Exploring Religion – Just a Click Away

By Suzanne Antone

For an Internet flash about the diversity existing about religion go tohttp://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/Religion_and_Spirituality/Faiths_and_Practices/. Numerous links will connect you to more than 100 beliefs. We have highlighted just 12 to pique your imagination and suggested just one of the many links for gathering more information.

Atheism 
People who believe in the existence of at least one god are known as theists. People who lack any such belief are known as atheists. www. Atheism Web.org – a shared resource for atheists, agnostics and freethinkers.

Agnosticism 
A philosophy promoted by Alexander Huxley (1825-1895) where an individual suspends judgment (i.e., be an agnostic) about whether it is possible to obtain knowledge of a God and believes it is also possible to believe in the existence of a force behind the universe. www.Agnosticism FAQ.org – provides several questions about the belief.

Baha’i Faith
At the heart of belief is the conviction that humanity is a single people with a common destiny. In the words of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of our Faith, (1817-1892) “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” Bahá’u’lláh taught that there is one God who progressively reveals His will to humanity. www.Bahá’í World.org – official presence of the Bahá’í Faith on the Web.

Buddhism
Founded by Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 B.C.), all schools of Buddhism accept the Four Noble Truths: all mortal existence is characterized by suffering; suffering arises from craving or desire, to stop desire is to stop suffering; and stopping suffering is achieved by following the eightfold path with three parts of morality, meditation and wisdom. www.Buddhist Association of the United States.org.

Christianity
Christians take their name from Jesus Christ, a descendant of Abraham’s son Isaac. At age 33 Christ was put to death through crucifixion by Romans about AD 33. He rose from the dead three days later. Christians believe Jesus is a living God, the “Son of God” and the “Son of Man” – fully human and fully divine and without sin. Those who believe in Jesus are not only saved from their sins but will be raised to new life when Jesus comes again. Yahoo! Directory Christian Denominations and Sects.

7th Day Adventism
A denomination of Christianity established in 1860. The seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday) is given as a reminder of the God who both creates and saves, and is the day God invites all to come and worship him. Jesus observed the seventh-day Sabbath while on earth, and Adventists follow his example in keeping the fourth of the Ten Commandments. Adventists look forward to the soon return of Jesus Christ as prophesied and as he himself promised, but did not set any date for this glorious event when he comes to take home all who accept him as their Lord. www.adventist.org.

Hinduism
Belief in one High God, Brahman, “the Absolute” – who rules over the world with the aid of many lesser gods. The three branches or sects, each with their own view of the nature and name of the High God: Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. www.Understanding Hinduism – features practices, festivals, and philosophy.

Islam
A religion of submission its followers, Muslims, commit themselves in surrender to the will of God (Allah). It originated with the prophet Muhammed born in Mecca about 571 AD and who was descended from Abraham’s son Ishmael. The doctrine of God has been revealed and is found in the Qur’an. On the last day believers will be raised to life and will appear before God to be assigned to Paradise or Hell, depending on whether their deeds have been mainly good or mainly bad. www.About Islam and Muslims.org – provides information about Islamic beliefs, history, and civilization for both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Judaism
The Jewish Story is told in the Hebrew Bible or Torah (Law). About 1800 BC Abraham settled in the promised land of Canaan, which is now called Palestine. The Law and obedience to it is central to Judaism. To keep the Law is to hasten the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. A personal Messiah (“anointed one”) descended from David, Israel’s greatest king, will herald the coming of the kingdom. www.Judaism 101.org – collection of basic information about Judaism, including Jewish beliefs and practice, holidays, Hebrew language, Torah, liturgy, and more.

Native American Religions
Shamanism, the world’s oldest healing tradition, is found in all cultures on Earth. Shamans work with their allies–the animal spirits. www.Working With Animal Spirits.org – offering teachings as a part of an intricate weaving of shared knowledge.

Scientology
Scientology is a twentieth-century religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard (1911-1986). It comprises a vast body of knowledge extending from certain fundamental truths, and prime among those truths: Man is a spiritual being endowed with abilities well beyond those that he normally envisages. He is not only able to solve his own problems, accomplish his goals and gain lasting happiness, but also able to achieve new states of awareness he may never have dreamed possible. www.scientology.org

Yoruba
In addition to the worship of one God, named Olodumare, the Yoruba worship dozens of deities known as “Orishas” who are personified aspects of nature and spirit. The principal Orishas include Eleggua, Oggun, Ochosi, Obatala, Yemaya, Oshun, Shango, Oya, Babalu Aiye, and Orula. Orisha worship was spread to the new world through the slave trade. In order to preserve their religious traditions against Catholic repression, the African slaves synchronized the Orishas with Catholic saints. www.members.aol.com/ishorst/love/Yoruba.html.