LilyPetals Definition native_modern Proof Of God Baptism Evil Role BuddhismChristianity BuddhismScience SikhismChristianity ChristianityJudaism Hinduism Jehovah Mormonism Shintoism Jews Muslims Protestant Second Heliocentric

Definition of Religion

Religion is defined in the dictionary as the praise of a higher power that controls a person or persons. Members of any religion have common interest and beliefs. Not only do the members of a particular religion have the same common interest and beliefs, they also have similar ethics and emotional experiences. Whether the religions are Christianity, Buddhism, or Muslim there will be a commonality among all the members that practice a particular religion.

Ethics are the base of any religion. Ethics are moral values that people believe in that dictate how they live their life. In most religions the members of the religion have the same ethical beliefs. For example, in Christianity, Christians follow the Ten Commandments The Ten Commandments are the laws that Christians deem to be sacred. As Christians, we are taught at an early age that in order to please God, we must keep his Commandments. The Ten Commandments are also the bylaws to how the government chooses to run society. For example one of the Ten Commandments is Thou Shalt Not Steel. In society, if a person steals or commits robbery, he or she is punished for their crime. If The Ten Commandments did not exist, Christians would have a totally different code of ethics.

Religion can also be defined as a group of people who have common interest and beliefs. In Christianity, individuals believe in the Trinity. There are many religious denominations in the Christian faith, For example, there are Baptist Christians, Pentecostal Christians, and Methodist Christians. The base of their beliefs are the same and that is that God exist in three forms; The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. If a person does not believe in the Trinity, he or she is not considered a true Christian.



Native Religions vs Modern Religions

Native or traditional religions have many similar characteristics which modern or contemporary religions are based. Past religions were derived from the needs to survive in the natural world. Many native religions either have a viewpoint based on the animism concept, which considers everything in the world as equal with no natural or supernatural boundaries, or the theistic concept, which believes that the world is manipulated by supreme beings of supernatural origin. In addition, there are many traditional rituals, taboos, and symbols directly related to modern religions.

In native religions with animism characteristics, such as Buddhism, all things in the natural world, whether living or nonliving, have an equal level of importance. This concept helped the people of their time survive in a world without technology. Respecting and appreciating the importance of all things that exist in the natural world ensured the survival of a follower. In modern religions based on animism, the concept no longer embodies the need to appreciate the significance of all things, but focuses on the beauty of the relationship with the world around us. Today’s society with advanced technology to supply the needs of people is directly related to the change in this concept.

The theistic concept of native religions based their belief system on the supernatural. Many native religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Sikhism and Hinduism, are derived from this concept of supreme beings controlling their destiny. However, many native religions make little difference between a god and an ancestor. Many modern day religions, like Zoroastrianism, Baha'i Faith, Sikhism, and Eckankar, have similar concepts of native theism religions, but with a different supreme being or beings in control.

Rituals were religious activities and practices used to create a bond with the god, ancestor, or being that has a significant purpose in their life. In native religions, rituals were used to bring a person closer to their supreme being. For instance, a ritual sacrifice in traditional religions was necessary in order to speak to or make a request from a supreme being. In today’s society, modern religions normally use a ritual to symbolize something of significant religious importance that happened in the past. In Christianity, Christians drink wine and eat crackers to represent and honor the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made for the world.

A taboo is a code or rule that forbids certain behaviors in regards to specific things in life in order to maintain religious and spiritual order. Taboos are a necessity in both native and modern religions. One taboo involves the treatment of a person with significant rank in regards to religions. A high ranking religious figure in a native religion, such as a shaman, witch doctor, or priest, is treated with the same feared respect as a minister, preacher, or priest in today’s modern religion.

Symbols, such as masks, artifacts, and statues, are seen in both traditional and modern religions. Symbols are used to create a link to an item or being of significant importance. Symbols from a native religion may be used in a modern religion with a different belief system.

In conclusion, native religions and modern religions share similar characteristics. Characteristics, such as rituals, taboo, and symbol, can be seen across many types of religion as well as religions of different ages and periods of time. These characteristics are directly related to make religion an important part of a person’s life.



Proof That God Exists

The existence of God can be proven through personal testimonies of believers who believe that there is a Creator that created the heavens and the earth and performed miracles since the beginning of time. Throughout history, there have been unexplainable occurrences that have happened and that cannot be explained logically. Thus, an existence of a higher power has to exist. Religious experience proves that God, not only existed in Biblical times, but His presence can be seen in today’s society.

Throughout time, many people have had an encounter with a higher power or an unexplainable force. For example, a movie that was recently released called Heaven is for Real details a young boy’s journey to heaven. In the movie, the boy gives an account of his encounter with deceased relatives in heaven that were alive before he was born. The argument could be that the little boy possibly had too much anesthesia or medicine, but how would he know some of the things that he talked about after his experience in heaven. It could also be stated that the stories that the young boy told are just a figment of his young imagination, but how would he know the details of what heaven looks like. He described a place that is so close to the heaven that Christians read about in the bible. Encounters with angels or God have been prevalent in today’s society, and many people speak of how they were saved or rescued by an angel of God. For instance, Dr. Creflo Dollar spoke of an experience with angels when he was in a car accident that should have left him and the passengers riding with him dead, but instead he tells how angels saved his life. He gives a detail account of how when the authorities arrived on the scene that they instantly called the coroner because there was no way humanly possible that he and his ministers should not have survived the crash. These types of occurrences are not just random acts of luck but living proof that God does exist. In my opinion, what one would call intuition is only the presence of God. As humans, I believe that intuition is a sense that is given to a person from the Holy Spirit. I do not believe that it is just overactive chemicals in the brain or a person’s ability to create their own destiny. If that was the case, man could create a drug to cause the chemicals of the brain to create intuition. Personal testimonies prove that there is indeed a higher power that exist and is prevalent in the world today.

Personal testimonies of religious experience prove that God exist but unexplained miracles prove that there is a God that performs them. We hear miracles every day, yet I think it is humanly impossible to believe that they are just an act of nature or luck. We often hear stories of how people are miraculous healed from diseases or how a tornado destroyed an entire town and not one person was killed. This in itself proves that a God does exist. For instance, it is not scientifically possible for a tornado to destroy an entire house and yet people walk away from the destruction alive. This in itself proves that there is a God and that He does perform miracles because in this particular scenario people survive tornados that destroy buildings yet does not destroy a human. We often hear stories of how people are miraculous healed from diseases that in most situations should have killed them. People have been cured of cancer that doctors believed were incurable. I personally know a person that was told she was unable to conceive. The doctors told her that it would take a miracle, yet she is now the mother of a healthy little boy. The unexplainable proves that God does exist, and in this particular case her miracle was given to her by God. The bible specifically states that a child is a gift from God. Humans are unable to give the gift of life without a source. Miracles prove that there is a greater force performing the unexplainable.

Personal religious experiences and miracles prove that there is indeed a God. Scientist cannot explain some of the events that have happened during the course of the earth’s existence. Personal testimonies prove that God is alive, and the miracles that occur when a person is healed from a disease prove that there is a Creator that knows all and sees all. In my opinion, it is impossible to believe that nature is the result of everything that occurs without a creator of nature and the creator of nature is God.



Baptism

For several decades, rituals have been performed throughout time to ensure that a person is committed to the God that they serve. Christianity is not exceptional to the practice of rituals. In modern Christianity, there are several common practices that are performed in the religion today. . The act of baptizing is performed by a vast majority of the different religious denominations that practice Christianity.

Baptism is the practice of submerging an individual in a body of water. This particular act usually takes place in a church or religious organization. The act of baptizing is performed by a minister or preacher of a particular denomination. In most instances, a minister will perform a prayer that affirms a person’s belief in God, the Father, and the Holy spirt. After the prayer takes place, the individual is submerged in a body of water for a few brief seconds. After they have been submerged in water, a pastor or minister will state that you have now been baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The baptism ceremony is now complete and in some instances churches will have a celebration after to congratulate the individual on his or her new life in Christ.

The practice of Baptism can be dated back to biblical times. The most noted account of the practice of baptism was performed by John the Baptist in the bible. In the bible, in the book of Matthew, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This account was significant because John the Baptist performed a baptism on Jesus Christ the Son of God. Baptisms occurred in early accounts in the bible, but there is no specific date of the first baptism that occurred in the Christian faith.

Baptism is an important act that is performed in Christianity today. It is used for several purposes by many believers of Christianity. The first reason is that is used as a forgiveness of sin. When a person is baptized, he or she has been forgiven for their past sins, and they have been granted a new beginning. Secondly, Christians believe that the practice of baptism instilled the Holy Spirit into and individual. This was important because the primary goal of any believer of the faith is to become Christ like. The instilling of the Holy Spirit ensured a person that they had God dwelling within them. Lastly, the practice of baptism is important in Christianity today because newborns are commonly baptized as an introduction to a particular religious organization within the Christian faith. This is to ensure that God dwells within the newborn and that the parents have given the child back to the Father that blessed them with the child. Baptism is important in Christianity today as well as in the past.

There are many practices that are performed in the Christian faith. Baptism is one of the practices that have withstood the test of time. It is not performed as widely as it once was, but it is still a major component in the Christian faith. All of the religious affiliations that perform the ritual belief that baptism are a crucial component in becoming a model Christian that will inherit the kingdom of God.



Role of Religion in America

America is a country that is known for its freedom of religion. In America, there are a vast number of religions that are celebrated and practiced in society. However, the role of religion in the United States of America has declined in the past two decades. The role on homosexuality, the role of women in society and religion, and the views on the censorship of pornography have all changed. All of these factors are directly related to the decline of religion and the belief in God in America.

Homosexuality has been a topic of discussion that has increased enormously in society today. In the past couple of years, homosexuality was a topic that was not discussed in public forums. If a person was homosexual, he or she was considered a sinner, and they were ostracized in a religious setting. In today’s society, many churches and religions have become more acceptable to the practice of homosexuality. As states approve the rights of gays to marry and experience the same liberties as traditional marriage, religious institutions have become more liberal in their acceptance of homosexuality. In the church today, it is not uncommon to see gay pastors and clergies. There are now homosexual catholic priest and churches that promote homosexuality. This is totally different from decades ago in America. The trend of homosexuality and the church is not as taboo as it once was.

The role of women in society has changed not only in the world but in the church as well. As women become a prominent figure in the work force, they have also become prominent figures in religious settings in America. It is not uncommon in today’s society to see women preachers and clergies. As the generations change, many people believe that women should not return to their traditional roles in society. Whereas in years past religious groups believed that women should maintain their role as homemakers and not hold some of the positions that were traditionally held by men. The percentage of women in the church steadily increases as views become more liberal in religion.

Pornography has been a pressing issue in the world today. As information becomes more accessible, the use of pornography has increased over the past decades. The internet has made the viewership of pornography easier to access by people of all ages. Pornography addiction has become prevalent in the church today. While some churches and religions preach against the viewership of pornography, many religions find the viewership of pornography harmless. In fact some congregations and clergy use pornography as a tool to counsel couples when they are having difficulties experiencing intimacy in their marriage. This is totally opposite from years past when the majority of religions preached that pornography was a form of sexual immorality and that Christians should not participate in anything that caused them to be sexually immoral.

As generations change, religious views have become more liberal. Subject matter that was once taboo in society has become acceptable in a religious setting. Homosexuality is now practiced without opposition in many religions in America. Women have become a dominate force in the work force as well as in religious environments. And pornography has become a tool that is used by many preachers to counsel the members of their congregations. All of these increasing trends show the cultural differences in religion in today’s society and decades ago.



Evil According to Buddhism

Do humans have free will? Are human beings individually responsible for our bad behavior? Are human beings essentially evil? What is evil? What makes something evil? According to Buddhism, each person is responsible for his own good and bad deeds. Each person controls his or her own destiny. Buddhists believe that every person has an equal amount of good and evil within themselves. Evil is caused by a person’s selfishness and greed, and the majority of human beings are cruel, wicked, and disrespectful. If people are allowed to live according to their own free-will without the restraints created by law and religion, humans would unquestionably encroach upon the peace and happiness of innocent people. A wicked man is an ignorant man. Buddhist believes that the mind needs merit or a virtue to purify the mind of evil inclinations of greed, hatred, and delusion. The greedy mind inspires a person to desire, accumulate, and hoard worldly things. A mind full of hate encourages aversion and resentment. A deluded mind belongs to a deceived and gullible individual causing that person to become trapped in a cycle of greed and hatred, fooling the person into thinking their evil actions are right and worthy.



Buddhism and Christianity

Buddhism and Christianity have completely different belief systems, however, both teaches the same concepts about the world. Both religions teach love, kindness, compassion, and understanding towards others in the world. Both Buddhism and Christianity use suffering as a step towards a higher state of being. Like Christians striving to be more like Jesus, the Buddhist focus on the teachings of Buddha and struggles to walk in his path. The Christian’s commandments of God, especially Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, and Thou shalt not bear false witness are also core beliefs in Buddhism. However, after evaluating fundamentals of Buddhist and Christian beliefs, it is apparent that there is a distinct contrast between the teachings of Buddhism and those of Christianity in regards to God, life after death, the purpose of life, and salvation to those of Christianity.

Unlike Christians, who based their salvation and faith in God, Buddhists believe that religion and the belief in God developed from fear. According to Buddhist beliefs, there is no concrete evidence that God exists and therefore is no reason to believe in God. Buddhist believe that primitive people created God to explain the unknown, give them comfort in times of prosperity, and give them hope in times of suffering. According the Buddhism, we should attempt to understand our fears, reduce our wants and desires, and accept the things in life that cannot be change. In other words, according to Buddhism, a person do not need God to explain the world and find happiness, instead, a person should see the world as it is and accept it in order to find happiness (Buddhanet.net, 1996 – 2014).

Like many religions, such as Christianity, Buddhists believe life continues in some form after death. However, Christianity and Buddhism perceive the concept of life after death in very different ways. Christianity teaches that God blessed us with one life to live on Earth, and after death, we will be judged on how we lived our life by God on Judgment Day. Depending on the judgment, we will live either in eternal peace and happiness with the Lord in Heaven or in eternal damnation and suffering in the fiery abyss of Hell. However, Buddhist believe that we are caught in a cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth, or the concept of reincarnation, in which we must escape in order to end suffering and reach Nirvana. The quality of life from rebirth is based on the good deeds and the bad deeds that we committed in our present and previous lives (Buddhanet.net, 1996 – 2014).

In conclusion, Christianity and Buddhism are both religions based on the teachings of a person with a higher state of consciousness and knowledge. Christianity is a monotheistic religion that is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Buddhism is a nontheistic religion centered upon the life and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Each religion challenges the believer of their respective faith to achieve the same elevated state of consciousness and knowledge of their respective teacher and to end or escape suffering by reaching a Christian Heaven or a Buddhism Nirvana through their deeds in life.



Buddhism and Science

For a 2,500-year-old religion, Buddhism appears to be compatible with our scientifically oriented society, which may shed some light on its growing acceptance in the contemporary West. All religions, like Buddhism, come from a yearning to believe that the universe was formed to provide a stage for our spiritual journeys. Science is a system of knowledge based on observing and testing the facts which tells us that the universe and life was created from an accidental episode of suitable conditions. However, Buddhists and science share some similarities in philosophic and psychological ideas, especially regarding evolution, evolution, quantum theory, and cosmology.

Like science uses facts to create theories and laws, Buddhism uses exact, systematic philosophical and psychological reasoning in its teachings. Both Buddhists and science remove God from the equation because the use of a supreme being is a lazy method with no logical foundation to explain the ways of the universe. Buddhism and science explains the occurrences in the universe in the terms of cause and effects. Buddhist believes that the presence of misery and suffering in any person is an effect based on the presence of causes. Many scientific laws and theories are based on the principle of cause and effect. In science, all theories should be tested using several methods and proven before being accepted as a scientific fact. Buddhist also recommended that any teachings should be tested by our own experience before being accepted as the truth. The study of evolution and ecology state that life exists, adapts, and changes due to environmental conditions and other life forms. This study is very similar to the Buddhist’s teaching of Dependent Origination which states that everything is interconnected and affects everything else. In other words, everything that is, is because other things are. Buddhism is a religion dedicated to teaching self-help to individuals in order to obtain salvation, enlightenment, and eternal peace. From a scientific point of view, this teaching can be seen as an applied system of natural mental health and well-being based on the science of psychology and other behavior sciences. Several experimental studies suggest that Buddhist meditation could supply a deeper understanding into a wide scope of psychological state of beings.

In conclusion, science is a systematic, formulated knowledge needed to understand the wonders that we observe and those that influence our existence. Buddhism accepts this knowledge as a necessary truth and bridges the estranged worlds of matter and spirit. However, science constrains its followers to work within and accept the knowledge proven by the scientific method. Buddhism does not use the scientific method to reach enlightenment and therefore is not consistent with contemporary science. The ultimate goal of science is the understanding of the true reality of nature, reducing the suffering of humans, and creating material comforts for mankind in order to bring joy and happiness to the world, whereas the purpose of the teachings of the Buddha is the elimination of human suffering and making them blissful and satisfied through self-discipline and training their minds.



Sikhism and Christianity

The Sikh beliefs and the philosophies of many Christians are similar and differ in several facets. Both Christians and believers of Sikhism believe that there is a Supreme Being and that salvation can be found by believing in Him. However, there are several differences in the beliefs of Christians and Sikh believers. Believers of both faiths differ in their principles of God and what happens after death has occurred in the life of a believer. However, Christians and believers in Sikhism both have similar beliefs in salvation and the purpose of the life of a believer. Although both religions vary in philosophies, they are widely practiced throughout the world and there are critics and admirers of both faiths.

In Christianity, Christians believe in the trinity. They believe that God, Jesus and Holy Spirit exist in one form. The Bible states in 1 John 5:7-8 –“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”. In order to receive salivation, a person must believe in all three. In Sikhism, the believers of the faith believe in God as one Supreme Being. They believe that there is only one God and that a person should only believe in Him. To believe in anything else, a person would be sent to hell (RealSikhism.com 2014). In Christianity, as Christians we are taught that if you do not believe God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, you will not be saved thus resulting in spending an eternity in the confines of hell. The two religions vary completely in their beliefs of God.

In Sikhism, believers believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the result of life after death. In Sikhism, a person is reincarnated many times if they do not live a life that is untainted while on earth. In the Sikhism religion, a person must master five important sins. The five sins that one must conquer is the sin of lust, the sin of anger, the sin of greed, the sin of emotional attachment and ego (RealSikhism.com 2014). If a person does not master these sins, he or she is bound to death and life again until they master them. In Christianity, believers only have one life to live pure for God. If he or she does not live the one life that they are given for God, they are believed to spend eternity in hell. If Christians live a life that is pure the first time, they are guaranteed to dwell with God in heaven after death.

Although Sikhism and Christianity differ in their beliefs of God and the belief of what happens after death, they have similar beliefs in salvation. Both the believers of Sikhism and Christians believe that salvation is obtained through God by denouncing the ways of the world and focusing all attentions on God. In Romans 12:2, we are taught as Christians “not be conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2). This is a belief of the Christian faith that one should life in the world but all of the focus should be on becoming more like God. In Sikhism, their beliefs are similar, they believe that they must separate themselves from the world in order to obtain salvation and go to heaven.

Another important similarity of the Sikhism faith and the Christian faith is that the sole purpose of life is to become more like God. In the Christian faith, Christians are taught that they are to be like Christ. That is the primary purpose of life. In Christianity, Christians should go higher and higher in faith until they reach this goal. As Christians, one is taught to show love and help their fellow man. This is how one becomes more like Christ. In Sikhism, the purpose of life is similar. Sikh belief states that a believer must concentrate on being more like God. Sikhism states that they must be charitable to the fellow man as well in their attempt to become more like God and live a life that is devoted to pleasing him (RealSikhism.com 2014). Sikhism and Christianity both share these common goals.Sikhism and Christianity although different have several things in common. Sikhism and Christianity both share the goal of becoming a better person by striving to be more like the God they belief in. Sikhism and Christianity both believe that salvation can only be achieved by seeking God. While they both believe in these two aspects, both religions differ in their belief of what happens after death has occurred in the life of a believer and their beliefs of God. Even though the religions are different in several facets, the followers of both religions have several interesting concepts that could be beneficial in making the world a better place.



Hinduism

Hinduism is one of the largest religions in the world. It was founded around 1500 BC. Hinduism has no known founder, and it is most prevalent in India. There are several beliefs that are common in the Hindu faith. Karma is one of the themes that are customary in the Hindu faith. Karma is the belief that if a person commits evil, evil will find him at some point and time in their life. Karma is not the only theme that is a component of the Hindu religion, but it is one of the most important ones to ensure that a person strives to become a morally sound individual.

Karma in the Hindu faith is a principle or law that states that if a person experiences misfortune, it is because they have committed a bad act in this life or a past life. For example, if a person that appears to be good and pure loses their job and their home in the same day, it is possibly because he or she has committed some form of bad deed in their former life. In the Hindu faith, believers rely on the fact that they are reborn from life to life. The primary goal of the Hindu faith is to become a better person with each rebirth that he or she experiences. Karma is an important tradition in Hinduism because a person’s goal in life is to eliminate as much bad karma as possible.

Karma is taught in three different customs in the Vedanta and Yoga traditions. The three forms of Karma are Prarabdha karma, Sancita karma, and Agamin or sanciyama karma. Each particular form of karma is experienced in various stages in Hinduism. Prarabdha karma occurs in the present lifetime in the Hindu faith. This karma occurs while a person is living and aware of the karma that he or she is experiencing. Sancita Karma is karma that has not yet transpired. It is described as karma that is being stockpiled and has not become evident. And Agamin or sanciyama karma is karma that one commits now in the present life, but a person will not experience it until the next life. The three stages are believed to occur in every life of a person that practices the Hindu faith. If a person commits good deeds, they will have a better life in the next life. For example, if a person lives a decent life the first time, they may be reincarnated as another person. However, if they commit bad deeds, they could possibly be reincarnated as an inanimate object or animal.

Karma is practice in a tradition that is a component of a majority of the religions that are practiced in India. The belief in karma is a driving force to ensure that a person strives to become a better person in each birth that is experienced. Karma can occur in each life and the effects can be different each time a rebirth occurs. Karma is a known component of the Hindu faith but it is also a law or principle that believers of most faith adhere.



Christianity and Judaism

The foundation of Christianity and Judaism are relatively the same except for the belief that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. In Christianity, Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and that he died for their sins. However, in Judaism, Jews do not believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jews believe that he was a great deliver of the word of God but not the savior of humanity. In Judaism, Jesus was a human being with no power to perform miracles or ensure peace throughout the world. Christians and Jews both believe that God is all knowing and all powerful. However, Jews do not belief that Jesus Christ is the Messiah because in their opinion scripture has not been fulfilled in regards to the description of the Messiah. I think it is easy to interpret the Christian faith from the viewpoint of Judaism because their beliefs are primary the same. The interpretation of the scripture is where the two religions are in disagreement. The fact that the scripture exist is not in question, it is the actual translation. Christians believe that the prophecies of Jesus Christ will be revealed in the second coming. While Jews, believe that there is no second coming.



Jehovah’s Witness

A Jehovah’s Witness is a person that follows Jehovah. This world religion was founded in 1879 by Charles Taze. One interesting fact about this religion is that they do not worship Jesus. They believe in Jesus, but they do not believe that he is God almighty. Jehovah’s Witness do not worship Jesus, but they strive to live like him. It would seem that the God that Jehovah’s Witness serve could not be the same God that Christians serve because they do not believe in the Trinity. However, they called themselves Christians because they model their lives after Christ.They believe that Jesus was resurrected from the grave, but they do not believe that he was God in the flesh.



Mormonism

Mormonism was found in the 1820’s by an individual named John Smith. There are several television commercials that advertise the Mormon faith. Mormons believe in Jesus Christ, but they do not believe that he exists in the form of the Trinity. In Christianity, Christians believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit exist as one being. Christians believe that in order to receive salvation or to be saved, an individual must believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit exist in one being. However, in Mormonism, Mormons believe that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are three separate beings. Mormons believe that God and Jesus are two separate individuals and both of them dwelled on the earth and later died. However, in the Christian faith, Jesus walked the earth as flesh because He was God in the flesh. Mormons believe in the Holy Ghost as Christians believe in the Holy Spirit.



Shintoism

Shintoism is a religion that is practice in the country of Japan. The religions main focus is the power of living and nonliving things. Individuals who practice this religion believe that there is good in all things. The religion is similar to Christianity in several ways. For example, there is a festival called the Suwa-Taisha. In this festival, members of this religion re-enact the story of Abraham and Isaac. This is similar to Christianity because both religions believe in the art of sacrifice to display their loyalty to the God or spirits they believe in. Both religions have similarities, but they also have many differences. In Christianity, Christians believe in the Trinity. Christians believe in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. In Shintoism, there are kami. Kami can be an earthquake or a component of landscape. Both Christianity and Shintoism are influenced by the culture in which they are practiced. Both religions have similarities and differences, yet many of the stories that Christians have read in the Bible, are similar to the religious practices of Shintoism. Communication is the key to discovering the differences and similarities in all religions.



Jews

Jews, also known as Hebrews and Israelites, have been persecuted throughout history. The persecution of Jews can be dated back to biblical times. There are many reasons why historians believe that Jews have been ostracized from the beginning of time. Pharaoh and Hitler are two figures that are known for their discrimination and persecution of Jews. Jews belief in the God of Mosses and the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Messiah are two reasons why historians believe that Jews were oppressed.

The persecution of Jews did not begin with the Holocaust created by Hitler. The discrimination and persecution of Jews can be dated back to biblical times. In Egypt, Jews were not allowed to worship the God of their choice. They did not have the same liberties as other religious groups in Egypt. The oppression of Jews was not restricted to adults. The deep rooted hatred for the Jewish race was extended to everyone that was a Jew. For example, the first born sons of Jews were killed by Pharaoh as detailed in the Bible. Not only did Jews suffer the loss of their first born sons, their homes were demolished, and they were constantly punished for their belief in the God of Moses. It was not until Exodus, that the Jews were lead into the promise land and freed from the oppression of the Pharaoh Ramesses. Even after their liberation from Egypt, the Jews were reprimanded for disobeying God by worshipping false idols and disbelieving that God would lead them into the promise land. The Jews journeyed in the wilderness for decades until the last of generation of Jews that committed the sin of not believing that God would keep his word concerning His promise died. The Jews were punished for believing in the God of Moses by Ramesses, and they were punished for not believing that God would keep his promise to them. In general, they were a group of people that were punished for their beliefs.

A key reason why Jews were persecuted is that they did not believe in Jesus Christ. In Judaism, Jews do not believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah. In a region of the world in which Christianity was the major religion, Jews found themselves isolated. Many Christians punished them for their denial of the Savior. Not only were they persecuted for their disbelief in Jesus, they were persecuted for allegedly crucifying Jesus Christ. It is noted that Jews were solely responsible for the campaign against Jesus to disprove that he was the Son of God. This allegation has never been proven to be true, but many historians believe that Jews were responsible for Jesus’s death.

Jews have been accused of several things throughout history; many believe that their punishment was unjust and horrific. They have been persecuted throughout written history. The primary reason for their persecution is their faith. Whether it was their belief in God or their non -belief in Jesus Christ, their willingness to stand firm for their faith is the cause of much of the punishment that has been afflicted upon them.



Muslims

Muslims face many challenges in society today. As with many religions there are common stereotypes and prejudices that are associated with the Muslim faith. In addition to dealing with the labels that some of society place on them, Muslims must learn to adjust to a world that may not completely understand the journey that they are traveling on in order to become a model Muslim. Secularism is one of the many challenges that Muslims in the modern society must adhere to when practicing the Muslim faith.

Secularism is the challenge of living in the world and focusing on the life beyond the world in which you live. The term secular is common in the Christian faith as well. For example, music that is not labeled as Christian or Gospel music is considered secular music because the subject matter consists of things in the modern world. In the Muslim faith, it is a challenge to focus on the afterlife because they live in a society that is focused on the occurrences that they are faced with every day. For instance, Muslims believe that they must adhere to the laws that are created by Allah. If the laws in the society in which they live contradict the laws that have been created by Allah, most orthodox Muslims will disobey the laws that were created by man. This will cause conflict for a person that practices the Muslim faith because this will cause a person to encounter trouble with the law officials of the land in which they reside.

Another common challenge of secularism in the Muslim faith is that secularism makes a person of the Muslim faith an unbeliever. If a person participates in things of this world, he or she is rejecting Allah. Secularism creates Kufr. Kufr is terminology in the Muslim faith that means unbelief. If a person adheres to the laws of the land, he or she is turning their back on Allah. This is why most Muslims reject laws created by man. Most Muslims would rather disobey man than upset Allah because their allegiance is with Allah and not man. To believe anything other than the laws that are created by Allah is compared to a Christian breaking one of the Ten Commandments created by God.

Secularism is a major challenge of the believers of Islam. In society today, there are many temptations that could easily deter a believer of Islam. The challenge is to believe entirely in Allah while living in a society that will not always align with the teachings of Allah. The belief in the laws of Allah will in some instances cause a believer of this religion to break the laws created by man. This will cause the life of a Muslim to be difficult because society will punish them for breaking the laws that they have created. Like all religions, there are challenges to maintain true to the god in which they serve. This is why faith in the god that is being served will help them maintain their quest to become the person that their god wants them to be.



Protestant Denominations

Protestant denominations have declined steadily in contemporary America. As the years progress, America is seeing a decline in Protestant denominations and an increase in nondenominational churches. Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists were three of the Protestant denominations that were prevalent in America, but their presence is somewhat non-existent today. There are several factors that have caused the decrease in Protestant denominations in America.

In the Methodist church, many adolescents began to drop out of church after 1970. The children of many of the parents of the church simply did not return to church until they became adults and had children of their own. The 1960’s was known as the hippie era. At this particular time in America, many young adults did not like the constraints that were placed on them by the church. Since many felt that religion obstructed their liberal freedoms, they simply did not go to church. Even after, many members of the Methodist church returned, it was not enough to maintain the base of members that were once prevalent before 1960.

Presbyterian is one of the original Protestant denominations in America. The Presbyterian denomination has decreased tremendously over the past decades with its most significant decrease from 2000 to 2013. It has also been on a decline since the 1970’s. One reason for the decline is that original members of the Presbyterian faith are not giving birth to new members. The second main reason for the decline of Presbyterian affiliation is that many people do not want to belong to a particular religious organization. The new generation of Americans would rather be religiously unaffiliated. This is why non-denominational churches are becoming increasingly popular.

Congregationalists are another Protestant denomination that was prevalent before the 1960’s. This religious denomination was founded by Robert Brown in the 16th and 17th centuries in England. This Protestant denomination was also prevalent in American. However, it has seen a decline in membership as well. One of the main reasons for decline in the Protestant denomination is that community outreached was not a component of the religion. The Protestant church did not engage in evangelism as much as the evangelical church did. Another main reason for decline is that in the non-Protestant church, members are instructed on what is expected of them with more defined instructions. In the Protestant church, there is difficulty in relaying to the congregation what is expected of them because their theological teaching is broader.

The Protestant church in America is not what it once was. In previous decades, it was the main and dominant church in America. As generations changed, the membership of Protestant denominations such as Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregationalist are on a steady decline. The mainline church has been replaced by non-denominational churches because many Americans do not want to be affiliated to any one particular religion. Members of the mainline church simply have decreased due to the variety of other options available that provide Christians with a defined religious experience. It is safe to say that as time progresses the mainline church will be a church of the past if traditional methods are not replaced with ways to attract new membership to this dying church.



Second Great Awakening

The Second Great Awakening occurred in 1790. The Second Great Awakening was a movement that changed the mindset of people as it referred to God and salvation. In the First Awakening, religious groups believed that people were chosen by God to either go to heaven or hell from birth. In this awakening, a person had to prove that they were among God’s chosen people to go to heaven. In the Second Great Awakening, salvation was introduced. Individuals believed that if they did wrong or committed sin, God would forgive them through salvation. People were urged to reject sin and seek God first. Also in the Second Great Awakening, a person’s duty was to commit good works. They were commissioned to be holy and do well in the community in which they lived. From the Second Great Awakening, many religious groups emerged from this movement or revival. Some of the religious groups are still prevalent today. The Mormons and Seven Day Adventist are an example of religious groups that emerged from this movement. This movement displayed how the presence of Christ should be visible in the life of a believer and the world.



The Heliocentric Theory

The heliocentric theory is a theory that states that the planets of the solar system revolve around the sun. Prior to the heliocentric theory, many scientists and Christians believe that the earth was the center of the universe. The belief that the earth was the center of the universe is called geocentrism. Many Christians began to accept the heliocentric theory because it began to make sense logically. Many Christians did not believe the heliocentric theory initially because it contradicted biblical scriptures. Christians in this particular time and era believed that the bible was meant to be taken literally. They did not apply scripture with actual occurrences or with logic. For example, in the bible it states that the sun and the moon did not move. This would appear to be so because we do not see the sun or the moon move. That is why it was difficult for Christians to believe in the heliocentric theory. However, the same group of Christians could not accept the theory of Evolution. The theory of Evolution states that a group of molecules joined and created different species through natural selection. I believe that Christians are not willing to accept this theory because it does not give God credit for creation. The basis of the theory is that man created himself. With the heliocentric theory, there is no contradiction of a Creator. The theory just states that the sun is the center of the universe and not the earth. The bible states that God created the earth, and as Christians we believe this to be true. We do not want to give credit to molecules being so smart to create an entire solar system.



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