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UCG IA Bible Insights Thursday, November 10 2022

Comparing world religions

There are five major religious faiths in the world today - Hinduism; Buddhism; Islam; Christianity and Judaism.


Hinduism is the major religion in India, and it has over half a billion followers. The belief developed over 4,000 years, making it one of the world’s oldest surviving religious belief systems. Hindu society is broken into four classes, or castes, with each class having distinct duties and roles. The lowest class are the untouchables, who are considered inferior human beings.

According to Hinduism, all moral beings are required to abide by honesty, courage, service, faith, self-control, purity, and nonviolence. One of the identifying features of Hinduism is a belief in the transmigration of the souls, or reincarnation. Hindus also believe in a multitude of gods throughout the universe.


Buddhism was founded in northern India about 500 B.C. by Siddhartha Gautama, the buddha, and it is estimated there are currently more than 300 million Buddhists in the world. Most Buddhists, however, have incorporated practices from other religions, especially Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, and Hinduism. By good acts, meditation, and developing enlightened wisdom, Buddhists believe they can achieve a rebirth in the heavens. This final goal of enlightenment is known as nirvana.


Islam is one of the world’s fastest growing religions. Almost 1 billion people practice Islam with nearly 25 million converts per year. Islam was founded in Arabia during the 7th Century by prophet Muhammad, who received divine revelations from Allah, via the angel Gabriel, and recorded them in the sacred book of Islam, the Koran.

Although Islam’s origins date back to the lifetime of Muhammad, Muslims regard their religion as a timeless religion of eternal truth. The line of prophets recorded by the Koran include Muhammad, Abraham, Noah, Moses, and Jesus, with Muhammad being viewed as the ultimate restorer of the original religion of the patriarch Abraham. Islam also recognizes the Torah, the Psalms, and Gospel of Jesus.


Christianity is the religion of over a billion people whose belief system centers on the Bible, and Jesus Christ as the promised Messiah. Through Christ, sinners who believe in Him can be saved and receive eternal life.

Major differences in belief exist between Christian groups. Some do not believe in the second coming of Christ, while many believe the Kingdom of God is now present among the faithful. Most profess the doctrine of heaven and hell along with the three person godhead of the Trinity, while other Christian groups contest these beliefs. Also, the majority of Christians keep Sunday as a day of worship and observe Easter and Christmas as celebrations of Christ’s resurrection and birth, although the pagan origins of these festivals are well known.


Judaism claims over 14 million adherents and is the oldest religion in the Western world. The source for Jewish belief is the Old Testament and specifically the first five books, known as the Torah or Pentateuch. They believe God revealed His plan to the patriarchs, and entered into a special covenant with the ancient Israelites so that they could be an example to humanity of God’s way of life.

Judaism consists of a system of laws which includes adherence to dietary restrictions, monotheistic worship, a Saturday Sabbath, and observation of annual holy day festivals. The Jews believe in a prophesied Messiah, but most reject Jesus Christ as this Messiah.