The word religion is one of those words we hear all the time but we often don’t think about the meaning of it. A religion is a set of beliefs that is held by a group of people. There are many different religions, each with a different set of beliefs. The beliefs are often linked to a god, or gods. But other religions do not have gods. One thing that all religions have in common is that they help their followers to find meaning in the world: where did the world come from? What happens after death? Most religions offer some sort of answer to these questions. Did you knnow that there are thousands of different religions in the world? This means that people around you may have different beliefs compared to yourself. Let’s have a closer look at some of the most followed religions in the world.
- HINDUISM is an Indian religion or way of life. It is widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion and constitutes about 15-16 percent of the global population.
- ISLAM is the world’s second-largest religion and constitutes about 25 percent of the global population. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful and unique. It teaches that Mohammed is a messenger of God.
- BUDDHISM is the world’s fourth-largest religion and constitutes about 7 percent of the global population. Followers of this religion are known as Buddhists.
- CHRISTIANITY is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The followers, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ. This religion is the world’s largest one with about 2.4 billion followers all over the world.
- SIKHISM is a religion that believes in one God. The followers are called ‘Sikhs’ and their holy book is the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. An estimated 28 million people are followers or Sikhism, which then makes the fifth largest religion in the world. This religion is practiced in parts of Asia and America.
- JUDAISM is one of the oldest religions. It is the religion of the Jewish people. Judaism is unique in a sense that is connected to one’s heritage. Since it is one of the oldest religions, Christianity and Islam are also based on Judaism.
- ATHEISM is when you do not belief in any god, gods or spiritual beings. They do not use God to explain the existence of the universe. Instead, they believe that humans establish their own moral codes to live by and live without the aid of Gods or scriptures. There is also AGNOTICISM. Agonists neither do or do not believe in God, they say they simply don’t know.
Religions usually include rituals, or special patterns of actions, that followers perform. They often have prayers that followers say and holidays on certain days of the year. Many religions also have written works, or so-called scripture, that are considered holy, such as the Bible, Written Torah or the Koran. Many religions also have buildings, such as churches, synagogues, mosques or temples, where followers gather for worship.
Religions set out rules or guidelines for how followers should live. Different religions have different rules. However, many religious rules have to do with treating others well and doing the right thing. Religions have played a very important role in the history of people all over the world. They have affected almost every part of people’s lives. For example, religions have affected the way governments are set up, how families are formed, and the way people teach their children.
Possible in-class discussion topics:
- Should ‘church and state’ be seperated?
- Is freedom of religion unlimited?