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General Religion

In: Religion Topics

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Religion Social Culture Religion Social Culture

Religion
Christianity
Christianity is the most popular religion in the world with over 2 billion adherents. 42 million Britons see themselves as nominally Christian, and there are 6 million who are actively practising.

Quick Facts * Christians believe that: * Jesus was the Messiah promised in the Old Testament. * Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. * God sent his Son to earth to save humanity from the consequences of its sins. * There is only one God, but that there are three elements to this one God: God the Father, God the Son, the Holy Spirit

* One of the most important concepts in Christianity is that of Jesus giving his life on the Cross (the Crucifixion) and rising from the dead on the third day (the Resurrection). * The Christian holy book is the Bible, and consists of the Old and New Testaments. * Christian holy days such as Easter and Christmas are important milestones in the Western secular calendar * Priests and Ministers shines the holy light in Churches which give the worshippers hope in the world.

Background of the birth and death of Jesus Christ

The traditional story of Jesus tells of his birth in a stable in Bethlehem in the Holy Land, to a young virgin called Mary who had become pregnant with the son of God through the action of the Holy Spirit.
The story of Jesus' birth is told in the writings of Matthew and Luke in the New Testament of the Bible.
His birth is believed by Christians to be the fulfilment of prophecies in the Jewish Old Testament, which claimed that a Messiah would deliver the Jewish people from captivity.

Jesus' ministry

After the story of his birth, little is known about Jesus until he began his ministry at the age of about 30. He then spent three years teaching, healing and working miracles. The Christ told stories everyday which had divine messages for those who would hear it. He had twelve disciples whom he called to follow him and help him in his work.

Persecution and death

Jesus stated publicly that he spoke with the authority of God. This claim angered the religious authorities in Palestine and they handed Jesus over to the Roman authorities as a revolutionary. He was tried for heresy, condemned and put to death by means of crucifixion.

Resurrection
On the Sunday following his execution, some of his women followers discovered that the tomb into which his body had been placed was empty. Jesus then appeared to them, alive, as the Jesus they had known prior to his death. His followers realised that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Jesus was seen by many of his disciples and followers over the next few days before, according to the Bible, he was taken up into heaven.

Islam
The word Islam means 'submission to the will of God'. Islam is the second largest religion in the world with over 1 billion followers.

Quick facts * Muslims believe that Islam was revealed over 1400 years ago in Mecca, Arabia. * Followers of Islam are called Muslims. * Muslims believe that there is only One God. * The Arabic word for God is Allah. * 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. * They believe that the final Prophet was Muhammad. * Muslims believe that Islam has always existed, but for practical purposes, date their religion from the time of the migration of Muhammad. * Muslims base their laws on their holy book the Qur'an, and the Sunnah. * Muslims believe the Sunnah is the practical example of Prophet Muhammad and that there are five basic Pillars of Islam. * These pillars are the declaration of faith, praying five times a day, giving money to charity, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca (at least once).
Basic articles of faith
Muslims have six main beliefs: * Belief in Allah as the one and only God * Belief in angels * Belief in the holy books * Belief in the Prophets...
e.g. Adam, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Dawud (David),Isa (Jesus). Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the final prophet. * Belief in the Day of Judgement...
The day when the life of every human being will be assessed to decide whether they go to heaven or hell. * Belief in Predestination... * That Allah has the knowledge of all that will happen. * Muslims believe that this doesn't stop human beings making free choices.
Allah
Allah is the name Muslims use for the supreme and unique God, who created and rules everything. The heart of faith for all Muslims is obedience to Allah's will.

The worshippers of Allah quote:
“Allah is eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent...”
“Allah has always existed and will always exist.”
“Allah knows everything that can be known.”
“Allah can do anything that can be done.”
“Allah has no shape or form...”
“Allah can't be seen.”
“Allah can't be heard.”
“Allah is neither male nor female.” “Allah is just...”
“Allah rewards and punishes fairly”.
“But Allah is also merciful.”

The Five Pillars of Islam

The most important Muslim practices are the Five Pillars of Islam. The Five Pillars of Islam are the five obligations that every Muslim must satisfy in order to live a good and responsible life according to Islam.

The Five Pillars consist of:
Shahadah: sincerely reciting the Muslim profession of faith
Salat: performing ritual prayers in the proper way five times each day
Zakat: paying an alms (or charity) tax to benefit the poor and the needy
Sawm: fasting during the month of Ramadan
Hajj: pilgrimage to Mecca
Buddhism
Buddhism is a tradition that focuses on personal spiritual development which strives for a deep insight into the true nature of life. 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.

There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible. The path to Enlightenment is through the practice and development of morality, meditation and wisdom.

Buddhists also believe that life is both endless and subject to impermanence, suffering and uncertainty. These states are called the tilakhana, or the three signs of existence. Existence is endless because individuals are reincarnated over and over again, experiencing suffering throughout many lives.

The history of Buddhism is the story of one man's spiritual journey to enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it.

The Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha was born in a royal family in present-day Nepal over 2500 years ago. He lived a life of privilege and luxury until one day he left the royal enclosure and encountered for the first time, an old man, a sick man, and a corpse. Disturbed by this he became a monk before adopting the harsh poverty of Indian asceticism. Neither path satisfied him which he decided to start pursuing the ‘Middle Way’ - a life without luxury but also without poverty.

Buddhists believe that one day, seated beneath the Bodhi tree (the tree of awakening), Siddhartha became deeply absorbed in meditation and reflected on his experience of life until he became enlightened.

By finding the path to enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or 'awakened one'.

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths contain the essence of the Buddha's teachings. It was these four principles that the Buddha came to understand during his meditation under the bodhi tree.

1) The truth of suffering (Dukkha) 2) The truth of the origin of suffering (Samudāya) 3) The truth of the cessation of suffering (Nirodha) 4) The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering (Magga)
The Buddha is often compared to a physician. In the first two Noble Truths he diagnosed the problem (suffering) and identified its cause. The third Noble Truth is the realisation that there is a cure.

The fourth Noble Truth, in which the Buddha set out the Eightfold Path, is the prescription, the way to achieve a release from suffering.

The Wheel of Life
The Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Life or Wheel of Becoming, is a mandala - a complex picture representing the Buddhist view of the universe. To Buddhists, existence is a cycle of life, death, rebirth and suffering that they seek to escape altogether.

The Wheel is divided into five or six realms, or states, into which a soul can be reborn. It is held by a demon. Around the rim are depicted the twelve stages of dependent origination.
Canada`s Social Class and Status

Dimensions of Social Inequality
Canadians tend to underestimate the amount of social inequality in our society; there is a general belief that equality of opportunity allows individual initiative to decide who gets ahead. Certainly, compared to most other societies, Canadians perceive themselves to be well off. In reality, however, we tend to interact with those who are close to us in the class system, insulating us from the true dimensions of social inequality. Although money is an important component of inequality, socioeconomic status encompasses power, occupational prestige, and schooling.

Social Classes in Canada

1) The Upper Class Three to five percent of the Canadian population falls into this class. Most of the wealth is inherited from past generations which include multi millions or billions. In the past years, the number of wealthy British has decreased. However, millionaires from Asian and Middle Eastern countries are immigrating to Canada.

2) The Middle Class Also known as the upper middles or the average middles. Roughly 40-50% of the Canadian population falls into this category. Because of its size, it has tremendous influence on patterns of Canadian culture. Te racial and ethnic diversity in this class is immense which is not characterized by exclusiveness and familiarity. The family incomes range from $50,000 to $100, ooo earned from upper managerial or professional fields.
3) The Working Class This class comprises about one-third of the population and has lower incomes than the middle class and virtually no accumulated wealth. Their jobs provide less personal satisfaction. Normally the annual income of this particular class is between $50,000 and $15,000.

4) The Lower Class The remaining 20% of our population is identified as the lower class. In 2001 roughly 16% of the Canadian population were labelled as poor. Many are supported entirely by welfare payments, while others are among the “working poor” whose incomes are insufficient to cover necessities like food, shelter, and clothing. They typically live in less desirable neighbourhoods-often racially or ethnically distinct-and their children are often resigned to living the same hopeless lives of their parents.

Canada’s Multiculturism

British, Caucasians, and Europeans Based on the Canadian Census,

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