Hinduism is indigenous to what part(s) of the world?
The Indian subcontinent
How many Hindus are there in the world today?
Around 1 billion
What are Hinduism's three most important texts?
Is Hinduism polytheistic? Why or why not?
Hinduism asserts a single Supreme Being called Brahman, but incorporates the worship of several different gods that represent Brahman's different aspects.
Around when did Hinduism begin to exist?
Its roots stretch back as far as 2000 B.C.E.
- It was codified in the Vedic texts beginning around 1500 B.C.E.
- Hinduism is unique among major world religions in that it has no single founder
What are the Vedas?
The most important Hindu text(s)
- Essentially complete by 1200 B.C.
- Four collections of verses: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda
According to Hinduism, what are the four purposes or aims in life?
Dharma – duty (generally meaning one's vocation)
Artha – wealth (the pursuit of worldly success)
Kama – physical pleasure
Moksha – the most important: enlightenment, liberation, union with God
What is yoga?
Union of the self with the Hindu Supreme Being
Generally, refers to one of the many paths toward enlightenment
What three aspects of the Supreme Being make up the Trimurti, the central trinity of Hinduism?
Brahma (the Creator)
Vishnu (the Preserver)
Shiva (the Destroyer)
Who was the founder of Buddhism?
Siddhartha Gautama, a prince born in the 6th Century B.C.E., in what is now Nepal
- Regarded as the Supreme Buddha
- "Buddha" signifies "enlightened one" or "awakened one"
Around when and where was Buddhism founded?
500 B.C.E., in India
In what countries is Buddhism most prevalent today?
NOT in India, the birthplace of Buddhism
How many Buddhists are there in the world today?
Estimates range from 300 million to over 1 billion
- Accurate estimates are particularly difficult to obtain due to religious suppression in certain countries
- In any event, Buddhism is most likely the fourth largest religion in the world, after Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity
What four sights did the Buddha see that caused him to follow a spiritual path?
An old man
A sick man
An ascetic holy man
Where did the Buddha achieve enlightenment?
Under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India, still a major pilgrimage sight for Buddhists today
According to the teachings of the Buddha, what are the three marks of existence?
Three qualities shared by all things that exist in the world:
Dukkha (suffering, dissatisfaction)
What is anicca?
Impermanence, one of the three Buddhist marks of existence
Anicca does not mean that all things cease to exist; rather, it means that all things must eventually change forms.
What is dukkha?
Generally translated to "suffering," one of the three Buddhist marks of existence
- Originally, dukkha had a broader meaning: anxiety, disturbance, disquietude, turbulence
- Has been likened to a potter's wheel that does not turn smoothly, or a cart with a broken wheel
What is anatta?
Non-selfhood, one of the three Buddhist marks of existence: there is no "I" or permanent self
What is the literal meaning of the word "Islam"?
"Islam" derives from the word "salam," meaning "peace" or "surrender."
How many Muslims are there in the world?
Around 1.5 billion, making it the world's second-largest religion after Christianity
Who is the founding prophet of Islam?
When and where was he born?
Muhammad was born in Mecca (a town in modern-day Saudi Arabia) around 570 A.C.E.
What are the major differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims?
The major controversy centers on the true successor of Muhammad
Sunnis believe that a caliph (head of state) should be elected by the whole community
Shi'ites assert that only Allah himself can choose a leader, and that Muhammad's only rightful successors are his descendants
Sunni and Shia Muslims also accept different sets of hadith
What percentage of Muslims are Sunnis?
What is the literal meaning of "Allah"?
(Specifically the god, not a god)
What is the Qur'an?
The central text of Islam
- Literal meaning: "recitation"
- Revealed to Muhammad over the course of 23 years by the voice of the archangel Gabriel
What is a Hadith?
A report regarding the statements or actions of Muhammad
- Hadith are not the word of God himself, like the Qur'an, but are regarded as important sources of Muslim moral guidance and commentary on religious law
- There are many collections of Hadith, and Sunnis and Shi'ites disagree about which Hadith are authentic
What are the Five Pillars of Islam?
Profession of the shahadah: "There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is His Prophet."
Canonical prayer (salah): The Muslim must pray, facing Mecca, five times a day.
Alms-giving (zakat): Giving a portion of one's earnings to the poor.
Fasting (sawm) during the month of Ramadan.
Pilgrimage (hajj): Once in his or her lifetime, every Muslim must journey to the Ka'ba in Mecca.
How many Jews are there in the world today?
About 14 million
Where do most Jews in the world live?
Israel, the United States, and Europe
What are some of the sacred texts of Judaism?
Tanakh (which contains the Torah)
In Judaism, what is the Tanakh?
The Tanakh refers to the entirety of the Hebrew Bible
- The Torah is only the first part
- Second part: Nevi'im (Prophets)
- Third part: Ketuvim (Writings)
- Mostly the same material as the Christian Old Testament, but the books, and sometimes the verses, are ordered differently
In Judaism, what is the Torah?
The first section of the Tanakh
- Same as the first five books of what Christians call the Old Testament
- Also called the Five Books of Moses or the Pentateuch
- Contains the Ten Commandments and other statements on ethics and proper worship of God
Name the five books of the Jewish Torah.
What is Christianity?
A monotheistic religion founded on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (as presented in the New Testament), who is believed by Christians to be the son of God and the messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible
What does "Christ" mean?
"Christ" comes from "christos," the ancient Greek word for "messiah" or "anointed one." It is a title, not a name.
When and where was Christianity founded?
Around 33 A.D. in Palestine, not long after the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth
How many Christians are there in the world today?
Approximately 2 billion, making Christianity the world's most popular religion
What are the two main parts of the Christian Bible?
The Old Testament and the New Testament
What is the Old Testament?
The first section of the Bible
- Nearly identical to the Hebrew Bible
- Narrates history beginning with the creation of the world
- Also contains poetry and the writings of the Jewish prophets
- Christian interpretation of the Old Testament often involves finding signs that predict the coming of Christ
What is the New Testament?
The second section of the Bible, consisting of 27 books
- Begins with the four gospels, which narrate the life of Jesus Christ
- Acts of the Apostles describes the actions of Jesus' followers shortly after his death
- The Pauline Epistles are a collection of letters written by the Apostle Paul to specific churches
- The Catholic or General Epistles are a collection of letters addressed to a general audience
- Ends with the Revelation of John, a vision of the apocalypse