You are on page 1of 47


*An introduction to the study of World Religions; *Islam; *Judaism; *Buddhism; *Animism; * hristianity; *!induism; *"ife in Eli#a$ethan England; * om%arati&e religions; *'he church of England;

By alin Dragos+Adrian

,rofesor oordonator:
Burcea Doina

An Introduction to the *tudy of World Religions

From the earliest known evidence of human religion by Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis around 100,000 years ago to the present day, religion continues to be a very influential aspect of human lives. oday, there are numerous challenges and problems faced by humans from every possible background, location and social class. !very day people must face issues of health, safety and mortality. "t is because of these daily challenges that religion continues to e#ist. $eligion is the universal tool for e#plaining things which we do not understand through the conte#t the known physical world. %lthough there are countless religions, each different from the other, they all serve the same purpose. !ach answers &uestions which all humans seem to be programmed to ask' (hy are we here) (hat happens when " die) How shall " live my life) $eligion helps us to transmit our values from one generation to another, and influences the way we interact with the natural environment. "t teaches us how to see ourselves in light of the universe and gives purpose and meaning to life. (hether you are a member of a particular religious group, unsure of what you should believe, or do not have any religious beliefs, these web pages will introduce you to the world*s si# ma+or religions. hey are not meant to convert, or to be the synopsis of every aspect of the religion they e#plain. hey are intended to serve as an introduction, to whet your appetite for further study and to help you understand those around you better. (ith our global society, it is likely that in your lifetime you will meet people from every corner of the planet. ,nderstanding the religious beliefs of these people is one of the many steps which mankind must take in order to someday prosper together in peace.

History of Islam
he history of "slam centers around one person, Muhammad -also spelled .uhammed or .ohammed/. He was born around 010 %.2. and was raised by his e#tended family after the death of his parents. %s he grew, he became dissatisfied with polytheism and came to believe in one 3od, Allah. He began to have religious visions around age 40. 2uring these visions, .uhammad would receive 5messages5 or 5revelations5 from %llah. He would memori6e them and teach them to his followers. hese visions are now recorded in the Qur'an -or Koran/. .uhammad continued to receive these visions and messages until his death in 789 %.2.

The Expansion of Islam .uhammad*s new faith was not widely accepted in his hometown of Mecca. herefore, he and his followers moved to Medina which means 5:ity of the

;rophet5. his movement is known as the Hijirat or 5the flight5. "t marks the turning point in "slam and serves as the beginning date on "slamic calendars. %t first, .uhammad was sympathetic to both :hristians and <ews, but after their re+ection of his teaching, he turned from <erusalem as the center of worship for "slam to .ecca. He reali6ed he must return to .ecca, and he did, con&uering the city. "slam &uickly spread throughout the area. (hen .uhammad died, he left no document appointing a successor. Some people thought that one of the original converts who had taught with .uhammad, some wanted a member of a powerful political family in the area, and others felt that *%li, the cousin and son=in=law of .uhammad had been divinely designated as successor. %n early believer, %bu >akr was appointed, but died within two years. !ventually, a power struggle developed as different groups of .uslims believed their method of establishing a successor were the best. he largest argument was over whether the successor should be elected or chosen through heredity. his controversy produced the main body of "slam known as the Sunnis -followers of the prophet*s way/ and other numerous sects including the Shi'a and the Sufis. he Sunnis are the ma+ority in "slam today. he Shi*a are the group of .uslims who believe that the successorship should remain within .uhammad*s family, and that leaders are spiritually chosen, not politically chosen. hey carry with them the pain of .uhammad*s son=in=law, *%li, who was murdered by .u*awiya in order to obtain power. oday, the Shi*a dominate "ran. he Sufis are a group who believes that orthodo# "slam is too mechanical and impersonal. his group of "slamic mystics seek for direct personal e#perience of the 2ivine. Nationalism in the %rab world since the rise of "srael as a political power has kept "slam strong. "t is a rapidly spreading religion because of its cultural and political appeal and its universal message of peace, temperance and the brotherhood of man.

Basic Beliefs of Islam

he teachings of "slam are comprised of both faith and duty -din/. ?ne branch of .uslim learning, 5 awhid5, defines all that a man should believe, while the other branch, 5Shari*a,5 prescribes everything that he should do. here is no priesthood and no sacraments. !#cept among the Sufis, .uslims receive instruction only from those who consider themselves ade&uately learned in theology or law.

he basis for "slamic doctrine is found in the Qur'an Koran!. "t is the scripture of "slam, written by Muhammad and his disciples as dictated by the %ngel 3abriel. "t alone is infallible and without error. he @ur*an is comprised of 114 surahs, or chapters, arranged from longest to shortest. For .uslims, the @ur*an is the word of 3od, and he carrier of the revelation of .uhammad, the last and most perfect of 3od*s messengers to mankind. "n addition to the @ur*an, other documents are also referred to by followers of "slam. % number of additional sayings of .uhammad were complied in the Hadith -5tradition5/. he orat -of .oses/, Suhuf -books of the prophets/, Aabur -psalms of 2avid/, and the "n+il -gospel of <esus/ are also studied and considered to be revelations, although they are believed to have been corrupted through time. Five Articles of Faith he five articles of faith are the main doctrines of "slam. %ll .uslims are e#pected to believe the following'
1. "od. here is one true 3od and his name is Allah. 9. An#els. %ngels e#ist and interact with human lives. hey are comprised of

light, and each have different purposes or messages to bring to earth. !ach man or woman has two angels who record his actionsB one records good deeds, the other bad deeds. 8. Scripture. here are four inspired books, the orah of .oses, the ;salms -Aabin/ of 2avid, the 3ospel of <esus :hrist -"n+il/ and the @ur*an. %ll but the @ur*an have been corrupted by <ews and :hristians. 4. $rophets. 3od has spoken through numerous prophets throughout time. he si# greatest are' %dam, Noah, %braham, .oses, <esus, and .uhammad. .uhammad is the last and greatest of %llah*s messengers. 0. %ast &ays. ?n the last day there will be a time of resurrection and +udgment. hose who follow %llah and .uhammad will go to "slamic heaven, or ;aradise. hose who do not will go to hell. The Five Pillars of Faith he five pillars of faith are observances in "slam which are duties each .uslim must perform.
1. 'reed Kalima!= ?ne must state, 5 here is no 3od but %llah, and

.uhammad is the ;rophet of %llah.5 publicly to become a .uslim. 9. $rayer Salat!= ;rayer must be done five times a day -upon rising, at noon, in mid=afternoon, after sunset, and before going to sleep/ towards the

direction of Mecca. he call to prayer is sounded by the mue((in -.uslim crier/ from a tower -minaret/ within the mos)ue. 8. Alms#i*in# +a,at!= .uslims are legally re&uired to give one=fortieth of their income to the needy. Since those whom alms are given are helping the giver achieve salvation, there is no sense of shame in receiving charity. 4. -astin# .amadan!= 2uring the holy month of $amadan, faithful .uslims fast from sunup to sundown each day. his develops self=control, devotion to 3od, and identity with the needy. 0. $il#rima#e Hajj!= !ach .uslim is e#pected to make the pilgrimage to .ecca at least once in their lifetime if they have the means to do it and are physically capable of the trip. "t is an essential part of gaining salvation, so the old or infirm may send someone in their place. "t involves a set of rituals and ceremonies. % si#th religious duty associated with the five pillars is /ihad, or Holy 0ar. his duty re&uires that if the situation warrants, men are re&uired to go to war to defend or spread "slam. "f they are killed, they are guaranteed eternal life in ;aradise.

Islamic Terms
Allah he Supreme >eing. he name of 3od. Hadith he sacred sayings of .uhammad, handed down by oral tradition and finally written down. Hajj ;ilgrimage to .ecca. ?ne of the five pillars of the "slamic faith. He#ira .uhammad*s flight from .ecca to .edina in 799 %.2. Islam 5submission to the will of %llah5 Koran Qur'an! he inspired word of 3od given to .uhammad by the angel 3abriel. Mecca he birthplace of .uhammad, and the holy city of "slam. Medina Holy city named for .uhammad after he fled there in 799 %.2. Muhammad ;rophet and founder of "slam. >orn around 010 %.2., died 789 %.2. Moslem Muslim! Follower of .uhammad. 5one who submits5 Mos)ue "slamic place of worship. Mue((lin .oslem crier who announces the hour of prayer.

.amadan he ninth month of the .oslem year, when .uhammad received the @ur*an from heaven, now a month of fasting. Salat .oslem daily prayer ritual. ?ne of the five pillars of "slam. Shi'ites .oslem sect which insists that .uhammad*s son=in=law *%li was .uhammad*s rightful successor. Sufis "ranian philosophical mystics who have interpreted "slam for themselves. Sunnites Cargest .oslem sect which acknowledges all of .uhammad*s successors. Surahs (hat the chapters of the @ur*an are called.

he 2argah= one of the most important pilgrimage sites for .uslims

History of /udaism
he ?ld estament books of the >ible describe numerous struggles of the <ewish people. %fter their triumphant !#odus from !gyptian captivity following .oses, they wandered around in the desert for forty years before entering the ;romised Cand. hey had many conflicts with neighboring societies, yet for several centuries were able to maintain a unified state centered in <erusalem. his occupation of the ;romised Cand was not to last, however. "n 199 >:, the northern part of the Hebrew state fell to %ssyrian raiders. >y 0D7 >:, <erusalem was con&uered by >abylonians. he land of "srael was successively ruled by ;ersians, .acedonians, 3reeks, Syrians, and $omans in the time that followed. %s

a result of the Syrian Eing %ntiochus "F !piphanes* attempt to suppress the <ewish religion, a rebellion led by <udas .accabaeus in 171 >: resulted in the independence of the <ewish nation. his is celebrated today by the festival Hanukkah. "n 10 %2, the $oman army destroyed <erusalem, and the <ews were forced out of the area and settled in .editerranean countries and in other areas in southwest %sia. his migration of the <ewish population is known as 2iaspora. .any of these <ews settled in !urope and became victims of persecution and poverty. 3hettoes and slums became their homes and massacres were common. >ecause of these living conditions, many fled to the ,nited States in the late 1Gth century. .igration to the States especially climbed during the aftermath of the Holocaust, the organi6ed murder of <ews during and after (orld (ar "". oday the ,nited States has the largest population of <ewish people with high concentration areas in New Hork, Cos %ngeles, :hicago, >oston, .iami, and (ashington 2.:. "n 1G11, an attempt to reestablish ;alestine as the <ewish homeland began. >y 1G4D, the State of "srael became an independent country. hey have regained their Hebrew language, which involved inventing words for modern inventions and concepts unheard of centuries ago and writing a Hebrew dictionary to unify the language.

Basic Beliefs of /udaism

<udaism is a monotheistic religion which believes that the world was created by a single, all=knowing divinity, and that all things within that world were designed to have meaning and purpose as part of a divine order. %ccording to the teachings of <udaism, 3od*s will for human behavior was revealed to .oses and the "sraelites at .ount Saini. he orah, or commandments, which regulate how humans are to live their lives, were a gift from 3od so that they might live in according to His will. Statement of Faith .oses .aimonides, a Spanish <ew who lived in the 19th century, tried to condense the basic beliefs of <udaism into the form of a creed. "t is still followed by the traditional forms of <udaism. 1. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His Name, is the :reator and 3uide of everything that has been createdB He alone has made, does make, and will make all things.

9. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His Name, is ?ne, and that there is no unity in any manner like unto His, and that He alone is our 3od, who was, and is, and will be. 8. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His Name, is not a body, and that He is free from all the properties of matter, and that He has not any form whatever. 4. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His Name, is the first and the last. 0. " believe with perfect faith that to the :reator, blessed be His Name, and to Him alone, it is right to pray, and that it is not right to pray to any being besides Him. 7. " believe with perfect faith that all the works of the prophets are true. 1. " believe with perfect faith that the prophecy of .oses, our teacher, peace be unto him, was true, and that he was the chief of the prophets, both of those who preceded and of those who followed him. D. " believe with perfect faith that the whole orah, now in our possession, is the same that was given to .oses, our teacher, peace be unto him. G. " believe with perfect faith that this orah will not be changed, and that there will never be any other Caw from the :reator, blessed be His name. 10. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His name, knows very deed of the children of men, and all their thoughts, as it is said. "t is He that fashioned the hearts of them all, that gives heed to all their works. 11. " believe with perfect faith that the :reator, blessed be His Name, rewards those that keep His commandments and punishes those that transgress them. 19. " believe with perfect faith in the coming of the .essiahB and, though he tarry, " will wait daily for his coming. 18. " believe with perfect faith that there will be a revival of the dead at the time when it shall please the :reator, blessed be His name, and e#alted be His Fame for ever and ever. For hy salvation " hope, ? Cord. Three Branches of Judaism hese are the three branches of <udaism which form the framework for the type of lifestyle and beliefs of <ewish individuals'

?rthodo#= raditionalists who observe most of the traditional dietary and ceremonial laws of <udaism :onservative= 2o not hold to the importance of a <ewish political state, but put more emphasis on the historic and religious aspects of <udaism, doctrinally somewhere between ?rthodo# and $eform $eform= he liberal wing of <udaism, culture and race oriented with little consensus on doctrinal or religious belief

/e1ish Terms
&iaspora he dispersion of the <ews. Hanu,,ah he feast of dedication celebrating the .accabean victory in 171 >.:. $asso*er %nnual feast commemorating the deliverance of the firstborn in !gypt when the angel of death took all those who did not have blood on the doorpost. $entateuch he first five books in the ?ld estament. %lso called orah. .osh Hashanah he <ewish New Hear. Sa22ath he holy day of rest which commemorates 3od*s completed work of creation and His liberation of the "sraelites from their bondage in !gypt. Seder he festival held in <ewish homes on the first night of ;assover. Sha2uot he feast of weeks, seven weeks after ;assover, which commemorates the giving of the en :ommandments. %lso called ;entecost. Su,,oth he feast of tabernacles celebrating the harvest. Talmud he <ewish library of oral law and tradition. Torah he ;entateuch, or the entire body of <ewish religious literature, law and teaching as contained chiefly in the ?ld estament and almud. 3om Kippur he day of atonement, devoted to confession of sins and reconciliation with 3od, ten days after $osh Hashanah.

(ailing (all

History of Buddhism
>uddhism is a religion which is based on the teachings of Siddhartha 3autama, the son of a wealthy landowner born in northern "ndia around 070 >.:. "n order to achieve spiritual peace, 3autma renounced his worldly advantages and became known as >uddha, or 5the enlightened one5. He preached his religious views his entire life throughout South %sia. he story of 3autma*s path to enlightenment has mythological &uality. he son of a ruler, a prophecy at the time of his birth said that he would be a great king if he stayed at home, but would become a savior for mankind if he were to leave home. herefore, his father kept him at home and surrounded him with all the worldly pleasures a boy could want, and kept all painful and ugly things out of his sight. 3autma eventually married and fathered a son, but still had not left his father*s palace. ?ne day, he told his father that he wished to see the world. his e#cursion would change his life, for during this +ourney, he saw the 5four passing sights5. !ven though his father had ordered the streets to be cleaned and decorated and all elderly or infirmed people hidden, some people did not listen. 3autma saw a

decrepit old man, and learned for the first time that everyone someday becomes old. Ne#t, he met a sick man, who taught him that people are liable to sickness and suffering. He saw a funeral procession which taught him that people die. Castly, he saw a monk begging for food. He longed for the tran&uility which he saw on the monk*s face and decided this was the lifestyle for him. He left his father, wife, and son to live on the streets and meditate. (hile in meditation, he reached the highest degree of 3od=consciousness, nirvana. He stayed under a fig tree which was later called the bodhi or bo tree -the tree of wisdom/ for seven days. 2uring this time, he learned truths which he, >uddha, would impart to the world until his death at age D0. >uddhism became a strong force in "ndia before >uddha*s death. he diffusion of >uddhism, however, was limited until the "ndian emperor %soka became a convert and supported missionary activities. Soon, >uddhism became established in :hina, <apan, Eorea, and Southeast %sia, where it is most practiced today. Hinduism is now the predominant "ndian religion.

Basic Beliefs of Buddhism

he basic beliefs of >uddhism can be demonstrated in the following concepts and doctrines'
The Four Noble Truths

The -irst 4o2le Truthis the e#istence of suffering. >irth is painful and death is painfulB disease and old age are painful. Not having what we desire is painful and having what we do not desire is also painful.

The Second 4o2le Truth is the cause of suffering. "t is the craving desire for the pleasures of the senses, which seeks satisfaction now here, now thereB the craving for happiness and prosperity in this life and in future lives. The Third 4o2le Truth is the ending of suffering. o be free of suffering one must give up, get rid of, e#tinguish this very craving, so that no passion and no desire remain. The -ourth 4o2le Truth leads to the ending of all pain by way of the !ightfold ;ath.

The Eightfold Path

The first step on that path is $ight Fiews' Hou must accept the Four Noble ruths and the !ightfold ;ath. The second is $ight $esolve' Hou must renounce the pleasures of the sensesB you must harbor no ill will toward anyone and harm no living creature. The third is $ight Speech' 2o not lieB do not slander or abuse anyone. 2o not indulge in idle talk. The fourth is $ight >ehavior' 2o not destroy any living creatureB take only what is given to youB do not commit any unlawful se#ual act. The fifth is $ight ?ccupation' Hou must earn your livelihood in a way that will harm no one. The sixth is $ight !ffort' Hou must resolve and strive heroically to prevent any evil &ualities from arising in you and to abandon any evil &ualities that you may possess. Strive to ac&uire good &ualities and encourage those you do possess to grow, increase, and be perfected. The se*enth is $ight :ontemplation' >e observant, strenuous, alert, contemplative, and free of desire and of sorrow. The ei#hth is $ight .editation' (hen you have abandoned all sensuous pleasures, all evil &ualities, both +oy and sorrow, you must then enter the four degrees of meditation, which are produced by concentration.

Buddhist Precepts
here are five precepts taught by >uddhism that all >uddhists should follow' 1. Eill no living thing. 9. 2o not steal.

8. 2o not commit adultery. 4. ell no lies. 0. 2o not drink into#icants or take drugs. ?ther precepts apply only to monks and nuns' 1. 9. 8. 4. 0. !at moderately and only at the appointed time. %void that which e#cites the senses. 2o not wear adornments. 2o not sleep in lu#urious beds. %ccept no silver or gold.

Sacred Scriptures
"n Thera*ada -Southeast %sian/ >uddhism, there are three groups of writings considered to be holy scripture, known as the 5 hree >askets5 - Tripita,a/. he Finaya $ita,a -discipline basket/ contains rules for the higher class of >uddhistsB the Sutta ;itaka -teaching basket/ contains the discourses of >uddhaB and the %bidhamma ;itaka -metaphysical basket/ contains >uddhist theology. Mahayana -:hinese, <apanese, Fietnamese, etc./ >uddhism contains an incredibly large amount of holy writings, over five thousand volumes. he oldest scriptures are based on Sanskrit, while others have been written in Nepalese, ibetan, and :hinese. here are no clear limits as to what should be admitted as scripture, so thousands of writings on the topic have been admitted.

Buddhism Terms
Bhi,,hu % >uddhist monk who wanders about depending upon others for his basic necessities . Bodhi % >uddhist term for the wisdom by which one attains enlightenment. Bodhisatt*a "n .ahayana >uddhism, one who postpones attaining nirvana in order to help others achieve this goal. "n heravada >uddhism, it is one who is on the way to becoming a >uddha. 3autama was called a >odhisattva before he attained enlightenment. Buddha5enlightened one5= his title was given to Siddhartha 3autama, the founder of >uddhism, upon his enlightenment. Cikewise, a person can gain this position through following the fourfold path to enlightenment.

Buddhism he religion based upon the teachings of the >uddha -Siddhartha 3autama/. he >uddha*s main teaching revolved around the causes for human suffering and the way to salvation from this suffering could be achieved. he two main branches of >uddhism are called .ahayana and heravada or Hinayana. &hamma he teachings of the >uddha. &u,,ha Suffering, which is rooted in desire and attachment. Mahayana he form of >uddhism prevalent in :hina, <apan, Eorea and Fietnam. Citerally translated, means 5the great vehicle.5 4ir*ana "n >uddhism, it is basically a blissful spiritual condition where the heart e#tinguishes passion, hatred and delusion. "t is the highest spiritual plane one person can attain. $ita,a Citerally, 5basket.5 $efers to the 5three baskets5 - ripitaka/ of sacred >uddhist writings. Samsara he cycle of birth, suffering, death and rebirth. San#ha he >uddhist monastic order literally translated as 5group5 or 5community.5
Thera*ada %iterally the 5teachin#s of the elders65 The form of Buddhism that arose early amon# Buddha's disciples6 Also called Hinayana Buddhism6 $re*ails in Southeast Asia6

Basic Beliefs of Animism
"n anthropology, animism can be considered to be the original human religion, being defined simply as belief in the e#istence of spiritual beings. "t dates back to the earliest humans and continues to e#ist today, making it the oldest form of religious belief on !arth. "t is characteristic of aboriginal and native cultures, yet it can be practiced by anyone who believes in spirituality but does not proscribe to any specific organi6ed religion. he basis for animism is acknowledgment that there is a spiritual realm which humans share the universe with. he concepts that humans possess souls and that souls have life apart from human bodies before and

after death are central to animism, along with the ideas that animals, plants, and celestial bodies have spirits. %nimistic gods often are immortali6ed by mythology e#plaining the creation of fire, wind, water, man, animals, and other natural earthly things. %lthough specific beliefs of animism vary widely, similarities between the characteristics of gods and goddesses and rituals practiced by animistic societies e#ist. he presence of holy men or women, visions, trancing, dancing, sacred items, and sacred spaces for worship, and the connection felt to the spirits of ancestors are characteristic of animistic societies.

History of 'hristianity
'hristianity is based upon the teachings of /esus7 a <ew who lived his life in the $oman province of ;alestine. $oman communications networks enabled :hristianity to spread &uickly throughout the $oman empire and eventually to the rest of !urope, and finally the entire globe. %s time progressed, :hristianity divided into three ma+or branches. he .oman 'atholic branch of :hristianity is the successor of the church established in $ome soon after :hrist*s death. "t traces its spiritual history to the early disciples of <esus. he $ope, or spiritual leader, traces his office*s lineage back to St. ;eter, the first ;ope, one of <esus* disciples. $oman :atholicism was originally predominately practiced in "reland, ;oland, France and Spain. 2uring the fourth century, the $oman :atholic church split and the Eastern 8rthodox branch was formed.

he split was primarily a political one due to the division of the $oman !mpire into western and eastern components. he two churches became officially separate in 1004. ?rthodo# churches are largely national, each associated with a particular country. ?rthodo#y is common in $ussia, 3reece, $omania, >ulgaria, the ,kraine, and %rmenia.
*$omanian :hurch*

he $rotestant branch split from $oman :atholicism during the .eformation, a si#teenth and seventeenth century series of church reforms in doctrine and practice. his movement challenged the authority of the ;ope, and became popular in Scandinavia, !ngland, and the Netherlands. ;rotestantism eventually divided into many denominations which arose in response to disputes over doctrine, theology, or religious practice. Some of the large denominations today are Cutherans, .ethodists and >aptists.

Basic Beliefs of 'hristianity

he central figure in :hristianity is /esus -or :hrist/, a <ew who came into this world by immaculate conception to a virgin named Mary. His birth is celebrated at 'hristmas with hymns and gift giving. his man was not only man, but also the son of 3od and lived his life without sin. 2uring his lifetime, <esus performed many miracles and spoke to many people about his father in heaven. He was arrested for claiming to be 3od*s son and was hung on the cross by the $omans at age 88. :hristians believe that the suffering and death upon the cross which this sinless man endured paid for the sins of all mankind, and because of <esus* actions, salvation can be achieved by anyone who believes in him. his act of sacrifice is remembered during %ent.

Following his death, :hristians believe that he rose from the grave -celebrated at Easter/ and returned to the earth, appearing to his followers and telling them of the kingdom of 3od to which he was going. He also promised his disciples that he would return one day to bring all believers with him to that kingdom, to en+oy eternal life in the presence of 3od.
*:hrist taken off cross*

:hristians can read of the life of <esus, as well as his ancestors in the only :hristian holy te#t, the Bi2le. "t consists of the ?ld estament -which is also considered sacred to <udaism and "slam/ and the New estament. he ?ld estament chronicles the lives of <ews and others who lived before <esus, who had been promised a savior by 3od, and were waiting for him. his te#t contains many stories about people demonstrating faith in 3od and also provides historical information about the era. he New estament is uni&ue to :hristianity, for it centers around the figure of <esus and his effect on the world. :hristians believe that <esus is the one that the ?ld estament foretold, so instead of looking for a savior, they await the return of <esus so that he can take them to his kingdom, or heaven. he beliefs of :hristianity can be seen in the words of the %postles* :reed, a document which was written to distinguish :hristianity from other religions and show basic :hristian doctrine in a concise manner.

The Apostle's Creed

" believe in 3od the Father %lmighty, .aker of heaven and earth. %nd in <esus :hrist, His only Son, our CordB (ho was conceived by the Holy Spirit, >orn of the Firgin .ary, Suffered under ;ontius ;ilate, (as crucified, died and was buried. He descended into hellB he third day He rose again from the deadB He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of 3od the Father %lmightyB From there He shall come to +udge the living and the dead.

" believe in the Holy Spirit, he holy :hristian :hurch, he :ommunion of Saints, the Forgiveness of sins, he $esurrection of the body, %nd the Cife everlasting. %men.

'hristianity Terms
Bi2le he sacred te#t which records the lives of ma+or figures in :hristianity, including <esus. :ontains ?ld and New estaments. 'hristianity he belief in <esus :hrist as Savior of the world. 'hristmas he celebration of the birth of <esus held on 2ecember 90th. 'ross $oman method of e#ecution which took the life of <esus. Now a symbol of <esus* suffering and resurrection. Easter he celebration of <esus* triumphant return to life after dying on the cross. Eastern 8rthodoxy % branch of :hristianity with national ties. /esus he central figure of :hristianity, believed to be true 3od, who saved mankind from the torture of hell by dying on the cross to grant them salvation. %ent he remembrance of the period of time leading up to and including :hrist*s death on the cross. Mary <esus* mother, who conceived him by the intervention of the Holy Spirit. $ope he spiritual leader of the $oman :atholic church. $rotestantism he branch of :hristianity which broke off from the $oman :atholic church at the time of the $eformation. .eformation % movement which resulted in the formation of the ;rotestant branch of :hristianity. % reforming of :hristianity which eliminated certain doctrines and practices of :atholicism which were deemed incorrect.

.oman 'atholicism he original :hristian religion which descended from the original :hristians in $ome at the time of :hrist.

The History of Hinduism
Hinduism is the oldest and most comple# of all religious systems. ;roviding an ade&uate history for the development of Hinduism is difficult, since it has no specific founder or theology and originated in the religious practices of %ryan tribes who moved to "ndia from central %sia more than three thousand years ago. he %ryans attacked the Harappan people who lived in modern day "ndia around 1000 >:. !ventually, through adaptation to the religious beliefs of the other, both groups developed similar religious belief systems, founded on the polytheism of the %ryans and the sanctity of fertility of the Harappans. Soon, the predominantly %ryan society developed the caste system, which ranked society according to occupational class. he caste system is as follows' Brahmins priests Kshatriyas soldiers, king=warrior class 9aishyas merchants, farmers, Sutras laborers, craftspeople Harijahns 5untouchables5= those thought to be descended from the Harappan aboriginal people=e#tremely poor and discriminated against he higher a person*s caste, the more that person is blessed with the benefits and lu#uries life has to offer. %lthough the caste system was outlawed in 1G4D, it is still

important to the Hindu people of "ndia and is still recogni6ed as the proper way to stratify society. Since the early days of Hinduism, it has branched and now encompasses a wide variety of religious beliefs and religious organi6ations. Not only is it the primary religion of the region around "ndia, but portions of Hindu beliefs have found their way across oceans to other countries and have been influential in the foundations of other religions, such as ranscendental .editation and >uddhism.

Basic Beliefs of Hinduism

Hinduism is based on the concept that human and animal spirits reincarnate, or come back to earth to live many times in different forms. he belief that souls move up and down an infinite hierarchy depending on the behaviors they practiced in their life is visible in many of the Hindu societal policies. he caste system survives and charity towards others is unheard of because each individual deserves to be in the social class they were born in. % person is born into the highest class because they behaved well in a past life, and a person is born into poverty and shame because of misbehaviors in a past life. oday, a Hindu can be polytheistic -more than one god/, monotheistic -one god/, pantheistic -god and the universe are one/, agnostic -unsure if god e#ists/, or atheistic -no god/ and still claim to be Hindu. his open theology makes it difficult to discuss basic beliefs since there are many ideas about what Hinduism means. However, these universal ideas must be mentioned. :entral to Hinduism are the concepts of reincarnation, the caste system, merging with brahman -or the ultimate reality/, finding morality, and reaching Nirvana -the peaceful escape from the cycle of reincarnation/. $eligious documents include Sruti, -what is heard/ and Smriti, -what is remembered/. he Sruti include deeply religious things communicated to a seer and recorded. he Fedas, the religious writings, include mantras -hymns of praise/, brahmanas -sacrificial rituals/ and upanishads -10D sacred teachings/. he Smriti include the law -books of laws/, puranas

-myths, stories, legends/ and epics -sets of holy myths including $amayana and .ahabharata/. he Hindu paths to salvation include the way of works -rituals/, the way of knowledge -reali6ation of reality and self=reflection/, and the way of devotion -devotion to the god that you choose to follow/. "f the practitioner follows the paths of these ways, salvation can be achieved.

Hindu Terms
Atman he real self, the eternal life principle. Brama he creator god Brahman ,ltimate $eality Brahmin % member of the priestly caste, the highest class. &harma he teachings of virtue and principle Karma he culminating value of all of one*s life actions, good and bad, which together determine one*s ne#t rebirth and death. Maha2harta ?ne of the national epics of "ndia. Maya he power that produces the phenomena of physical e#istence. Mo,sha he term for liberation from the bondage of finite e#istence. $uranas ;art of the Hindu scriptures consisting of myths and legends mi#ed with historical events. Samsara he rebirth of souls passing on from one e#istence to another until release can be achieved, reincarnation. :panishads ;art of the Hindu sacred te#ts containing treatises on the nature of ultimate reality and the way to achieve union with the absolute. 9eda he oldest of the Hindu scriptures, consisting of four collections of sacred writings. 3o#a he Hindu path of union with the divine. %ny sort of e#ercise -physical, mental or spiritual/ which promotes one*s +ourney to union with >rahma.

?riginal 3eographical Cocations of (orld $eligions

Animism Judaism Christianit !slam Buddhism "induism

!veryone has one. (e were all brought up to be :hristians of one sort or another. he official established state religion is the :hurch of !ngland. "t is referred to as the new religion or the established church, but not yet as 5: of !5. -2o not give in to the modern inclination to acronyms./ Puritanism is not a separate religion, but a :alvinist attitude within the %nglican church. ;uritans do not yet look like ;ilgrims. >eing a $oman :atholic is not a crime, but there is a fine for not conforming to the established religionB that is, for not going to ;rotestant services. ;aying the fine does not allow you to have a priest or practice the :atholic faith. here is no legal way for :atholics to practice their faith. "t is illegal to be a :atholic priest in !ngland. "t is very illegal to be a <esuit. % non=conforming :atholic is called a recusant -rec=H?,=6ant/ and is guilty of recusancy. !veryone is re&uired to attend an %nglican service once a month. he service is referred to as the ;rayer Service, or the ;rayer >ook Service, and sometimes as :ommon ;rayer, Holy !ucharist, or the Cord*s Supper. Mass is a :atholic service only. "t is illegal to hold or attend one at any time in the reign, though punishment varies. ;eople of high rank are less likely to get in trouble. ?lder people may still refer to the service as a .ass, but it is politically touchy. $eformers refer to the detestable enormities of the 5.ass priests5. he rosary is period in several forms, including the modern one, and used only by :atholics. he rosary cross usually does not include a corpus, or figure of :hrist. he figure may still be on the crucifi# in the %nglican :hurch but not in any ;uritan, :alvinist, etc., congregation.

he ;rotestants sometimes refer to $oman :atholics as Romanists. :atholics do not refer to themselves as ;apists. he term Puritan is common in period, although sometimes the word Precisionist is used. he ;ope published a writ -1010/ absolving !nglish :atholics from allegiance to the @ueen, since she is -he says/ a heretic. %nyone who kills her is pre=absolved from the sin of murder. Hou can apply the term atheist to anyone who disagrees with you in religion. "n usage, it does not entirely mean you believe that there is no 3od, but that you don*t believe in my 3od. %ny heretic can be called an atheist. So can a <ew.

'omparati*e .eli#ion; The 'atholics

This is a selection only of the principal attributes of the Roman Catholic faith as understood in period. It is by no means complete, but in general covers the points on which the Lutherans and other Protestants disagree with Rome. Salvation is gained through faith in 3od, the prayers of the :hurch, the grace of the sacraments, and doing good wor s. 3ood works include both acts of mercy and ma+or church building pro+ects. ?nly the :hurch, through its priests, can interpret 3od*s will to .an. he laity do not read the >ible for themselves. he source of the :hurch*s authority is !cripture, the divinely inspired writings of the :hurch Fathers, and an amorphous thing called Sacred radition. he seven sacraments are' >aptism, :onfirmation, Holy !ucharist, ;enance, !#treme ,nction, Holy ?rders, and .atrimony. 3race is conferred by a sacrament simply from your participation in it, and your faith in its power. he Pope, as the rightful heir of St. ;eter, is the head of the :hurch. He is considered to be infallible in matters of faith and morals, although this is not yet dogma. here is a half=way point between Heaven and Hell called Purgatory, where a person*s sins are purged to make him worthy of Heaven. he prayers of the living can shorten a soul*s stay in ;urgatory, so it is good to pray for the dead. he saints were more virtuous than they needed to be to get into Heaven, so there is this reserve of leftover grace available. 2rafts on this reserve are called indulgences, and they are for sale. (orship is directed to 3od but prayers are often addressed to one of the saints. he saints are .ankind*s advocates before 3od the Father.

he >lessed Firgin .ary is the most revered holy personage who is not actually divine. he .other of 3od is thought to be more compassionate than the sternly +ust Father. %ll rituals, simple or elaborate, are carried out in Catin. ;riests cannot marry, and are re&uired to remain celibate.

'omparati*e .eli#ion; The 'hurch of En#land

Most of these basically Lutheran tenets apply to all Protestants. The Calvinist "#puritan#$ refinements are presented further along. .an*s wickedness is so great that no amount of good works could hope to atone for our sin. 3od, being all good, would not re&uire something of us that is impossible. herefore, the only thing necessary for salvation is believing in His Name -#%ustification by faith#/. he :hurch e#ists to guide but is not necessary for salvation. here is no need for priests to interpret 3od*s will. Supporting the :hurch, or denying the flesh, does not bring you closer to 3od. "f you are united with Him at all, it is completely and absolutely. he $oman church has corrupted the original doctrines and teachings of :hrist and His %postles for its own purpose, and no longer represents the true faith of :hrist. he only source of religious authority is !cripture. he two sacraments are >aptism and Holy !ucharist -:ommunion/. he other so=called sacraments are worthy but not Scripturally +ustified. No sacrament is efficacious without understanding and faith. here is no principle of ;apal authority' the Pope -or %ntichrist/ is +ust a man and sub+ect to error. He is not the leader of the true church. he doctrine of Purgatory is denied as being un=Scriptural. Hou go straight to Heaven or Hell, according to 3od*s +udgment. hus prayers for the dead, including .asses and purchased indulgences, are of no value. he selling of indulgences is a particular vice because a/ it is not in Scripture and b/ it encourages sin. he :hurch cannot put divine forgiveness up for sale. Hour relation to 3od is not mediated by priests or saints, but is a personal acceptance of the message of Scripture. he Firgin .ary almost disappears from protestant consciousness, and the role of the saints is greatly diminished. %ll rituals are performed in the vernacular. $ituals are less elaborate, although candles and bells are still in use. .inisters can marry, although the @ueen would prefer they did not.

More 'omparati*e .eli#ion; 'al*inists

#Puritans$ "uguenots$ Presb terians$ etc%&
!very one is predestined, according to 3od*s plan, to be saved or damned. No action on any one*s part can change this. hose who already saved are called the !lect. 3ood works are an aspect of the behaviour e#pected of the !lect, but are not re&uired for salvation. hey are not Saved because they are virtuousB they are virtuous because they are Saved. he prayers of priests are no more perfect, and no more important to 3od than others. Testifying, or preaching and interpreting Scripture, is encouraged and e#pected of both ministers and the congregation. he prayers of noblemen are no more valuable to 3od, either. !very man is e&ual in the sight of 3od. his is dangerously revolutionary thinking. he rituals of the !nglish church are still too $oman to suit the ;uritans. hey would prefer that candles, bells, saints and vestments of any kind be removed. :ertain evangelical preachers are even more radical. hey also maintain'

Scripture is not the only source of 3od*s truth. "t is still possible for the Holy Spirit to speak through an individual. % man -or more rarely, a woman/ can have personal revelations not only of the nature of 3od but about matters of daily life. (hile revelation is an intensely personal e#perience, the person so visited has an obligation to communicate his vision with the rest of the :hristian community.

More .eli#ion
he %ct of ,niformity -100G/ provides punishments and fines to be levied for various offenses against the !stablished :hurch -the :hurch of !ngland/. Fine for failing to attend !nglish prayer book services' >efore about 10D0 19d per guilty verdict %fter 10D0 I90 per month

%lso after 10D0, it is treason for you to convert to :atholicism or attempt to convert anyone else. %lso to reconcile -re=convert/ any !nglish sub+ect to $ome. he penalty is the same as for any other high treason' you will be hanged, drawn, and &uartered. %t any time, you can be fined and +ailed for attending .ass or hiding priests. .ore often prosecuted after 10D0. here are not very many -openly/ :atholic priests left, anyway, since most of them converted along with the populace, according to the prevailing wind. Said the vicar of >ray, having seen too many people burnt for their beliefs' 5" always keep my principle, which is this==to live and die the Ficar of >ray.5 here is an !nglish college in 2ouai -France/ training :atholic priests. %t the end of the 1010s, these priests begin returning to !ngland and creating trouble. !dmund :ampion is one of these. he :atholic stronghold in !ngland is in the North -notably Northumberland and :umberland, but anything north of Norfolk/. he ;uritan stronghold is in the (est :ountry -2evon, Somerset, and :ornwall./ ?f the two great universities, ?#ford is said to be the most :atholic, :ambridge the 5hot bed of Cutherism5. >urghley, >edford, and most of the other notable ;rotestants were educated at :ambridge. However, >edford sent his sons to ?#ford. %nyone may be re&uired to swear to the ?ath of Supremacy, which states that you believe that the >ishop of $ome -the ;ope/ has not and ought not to have any power in !ngland. ;eers are assumed to agree. ?thers may have to prove it. ;eople take an oath very seriously, and thus honest people are not inclined to swear to an oath they don*t believe in.

THE 'H:.'H 8- E4"%A4&

;rotestantism established a precarious toehold in !ngland very shortly after Cuther*s initial protest in 1011, but for many years ;rotestants remained a tiny minority, fre&uently persecuted. here was, however, widespread discontent both at the e#tent of corruption within the !nglish :atholic :hurch and at its lack of spiritual vitality. % pervasive anti=clerical attitude on the part of the population as a whole and in ;arliament in particular made it possible for Henry F""" to obtain an annulment in 1088 of his first marriage -to :atherine of %ragon/ in the face of papal opposition, and in 1084 the %ct of Supremacy transferred papal supremacy over the !nglish :hurch to the crown. "t was not until the 1000*s, however, under !dward F", that the !nglish :hurch became ;rotestant in doctrine and ritual, and even then it remained traditional in organi6ation. ,nder the $oman :atholic .ary " a politico=religious reaction resulted in the burning at the stake of some prominent ;rotestants and the e#ile of many others, which led in turn to a popular association of :atholicism with persecution and Spanish domination. (hen !li6abeth " succeeded to the throne in 100D, however, she restored

a moderate ;rotestantism, codifying the %nglican faith in the %ct of ,niformity, the %ct of Supremacy, and the hirty=Nine %rticles. From the time of the !li6abethan settlement on, the :hurch of !ngland -the %nglican :hurch/ attempted, with varying degrees of success, to consolidate its position both as a distinctive middle way between :atholicism and ;uritanism and as the national religion of !ngland. ,nder :harles ", the 5popish5 High=:hurch policies of the %rminian (illiam Caud alienated the ;uritan wing of the :hurch, and after the victory of :romwell*s -fre&uently ;uritan/ parliamentarians over :harles*s -fre&uently :atholic/ $oyalists in the :ivil (ars of 1749= 1701, the %nglican :hurch, by now the :hurch of !ngland, was largely dismantled. he ;uritan emphasis on individualism, however, made the establishment of a national ;resbyterian :hurch during the "nterregnum impossible, and the $estoration of the .onarchy under :harles "" in 1770 facilitated the re=establishment of the %nglican :hurch, purged of ;uritans, who split into various dissenting factions. "t remained the official state church until the passage of the oleration %ct in 17G0, which permitted 2issenters to hold meetings in licensed preaching houses. hereafter it grew both politically and spiritually weaker, and the eighteenth century found it largely unprepared for the serious spiritual challenge which was implicit in the appearance of .ethodism. %t the time of the birth of the .ethodist movement in the late eighteenth century, there were 18,000 %nglican priests in !ngland, but only 11,100 livings -fi#ed incomes derived from :hurch lands and tithes and attached to a particular parish/ to support them, and many of the livings paid so poorly that many priests held more than one. Some priests, too, thanks to political and social influence, controlled more than one of the wealthy livings. "n addition, the :hurch was far too dependent upon political and economic interests to reform itself' half of all livings were granted by landowners, and the government had the right to appoint all bishops, a number of prebends, and hundreds of livings, so that it is not e#aggerating too much to say that the :hurch became, to a considerable degree, the preserve of the younger sons of members of the aristocracy who had little interest in religion and less interest in the growing numbers of urban poor. here were, in conse&uence, over 7,000 %nglican parishes with no priests at all, and it was into this void that the .ethodist evangelicals stepped. "n the nineteenth century the :hurch of !ngland remained a middle way, but had to widen its doctrines considerably. his process was facilitated to a considerable degree in part because many upper=class %nglicans, tired of doctrinal disputes, wanted only a rational, moderate, practical religion which would permit them to worship in peace. his 5Catitudinarian5 outlook made it possible for the :hurch to absorb not only the !vangelical movement which, fueled by the same energies which had given birth to .ethodism, broadened the %nglican Cow= :hurch faction, but also the ?#ford .ovement which, fueled by the same activist impulses, presided over the revival of a High=:hurch faction at the other e#treme. 2uring the greater part of the nineteenth century the !vangelicals remained dominant among the clergy, but the universities had become bastions of the High=:hurch faction. %t the same time, the $oman :atholic $elief %ct of 1D9G emancipated :atholics, and this put still more pressure on the :hurch, as many High=:hurchmen, notably Newman and his disciples, would eventually defect to :atholicism. .eanwhile, the >road :hurch faction received governmental support which was out of all proportion to its si6e. "n the mid=nineteenth century, then, the :hurch of !ngland was disorgani6ed. hough its adherents were largely conservative, a considerable portion of its leadership was, ideologically speaking, perilously close to :atholicism, and the

religious census of 1D01 showed that it was reaching only about fourteen percent of the population of !ngland. %lthough the real authority of the :hurch diminished thereafter, evangelical fervor diminished as well, and there was a considerable movement of industrial wealth from the old Nonconformists to the established church. he public schools and the universities, even after they were freed of religious restrictions, remained bastions of %nglicanism, and in 1G1G the :hurch attained a still greater degree of unity when, after the passage of an act which effectively separated :hurch and State, it established an assembly which would, fifty years later, become the main legislative body of the :hurch.

'% Christianit is the established religion in the () "Many people are brought up, as part of their family, to say that they are Christian despite only having a precursory knowledge of Christ and only a vague belief in God. Frequently only a single parent figure has any interest in the Church, but insists that the household each calls themselves a Christian, and sometimes this continues for generations.
n implicit Christian is one who calls themselves Christian out of ease or habit, not due to belief. From personal e!perience, most self declared Christians in the "nited #ingdom confuse believing in God with being a Christian. Many think that if you believe in God, you are therefore a Christian. $n a predominantly Christian %&estern' conte!t, that assumption suits only demographics, and is not useful for discerning what beliefs people actually have." ?ne single general trend can be brought out of all the statistics of religious belief in the ,E' ?ur population is mostly irreligious, innocent and ignorant of religion, and despite some defaulting to calling themselves 5:hristian5 -11J/, the country is not :hristian despite a vague 00J lingering belief in a 3od of some sort.

*% The !mportance of +eligion to the British public

.eli#ion is unimportant to most British people;

of the population responded that religion was one of the most significant factors in their lives. % persons* own e#perience, parents, education and friends come firstG 88J of the >ritish public consider that *religion is important* 1 'ompared to other countries;

?f 41 countries polled, 17 most developed countries have less than 40J of the populace who think religion is important in their lives. he rest -including the ,S at a very high 70J, and nearly all developing countries/ had at least 01J of their populace who said so. ?ut of all the countries where the ma+ority of the people do not consider religion important, Northern "reland is the only country which e#periences a conflict closely tied with religion. he ,S% stands as the only developed country that is generally religous. 1

,% -rgani.ed +eligion in England

<==>Au#ust 1DJ said they were a practicing member of an organi6ed religion, 90J they were members of a world religion G. %ccording to these results, one fifth of self=declared members would also not describe themselves as practicing that religion. ;resumably the others remain members for traditional reasons or due to social pressure. ?rgani6ed religion in the ,E has severely declined to the point where it is generally overlooked and ignored. he cultural attachment to :hristianity in general lives on, but .onica Furlong in her 9009 comprehensive review of the state of !nglish religion summari6es the !nglish in the same way as 3race 2avies who wrote 5$eligion in >ritain since 1G405 by saying the !nglish 5believe without belonging5 to our religions. hat is, many profess belief but do not take part in organi6ed religion. he :atholic :hurch has shouldered the main part of this decline, as well as the :hurch of !ngland as can be seen in the rest of the historical stats on this page. "$n the twenty years between ()*+ and ,+++ the Church of -ngland suffered a ,. per cent decline in church membership. /he 0oman Catholic Church suffered a similar decline in the same period in mass attendance. Methodists, 1aptists and others suffered decline too, though in all the churches, it must be said, there have been significant successes in certain churches and particular enterprises. /he only institutional church which has continued to grow has been the 2rthodo! Church 3 Greek and 0ussian 3 where demand for churches e!ceeds supply, mainly because of immigration from 2rthodo! countries. /here is a rather touching footnote to all this, which is that people questioned about how much they go to church, give figures which, if true, would add up to twice those given by the churches." "4Catholics4, the largest group, estimated to number about a million by the year ,+++ are declining the fastest, but what demands notice is that charismatic -vangelicals, still one of the smaller groups in the Church, are

growing rapidly 3 by around 5,+++ every five years. -vangelical Christians, according to the nomenclature of Religious Trends, are also growing and moving up towards the half million mark. /hese last two groups are undeniably success stories numerically." 3ear <=== snapshots; "$n ,+++, 5+ per cent of the population claimed to belong to a specific religion with 66 per cent being Christian. 7owever, half of all adults aged (* and over who belonged to a religion have never attended a religious service."5 "/he report found that 8*9 of people in the "# claim to belong to a religion, compared with *59 of people in the ": and ),9 of $talians." ";Church attendance ()))< ..69 on an average :unday, from (+9 in ()*) and (,9 in ().)" % strange cultural phenomenon that occurs when a state religion dies is that many families will state that their religion is the common religion, ie, :hristian, despite not believing in the basics of that religion. .y essay 5Numbers of world religions tend to be e#aggerated5 e#pands on this phenomenon.

/% Belief in 0od 500J of >ritish public do not believe in a higher being5 K1. New Scientist ;oll, 9009 %utumnL 40J do not believe in 3od' 19J said they were sure there was no 3od and another 14J said they*re unconvinced that one e#ists. "n a similar &uestion -on the same poll but phrased differently/ 9GJ said that they do not believe in 3od, and 70J said they did KG. .oril poll, 9008 %ugL 1% !gnorance of religion

"Children who do not come from churchgoing homes 3 as $ did not 3 now
grow up largely ignorant of Christian ideas in a way unimaginable half a century ago. ;...< /he comments about religion by =ournalists in the press and on television ;...< suggest that even the basic Christian ideas are no longer understood by university3educated people, still less by others. $ndeed even churchgoers can reveal an ignorance of the main elements of Christian belief.


"n data revealed in a .ori poll from 9008 %ug, only 00J of tne !nglish population could name one of the four :hristian gospels -.atthew, .ark, Cuke or <ohn/. Slightly more, 70J, could name the sacred book used by .uslimsB he Eoran.

$eligious education seems all round to be shunned, and this goes hand in hand with the obvious lack of concern the average >ritish person has for religious matters.

"&hen $ asked the >ery 0everend ?avid -dwards, the author of over thirty
books on modern Christianity, for his assessment of the state of spirituality in -ngland, he =ust told me bleakly that 4/he -nglish have lost any sense of what religion is4


2% *33' National Census results on religion he 9001=%pril National :ensus optional &uestion on religion was answered by G9J of the population. he ?ffice for National Statistics today -9008 Feb 18/ released some brief analysis of statistics pertaining to religion' $eligion in >ritain = brief look at ma+or religions. $eligion' 2etailed information including regional comparisons
Statistics &uoted and stated below are taken from the above two pages. .eli#ion in En#land and 0ales; 5 here are 81.8 million people in !ngland and (ales who state their religion as :hristian. he percentage of :hristians is similar between the two countries but the proportion of people who follow other religions is 7.0 per cent in !ngland compared with 1.0 per cent in (ales. "n !ngland, 8.1 per cent of the population state their religion as .uslim -0.1 per cent in (ales/, making this the most common religion after :hristianity. For other religions, 1.1 per cent in !ngland and 0.9 per cent in (ales are Hindu, 0.1 per cent in !ngland and 0.1 per cent in (ales are Sikh, 0.0 per cent in !ngland and 0.1 per cent in (ales are <ewish and 0.8 per cent in !ngland and 0.9 per cent in (ales are >uddhist. "n !ngland and (ales 1.1 million people state they have no religion -14.7 per cent in !ngland and 1D.0 per cent in (ales/. he !nglish region with the highest proportion of :hristians is the North !ast -D0.1 per cent/. K...L ?utside Condon, the counties with the highest proportion of :hristians are 2urham, .erseyside and :umbria, each with D9 per cent or more. he districts with the highest proportions of :hristians are all in the North (est' St Helens, (igan and :opeland -:umbria/ each have D7 per cent or more. "n (ales, the highest proportion of :hristians is found on the "sle of %nglesey -1G per cent/ and the fewest in >laenau 3went -74 per cent/.5 4

.eli#ion in %ondon; 5Condon has the highest proportion of .uslims -D.0 per cent/, Hindus -4.1 per cent/ <ews -9.1 per cent/ >uddhists -0.D per cent/ and people of other religions -0.0 per cent/. K...L Fifty=eight per cent of people in Condon gave their religion as :hristian, with the highest proportion in the borough of Havering -17 per cent/. hirty=si# per cent of the population of ower Hamlets and 94 per cent in Newham are .uslim. ?ver one per cent of the population of (estminster are >uddhist, while Harrow has the highest proportion of Hindus -1G.7 per cent/ and >arnet the highest proportion of <ewish people -14.D per cent/. ?ver eight per cent of the populations of Hounslow and !aling are Sikh. Si#teen per cent of the population of Condon say they have no religion, including 90 per cent in the :ity of Condon. 54 /edi Kni#hts 5%bout si#teen per cent of the ,E population stated that they had no religion. his category included agnostics, atheists, heathens and those who wrote <edi Enight.58 5%t the time the :ensus was carried out, there was an internet campaign that encouraged people to answer the religion &uestion 5<edi Enight5. he number of people who stated <edi was 8G0,000 -0.1 per cent of the population/.5 4 %n urban myth developed and some people believed that this many votes would make <edi an official religion, however this is not true. 5<ust over 8G0,000 of the 09,000,000 people in !ngland and (ales wrote in *<edi* on their census form. he *<edi* response was most popular in >righton and Hove, with 9.7 per cent of :ensus respondents &uoting it, followed by ?#ford -9.0 per cent/, (andsworth -1.G/, :ambridge -1.G/, Southampton -1.D/ and Cambeth -1.D/. "t was least popular in !asington, on the north=east coast of !ngland between Sunderland and Hartlepool, where it was &uoted by only 0.17 per cent of respondents. Sedgefield, Enowsley, >laenau 3went, .erthyr ydfil and (ear Falley all show less than 0.9 per cent of respondents &uoting *<edi*. 50 Heathens "nterestingly, they appear to have listed 5heathens5 as 5No religion5, when Heathenism MisM a seperate religion, one of the religions generally called ;agan, along with 2ruidism, neo ;aganism and (icca. %lthough some may put heathen when they do mean 5no religion5, some will not. " do not know if it is more correct to list Heathens as 5no religion5 or 5other religion5.

"/he main spiritual paths of @aganism to be found in the "# and the "nited :tates are &icca, ?ruidry, :hamanism, Goddess :pirituality, :acred -cology, 7eathenism and various magical groups" 2uring email correspondance, the ?ffice for National Statistics revealed further information about the *Heathen* category. hey said' 5 Responses of #Heathen#, with a number of other responses that either indicated no clear religion or faith, or where there was some ambiguity in the term written in, were put in the category of &'o religion&. There were less than ()) people included in this way in the &'o religion& category5.D :m2rella terms %satru, ?dinism, or other Northern religions are likely to have followers who self= identify as heathens. So, like you get :hristians who are ;rotestant and :atholic amongst others, you also get ;agan who are neo ;agan, (icca, etc, and Heathens who are %satru, ?dinists, etc. Cisting these as non=religious is probably a mistake compared to <edi, as there is no known religion that is implied by the word 5<edi5, the same as there is no religion referred to when people put 5atheist5 or 5secular5 or 5not religious5.

4% Beliefs in various religious and spiritual things

1DJ said they were a practicing member of an organi6ed religion, 90J they were members of a world religion. %ccording to these results, one fifth of self=declared members would also not describe themselves as practicing that religion. ;resumably the others remain members for traditional reasons or due to social pressure. 94J said they were spiritual but do not belong to an organi6ed religion, 19J said they were sure there was no 3od and another 14J said they*re unconvinced that one e#ists. >etween them, it looks like 97J are agnostic or atheist, and in a similar &uestion -phrased differently/ 9GJ said that they do not believe in 3od, and 70J said they did -but doesn*t in&uire as to which 3od they believe in/. %lthough 70J believe in 3od, only 09J believe in Heaven so it is clear that many theists are neither mainstream .uslims or :hristians. 89J still believe in hell. %nd, still contrasting to the 7DJ who believe in 3od, 7DJ believe in souls, meaning that there are many spiritualists who are not theists = something that does not surprise me. :lose friends -47J/, a walk in the country -41J/, music or poetry all are more inspriational than <esus -94J/ or Nelson .andela -90J/, and all those plus ;rincess 2iana -18J/ are more inspirational than 5a sacred te#t5 with a mere 7J.

5% 6iversit

Adherents?@@A .uslim 1 047 797 Hindu 009 491 Sikh 89G 80D <ewish 90G G91 >uddhist 144 408 Spiritualist 89 404 ;agan 80 07G <ainism 10 189 (icca 1 991 $astafarians 4 7G9 >aha*i 4 740 Aoroastrians 8 18D :hristadelphian 9 87D 2ruidism 1 701 ;antheism 1 708 Satanism 1 090 New %ge G07 !ckankar 497 $a+a Hoga 971 Native %merican :hurch 984 Fodun -Fodoo/ 198 ?ccult GG %ncestor (orship GD Free :hurch of Cove 4G %mish 94


>ritain follows more than 110 distinct different faiths or belief systems 11. he chart of results from the 9001 census on the right does not include the christians ma+ority -1st place/, atheists and the non=religious sector -9nd place/, nor the +ovial <edi Enights -0.1J of population/ but the diverse minority religions in >ritain. ;ercentage wise, the only religons to make double=figures are :hristianity, "slam -nearly 8J/ and Hindu -+ust 1J/.

he South=!ast emerged as the capital of fringe faiths and sects, with Condon and the South=(est not far behind. he census found that spiritualism, the belief that the dead can be contacted through mediums, was the eighth largest faith group, with 89,404 people claiming

allegiance. he first spiritualist church was established in !ngland at Eeighley in Horkshire in 1D08


5Su6anne !vans, a writer on paganism, said the figures confirmed that it is one of
the fastest growing religions in the country. She said it was environmentally friendly, treated 3od as both male and female and regarded se#uality as something to be celebrated


5K?utside CondonL

he district with the highest proportion of Sikhs is Slough. ?ne person in seven of the population of Ceicester is Hindu. ?ne person in nine of the population of Hertsmere in Hertfordshire, is <ewish. ?ver one per cent of the population of :ambridge are >uddhist. >righton and Hove has most people stating other religions -0.D per cent/. he districts with the highest proportions of people with no religion are Norwich, >righton and Hove and :ambridge, all with over one=&uarter. K"n (alesL $honnda, :ynon, aff has the highest proportion with no religion -90 per cent/. :ardiff has the highest proportion of .uslims, Hindus, Sikhs and <ews. :eredigion has the highest proportions of >uddhists and people of other religions.

7% Church of England
he !nglish have produced world=class religious clerics and scholars, ,niversities and :hristian centers of learning proliferated in !ngland. However the depth of the religious convictions of most 5:hristians5 is seriously &uestioned. From historical 5:eltic :hristianity5 to the modern=day liberal :hurch of !ngland, many have &uestioned whether >ritains now, or our ancestors in the past, ever really took to :hristianity the same as others and whether or not we really were ever in sync with the rest of the :hristian !ast. <eremy ;a#man in his book studying !nglish personality, history, religion and identity, comments'

";$n history, the -nglish< were not in any meaningful sense religious, the
Church of -ngland being a political invention which had elevated being 4a good chap4 to something akin to canoniAation. 2n the occasions when bureaucracy demanded they admit an allegiance, they could write 4C of -4 in the bo! and know that they wouldn4t be bothered by demands that they attend church


;a#man observes that the :hurch of !ngland is how it is because 5that is how the !nglish like their religion = pragmatic, comfortable and unobtrusive5. %lthough in recent years evangelical, e#treme and fundamentalist :hristianity has been slowly catching on. However the :hurch of !ngland still remains a 5power5 within the ,E, which can e#ert pressure through the media. "t is still given press attention although there admittedly more scandal and shock, than awe or reverence.

"/he only sensible conclusion to draw from the uniquely privileged position
of the Church of -ngland 3 its official status, the bishops4 seats in the 7ouse of Bords, the @rime Minister4s right to appoint senior clerics and so on 3 is not that it represents some profound spirituality in the people, but that it suits mutually convenient purposes for state and Church


he absolute, institutionali6ed and symbolic strength of the :hurch of !ngland has disappeared. he history of the !nglish finding their identity after the two world wars is a history of the realisation that there is no :hristian >ritain. he :hurch of !ngland, as the following mass of reports, stats and charts show, has recovered from it*s historical hollow bloat' he bubble of !nglish commitment to a :hristian :hurch has popped. "$t is not e!aggerated to conclude that between ()5+ and ()*6 the Church 2f -ngland ... was effectively reduced to not much more than half it4s previous siAe" 5 he number of people who say they are members of the state religion has dropped by 40J since 1GD8, according to a poll by the National :entre for Social $esearch -N:S$/.5 5 he :hurch of !ngland is between a rock and a hard place, and there are bitter pills to be swallowed. he most painful fact with which it has to deal -along with other churches/ is the all=round drop in numbers' churchgoers, those on the electoral roles, numbers of baptisms, confirmation, church weddings = all have dropped steadily since the 1G80s, with conse&uential loss both of morals and of income. .uch is made of the increase in the numbers of ordinands -those training for the priesthood/, but this, the only good news on the table at the time of writing, seems an odd criterion of renewed life = many chiefs and few "ndians will scarcely solve the problem.5 5% report on youth published for the 3eneral Synod >oard of !ducation in 1GG7, which says that *the total Sunday attendance at %nglican :hurches amongst 14= to 11=year=olds is 70,18G*, a drop of 84.G per cent since 1GD1. K...L "f the same rate continues to apply, there may be no young people at all in the :hurch in twenty years time. he report goes on to say that this does not +ust apply to church services = a similar drop has also been observed in church organisations.5

5"n 1GG4 there were D7,000 weddings in :hurch of !ngland churches = a third of all weddings. K...L "n 1GD4 K...L there were 111,94D marriages.5 he following charts and data show a consistent decline across several decades. .ost data show a peak in the 1G80s of :hurch membership and participation. he decline from then to the 1G70s was marked, but slow. he decline since the 1G70s has been rapid and shocking. he G0s saw the rate of decrease begin to decrease. " believe that the data of the ne#t decade or two will show us the true numbers of :hurch of !ngland affiliation. (hat " see is that a bubble has burst' he public are no longer deferring to the :hurch of !ngland. %s a result, stats have dropped sharply as this change in behaviour occurs. (e will now see real participation dataN (e will also see a continued genuine decline in numbers.

The -inancial Situation sho1s a &oomed 'hurch; 5>etween 1GG0 and 9001, the :hurch Kof !nglandL lost 1DJ of its Sunday communicants, 11J of its clergy -none of them bishops/ and 1J of its buildings. he :hurch :ommissioners* gradually shrinking endowment of O8.0 billion, is about half the value of, say, Hale ,niversity*s investments. K...L Cast year, 10J of gross endowment income went on payings pensions alone K...L 2onations per head have increased steeply in recent years, in part because the disappearance of working=class believers has left congregations older and wealthier5 he overall picture is of a :hurch that has lost most it*s membership and is losing the rest. "t*s financial situation is poor and getting worse, with a top=heavy organisation with less and less income for more and more pensioners. his is a bleak picture, and " do not know that anything will reverse it. he :hurches financial hope is that all the pensioners die before the :hurch :ommissioners* funds dry up completely. 2rastic measures yet to be introduced, but which " e#pect, is a culling of bishops and staff. " do not forsee much building=selling as there are not many buyers who can do anything with old, semi=derilict :hurches or huge :athedralsN he government, in the future, will need to step in and take ownership or control of decaying :hurch buildings -for demolition P conversion to useful buildings)/ as the Heritage Fund cannot cope -and wouldn*t be +ustified/ in paying the costs associated with maintaining these anachronistic structures.

'3% Church 8embers

3race 2avie 1GG1'


@BCD @BE= @BED @BB= @BB< 9 9G1 011 9 1D0 10D 9 017 0G8 1 D10 49G 1 D0D 114

>aptist "ndependent .ethodist ?rthodo# ?ther ;entecostal ;resbyterian $oman :atholic otal J ;opulation' J changed per year'

987 919 909 119 0G7 407 1G7 D00 100 D80 104 74D 1 741 090 9 01D G00 D 000 17G 1D.0

940 911 909 GG1 040 84D 908 140 18D G4D 197 148 1 000 9G0 9 881 D08 1 090 789 17.D =0.94

948 187 80D 90D 000 109 998 7D7 191 789 18D 817 1 8D4 GG1 9 904 170 1 14D 0D0 10.7 =0.94

989 11D 849 81G 410 440 970 G1D 19G D98 10D 7G0 1 9DD 000 9 171 GG4 7 G81 941 14.G =0.14

980 119 807 G91 40D 118 910 D00 180 108 17G 1D9 1 949 407 9 044 G11 7 11D 941 14.4 =0.90

;ersons on the :hurch !lectoral $oll. otal on the roll, in millions, and the enrolement rate -in percent/ of the population, from >ryan (ilson 1G77' Hear 1G90 .illions J !nrolement 8.7 14.8 14.1 19.0 G.7 D.G D.1

1G80 -peak/ 8.1 1G40 1G00 1G70 1G74 8.4 8.0 9.G 9.1

''% 8inisters
%nglican >aptist "ndependent .ethodist ?rthodo# ?ther ;entecostal ;resbyterian $oman :atholic otal @BCD 10 G11 9 41D 1 010 9 197 197 1 DD4 1 700 8 117 D DG9 8D G18 @BE= 14 704 9 47G 1 4D8 9 789 170 1 D00 9 948 8 789 D D04 81 G11 @BED 14 074 9 74D 9 099 9 711 1D1 1 G99 9 0D0 8 419 D 40D 81 D70 @BB= 14 181 9 D08 9 1D7 9 77D 941 9 894 8 80G 8 10G 1 GD0 8G 401 @BB< 18 G90 9 G87 9 G08 9 701 94G 9 891 8 479 8 070 1 1GD 8G 807
@BB< female

D90 - 0.GJ/ D0 - 9.GJ/ 71 - 9.8J/ 947 - G.8J/ 0 - 0.0J/ 1 004 -40.4J/ 089 -10.4J/ 894 -10.8J/ 0 - 0.0J/ 8 190 - 1.GJ/

"/he turn of the century has seen a decline in the numbers of clergy, though there has been a recent small upturn. 1y the year ,+++ the Church ;of -ngland< will have around a thousand less clergy than it had in ()*+ 3 around ten thousand."

'*% Churches 9 Congregations -denominations in 1GG9/ @BCD %nglican -1/ 1G 1D8 >aptist -G/ 8 71G "ndependent -91/ 4 087 .ethodist -7/ G 077 ?rthodo# -1G/ 180 ?ther -48/ 1 GG9 ;entecostal -7G/ 1 700 ;resbyterian -18/ 7 111 $oman :atholic -10/ 4 104 otal 01 071

@BE= 1G 877 8 844 4 711 D 4G9 100 9 004 1 G80 0 DG1 4 189 4G G81

@BED 1D DG9 8 810 0 881 1 G04 11G 1 GGD 9 041 0 700 4 999 4G 789

@BB= 1D 840 8 791 0 G89 1 0G1 901 9 074 9 148 0 4DG 4 9G1 4G 7G0

@BB< 1D 987 8 714 0 DGD 1 401 91D 9 14D 9 910 0 400 4 9G0 4G 410 @BB< 97.D 0.7 0.1 1.8 0.0 0.8 0.8 1.0 0.7 0.8 0.G 0.4 0.8 1.1 @BBD 97.1 0.7 0.1 1.8 0.0 0.8 0.4 1.0 0.7 0.4 0.G 0.4 0.8 1.1

',% Nominal adherents '741 to '771 of all religions -in millions/ @BCD @BE= @BED @BB= rinitarian :hurches' %nglicans 91.9 91.1 91.0 97.G >aptist 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 "ndependent 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.D .ethodist 1.7 1.0 1.8 1.8 ?rthodo# 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.0 ?ther 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 ;entecostal 0.9 0.8 0.8 0.8 ;resbyterian 1.G 1.1 1.1 1.7 $oman :atholic 0.0 0.0 0.7 0.7 Non= rinitarian' :hurch ?f Scientology 0.1 0.9 0.8 0.8 ?ther 0.7 0.1 0.D 0.G Hindus 0.8 0.4 0.4 0.4 <ews 0.4 0.8 0.8 0.8 .uslims 0.4 0.7 0.G 1.0

Sikhs otal rinitarian otal non= rinitarian otal $eligious J population rinitarian J population ?ther otal J of nominal adherents

0.9 8D.9 9.0 40.9 7D 4 19

0.8 81.G 9.0 40.4 71 0 19

0.8 81.D 8.0 40.D 71 0 19

0.0 81.G 8.4 41.8 77 7 19

0.0 81.7 8.0 41.1 70 7 11

0.7 81.7 8.1 41.8 74 1 11

'/% Percentage rate of change per ear of of of of of of members members ministers ministers churches churches 1G10=1GD0 1GD0=1GG0 1G10=1GD0 1GD0=1GG0 1G10=1GD0 1GD0=1GG0 %nglican =9.7 =8.1 =9.4 =1.8 =0.G =0.D >aptist Q0.7 =0.G Q1.D Q9.4 =1.4 Q1.D "ndependent Q4.1 Q8.0 Q0.1 Q1.7 Q8.8 Q9.8 .ethodist =8.4 =9.7 =0.D 0.0 =9.7 =9.0 ?rthodo# Q9.7 Q0.1 QD.9 Q1.D Q0.D Q0.8 ?ther =8.G Q0.7 Q0.4 Q4.8 0.0 Q9.0 ;entecostal Q0.1 Q0.G Q10.0 Q1.G Q4.8 Q9.0 ;resbyterian =8.8 =9.G =9.0 =8.1 =1.D =1.9 $oman =9.7 =9.4 =1.1 =1.G Q0.7 Q0.0 :atholic otal =9.9 =1.G =0.0 Q0.4 =0.7 =0.1

'1% Percent of Anglican Baptisms of Ne:born

Hear 1DD0 1DG0 1G00 1G10 1G80 -peak/ 1G00 1G70 1G10 1GD0 R40 71.9 00.4 47.7 00 41 11 -1G91/ 70 3race 2avie 1GG1 Steve >ruce 1GG7 >ryan (ilson 1G77 79.8 74.1 70.0 7D.G 7G.G 71.9 00.4

1GG0 1GG8

91.0 91

he decline in this number from the 1G80s was slow, from a peak of about 10J, but the decline in the number of %nglican baptisms from the 1G00s has been rapid, to less than 8 ot of 10 throughout the 1GG0s.

'2% Percent of C of E Confirmations ;ithin Population

%ged 10 years old' Hear 1G00 1G90 1G80 -peak/ 1G40 1G00 90.1 91.G 3race 2avie 1GG1 >ryan (ilson 1G77 9G.0 9G.8 81.8 90.1 91.G 81.0

1G70 -peak/ 81.0

he percent of 10 year olds confirmed in the :hurch of !ngland has never been much more than 80J of the population of !ngland. >etween 1G70 and 1GD9 the actual number of confirmations taking place each year declined by more than 00J. "t*s not +ust that people are being confirmed at an older age. otal confirmations in the age group 19 to 90 years have also decreased from the 1G70s K>ryan (ilson 1G77L.

'4% Church of England Colleges < Schools

Hear 1G71 1G11 :olleges ;laces 97 10 1 778 17G

Figures have fallen ever since K3race 2avie 1GG1L. Hear Sunday School eachers

K>ryan (ilson 1G77L 1G10 1G90 1G80 1G8G 1G08 1G70 907 000 111 000 178 000 191 000 GD 000 D0 000

3iven that the &uicker decline of numbers has been since the 1G70s, " dread to think what the present numbers are.

'5% Percent Cremated in the ()

Hear 1DD4 1G8G -((9/ 1G40 1G77 3race 2avie 1GG1 Cegali6ed 8.D 1.D 00

1GG1 10 "From ()C) cremation rapidly overtook religious coffin funerals as the preferred postmortem arrangement for bodies. -ngland was the first &estern country to adopt cremation as widely. :ecular government should rightly have control over such matters as it is wrong to force particular rituals on a populace consisting of multiple faiths and varied beliefs.
!ngland has acute problems with space to bury the dead, most formal burial grounds are full and rotate slots, smashing the bottom of old coffins and putting new ones on top. here are few other options, as such, religions that have impractical dogmas telling people how they should behave towards the dead have become obsolete and largely ignored by many, especially professionals.5


When people pray a god is always born. Its natural for many people to pray to different gods. It depends on their life style. Anyway it is centralised in only one power. We all pray to an absolut power that overcomes us. We dont know what it is or where it comes from but we like to think it does us good, it looks after us and, most of all, if you believe, you will be blessed with its grace. There are some that dont believe at all, they are called non!believers". They have their arguments, too. I, myself, am a Christian.


"0eligion in 1ritain since ()86" by Grace ?avie %()).' "Cremation or burialD Contemporary choice in city and village" by @eter Eupp in "/he :ociology of ?eath" compiled by ?avid Clark, ())C Currie, Gilbert and 7orsely "Churches and Churchgoers". ()... ?avie, Grace "0eligion in 1ritain since ()86", ()). Furlong, Monica "C of -F /he :tate $t4s $n". ,+++ @a!man, Eeremy "/he -nglish", ())*. Guotes from ())) @enguin 1ooks edition. &ilson, 1ryan "0eligion in :ecular :ociety". ()55, @enguin 1ooks softback first edition. ""# Christian 7andbook" published by Marc -urope