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Comparison and Contrast Paper Founder(S) of the Religion

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Comparison and Contrast Paper
Founder(s) of the religion

There are five major religions of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism have a different origins. The founder of Christianity was Jesus Christ. He was born in Bethlehem around 6-4BC. He was the son of Joseph and the Virgin Mary and in his early years most like trained as a carpenter under his father. Around the age of 30 he was baptized by John the Baptist and at the moment it was said the heavens opened up and God proclaimed that Jesus was his son and resulted in the beginning of his ministry and established a group that he called the twelve apostles. It was around this time where Jesus spent forty days and nights wandering the desert avoiding three temptations from Satan; hunger, power and faith. On Passover, he shared the last supper with his disciples when Jesus was arrested and condemned to death. On the third day, he resurrected from the dead and on the fortieth day after his resurrection, Jesus appeared, told to spread His word and ascended into heaven. The founder of Islam is the prophet Muhammad. Muhammad was born in 570 AD in Makah. In this early life, he was raised by his grandfather and after he died, his uncle. He later wed Khadija and lived a prosperous life. While making a retreat to a mountain cave, he was visited by a presence which left him in awe and was instructed to recite words which would be the foundation of the Qur’an. After a number of years, he finally spoke about his experience to his wife and started to tell of his messages to the public. His followers and he travelled to Medina to escape persecution building the Muslim community. After a series of wars, the Muslims overtook mecca and on his farewell pilgrimage to Mecca he fell ill and died. Hinduism does not have a specific founder or date of origin. Rather the tradition is that it has always believed to have existed. Judaism was founded my Abraham and later Moses. When Abraham was 75 years old, God visited decided to choose Abraham to teach the people that there is only one God. God and Abraham entered an unconditional Covenant which blessed and promised his people a vast amount of land for his descendants as well as the promise of a nation (Israel) that descended from the first patriarch. Later God would visit Moses and chose him to lead the Jews out of slavery and into the Promised Land. Once the Jews were free from the Egyptians, God gave Moses the law (Ten Commandments) on Mount Saini which laid out the principles on what was needed to do to praise God. God also instructed Moses that his descents were to call him “Yahweh”. Siddhartha Gautama was born around 563 BC. He was predicted by his father that he would become a great ruler and teacher and spent his early years in affluence and luxury. He was wed and fathered a child during this time. His father had purposely kept him isolated and shielded from spiritual conflicts and interests. On his journeys, he came across the Four Sights which as a result gave up all his possessions and chose a life of religion. While in a period of meditation and fasting he was close to death when came across a young girl that had provided him food and realized that there might be a more useful way to find peace. It was at this point where he sat in meditation under a Bodhi Tree and was visited by demons that tempted him with images, but he remained and continued to try and find and end to sorrow. Eventually he came across enlightenment, he was known as Buddha and realized the truth and for the remaining days of his life had spent teaching what he had learned from his journey.
Understanding of God or Gods In Christianity there is only one God. Even though Jesus Christ was the Son of God, there are many times in his life that he referred himself as God. Christians better explain this by the use of the Holy Trinity: The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the Son and the Holy Spirit, but all of them are God. In Islam, its much like Christianity, there is only One God and goes by the name of Allah. One word of note; before the prophet Muhammad and the advent of Isla, came along the majority of Muslims worshipped hundreds of Gods with Allah being one of the most important ones. In Hinduism, the definite answer is not as easy identified as the other major religions. It can be argued that there are millions of Gods or deities that are perceived of being avatars the singular Brahman. It also can be perceived that there are three major Hindu deities or the Trimuri; Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. In Judaism, there is one absolute God and his proper name is Yahweh. In Buddhism, there is not an existence or a dependency of an omnipresent Deity, rather their its teachings focus on meditation and how to progress through multiple lives in order to achieve Nirvana.
Final “Rewards” In Christianity the main goal after life on earth is to be rewarded to go to heaven, which is supposedly free of all pain and suffering and joining of all souls of this earth that have come before them. However Christianity does teach that the rules of God must be followed to achieve a place in heaven. If not the final resting place is Hell, which Christians believe that is a place that is place of judgment and punishment. Roman Catholics believe that there is another place called purgatory which is seen as a temporary place of punishment for unconfessed sins. When purified of those sins in this place, they are able to enter Heaven. In the Islamic religion, the premise of the afterlife is similar to Christianity where souls go to paradise or hell based on the life they’ve lead on earth. However the major difference from Christianty is that after a person dies their souls remain in grave or on earth until the Day of Judgment. This is when Allah will bring all people up for judgment and determination. They do have a glimpse of their fate as the ones what will arise to heaven with rest peacefully in the grave whereas the souls that will be condemned to Hell will suffer in their graves. In Hinduism, they believe that when a soul dies, it gets reborn into a new body. They aspire to a place of peace rather of one that is in pain. Known as the “Grand Illusion”, this process keeps happening until the soul achieves liberation and is ascended into the upper realms or into the world of Brahman. The lower realms is more constituted to the human and animal distinctions. The rise and fall of these realms are dependent on if the soul’s moral actions and even state of mind after death. In Judaism, there is no mention at all in the Torah, the most important Jewish text. In Judaism, there is no true official position on the afterlife on whether there is one or after the body dies. However by striving to follow the Law of God a reward might be eminent, but there is no proof of it. In Buddhism, the afterlife follows a similar premise of Hindus whereas the soul is continually reborn until it reaches the point there rebirth isn’t necessary. The difference in Buddhism is that unlike the realms of Hinduism, there is end goal called Nirvana where the soul escapes the cycle of rebirth and is liberated.

Length of Existence before the reward
In Christianity there is no length of time to wait to achieve the afterlife. As soon as the human life on earth dies it is ascended into heaven or hell. There is one caveat with Roman Catholics which is called purgatory. While it is technically the afterlife it is a weigh station of sorts where souls that have unconfessed sins have to do through a period of remorse and punishment until all sins are absolved and the soul is ascended into heaven. In the Islamic religion after the human body dies, it remains on earth in its grave until the Day of Judgment when Allah brings all souls to either heaven or hell. For both Hinduism and Buddhist religions there isn’t specified time table. The soul continues to be incarnated or reborn until it learns from prior lives and achieves nirvana in the Buddhist religion or the soul is ascended into the higher realms into the world of Brahman. In Judaism, there simply isn’t a timetable to achieve the afterlife because the afterlife and requirements of the afterlife have never been defined or documented.

Sacred Writings In Christianity, the sacred writings used is called the Holy Bible. It is comprised of two parts; the Old and New Testament. The Old Testament contains the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. The New Testament contains the teachings of Jesus Christ and is divided into four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, twenty-one letters and the Book of Revelation. In the Islamic religion the sacred writings used is called the Qur’an which God, through the angel Gabriel verbally reveled to the Prophet Muhammad over a period of twenty-three years. This differs from the Christian bible where the gospels were not the actual words of Jesus, but based on his teachings. In Hinduism, their sacred writings are called the Vidas. It is comprised of 4 Vidas: Rig, Vida, Sama Vida, Yajur Vida and the Atharva Vida. Also the Upanishads, which contains some of the central religious concepts of Hinduism can be considered as sacred writings. The Mahabharata which chronicles the stories of the Kauvara and Pandva princes as well carries significant importance in Hinduism. In Judaism, the Torah is the sacred writings for the religion. For Christians, this is called the Old Testament. It is broken out into three parts: the Torah, the Nev’im and the Kethuvim. In addition, the Talmud, which is an oral Torah and is used to explain the scriptures and interpret them for application into daily practices and life. In Buddhism, the Tripitka is the religions sacred writings containing over fifty volumes and it is broken up into three parts; Sutra Pitaka, Abhidarma Pitaka, and Dhammapada.
Main Divisions within the Religions In Christianity there are three major divisions; Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox and the split occurred in 1054 when the Roman and Constantinople church disagreed on aspects of the Holy Trinity. In the Islamic religion, there are two major divisions; the Shiites and the Sunnis that split soon after the death of the prophet Muhammad. In Buddhism, there are three divisions with the religion; Theravada, the Mahatana and the Tibetan Buddhists. Theravada Buddhists closely follow the original concept and practices of the Buddha and early religion. The Mahanta Buddhists are not as tradition and the main difference in the religion is how they view the main purpose of life and how to get there. Tibetism Buddhists came to fruition when there were excommunicated from their homeland by the Chinese. In Hinduism, the division between the religion is defined by the social castle system which has four groups; Brahmans, Shatriyas, Vishyas, and Shudras. There is a 5th division called the “untouchables” but is not considered part of the original for because they are regarded lower than the caste system. In Judaism, there are three divisions within the religion; Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. The Orthodox is the strictest and follows traditional Judaism. Conservative and Reform are looser representations of the Orthodox division.
Physical Worship Centers In Christianity, the church is the worship center for this religion. It’s a meeting place for all Christians and the gathering place is a symbol of the universal church of Christ. In the Islamic religion, the Mosque is the physical worship center for this religion. Followers come to pray and socialize. In Buddhism, the physical place of worship is called a temple where followers can come and pray. In Judaism, the physical place of worship is called a synagogue and followers congregate for prayer. In Hinduism, the physical place of worship is called a temple and followers congregate for prayer.
General Discussion and Division in Basic Beliefs In review, the five major religions do share a lot of similarity, but differ on fundamental aspects. All religions have a focal or starting point. A human entity that either became divine or that was used as a messenger or beacon to translate Gods word and meaning of life. When we look at number of Gods, Christianity, Islam and Judaism all have one God. When we look at Buddhism and Hinduism, the definition isn’t clearly defined. Hinduism has numerous Gods of worship and Buddhists doesn’t have a clearly defined God at all. The final rewards share some similarities, but also carry fundamental differences. With Christianity and Islam, there is a heaven and hell which is based on actions earth. The difference is that in Christianity, the human soul is taken there right after the moment of death. In Islam the soul waits on earth until the Day of Judgment in which Allah brings all people for judgment and determination of destination. Hinduism and Buddhism share similar paths of reincarnations based on moral judgments on earth. However in Buddhism the process is repeated until the soul achieves Nirvana and escapes the cycle of rebirth. In Hinduism, the process seems to continue until it reaches the upper realms of Brahman, but it is not clear if that is the end state. In Judaism, there seemingly isn’t a mention of an afterlife which is different than the other major religions. All religions have sacred writings that follows read, but also share some differences. The main one is regarding the Qur’an. These writings were said that they all came from God via the Angel Gabriel to the prophet Muhammad. The bible, Toran, Vidas and Tripaka are either teachings of the Jesus (Christianity) or simply sacred writings on how to life a proper and moral life on earth guiding them to the path of salvation. All divisions do have separate divisions within the major religion that have broken apart into those segments over time as a result of human disagreement and interpretation of the religion itself. All religions have worship centers, but aren’t as stringent as others. For Islam, Christianity and Judaism there is a requirement to go the worship center and pray on certain times and holy days of worship. However with Hinduism and Buddhism, there doesn’t seem to be that same requirement as with the aforementioned three religions. There are places of worship, however the same result can be achieved by praying anywhere.

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