The world is currently dominated by five major religions that have been in existence for several years. These religions are Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hindu. The common religions have certain common aspects and also exhibit some ideological differences. This paper examines some facts about the world religions by utilizing the history of the world during the pre16th century era.
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The most important fact dating back to 1500 B.C. is that all these five major religions were in existence at that time. By 1500, human beings had advanced their religious practices since several religions were already in place. However, some of those religions are non-existent in the modern world (Fernandez-Armesto 36).
For a religion to exist, there must be people who believe in the presence of a supernatural being. All the world’s major religions believe in the existence of god or gods. They all worship these gods though in different styles. These gods are believed to exist although it is cumbersome to prove the authenticity of this belief system (Fernandez-Armesto 37).
Another important factor that dates back to the times these religions came into existence is that the God of Christianity, Judaism and Islam is the same. The differences arising among these religions are only ideological since they worship the same God but in different ways. The most factual evidence that links these religions is that they share most prophets and their holy books are written in almost the same way.
However, they have differences that arise from the legitimacy of certain prophets. In the modern world, these religions are known as the western religions. Judaism is the oldest of the three bearing in mind that it gave birth to Christianity. There are some people who believed Jesus was the son of God while other others believed that he was just a prophet creating a division (‘BBC. Christianity at a glance’ par. 2). On the other hand, Islam emerged later and was developed with the belief concept that Mohammed was the last prophet and Jesus was not the son of God. These similarities prove that all these three religions believe in the same Supreme Being.
When Buddhism and Hinduism are studied keenly, they have many similarities. They have a common history in spite of some minor ideological differences. All of them observe the caste system and reincarnation whereby an individual is believed to have multiple lives.
Hinduism is older than the two aforementioned religions. The ideological differences between the two religions gave birth to Buddhism. The founder of Buddhism was against strict observation of the caste system consequently leading to the creation of a new religion (‘BBC. Buddhism at a glance’ par. 3).
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Religion in the traditional world played an important social role in society. Whenever any individual had a problem, he or she could turn to the religious leaders for guidance. Religion was an extremely powerful tool during the 1500 era (Fernandez-Armesto 39). For instance, it played a major role in leadership. The religious leaders were entitled to select political leaders in needed in society. All the five major religions were involved in this type of responsibility. Religious practices during these times were observed keenly and whenever a problem occurred, prayer to the God (or gods) was believed to offer the much needed solution (Fernandez-Armesto 39). At this time, the development in science and technology was still below par and as such, most people did not believe in scientific explanations of natural occurrences. Therefore, religion played a primary role in providing solutions to myriads of dilemmas that the society faced.
BBC. Buddhism at a glance. 2009. Web.
BBC. Christianity at a glance. 2011. Web.
Fernandez-Armesto, Felipe. The World: A History, Penguin Academic Edition, Combined Volume. New York: Pearson, 2010. Print.