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RELIGION 101

A Glimpse through the Different World Religions

Humans are curious by nature. We are all gifted with inquiring minds. And when we are faced with questions,
we either consult Science or religion for our Aha! moments.

Admittedly or not, our faith in a Supreme Being influences us in a lot of ways. Our beliefs play a major role as
to how we will act or decide in certain situations. It is then safe to say that our beliefs, especially in relation to
religion, shape us into who we are now and who we will become in the future.

Leo Tolstoy once stated that ‘it is impossible for there to be a person with no religion as it is for there to be a
person without a heart.’

Religion is any specific system of belief about God, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, and a philosophy of
life. Simply stated, religion basically deals with one’s spirituality and morality.

Today, there are a lot of existing religions that no one can really give out an exact number. Then again, if we
are to talk about the number of followers a religion has, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are
considered the four major religions in the world.

Christianity

Having about 2.1 to 2.2 billion devotees, Christianity is considered to be the most popular religion in the
world. And in the world of Christianity, the three largest groups are the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern
Orthodox churches, and the various denominations of Protestantism. Here in the Philippines, most of us are
devotees of the Catholic faith.

In a nutshell, Christians believe that there is only one God, whom they call the Father. They also recognize
Jesus as the Son of God who was sent to save mankind from death and sin. His teachings can be summarized,
briefly, as the love of God and love of one’s neighbors. Christians also believe in the Trinity—that is, God as
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Backed-up by the Bible, Christians are taught to be Christ-like by following His various teachings contained in
the said Holy Book.

Islam

Touted as the world’s fastest growing religion, there are about 1.5 billion Muslims in the world at present and
they form the majority in more than 50 countries of the world.

The literal meaning of Islam is peace—that is, the surrendering of one’s will for the sake of God. The message
of Islam was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad about 1,400 years ago. It was said to be revealed through
Angel Gabriel and was preserved in the Holy Quran.

Islam’s prime message is the unity of God—that the Creator of the world is one and he alone is worthy of
worship. Islam also believes that each person is born pure. The Holy Quran tells us that God has given human
beings a choice between good and evil and to seek God’s pleasure through faith, prayer, and charity.


Buddhism

The word Buddhism comes from ‘budhi’ which means to awaken. It was said to have its origins about 2,500
years ago when Siddharta Gautama, known as the Buddha, was himself awakened or enlightened at the age of
35.

To many, Buddhism goes beyond religion and is more of a philosophy or way of life. It came about when
Siddharta was exploring different religions and teachings to find the key to real human happiness. He later on
found what was called as the ‘middle path’ and was enlightened. After this occurrence, he had spent his life
teaching the principles of Buddhism called the Dhamma or the Truth.

One notable aspect of the teachings of Buddha would be the Four Noble Truths which include the truth of
suffering, the truth and origin of suffering, the truth and cessation of suffering, the truth of the path to the
cessation of suffering.

Hinduism

Hinduism differs from other religions stated in that it does not have a single founder, a single concept of God,
a single holy text, a single system of morality, a central religious authority, and the concept of a prophet.

It is said that Hinduism is actually regarded as the world’s oldest organized religion consisting of thousands of
different religious groups that have evolved in India. Because of its wide variety, freedom of belief and
practice are notable features of Hinduism.

Among the most notable teachings of Hinduism would be the belief in Karma and reincarnation.


The existence of so many religions clearly causes confusion to a lot of people especially those who are in the
path of seeking the truth about God. The question now is: what is the real one among them? Clearly, this is a
debatable topic as everyone would surely claim that their set of beliefs is the real one. Then again, the
existence of these religions does not post any arguments against God’s existence. It just affirms our belief in a
Supreme Being who is out there looking after us.

In the end, what is important is that we do only good things to our fellowmen. It is also important to believe in
our capacity to love others, for it is in loving others that we also love God. For when the end comes, we will be
judged by the good deeds we did, not on what belief we subscribed in.