Religion Jorja Z.

What I Believe

I am an eleven year old girl and I was born and raised in Singapore. I have two brothers and I like basketball and soccer. I’ve been playing both since I was a little girl with my family. Since my father plays soccer, I can practice with him and since my brother plays basketball, he teaches me how to be a better basketball player. My favourite subject is P.E. because I am very sporty. I like to hang out with my friends a lot.

When people ask me what religion I believe in, I struggle to answer them because I am an atheist. I don’t believe in one religion, but I do find all religions fascinating. My dad is christian and my mom is buddhist. They gave me a choice. They told me that when I grew up I could choose what religion I wanted to believe in, but I’m not planning on choosing one because I find all of the religions very interesting. Although both my parents are religious, they too think that being able to have a say in what you want your religion to be is important. I have gone to a temple before for when my great grandfather died, but that is not what I believe in.

I believe that every human is equal. That no human is better than one another. Whether it to be the king of England or a farmer, to me, they are both equal. They are both human aren’t they? That’s something I struggle to understand still. Why were black people and white people different? They were both human. I believe that like every human is equal, every religion is too. No religion is better than the other. They are just different ways at looking at life and being an atheist helps me understand everyone's perspective/religion. It helps me take off my cultural blinders.

Honestly, I think that being an atheist could be better because it gives you a different outlook on life. Although I don’t believe that there is a god looking over me so I have to do well, I still want to do well and I still want to do the best at whatever I’m doing because I want to push myself. I want to be a good person for myself, not for anyone else. I will stand up for someone if they are getting bullied for what religion they are because I believe that every person, animal, religion etc. is equal. One doesn’t matter more than the other. Especially since we go to a international school with people from all around the world with different religions, we have to learn to be accepting and tolerance is key to accepting everyone. I believe every religion has a right to be what they are and every person has a right to be who they want to be. What do you really believe in?

Hinduism: Hindu gods

How did Hindu gods influence people who believe in hinduism?

  • What were each gods duties?
  • What were their main beliefs about Brahman?
  • What were Hindus beliefs about the deities?

There were definitely a lot of different gods. For example there are, Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganapati, Saraswati, Lakshmi etc. There were also the Avatars of Vishnu, Rama and Krishna. Although there were many different gods, there was one that stood out more than any other. Brahman, is the only god who exists forever. If there were to be one hindu god, it would be Brahman. He created the universe and all creatures with it.

What were the main deities duties?

The main deities are known as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma is known as the creator. Vishnu is the preserver. Lastly, Shiva is the destroyer. They are all different aspects of Brahman.

What were Hindus main beliefs about Brahman?

Their main beliefs are that Brahman was a supreme power, greater than all others. Only Brahman exists forever. The last main belief about Brahman is that everything was part of Brahman. Even human souls.

What were Hindus main beliefs about the three main deities?

Some beliefs were that they were different faces of supreme force, the three deities control one respect of the universe and all deities are different forms of Brahman.

Sources

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:P_religion_world_violet.png

http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Travel-Elephant-Hinduism-Hindu-Ganesha-God-Indian-1119223

Buddhism

What is Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?

What is Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?

  • What are the differences?
  • What are the similarities?
  • Which form of Buddhism is followed more?

Theravada is mainly associated with South East Asia. It is thought to be closer to the original Indian form of Buddhism. Theravada focuses more on reaching Nirvana. Sometimes it is called Southern Buddhism because it is strongest in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar. Theravada means 'the doctrine of the elders.' This meaning that the older Buddhist monks. It is closest to the original teachings of the Buddha, but it doesn't overemphasize these teachings in a fundamental way. They believe that each person can gain enlightenment for him/herself. They don't pray to the Buddha. They believe he can only help them through his teachings. They think that the best way to live

Monk praying

Mahayana is usually associated with the northern part of Asia. It's especially practiced in China, Tibet, Japan, and Korea. It means great vehicle. They believe that it's possible to reach nirvana in one lifetime. It doesn't matter your qualification. You could be a farmer and still be able to reach enlightenment. It is thought to be bigger than Theravada and more practiced. It has about 57.9% or 53.2% of Buddhist followers. The reason there are two percentages is because some people believe that there is a third practice called Vajrayana. Some people think that it is part of Mahayana and some think it is separate. Like Theravada, there is no god who is the creator or ruler.

This is a video explaining the history of the two forms of Buddhism where he focuses more on the differences and similarities.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/buddhism/subdivisions/theravada_1.shtml

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/theravada.html

http://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/buddhism/galleries/what-do-mahayana-buddhists-believe.aspx?p=3

Just for the image: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism

https://youtu.be/aCA6ioTLw-Q

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhistworld/schools1.htm

Judaism

Why is Hanukkah so important to Jewish people?

  • What are some traditions during Hanukkah?
  • What's the story behind Hanukkah?
  • What do they do in the synagogue?
Menorah

Hanukkah is sometimes called the festival of lights. It is an eight day holiday. Events that inspired this holiday happened around 200 B.C.E. This is when Antiochus III ruled, who let the Jews practice their religion. His son on the other hand, made all Jews worship Greek gods. The Jewish priest, Mattathias and his five sons led a huge rebellion against Antiochus and the Seleucid monarchy. When Mattathias died, his son Judah took the helm. After two years, the Jews had driven the Syrians out of Jerusalem. What Judah did, was he called on his followers and they cleansed the Second Temple. They lit its menorah.

During Hanukkah, Jews remember a story from their past. The reason that Hanukkah doesn't appear in the Torah, is because all of the events that made Hanukkah a holiday happened after the Torah was written. In the synagogue, rather than a special version for the holiday, the standard Shabbat service is recited. During the Amidah, they add a special insert called Al Hanissim which addresses Hanukkah and offers thanks to god's role in the event. During Hanukkah, the Torah is read every day. The thing that ties Hanukkah together is when the Torah in one chapter, the theme is dedication.

Sources:

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/hanukkah

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/hanukkah-in-the-community/

https://pixabay.com/en/dreidels-hanukkah-spinning-tops-20347/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/14771153@N04/5244687651

Christianity

Why is Santa part of Christmas?

  • Why are presents given during Christmas?
  • What is the origination of Santa Claus?
Santa Claus

Santa Claus originated during the 1800s, way after Jesus' birth. This is all mainly because of two New Yorkers who lived there in the 1800s. There names were Clement Clark Moore and Thomas Nast. Clement Clark Moore was a New York professor of Greek literature. He had an idea, that had a huge impact on Christmas. Clement Clark Moore is the guy who wrote, "Twas the Night Before Christmas." He was inspired by someone. That someone was St. Nicholas. After all, the poem used to be called, "A Visit From Saint Nicholas." It soon turned into, "Twas the Night Before Christmas." Saint Nicholas was renowned for gift giving, hence the presents. He would put his presents into stockings which is where the stockings originated from. Clement Clark Moore did change the looks of who St. Nicholas was. He made him a jolly man who always wore red. Instead of him being a bishop, he made him look like an elf.

Saint Nicholas' holy statue

This is where Thomas Nast, an illustrator comes in. In 1862, Harpers weekly, a big time newspaper, asked him to draw them an image of Christmas for there paper. That's how santa's image changed. Bringing this back to Christianity, St. Nicholas honored Jesus' life. Saint Nicholas gave his riches to the poor. This is one of Jesus' teachings.

Sources:

http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/santa-claus

https://answersingenesis.org/jesus-christ/birth/wintertime-worship-santa-claus-or-jesus-christ/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/42986213@N02/8298821800

https://pixabay.com/en/jesus-church-christianity-faith-2232024/

https://pixabay.com/en/st-nicholas-holy-statue-monument-1597310/

Islam

What happens inside a mosque?

  • How did mosques come to be?
  • What are the different rituals?
  • What are the different roles in a mosque?

There are two types of mosques. They are a masjid, a smaller mosque and a jami, a bigger mosque. They have definitely evolved since then and there are many more. The first mosque in the world was the Ka'bah. Muhammed and his followers were not allowed inside the mosque. In the mosque, since they don' worship idols, there are no statues of any one in the mosques. This is something that pulls Islam away from all the other religions. They think very strongly about only worshipping god. Since polytheistic religions worship idols, Islam took only worshipping one god very seriously. Although they are very plain, there is usually calligraphy on the walls. This calligraphy is in Arrab because to them, that's their holiest language.

Mosque in Cairo Egypt

While muslims pray in a mosque, they face a mihrab which shows where mecca is. (The holiest place to muslims) When they pray in a mosque, they are split into two groups, women and men.

Credits:

Created with images by maxlkt - "theravada buddhism monk meditating meditation religion buddhism" • TuendeBede - "vitrage menorah stained glass" • slgckgc - "Chanukah - The 8th Night" • rdshanky - "judaism masada israel" • pixel2013 - "jesus church christianity" • dbnunley - "Santa Claus" • Pixikus - "st nicholas holy statue monument bari italy" • aditya_wicak - "buildings mosque sunset silhouette indonesia semarang" • lapping - "ibn tulun mosque cairo egypt africa north"

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