Religion

Religion is an important aspect of many people's lives. While it is responsible for some of the greatest acts of human kindness and compassion, it has also been the cause of many wars and hardships suffered by people throughout history. Religions vary throughout the world and often they are quite similar to one another. However, there are also an equal number of differences in religions. Religion plays a vital role in many cultures because it is often at the center of many celebrations, daily rituals, social structure, and in some instances government and law are somewhat or completely dictated by the religious beliefs of the people.

Key Religious Terms:

Agnostic: Skepticism regarding the belief in and acceptance of God. One who believes that the existence of God cannot be proven.

Atheism: The belief that there is no God. Disbelief in the existence of a supreme being.

Clergy: The religious leaders of a given religion. For example: priests, bishops, imams, and rabbis.

Creationism: The belief that all things on Earth were created by an all knowing creator and not gradually developed or evolved. The belief that the true story of creation originated as it was explained in the book of Genesis in the Bible.

Monotheism: The belief in the existence of one deity of God.

Polytheism: The belief in more than one God.

Theocracy: A form of government in which the deity or God is the primary civil ruler with the clergy interpreting and enforcing the laws for the people.

Primary Religions of the World Online Resources
To learn a bit more about each of the following religions, take a look at some of these links:

Judaism:
www.religioustolerance.org/jud_desc.htm

Islam: (look at the "contents" on the upper left of the screen)
atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/islam/islamintro.html

Christianity:
atschool.eduweb.co.uk/carolrb/christianity/

Hinduism:
www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/Homework/religion/hinduism.htm

Buddhism:
www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/Homework/religion/buddhism.htm

Some Questions to Consider Regarding World Religions

1. What are some of the similarities and differences between the major religions?

2. How might the religious beliefs of a culture help contribute to the day to day rituals and beliefs of a given culture?

3. What impact do you think geography has on a culture's religious beliefs?

4. Why do you think that religion has been the source of so much good and at the same time so much violence throughout human history?

5. What role does world religion currently play in the world today? What are some examples of the role of religion in the world today?