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One definition of religion is a cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

However, most people would identify with religion as a personal or institutionalized system grounded in a belief in and reverence for a supernatural power (or powers) regarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Among the most popular religions are Protestant, Catholic, Islam, Judaism, Hindu, and Buddhist.

The first four, Protestant, Catholic, Islam and Judaism are interrelated offspring of each other. Judaism being the original, Catholic, Protestant and Islam were created on the base of Judaism. Each of these religions believe in one unique and omnipotent God. Judaism bases their beliefs on the teachings given to Moses by God, the Torah (five books) and the Talmud (oral teachings that have been written down). The five books of the Torah became the first five books of the Bible, which is what both Catholic and Protestant believers live by. The key difference between the beliefs of Christians (Catholics and Protestants) and Jews is that Christians believe that the Messiah has come and gone in the form of Jesus, God’s son, and Jews believe that the Messiah is yet to be seen. Islam follows the teachings of Muhammad, a prophet. Their teachings are kept in a book called the Koran (or Alcoran or Qu’ran).

Hinduism, unlike the previous religions addressed, has no one founder and no one book. Instead they have multiple books, four Vedas, and several others ( Smrutis, Ithihasas, Puranas). Hindus believe that every religion leads to the same ultimate form of God (God beyond all human understanding, beyond time, space and form). Thus, Hindus in contrast to many other religions do not make attempts to convert other people to their religion.

In Buddhism there are four essential truths suffering; the cause of suffering; the removal of suffering and the pathway leading to the removal of suffering. The Buddha believed that the world and life are constantly changing, thus sorrow prevails. The Buddha also believed that because the mind is the nerve center of human action and experience, one could find peace or Nirvana by controlling it and defeating his/her desires. The scriptures observed by Buddhists are called Tipitaka (Three-fold Basket) and include the Vinaya-Pitaka, Sutta-Pitaka, and Abhidhamma-Pitaka. These are further divided into nine divisions Sutta Nikaya (Sermons in prose), Geyya Nikaya (Sermons in prose and/or verse), Veyyadkarana (commentary), Gatha (stories, psalms), Udana (Pithy Sayings), It-Vuttaka ("Thus-said " the Buddha’s short speeches), Jataka (Birth Stories), Abbhutadhamma (stories of miracles), and Vedalla (Teachings in the form of questions/answers).

(If any of this information is found to be incorrect, or you would like to submit information to be added, please contact curmudgeongirl@gmail.com)