosophy.

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Origins: Judaism is the oldest known monotheistic religion, developed in the Middle East in and around the area that is currently Israel.

Areas Where the Religion is Practiced today:Judaism is practiced worldwide, but the greatest majority of  Jews reside in Israel, the United States, and the former Soviet Union 25

 Founder(s): Abraham is generally recognized as the founder of  Judaism due to his covenant with God. However, Moses is also considered a founder due to his role in the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt, and his delivery of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai sometime around 2000 BCE.

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Major Rituals/Beliefs:

• God is the creator of all things• Significant people in Jewish

synagogues include Rabbis and Jewish scholarso conduct religious serviceso ensure that Jewish laws are

observedo serve as a spiritual guide for

the community• Major Jewish holidays include

the Passover, Hanukkah, and Yom Kippur

The Ten Commandments: 1. Thou shall have no other gods

before Me2. Thou shall not make unto thee any

graven image3. Thou shall not take the name of the

Lord thy God in vain4. Remember the Sabbath Day to

keep it holy5. Honor thy father and thy mother6. Thou shall not kill7. Thou shall not commit adultery8. Thou shall not steal9. Thou shall not bear false witness

against thy neighbor10. Thou shall not covet

The 9-candle menorah is used to celebrate Hanukkah

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The Torah and the Talmud, which are known as the Old Testament in the Christian Bible

Jews worship in temples called synagogues


Sacred texts:

  Place of Worship:     Symbols:  Star of David: represents the shield of David

Menorah: symbol of the nation of Israel and their mission to be "a light unto the nations" (Isaiah 42:6)Yarmulke (Kippah/Yammica): worn on the heads of men to symbolize respect to God, by covering their head during prayer

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SHINTO(Origins, Founders and where it's practiced today)

• Shinto is an inclusive and non rigid system of belief that originated in early Japan.

• There is no actual founder of Shinto, rather the beliefs of various peoples that have evolved over time.

• As of today, Shinto is still most prevalent in Japan, but it is practiced in small sects and individually word wide. Shinto stories are inspiration for many American and Japanese animae and manga stories, so it internationally effects many aspects of media, entertainment and belief.

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Major rituals/Beliefs, Holy books/Sacred texts• In Shinto, there is a basic belief that there is a spirit behind everything,

living or nonliving. This spirit is called a "kami." The word "myriad" originates from this, as its translation literally means "many kami".

• People who practice Shinto believe that doing wrong makes them impure. Purification is done by a Shinto priest not to right any wrongs committed, but so that the person may be at peace with themselves. 

• The Shinto underworld is known as the "yomi." It is said by believers to be a gloomy land with a river separating the living and the dead, something that is both real as well as symbolic.



• There is no actual Shinto 'bible', per say. Rather, there is a collection of myths and folklore passed through generations by tongue more commonly than written word.

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(Place of worship/ Representative symbols)• Followers of Shinto set up shrines to honor kami

and the dead. • Shrines are open to the public at almost all

times, much like a church would be.


This is the symbol of Shinto, called a Torii, meant to represent a shrine.

Izumo Taisha is one of the oldest existing shrines located in Japan.

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DAOISM/ TAOISM• Daoism, or as it is

also spelled, Taoism, originated in early China.

•  A man named Laozi is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism,  however this is debated because Taoism has such deep and early roots. 

• Today, Taoism is still prevalent in China and one of only five religions that the government will recognize.


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Major rituals, Beliefs and Scripts/Holy texts

• Taoists adhere to the Three Jewels of Taoism, which are:

• Compassion• Moderation• Humility• Taoists also focus on maintaining a balance,

between human and nature, man and woman, and other things.

  • A major Taoist scripture is Tao Te

Ching, or Daodejing. Translated, this means "The Classic of the Way and Its Power or Virtue". It is a foundational scripture of great importance in Taoism and considered to be its most influential text.


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Important Symbols and Holy texts

• The Yin Yang is a Taoist symbol meant to show the balance humans are supposed to maintain.

• Originally, yin and yang were represented by the tiger and the dragon, both of which were highly respected animals in Taoism and Chinese society in general.

• Taoists worship in temples.


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Origins: Animism developed simultaneouslyin different parts of the world.Founder: There is no one person who is considered the founder of Animism, although Sir Edward Taylor created the currently used definition of Animism. Areas where the religion is practiced today: Animism is practiced worldwide, but most followers are located in Africa and the Americas.


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Major rituals/beliefs: Animists practice nature worship. They believe that everything in the universe has a spirit. For example, the Plains Indians in North America would praise the spirit of the buffalo that they killed for giving its life to them. Animists also believed that ancestors watch over the living from the spirit world. This belief resulted in ancestor worship as a means of communicating with and showing respect to ancestors.


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Sacred texts: Animism has a tradition of passing lessons on through oral stories, so there are no sacred texts. Places of Worship: Animist rituals tend to take place outdoors in nature.

  Symbols: This is a common symbol of Animism; however, there are no official symbols.


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Ancestor Worship: custom of honoring dead family members as if their spirits can intervene in other people's livesAnimism: belief that there is a spiritual force behind every eventBishop: in the early Christian church, a high ranking official with authority over a diocese (PICTURE)Buddha: an Indian emperor who enlightened othersCaliph: successor to Muhammad as a political and religious leader of the MuslimsChanukah (Hanukkah): 8 day Jewish holiday to commemorate the temple of Jerusalem's rededicationChurch: building for a public worshipCivil Service Examination: an exam for government jobsConfucius: a Chinese philosopher that created a system of political and ethical ideas (Confucianism) 


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Glossary Deity: a god or goddessDiaspora: the scattering of Jewish people from their homeland in PalestineFive Pillar of Faith (Islam): 5 basic acts that served as the frame work of Islamic faithFour Noble Truths: four central Buddhist beliefsGriot: Professional storyteller in early West AfricaKarma: in Hindu belief, all the actions that affect a person's fate in the next lifeLegalist: someone that believes that humans are evil by nature and must be corrected by harsh lawsMandate of Heaven: divine right to rule ChinaMatriarchy: when the mother is the head of the familyMessiah: savior sent by GodMonk: a man who separates himself from the society in order to dedicate himself to GodMonotheism: believing in one God  


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GlossaryMosque: Muslim house of worshipNirvana: in Buddhism, one with the universe and release from the cycle of rebirthNun: a woman who separates herself from society to dedicate herself to God (PICTURE)Polytheism: belief in more than one godPope: head of the Roman Catholic ChurchPriests: ordained leaders of the Roman Catholic religionProphet: spiritual leader believed to be interpreting God's willRabbi: Jewish scholar  or teacherRamadan: fasting during the 9th month of the Muslim yearReincarnation: In Hinduism, the belief in the rebirth of the soul in another form Shiite: a Muslim group that only accepts the descendants for Muhammad's son-in-law, Ali, as Islam's true ruler


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Sunni: a Muslim group that only accepts the Umayyads' descendants as the rulers of IslamSynagogue: building for Jewish assemblyTemples: buildings for worshipTen Commandments: set of divine rules from God (PICTURE)Untouchable: a person of lowest caste (Hindu)Yin-yang: balanced forces (PICTURE)


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Work Cited


• http://www.ancientsymbolsonline.com/jewish_symbols.html• http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/• Google images• http://www.handofgod.com.au/page300.php• http://www.ishwar.com/confucianism/• http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm• http://myhero.com/go/hero.asp?hero=Confucius_dnhs_US_2010• http://www.philtar.ac.uk/encyclopedia/seasia/animism.html• http://regentsprep.org/Regents/global/themes/beliefsystems/index.cfm• http://www.religionfacts.com/a-z-religion-index/index.htm • http://www.religioustolerance.org/•  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animism