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Judaism: The World’s Largest Religion

The Jewish religion is fascinating, even though Judaism is from a different perspective than Christianity. Judaism has been around longer than Christianity, and now Christianity is the world’s largest religion. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the one that will lead the world and save everyone, while Jews believe Jesus was just a prophet. While I was researching Judaism, reading about how the Jews were treated before the Holocaust was very fascinating. Of course, some of the stories I read were in the Bible, but reading about how the Jews were given land in Palpatine after the World War I and the Arabs hated it.

To this day, Jews are afraid to admit their religion, because of the Arabs. Buddhism is a religion based off of Hinduism and I did not research too deep into Hinduism because I know a few of my other classmates were writing about Buddhism. What I found to be an interesting practice of this religion was the way Buddha meditated under a tree for seven weeks straight even when the devil was tempting him to stop. Followers of Christianity believe that there exists only one God, even though a “Holy Trinity” exists.

The holy trinity has three parts known as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. One God exists in three different spiritual leaders or parts of the same God. The Christian God being called the Father, Jesus of Nazareth being the Son, and the activity of God in the world being the Holy Spirit. Christians follow an extensive guideline that has been translated from scrolls into one big book, titled the Holy Bible. There are many different branches of the Christian faith, but the three largest ones are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Protestant Church.

The Holy Bible provides a historical reference to the creation of Christianity through the books of the Old Testament, which contain events prior to the birth of Jesus at which point Christianity truly came to exist. In the New Testament, Jesus, the Messiah of Christians, was born in a stable located in Bethlehem to a young virgin named Mary, and a Jewish carpenter named Joseph. Jesus mother, Mary discovered she was pregnant when an angel woke her up from her sleeping and told her she would be having a baby boy, and his name shall be Jesus.

The Bible doesn’t provide much about Jesus during his childhood, but in Jesus’ the late twenties, he began teaching and traveled to Galilee in search for disciples, people whom he could teach and in return, they would teach others about Christianity. The twelve disciples that Jesus had gathered, followed him to spread the love and word of God. According to the stories in the Bible, Jesus could heal the wounded and sick, change water into wine, walk on water and provide for all of his followers.

One of his disciples betrayed him and Jesus was sent to be crucified as the Romans began to mock him by placing a crown of thorns on his head and calling him the King of Jews. Three days after his death, three of the town’s women wondered to go prepare Jesus for burial and had seen that his body was missing. He appeared to them and stated that they should not be frightened because he was resurrected. Jesus commanded them to run into the city to tell the good news of great joy. Thousands of years after Jesus existed, Christians still celebrate his birth, death, and resurrection every year.

Christians adapted the traditions of other cultures to assist in observing the holiday season of Christmas as the day of Jesus’s birth and the coming of their messiah. Many of the other religions celebrate this same time of year that is known as Christmas as a time of the giving of gifts, honoring family and reflecting on positivity in the world. But Christians celebrate this as the day their savior has been born into this world. The most important holiday for most Christians is Easter because it is symbolic of the resurrection of Christ.

Both these events are considered fulfillment of prophecy. Hinduism emerged with no prominent founder or prophet, it is believed to be the oldest religion in the world. This religion does not have an organized structure, which means Hinduism is seen as a loose association of religions and a philosophy of life. This philosophy of life means everything is connected and happens in cycles. Hinduism has a concept called karma, the belief that what an individual puts into the world is what the world gives back to that individual.

Another strong belief in the Hindu religion is reincarnation. Karma and reincarnation are brought together after a death of oneself. With a life of bad karma, one will be reincarnated into a bad deformity, poor living conditions, or be given a short life until they made up for all the bad karma caused in the past. With roughly one billion people practicing the religion of Hinduism, India has approximately 79% of the followers living there. Several Gods are worshiped by the Hindus, but the Holy Trinity of Hinduism contains the Gods called Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Brahma is the deity believed to have four heads, the creator of all things, and is the Supreme God. Shiva is considered to be the destruction God, and Vishnu is the God that preserves Brahma’s creations and restores what has been destroyed by Shiva. The looks of one of the Hindus important Gods is not what some would expect. Cristian Violatti(2013) states in his writing about Hinduism on Ancient History Encyclopedia, “ Ganesha is highly recognizable with his elephant head and the human body, representing the soul (atman) and the physical (Maya) respectively. Ganesha is the patron for travelers, writers, and so-on. He is believed to be the God to move obstacles out of one’s way when things get tough. Buddhism is the fourth largest organized religion in the world with about 340 million people giving praises to the “enlightened one”, better known as Buddha. Most of the population of the continent of Asia are followers of Buddha, where the religion originated from. The birth of Buddha is a very similar story to the Christian idea of the birth of Jesus Christ, except the mother, was sent a dream by a white elephant with a lotus flower.

Worshiping with others, or by oneself in a temple, Buddhist Centers, or in a home with a small shrine are an acceptable way to worship Buddha. Usually, shoe removal is recommended in the temples, Buddhist Centers, and teaching halls. The only dress code is established for the monks are required to wear a type of robe to their designated color established by what order or level of monk they are. Founder Siddhartha Gautama, Buddha, had searched for the meaning of life after he had witnessed men in his village that were in desperate amounts of sorrow and pain. The sight had him realize that life is difficult and is surrounded by suffering.

Siddhartha lived life as a monk for six years until he had found the enlightenment he had once hoped to find after meditating seven weeks. Once he had passed away, his twenty thousand followers spread the news of Buddhism widely both East and West of India and this religion is currently the fourth largest organized religion in the world. Judaism is the sixth largest religion in the world. Around fourteen million people are said to be practicing in the world today, and only about five million of those reside in the United States. The Judaism beliefs vary among the followers, but the core beliefs remain the same.

One, and only one, God exists, and he created everything good and bad on Earth. Even though God doesn’t have any physical features or a gender, “He” is a pronoun given to Him because of Hebrew being the ancient language of the Jewish people. Jews pray to only God three times, or more, every day. In the Jewish scripture, God spoke through the prophets to help him connect and build a relationship with His followers. The stories Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy in the Torah are believed to be true and were given orally to Moses straight from God.

Judaism arose roughly around 4000 – 3000 BCE in the Bronze Age, but dislikement from Kings and rulers caused the Jews into being held as slaves for many years. Three kings, Saul, David, and Solomon, built the first temple in Jerusalem around the tenth century BCE, but the Temple had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and drove the Jews into exile. Even though the Babylonian exile ended after the Persian Empire defeated the Babylonians and the Jews returned to rebuild their temple, the king of Syria arrived in 175 BCE to eliminate the Jews and damaged the temple.

The Roman Empire took over Jerusalem and Jews had to pay high taxes, but a group of Jews called Zealots rioted against the Roman forces and is now known as the Great Revolt. The Great Revolt ended when Roman troops flooded the city to massacre Jews and to destroy the Temple in 70 CE. Finally after all the torture and hatred from European countries had been lifted in the 1900’s, the sky looked clear for jews until World War II began. Millions of Jews were sent to concentration camps and to be put to work before getting brutally killed in several different horrific ways.

The Holocaust is still known as the most horrific event to ever happen in humankind. Religions are varied around the world, and many have different beliefs. Some sound similar to each other while others sound nearly impossible. But, seeing all the beliefs and understanding their perspective is a thing everyone should learn before judging someone’s else’s religion. My Process Finding information about such broad religions became a fearsomely challenging task. I found myself scouring the web to learn about the religion I believe in, and the numerous others I do not.

I came across a website which provided me with my information I needed to successfully write about Christianity. It was a hard search, but somehow I managed to gain all the information I needed. There was a strong dislike of the Islamic religion as I began to type it because all the information I had found was hard to understand. The websites had defeated me, and I had to delete what was written. Then, I came across the beautiful websites that helped me with Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism.

Finding out more of these religions was a great experience. Where I Go From Here In college, I was planning on majoring in music. But, I would love to study abroad in a different country and learn more about religions as I’m abroad. Obviously, I would be taking a World Religion class, because learning about other people’s beliefs is one of my favorite things to do. The different types of music involved in the different religions are something that I would love to learn. Especially with different types of instruments.

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