The Bahá'í Faith is a religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are about six million Bahá'ís in more than 200 countries and territories around the world.
According to Bahá'í teachings, religious history has unfolded through a series of God's messengers who brought teachings suited for the capacity of the people at their time, and whose fundamental purpose is the same. Bahá'u'lláh is regarded as the most recent, but not final, in a line of messengers that includes Abraham, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Muhammad and others. Bahá'u'lláh's claim to fulfill the eschatological promises of previous scriptures coincides with his mission to establish a firm basis for unity throughout the world, and inaugurate an age of peace and justice, which Bahá'ís expect will inevitably arise.
Bahá'í (IPA: can be an adjective referring to the Bahá'í Faith, or used as a term for a follower of Bahá'u'lláh. (Bahá'í is not a noun meaning the religion as a whole.) The word comes from the Arabic word Bahá , meaning "glory" or "splendour". "Bahaism" (or "Baha'ism") has been used in the past but is fading from use.
Buddhism is a set of teachings often described as a religion. However, some definitions of religion would exclude it, or some forms of it. Some say it is a body of philosophies influenced by the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as Gautama Buddha. Others say it is teachings to guide one to directly experiencing reality. Many recent scholars regard it as a plurality rather than a single entity. Buddhism is also known as Buddha Dharma or Dhamma, which means roughly the "teachings of the Awakened One" in Sanskrit and Pali, languages of ancient Buddhist texts. Buddhism began around 5th century BC with the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, who was born in Lumbini, Nepal and is hereafter referred to as "the Buddha".
Christianity is a monotheistic and evangelistic faith that is centered on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Like Judaism and Islam, Christianity is an Abrahamic religion. Early Christianity was a Jewish eschatological sect, but there was great diversity in local variations. Confined to the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and parts of India for its first thousand years, it has spread throughout the entire world during its second millennia due to colonization and missionary work. It includes the Hebrew Bible (known to Christians as the Old Testament), the New Testament, and, in some cases, the Deuterocannonical (or Apocryphal) books as its canonical scriptures.
Jesus Christ is central to Christianity as the foundation of salvation, the revealer of God, and the model of a pious life; not just as a teacher, but as the son of God who suffered, died and was resurrected for the salvation of all from sin. Christians maintain that Jesus ascended into heaven and most sects teach that Jesus will judge the living and the dead, granting everlasting life to his followers. Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, and that the New Testament records the Gospel that was revealed by Jesus.
The Trinity is often regarded as an essential doctrine of Christianity. It is a complex topic and there are varying interpretations. The Nicene understanding of the Trinity states that there is one God that exists as three Persons – Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" represents both the immanence and transcendence of God. God is infinite and unknowable to finite humanity, but God's presence may be perceived through the actions of Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
The disciples were first called "Christians" (Greek), meaning "'household' or 'partisans' of Christ", in Antioch. Ignatius of Antioch was the first Christian to use the label in self-reference. The earliest recorded use of the term Christianity (Greek) is also by Ignatius of Antioch, around 100 AD.
Christianity is the largest world religion with 2.1 billion adherents, however, Church attendance has been declining in many places. The importance of Christianity is not only due to its large number of adherents, but also because of its integral nature in western culture and its part in the shaping of human history.
A Hindu, Devanagari: is an adherent of the philosophies and scriptures of Hinduism, a set of religious, philosophical and cultural systems that originated in the Indian subcontinent.
There are approximately 900 million Hindus, or 13% of the world population making Hinduism the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam; of these, about 880 million live in India, and 20 million in the Hindu diaspora. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Fiji, Guyana, Nepal, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Islam (Arabic:al-'islam) is a monotheistic Abrahamic religion originating with the teachings of Muhammad, a 7th century Arab religious and political figure. The word Islam means "submission", or the total surrender of oneself to God (Arabic: Allah). An adherent of Islam is known as a Muslim, meaning "one who submits (to God)". There are approximately 1.61 billion Muslims, making Islam the second-largest religion in the world, after Christianity.
Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur'an to Muhammad, God's final prophet, and regard the Qur'an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam. They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jews and Christians distorted the texts God gave to these prophets by either altering the text, using a false interpretation, or both.
Islam includes many religious practices. Adherents are generally required to observe the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. In addition to the Five Pillars, Islamic law (sharia) has developed a tradition of rulings that touch on virtually all aspects of life and society. This tradition encompasses everything from practical matters like dietary laws and banking to warfare.
Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni and Shi'a. The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. Roughly 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 15 percent are Shi'a. Islam is the predominant religion throughout the Middle East, as well as in parts of Africa and Asia. Large communities are also found in China, the Balkan Peninsula in Eastern Europe and Russia. There are also large Muslim immigrant communities in wealthier and more developed parts of the world such as Western Europe. About 20 percent of Muslims live in Arab countries.
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is one of the oldest religions in the world. It is a religion and philosophy originating in ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankars. The 24th Tirthankar, Lord Mahavira lived in ca. 6th century BC. One of the main characteristics of Jain belief is the emphasis on the immediate consequences of one's behavior.
Jains are a small but influential religious minority with at least 4.2 million practitioners in modern India and more in growing immigrant communities in the United States, Western Europe, the Far East and elsewhere. Jains continue to sustain the ancient Shraman or ascetic tradition.
Jains have significantly influenced the religious, ethical, political and economic spheres in India for over two millennia. Jainism stresses spiritual independence and equality of all life with particular emphasis on non-violence. Self-control is vital for attaining omniscience (kevala jnana) and eventually moksha, or realization of the soul's true nature.
A Jain is a follower of the Jina, or spiritual victor. Per ancient and contemporary usage, as well as dictionary definitions, a follower of Jain Dharma, or Jainism, is called a Jain. The term Jainist which is found on some internet websites is not used in either literature or common parlance.
Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship. The Jain community is the most literate religious community in India, and the Jain libraries are India's oldest.
Judaism (Hebrew:) is the religion of the Jewish people, based on principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) and the Talmud. According to Jewish tradition, the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham (ca. 2000 BCE), the patriarch and progenitor of the Jewish people. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still in practice today. Jewish history and doctrines have influenced other religions such as Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith.
While Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice, it has always been monotheistic in theology. It differs from many religions in that central authority is not vested in a person or group, but in sacred texts and traditions. Throughout the ages, Judaism has clung to a number of religious principles, the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to govern it. According to traditional Jewish belief, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of the Torah, and the Jewish people are the descendants of the Israelites. The traditional practice of Judaism revolves around study and the observance of God's laws and commandments as written in the Torah and expounded in the Talmud.
In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated at 13.2 million people, 41 percent of whom live in Israel
Shinto (Shinto?) is the native religion of Japan and was once its state religion. It is a type of polytheism, and involves the worship of Buddha or kami spirits. Some kami are local and can be regarded as the spiritual being/spirit or genius of a particular place, but other ones represent major natural objects and processes: for example, Amaterasu, the Sun goddess, or Mount Fuji. Shinto is an animistic belief system. The word Shinto, from the original Chinese Shêntao, combines two kanji: "shin" (loanwords usually retain their Chinese pronunciation, hence shin not gami), meaning gods or spirits; and "to" meaning a philosophical way or path (originally from the Chinese word dao). As such, Shinto is commonly translated as "The Way of the Gods". Some differences exist between KoShinto(the ancient Shinto) and the many types of Shintotaught and practiced today, showing the influences of Buddhism when it was introduced into Japan in the sixth century.
After World War II, Shinto ceased to be Japan's state religion, although it continued to be considered the native religion of Japan. Some Shinto practices and teachings, once given a great deal of prominence during the war, are no longer taught or practiced today, while others still exist as commonplace activities such as omikuji (a form of fortune-telling) and the Japanese New Year to which few people give religious connotations. Important national ceremonies such as coronations and royal marriages are conducted at the Three Palace Sanctuaries in Tokyo.
Sikh (meaning: disciple or learner) is the title and name given to an adherent of Sikhism. The term has its origin in the Sanskrit "shishya", which means disciple or learner. Many male Sikhs can easily be recognized by their turbans, beards, or steel bracelets on their right wrists.
The greater Punjab region is the historic homeland of Sikhism. Most Sikhs are from the Punjabi people and now come from the Punjab region of India, although significant communities exist around the world.