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Living Religions in Our World Today

Cheyanne Milliner
Salt Lake Community College

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
There are thousands of religions being practiced every day throughout the entire world.
How can one truly believe that all religions are the same? I have really enjoyed comparing the
worlds largest religions in this class, and I have realized that each and every one of them are
different in so many ways. Whether it is the way they pray, the holidays they celebrate, the
everyday rituals they are required to do, or their sacred texts, they are each individually so
unique. I found that comparing Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity was the most interesting
because in my opinion, they are the most different from one other.
Lets begin with where and when these religions pray to their deity. In the Islam religion,
Muslims are required to pray five times a day. They should pray more throughout the day, but the
minimum is five. Muslims face a specific direction when they pray. They are supposed to face
that direction because the right way is towards the Kaaba in Mecca. On Friday afternoons the
men are required to go to the Masjid, or their place of prayer to practice salaat. The women are
allowed to go, but they do not have to. If they do attend the prayer, they must be separated from
the men. When we went to the Khadeeja Masjid, you had to remove your shoes before you
entered. The women were required to go upstairs and pray while the men stayed down stairs. The
interior of the Masjid was a little boring and plain. There was beautiful and colored Arabic
calligraphy and designs in the ceiling of the building, but that was really it. We sat on the floor
and watched them prostrate and pray to Allah.
Buddhists gather on Sunday mornings and like the Muslims, they require your shoes to
be taken off and bow before you enter their holy space. There is more chanting of sermons in
Buddhism, than plain speaking in Islam, and there was a lot of meditation at the Buddhist service

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
as well. The interior of this sacred space was absolutely shocking. There were so many bright
colors and portraits all over the walls. The focal point was definitely the gold altar. Similarly to
Islam, we sat on the floor on these little cushions that were actually comfy. Unlike Muslims,
there really is no required amount that Buddhists have to pray every single day. A lot of them
even meditate as their prayer, and that is just as good as chanting or repeating mantras.
Christianity on the other hand, is very different. We went to the Cathedral of the
Madeleine and I almost died from how lovely the inside was. The stained glass and the paintings
on the walls were so incredible, I was seriously in shock. This was the complete opposite of the
Masjid where there are no pictures on the walls at all. The Cathedral was definitely the most
incredible visual experience of the site visits I went to. Before you enter the pews to sit down,
these Christians are required to dip their fingers in a bowl of holy water and bless themselves
with it. There is a lot of singing done in this service, and there are also readings done by the
priest. After that, they take part in communion where they receive the Eucharist, which is wine
and bread symbolizing Jesus Christs blood and body (Fisher, p. 349). I was extremely happy
that the choir was there the Sunday we went because it was so beautiful to hear them singing
along with the organ in the background. Most Christians go to church every Sunday to show
their love and commitment to God.
There are holidays that correspond with every religion except Atheism (Fisher, p. 11). In
Christianity, Christmas is celebrated nationally because it is supposedly the birth day of Jesus
Christ. Easter is celebrated as the most important event of the Christian faith. This is the
commemoration of Jesuss death on Good Friday and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
Ascension is celebrated next on the Christian liturgical calendar. It is exactly forty days after
Easter and is celebrated because this is the day that Jesus was ascended into Heaven (Fisher, 35153). Vesak is a festival celebration that some Buddhists take part of. It is said that this marks the
day of the Buddhas birth, enlightenment, and death, which all apparently happened on the same
exact day. Devout Buddhists will go to a temple on these days to hear stories being told about the
Buddha and give him offerings (Fisher, 173-74). Muslims are required to fast, or not eat food,
throughout the month of Ramadan. They are allowed to wake up before dawn and eat breakfast
and then once the sun goes down again, they eat dinner. This creates a special bond between
them and it teaches them not to allow anything in their heart or mind that will distract them from
God. After Ramadan is over, Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated. Eid Al-Adha is also celebrated in this
religion and they usually give zakat, also known as charity, on both of these occasions.
Rituals that most religions require of their followers to do, is what is the most interesting
to me. Like I mentioned earlier, Muslims are required to prostrate and pray towards a certain
direction to show their commitment and love for Allah. Buddhists chant together with different
instruments and meditate which is so different compared to Muslims. At the Cathedral service,
the priest performed a ritual with incense. I know most people dont enjoy the smell of incense,
but I burn it all the time at my house and I love the smell of it.
Most religions have their own sacred texts. Following the Buddhist Theravada tradition,
Buddhists study collections of scriptures called the Pali Canon. They also follow the Triple Gem.
This includes the Buddha, who is the enlightened one, the Dharma or the teachings he gave, and
the Sanhga, also known as the community (Fisher, p. 151-53). Muslims only follow the Quran.

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
They believe this book is the Word of God from the Prophet Muhammad that received from
Allah over a period of a little over twenty years. My textbook has an interesting way of
explaining how much the Quran means to them:
Recitation of the Quran is thought to have a healing, soothing effect, but can also bring
protection, guidance, and knowledge, according to Islamic tradition. It is critical that one
recite the Quran only in a purified state, for the words are so powerful that the one who
recites it takes on a great responsibility.
People who practice the Christian faith, use the Bible. They combined the Jewish Old Testament
with the New Testament to form it. Usually it is referred to as the Holy Scriptures. It is
interesting because the Quran mentions that the Christian Jesus Christ was known to them as a
prophet.
Another interesting thing about Islam, is that Muslims believe in nonphysical beings like
angels that serve Allah as his messengers. Christians are similar to Muslims in this way that they
believe saints and angels too. Muslims believe that we have angels that record all of our good
and bad deeds. It is also common that they believe Satan is a non-submissive being of fire that is
a mix between human and angel. On one random day, the Final Judgement will occur when the
world collapses and crumbles. Everyones deeds are weighed and who ever rejected God and his
prophet are sent to Hell. People that were merciful are able to enter a Garden of Bliss.
Commonly known as Heaven. This in my opinion, is meant to comfort and justify why we are
here on Earth and what is going to happen when we die and are no longer in our physical body.
When religion started it was followed because humans wanted answers and since these prophets
and messengers had a lot of answers, they chose to believe and become engulfed in the stories

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
that were written and told. I think fear of the unknown really frightened people and they couldnt
live with themselves unless they had something to rely on.
Buddhism teaches about rebirth and reincarnation as a sequence of cause and effect. They
call this sequence karma, the action of body, speech, and mind all together. This process
continues forever, even when we die. According to Buddhism, you can be reborn as any walk
of life.
Christians are like Muslims in the way that they both believe that you enter a sort of
Heaven or Hell place after you die. In Christianity, God promises to forgive your sins if you are
willing to confess and repent your sins. They think that if they are forgiven they will be able to
enter Heaven once their human body has died.
I could see why people would think that some religions are the same because a number of
them believe in most of the same people and same instances, but that does not mean that they
practice the same rituals or think the same way. We are all human beings but I believe that
religion has a huge influence on who we are as humans. In some ways this is good and in some
ways this is bad. It is good because growing up in a religion and having that strong structure of
morals of what is good and bad, social skills, and a sense of community. Although we have those
great things, it can also be a very sensitive subject. Most people who follow a religion believe
that their religion is the right way and their deity is the only deity who is true. This is where
people have misunderstandings of others that dont think the way they do. Or believe the things
they believe, so they look down on you or judge you for thinking that they are better than you.

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
As you can see by just comparing three of the worlds largest religions, that there are so
many differences in all aspects of the religion. Yes there are a few similarities, but not compared
to how many differences. This is why it is very important to be educated about the people around
you. Its important especially in the United States because there are so many people from
different parts of the world that come here to live. We have variety in our country, and that is
great until someone gets offended and conflict arises.

Works Cited
Class Observation, Cathedral of the Madeleine. April 3, 2016.
Class Observation, Khadeeja Masjid. April 15, 2016.

Cheyanne Milliner
RELS 2300
Comparison Paper
April 30, 2016
Class Observation, Urayen Santen Ling Gonpa. February 28, 2016.
Fisher, Mary Pat. Living Religions. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, Inc., 2014. Print.