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Most times the journey is to a shrine or a sacred place of importance to a person's faith. The institution of pilgrimage is evident in all world religions and was also important in the pagan religions of ancient Greece and Rome. Pilgrimages attract visitors from widely dispersed cultural backgrounds and physical locations, offering them the opportunity to be brought together because of the origins of their faith.

Relevant to so many different cultural contexts, there is no single definition to describe to the act of pilgrimage. However, similarities are noticeable.


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Pilgrimage usually requires separation from the common everyday world, and in displaying that separation pilgrims may mark their new identity by wearing special clothes or abstaining from familiar comforts. Frequently, pilgrimages link sacred place with sacred time i. The hajj always occurs on the 8th, 9th, and 10th days of the last month of the Muslim year.

The location of sacred sites and shrines often represent some great miracle or divine appearance, they may also appropriate the places that are holy to older or rival faiths. A factor that unites pilgrimage locations across different religions is the sense, variously expressed, that a given place can provide privileged access to a divine or transcendent state. The hajj is the fifth pillar of faith in the Islamic faith.

It occurs on the 8th to 12th day of Dhul-Hijah, which is the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. Members of the Islamic faith are encouraged to perform the hajj , a pilgrimage to Mecca, at least once in their lifetime. However, religious law allow exclusions on grounds of hardship. Mecca is known by Muslims as the dwelling place of Adam after his expulsion from paradise and as the birthplace of Muhammad — , the prophet of Islam. The Huichol are an indigenous group of maize corn farmers who reside in Sierra Madre of northern Mexico.

Maize, along with deer and peyote-which the Huichol have linked together-are key ingredients for their way of life. Peyote is a rare cactus found in Mexico containing the chemical mescaline which induces hallucinogenic experiences if ingested properly. However, a pilgrimage must be first undertaken to find the peyote; beginning an approximate mile trek. The location the pilgrims of Huichol are destined to find the peyote is a representation of "Wirikuta, the original homeland where the First People, both deities and ancestors, once lived.

The pilgrim then chews the peyote button to ingest the mescaline. The group then begins to gather peyote for the rest of the community. The pilgrimage for peyote is an example of a culture actively holding onto their past. Instead of allowing their traditions to fall through the cracks, the Huichol use a holistic experience to preserve their religion and culture.

Two examples include Carnival and Halloween. Carnival The Carnival celebration occurs as a way to let loose before the strict rules of religion are set in place for lent. Typically, during Carnival everyday customs, rules, and habits of the community are inverted. Kings become servants, servants become kings, women dress as men and vice versa. The normal rules are overturned and indulgence becomes the rule. The body is granted freedom and obscenity are expected. Work and diets are omitted as people take to the streets to eat and party the days away.

Carnival is a festival traditionally held in Roman Catholic and, to a lesser extent, Eastern Orthodox societies. Regardless, many people participate in the carnival tradition today. The Brazilian Carnaval is one of the best-known celebrations today, but many cities and regions worldwide celebrate with large, popular, and days-long events.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Festivities are held in hundreds of different countries worldwide. Mardi Gras occurs in February right before the season of Lent. Ever since its introduction Mardi Gras has been celebrated in that area of the United States for many years.

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It's common to see people wearing minimal clothing, flashing for beaded necklaces, and partying in the streets. Much of this behavior is overlooked by police who only react when it is taken to the extreme or is in the more "family friendly" areas. Traditionally, large bonfires were built and people gathered to offer food and animals as sacrifice to the many deities.

The Celts, pronounced Kelts, were polytheistic and offered gifts to specific Pagan Gods throughout the year. After the celebration had ended, people would relight the hearth in their homes with fire from the communal and sacred bonfire. This fire was thought to protect the people especially on the night of October 31, when the ghosts of the dead and otherworldly spirits were believed to return to earth. These church-sanctioned holidays were similarly celebrated with bonfires, parades, and costumes consisting of saints, angels, and devils. The idea of Satan is a Christian concept that did not exist in pagan beliefs.

In order to believe in one idea of ultimate evil the Devil the Celts would have had to believe in one concrete idea of ultimate good God , but they worshiped several Gods. These traditions went under further construction as further generations began to relocate away from ancestral grounds. A sacrifice is an offering of something of value to an invisible force, and is done in many cultures and religions. Sacrifices are also made out of selfless good deeds.

The word "sacrifice" in Latin means "to make sacred. In pre-Columbian Mexico, the Aztecs sacrificed hundreds of humans in accordance with their ritual calendar in what is referred to as a human sacrifice. The most common sacrifice was for the sun God, Huitzilopochtli, in which a knife is used to cut under the ribs to get to the human heart, which was then forcibly removed. During the Bronze period of ancient China, sacrifices were very common in the worship of ancestors. It was believed that when a person died their fate was decided by spirits.

In order to invoke these spirits a beautiful bronze vessel was filled with wine and water as an offering. It was to be placed outside of the city during a time of need as a offering to the Heavens. This is an example of a goods sacrifice. In the Hmong Shamanism tradition, shamans would sacrifice animals to try and retrieve lost souls from the clutches of evil spirits. This was because animal souls were thought to be linked with human souls. In their tradition, evil spirits, known as dabs, would steal a persons soul and make them ill. When this happens, a chicken, pig, goat, or cow would be sacrificed and the animal's soul would be given to the evil spirits in exchange for the human soul, and this would make the person well again.

This form of ritual and healing practice is typically not embraced by mainstream North American cultures as a part of typical, everyday life meaning altered states are not institutionalized. Trance States or Behaviors are more difficult to characterize. Other than an altered state an often inward oriented states of thought, there is most times a change in body image, emotional expression, rejuvenating feelings, and increased sense of self. Trance states involve both amplification of certain internal cognitive processes as well as a decoupling of sensory processing.

All cultures have developed practices to heal the ill. In many cultures, when home remedies fail people often turn to a specialist of some sort. Many cultures including those exposed to Western medicine resort to "magico-religious" healers such as Shamans or spirit guides. Trances and various altered states of consciousness are mainly associated with shamanistic healing practices. Trance states can be induced by a variety of activities such as singing, drumming, dancing, chanting, fasting, sleep or sleep deprivation, and psychoactive drugs.

After a person is in a trance state, they may collapse and have intense visual experiences and hallucinations while unconscious. There are two major divisions within Hinduism: Vaishnavaism and Shivaism. Hindus believe in the repetitious Transmigration of the Soul. This is the transfer of one's soul after death into another body.

This produces a continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth through their many lifetimes that's called Samsara. Karma is the accumulated sum of ones good and bad deeds. Karma determines how you will live your next life. Through pure acts, thoughts and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level. Eventually, one can escape samsara and achieve enlightenment. Bad deeds can cause a person to be reborn as a lower level, or even as an animal.

Hindus body of scriptures is divided into Sruti and Smriti. Hindus organize their lives around certain activities Purusharthas. These are called the Four aims of Hinduism or "The doctrine of the fourfold end of life. Hinduism is unique due to the fact that there is no real distinction between beings divine and human.

In Hinduism humans can appear divine, and gods human. Also, unlike most religions such as Christianity, there are two supreme gods Vishnu and Shiva, who are equal in power. Hinduism also has other gods such as Lakshmi and Parvati, who are wives to Vishnu and Shiva. A staple of Hinduism is greetings.

In most pictorials of the deities, the divine are often showing this same way of greeting, showing that the divine must show respect. Hinduism today is seen and argued as being polytheistic or monotheistic. In fact they would both be right. They do worship many deities, but they believe that each one is part of a whole unity. This is the panentheistic principle of Brahman: that all reality is a unity.

The entire universe is one divine entity that is at one with the universe. Strictly speaking, most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic, meaning they recognize a single deity, and recognizes other gods and goddesses as facets, forms, manifestations, or aspects of that God. Viashnavism is a tradition of Hinduism distinguished from other schools by its worship of Vishnu or his manifestations, principally as Rama and Krishna, as the original and supreme God.

Viashnavism is seen as monotheistic, since adherents to this form of Hinduism believe in one Supreme God. They believe that the living entity or soul is eternal, and that the purpose of life is to be free from reincarnation through spiritual practices. Bhakti Yoga the spiritual practice of fostering loving devotion to God is seen as the most direct method to achieve this. Desire is seen as the root of all evil, and thus a great deal of importance is assigned to the control of the senses, mainly through meditation and yoga practice.

Material nature is seen as temporary, and is said to contain 3 modes: Goodness, Passion, and Ignorance. Desire, or lust, is said to be the result of material contact with the mode of passion, which is inevitably transformed into ignorance. He is male, and eternal. He is the Creator and the Destroyer. It is said that He created the material world by impregnating it with His eyes. The Material Universe is said to last trillion 40 billion years and then die. At this point the devastation takes place, which means that the energy manifested by the Lord is again would up in Himself.

Then Creation follows, and material energy is let loose once again. This cycle repeats infinitely The monotheistic worship of Vishnu was already well developed in the period of the Itihasas. Hopkins says "Vishnuism, in a word, is the only cultivated native sectarian native religion of India. Vaishnavism is expounded in a part of the Mahabharata known as the Bhagavad Gita, which contains the words of Krishna, one the avatars of Vishnu.

Vaishnavism flourished in predominantly Shaivite South India during the seventh to tenth centuries CE, and is still commonplace, especially in Tamil Nadu, as a result of the twelve Alvars, saints who spread the sect to the common people with their devotional hymns. The temples which the Alvars visited or founded are now known as Divya Desams. In later years Vaishnava practices increased in popularity due to the influence of sages like Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Manavala Mamunigal, Vedanta Desika, Surdas, Tulsidas, Tyagaraja, and many others.

Large Vaishnava communities now exist throughout India, and particularly in Western Indian states, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat and north eastern state Assam. Since the s Vaishnavism has spread from within India and is now practiced in many places around the globe, including America, Europe, Africa, Russia and South America. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in C Bhaktivadanta Swami Prabhupada.

Sikhism is a religion based in Punjab, India. It is the fifth-largest world religion. Guru Nanak founded the religion in CE. It means "wonderful teacher" in the Punjabi language. Sikhism promotes the idea of salvation through disciplined and personal meditation on the name and message of God. The concept of God in Sikhism is oneness with the entire universe and its spirit. Sikhs must eliminate ego to be able to find God. Sikhs do not believe in heaven or hell.

The suffering and pain caused by ego is seen as "hell" on earth. They believe that upon death, one merges back into universal nature. Sikhs view men and women as equal in the world. Women are expected to participate in the same religious life as men are. In Sikhism, every person is fully responsible for leading a moral life. Sikhs have no priestly class.

Therefore, those who are educated in the ways of the religion are free to teach others about Sikhism, however, they cannot claim to have access to God. Sikhs believe they have no right to impose their beliefs on others or to cajole members of other religions to convert. All individuals, regardless of race, gender, or nationality, are eligible to become Sikhs. Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest recorded monotheistic religions. It originated from Persia and is based on the teachings of Zoroaster , a prophet of the early 5th century BCE.

Many present day theologians point to Zoroastrianism as the influence for many of today's monotheistic world religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism etc. Zoroaster preached the following of Ahura Mazda which equates to God. Ahura Mazda is the supreme being of good whose enemy is represented by "druj" which is the power of evil. Zoroastrianism asks its followers simply to do good and to go through life with good thoughts, good words, and good deeds as these are necessary to create happiness and to keep the "druj" at bay.

Pre-Islam Iranian governments promoted the teaching of Zoroastrianism during that time. Zoroastrianism was extremely popular to the Iranian people and was considered a state religion until it was marginalized by other religions in the 7th century. However it is still significant due to its history, the possible influence it had on other religions, and its followers who still are around today. Currently there are approximately , Zoroastrians in the world. Buddhism is a religion based on personal spiritual development with some atheistic characteristics formed by a man named Siddhartha Gautama , who is commonly called "the Buddha " which is actually a title that means "the Enlightened One".

He was believed to be born in Nepal around BCE. Buddhism was formed after Siddhartha came to disagree with the practices and beliefs of asceticism. Born into a royal family, he became aware of suffering after taking a trip outside of the palace. Here, he encountered people suffering from disease, old age, and death.

At the age of 29, having witnessed such sufferings, he decided to leave his life of comfort and become an ascetic in an attempt to find the solution to end suffering. For six years he ate only tiny handfuls of rice each day and did little besides meditating, in an attempt to free himself of bodily concerns. It is said that after those six years, he ran into a little girl by a river, who offered him a bowl of rice to feed his famished body. At this same time, a man so the story goes was traveling down the river playing a stringed instrument.

Here Siddhartha came to a realization, which he later explained as: "Look at the lute. If its strings are too tight, they will break. If they are too loose, it cannot be played. Only by tuning them neither too tight nor too lose will the lute work. After this realization, he broke away from his ascetic practices and sat under a tree latterly called the Bo-tree, or Tree of Enlightenment , entering a deep meditation.

This act is what is known as Jiriki or self-power. At the age of 35, after meditating for 49 days, he attained Enlightenment and was henceforth called "the Buddha" [27]. After attaining enlightenment, he went on to help others reach nirvana. Buddhism also splits into three subcategories, the first being Theravada Buddhism which is found in South East Asia , Mahayana Buddhism found throughout East Asia , and Vajrayana Buddhism this includes many subcategories of Buddhism including Tantric Buddhism and Mantrayana [21] [28]. Zen is another school of Buddhist thought that developed in China during the 7th century, by an Indian Buddhist monk named Bodhidharma, from a combination of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism.

Practitioners of Zen aim to see the world as it truly is, without lasting thoughts or feelings but instead as a constant stream of unconnected thoughts. Zen is predominantly practiced in China, Japan, Vietnam, and Korea but in recent years has gained popularity in the western world. It is estimated that there are currently million people who practice Buddhism today. This makes the religion the fourth largest in the world. The Four Noble Truths deal with the nature, origin, cessation, and path to the cessation of suffering.

These four things are the core of Siddhartha's message, and presumably expresses what he learned while meditating under the Bo-tree. The Eightfold Path is part of the Fourth Noble Truth, or the path leading to the cessation of suffering. It is referred to as the Eightfold Path because of the eight categories or divisions that it is composed of, those being Right Understanding.

These paths are used to avoid two extremes: one extreme being the search for happiness through the pleasures of the senses; the other being the search for happiness through self-mortification in different forms of ascentism peterson talk. It should not be thought that the categories should be followed by the numerical order above, but should instead be used more or less simultaneously, according to the capacity of each individual. Like Hinduism , Buddhists believe in a rebirth of oneself. Rebirth is the idea that one goes through a series of lifetimes.

When one dies, he or she moves to another body. However, Buddhism rejects the idea of an eternal soul such as in Christianity. It is an ever-changing process that is regulated by karma , the laws of cause and effect. Besides the immediate effect of an action in this world, karma helps dictate the rebirth process. Possessing good karma will allow for a better realm of rebirth than bad karma. Buddhism says that the cycle of rebirth takes within one of five or six realms depending on the type of Buddhism one practices and within these realms, there are 31 planes of existence.

Samsara is a Buddhist concept that directly related to this cycle of rebirth. It is the world in which the human race currently resides and in which there is much pain, suffering, and sorrow. One can only leave Samsara once they have reached nirvana. The Ten Fetters is a series of items that keep a person in Samsara.

If one possesses any of these, he or she will remain in Samsara. One, according to Buddhist thought, should strive to overcome these things. Buddhists take part in religious travels to sacred sites called pilgrimages. These sites are significant places in the life of Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. Gautama taught that these four main sites would make his followers feel a sense of spiritual urgency, as they coincide with the life and spiritually significant experiences of the religious leader.

The four significant places are as follows: Lumbini , where Siddartha Gautama was born, Bodh Gaya , where he was enlightened, Sarnath , where he gave his first teaching, and finally Kusinara , where Siddartha died. The sacred site Lumbini, the birthplace of Siddartha Gautama is surrounded by an area called a monastic zone, or, an area in which only monasteries can be built. The site is visited by many looking to meditate and chant near the exact place of Siddartha's birth, and the sacred Bodhi tree.

Traveling on a pilgrimage is an act Buddhists believe will earn them merit for future incarnations. The farther and longer the journey, and the more humble the mind of the person traveling, the greater the merit will be. Going on a pilgrimage is also a way for Buddhists to practice becoming free from worldly attachments. They might aim to no long feel so attached to an old home, to old relationships, or too old desires. By dedicating oneself to the pursuit of a holy place in a humble mindset, one comes closer to walking the Eightfold Path.

The traveling of many monks over the centuries is attributed as one of the main causes of the spread of Buddhism. The Dalai Lama is the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and traditionally has been responsible for the governing of Tibet. However, the Chinese government established control in However, after his exile, the 14th Dalai Lama sought refuge in India. The Dalai Lama has since lived in exile in Dharamsala, in the state of Himachal Pradesh in northern India, where the Central Tibetan Administration the Tibetan government-in-exile is also established.

The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet. The institution of the Dalai Lama is a relatively recent one. There have been only 14 Dalai Lamas in the history of Buddhism, and the first and second Dalai Lamas were given the title posthumously. According to Buddhist belief, the current Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of a past lama who decided to be reborn again to continue his important work.

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The Dalai Lama essentially chooses to be reborn again instead of passing onward. A person who decides to be continually reborn is known as Tulku. Buddhists believe that the first tulku in this reincarnation was Gedun Drub, who lived from —, and the second was Gendun Gyatso. However, the name Dalai Lama meaning Ocean of Wisdom was not conferred until the third reincarnation in the form of Sonam Gyatso in The current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso.

Shinto is a form of animism that is the indigenous religion of Japan. It is a form of worship that is based upon nature. So any tree, rock, car, dog, cat, person, or anything else has a Kami. Kami also means 'paper' in Japanese, so the usage of it is a common theme in marking shrines and divine objects.

In Japan, it typically is practiced alongside Japanese Buddhism. Since Buddhism focuses primarily on the afterlife, Shintoism focuses on the present. There are 4 affirmations to Shintoism that include 1 Tradition and family, 2 Respect of nature, 3 Physical cleanliness, 4 and the celebration of festivals matsuri for the various kami. Kami are:. The kami are believed to move among their shrines and to reside in a small house-shaped box built for them at the shrine or jinja. Each has limitations. But the Sun Goddess, Amaterasu, is dominant however.

She gave birth to the first emperor. Her main shrine is called Jingu and is located in a forest at Ise in western Japan. No paintings, sculptures, masks, etc. Only Buddhist temples use physical representations in painting and sculpture of the Buddha and the Boddhisatvas. For example, sumo wrestling matches and the many local festivals, called matsuri, began as means of entertaining local kami. Judaism is based on the laws and principles of the Tanakh Hebrew Bible. Within the Tanakh there are a total of twenty-four books.

Their Holy land is Israel, but their perceived right to the land is great source of controversy between the Jews and their Muslim neighbors. Because of their banishment from the land of Israel in ancient times, Jews now live all over the world. There are approximately 14 million practicing and secular Jews today. Throughout history, many Christians have blamed the Jews for the death of Jesus. During the high Middle Ages, Jews were expelled, massacred, and forced to convert to Christianity.

In the midth century, as the Black Death devastated Europe, rumors spread that the Jews had caused the disease by poisoning the wells. In Strasbourg , a city that hadn't yet been affected by the plague, Jews were burnt alive. After much more persecution throughout the next few centuries, such as the Holocaust that lead to the death 6 million Jews and the displacement of most of Europe's Jews.

After such a tragedy, the Jews saw to the formation of a recognized Jewish State known as Israel in There are three main sects in Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. Jewish men and women wear special clothing during times of prayer and other religious practices. While praying, eating, reciting blessings, or studying Jewish religious texts, a round brimless for the most part skull cap called a kippah or yarmulke is worn.

The tzitzit are special knotted tassels that are worn on the four corners of a prayer shawl; different Jewish customs explain when these should be worn. Tefillin are two square leather boxes that contain bible verses and are worn during the weekday morning prayers. A kittel is a white knee-length overgarment that is worn by prayer leaders on the high holidays and the head of the household wears this at the Passover seder. Orthodox Jews traditionally pray three times a day, and on holidays a fourth prayer is added. Prayers are typically recited throughout the day upon waking, and before and after eating a meal.

Although most prayers can be recited in solidarity, communal prayer is often preferred. In many reform temples, musical accompaniment such as organs and choirs are used. Further, a fifth prayer service, Ne'ilah "closing" , is recited only on Yom Kippur. The Jewish religion can be categorized into six major branches in America.

They are the Reform, the Conservative, the Modern Orthodox, the Re-constructionist and the Ultra Orthodox or Haredim, which breaks into two separate groups called the Hasidim and the Mitnaggedim. Reform is the largest branch in America and is the most liberal. Between , immigrating Jews decided that Jewish law is a personal idea and not a requirement. These changes were made in an attempt to keep Jewish people Jewish as there was no longer a pressure to remain Jewish once people assimilated to American culture.

The Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox and Re-constructionist function as denominations or different branches of the same religion. The Haredim are a community based group and culturally connected. These are those who life in strict adherence to the Halacha. One of five major world religions, Christianity is a monotheistic religion made up of roughly 2 billion people, [34] and is considered one of the Abrahamic religions , which originally began as a movement from Judaism. Where Christianity and Judaism depart from one another is in the Christian belief that Jesus of Nazareth Christ or simply Jesus was divine and was literally the "Son of God.

Jesus mainly taught about God's love and mercy, but also taught about forgiveness, charity, and treating yourself well. Christians also believe that Jesus rose from the dead, and when He did, He allowed the Holy Spirit to "enter" into anyone who chose to believe in Him so that they may have eternal life with God in Heaven after their physical bodies die on earth. There are many branches of Christianity that are not the same. Christians believe in one God and one God only, it is just how they express their love and grace for him.

This ranges differently from the vast amount of Christian groups. He came not to destroy those laws Ten Commandments , but to fulfill those laws as stated in Matthew Therefore, fulfilling the law is Jesus Christ living out the laws perfectly, so that his followers will also be able to do the same. Christians use the bible as a tool to communicate to God. The bible is where Christians get all of their wisdom on how to live their life for God.

Another name for the bible is the "Word of God". Another way Christians practice their faith is by going to church. The church is somewhere Christians can go to worship and dive deeper into God's word. The church can also be a safe place for people to go if they are feeling any sort of pain. The main way Christians practice their faith and live for God is to show everyone God's love. One way of connecting to God is though the ritual of holy communion where participants consume symbolic representations of the body and blood of Christ.

This is an example of unity of consciousness in which the consumption of the body bread and blood wine brings the participant and God closer together by letting God become one with them.

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Catholicism, made up of about 1. Catholics believe that people are good but corrupted by a sin nature and the only way to redeem people from that sin is divine grace from the sacraments. However, unlike non-Catholic Christianity, some Catholic sects do not believe that salvation is obtained solely through accepting Jesus Christ as ones Savior, but believe that good works are required to obtain salvation and are a visible manifestation of faith in Christ.

Catholic Churches are unified under the Pope in Rome. Under him are Cardinals, Arch bishops, Bishops, and Priests. Priests preside over individual churches also known as parishes. Although there is very important aspect of Christianity that believes in Free Will. The term free will implies that although God rules all things, he wants humans to make their own choices, we can choose to sin or to turn away from sin. Unlike Non denominational Christians, Catholics are involved in using the Sacraments. The Vatican is located in the Vatican City, a sovereign country of which the Pope is the sovereign leader.

The history of the Catholic Church starts from apostolic times making it the worlds oldest and largest institution covering nearly 2, years. The Pope is recognized by Catholics of the world as the successor to Saint Peter who was an early leader of the Christian church and had a large part in writing the New Testament. Peter was the first official Bishop of Rome, making all of his successors superior to any other worldly Bishop. He was elected April 19, , and took office April 24th Protestantism began in Europe during the 16th century with the Protestant Reformation , which began as an attempt to reform the Catholic Church.

The name Protestant comes from those who "protested" against the Catholic Church and therefore were named Protestant by the church. This religion then moved to the Americas during colonization by the English. The religion originated out of the belief that the covenant was broken by Adam and Eve and was then recovered by Jesus. So they believe that they owe God their obedience do to the recovery of the covenant. When things in their lives are going well it shows Protestants that they are fulfilling the covenant with God. It is the opposite when things in their life begin to go wrong, they must not be fulfilling the covenant.

Another basic belief is that the individual must subject themselves for the good of the whole, because even though there is a set hierarchy each individual needs each other for the strength as one. This being said everyone in their society has set responsibilities and everyone is then dependent upon one another.

Further more Protestants see themselves as God's chosen people and at the time of colonization it was their duty to God to pass on his word to Native Americans and those who did not know God. It is considered one of the main traditions of Christianity. The Church of England's values are relatively similar to that of Catholicism, with the exception of divorce and a few other minor differences that imply that the Church is slightly more lenient than the Romans.

While Anglicanism and Protestantism are separate, the Church of England was created with many Protestant ideals. Centuries later, Anglicanism was spread around the world with many countries creating their own autonomous organizations of Anglicanism, such as the Episcopal Church in the United States of America and the Anglican Church of Canada. The church has been sought out by many diverse groups due to its reputation of acceptance to homosexual couples and ordination of female leaders. Anglicans are most concentrated in the United Kingdom, with a few members found in the United States and Canada.

Islam is considered a monotheistic religion originating from the teachings of the prophet Muhammad. The definition of Islam is 'submission,' which symbolizes the complete submission required to praise God.

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Practitioners are referred to as Muslims literally, 'those who submit'. There are approximately Muhammad is considered the final prophet of God, and his words and deeds are fundamental sources of Islam. Muslims however do not consider Muhammad the founder of Islam. Instead, they believe Muhammad restored the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that Jewish and Christian based faiths are distorted versions of Islam. Muslims are required to adhere to the Five Pillars and the Six Articles of Faith, which serve to unite the Islamic followers in a community.

In addition, Islamic followers obey Sharia, or Islamic law. Sharia is a compilation of the Qur'an and the Sunnah the recorded words and actions of the Prophet Muhammad. These traditions and rulings have touched upon all aspects of life. In some cases, however, it is necessary for Muslims to turn to taqlid, the judiciary interpretations of respected scholars. As a ritual, Islamic men and women also wear special head and body coverings in order to reflect their overall modesty, both in actions and in appearance.

Men often wear turbans which are like hats and only cover the top of the head, whereas women wear veils which cover the whole head, hair, and sometimes the lower half of the face. In public or in a man's presence, women also wear cloak-like garments which are intended to cover the shapes of their bodies as well as their actual skin.

In general, men are to wear clothing that covers from the waist to the knees, but men usually wear garments which cover them from the neck to the ankles. Women are also not expected to wear flashy jewelry because this may defeat the purpose of presenting oneself in a modest fashion. Still, the way in which Muslims is more important in revealing their modesty than is their style of dress. Unlike the Bible, Muslims believe that the words of the Qur'an came directly from God through the prophet Muhammad by the angel Jibril.

Often referred to as the "book of guidance" it serves as a guideline regarding how to live life for Muslims. Its contents include conflict resolution, early forms of a legal system, praises to God and addresses domestic affairs. Many Muslims see this as a very important lesson: to recite the message. They take this to be a vital meaning of the word. Islam includes many religious practices but the core lies within the Five Pillars. These five pillars are the framework of the Muslim life.

They are the testimony of faith, prayer, almsgiving, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Zakat : annual almsgiving by giving one-fortieth of their income to the needy. Muslims are also encouraged to undertake personal, non-ritualized Zakat throughout the year. Sawm : During the month of Ramadan , Muslims fast from sunrise to sundown. This develops self-control, devotion to God through the denial of wordly distractions, and identification with the needy. Hajj : Each Muslim is supposed to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime if it is possible to do so.

The main doctrines of Islam are the Articles of Faith, traditionally numbered at six. God has no mother or father, no sons or daughters. God has no equals. He is God of all humankind, not of a special tribe, race, or group of people. He is the God of all races and colors, of believers and unbelievers alike. Angels are a part of human life. They have different purposes and messages from God. Everyone has two angels: one for good deeds and one for bad deeds. There are four pieces of scripture that the Muslims follow.

Muhammad is the last and most important of Allah's messengers. On Judgment Day those that follow Allah and Muhammad will go to Islamic heaven while those who do not will go to hell. Divine Creed [35] Belief that Almighty God has knowledge of, and control over, everything that exists in all time and space. The Sunni are a religious denomination that branch off of the religion of Islam. The Sunni put far more importance on the pilgrimage to Mecca to achieve Hajji status. There are few theologies and traditions that set the Sunni apart from all the others.

A few of these include:. This theology also describes that divine omnipotence is over human free will. The school of Maturidiyya, along with Athariyya, form the basis for the understanding of the Sunni. Maturidiyya was incorporated into the Sunni-Islamic religion through Turkish adherents of Central Asia. The Turkish people eventually traveled to different areas of the Middle East taking the tradition of Maturidiyya along with them, thus allowing other believers to be exposed to new theories and ideas. This, in combination with aspects from the theory of Ash'ari, provide the very basic background and understanding of the Sunni denomination.

So according to the teachings of Athariyya, God has a face and some hands. It is also mentioned that God does not resemble his creation in any way. So the faces and hands of God do not resemble that of his creation but in a way that is only befitting to him. The teachings of Athariyya only convey the idea that God exactly describes himself only suiting to his majesty in literal form. Sunni Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion that is adhered to by those of the Muslim culture.

The Qur'an and Sunnah words divinely spoken by the prophet Muhammad are the foundation of which Islam was based upon. It is believed that Muhammad simply restored the religion of Islam rather than creating it, and that other religions such as Judaism and Christianity distorted the true meaning and constructed a false interpretation. Muslims are found throughout various parts of the world, all the way from the West coast of Africa to some parts of China. Most Muslim cultures are found within the Middle East. The Muslim culture practice a very strict type of ritual, which can also be seen as a religious duty, in which they pray five times a day.

People are considered to be a Muslim after publicly reciting the Shahadah. Men: must avoid wearing tight clothing and cover the area between the knees and the navel. This is normally done by wearing a loose gown and usually a turban. Men must also grow a beard, as long as is possible. Women: more conservative followers of Islam require women to wear loose-fitting clothes and to be covered from their ankles to their wrists.

A veil is to be worn on the head, and too much makeup and perfume should be avoided. However many more modern Muslims especially residing in North America and Europe practice their faith without covering themselves up to such an extent.


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Today there are many Muslims, mostly the younger generation, who believe that there is much more to having faith in Islam and following the word of God than focusing on what one wears. Shi'a Islam is the world's second largest Islamic denomination behind the Sunni denomination. The distinguishing characteristic of Shi'a Islam is that it believes that after the Prophet Muhammad died, political and spiritual leadership of the Muslim community should have gone to his family and descendents, mainly his cousin and son-in-law Ali.

They believe that only god can appoint the successor to the Prophet and that before his death, Muhammad appointed Ali as his successor. They believe that there have been twelve Imams, starting with Ali. The last Imam, Mahdi , is believed not to have died, and is a messianic figure who will return with Christ. According to Shi'a doctrine, he has been living in the Occultation and once returned will re-establish the rightful governance of Islam and replete the earth with justice and peace.

Hassan was quickly poisoned. Husayn led his followers against Yazid, but was overwhelmed and killed. The deaths of Hassan and Husayn are considered tragic, and the reenactments are very emotional. African traditional and diasporic: million. Diaspora: A dispersion of a people from their original homeland. This is not a single organized religion, but it includes several traditional African beliefs and philosophies such as those of the Yoruba, Ewe Vodun , and the Bakongo.

Voodoo is a religious cult practiced in the Caribbean and southern USA, combing elements of Roman Catholic rituals with traditional African magical and religious rites, and characterized by sorcery and spirit possession. In other words, one's destiny is in one's own hands. The religious capital of the Yoruba religion is at Ile Ife.

Ewe religion is organized around a creator deity named Mawu. Mawu is the Supreme Being, separate from daily affairs. The Bakongo or the Kongo people, also called the Congolese, are an ethnic group living along the Atlantic coast of Africa. Traditional Kongo religion believed heavily on the concept of the dead, and that most of their supernaturals or deities are thought to have once lived on Earth.

Only Nzambi Mpungu, the name for the high god, existed outside the world and created it from outside. Other categories of the dead include bakulu, or ancestors, the souls of the recently departed, and in some cases, more powerful beings believed to be the souls of the long departed. There are also supernatural beings who are guardians of particular places and territories, sometimes considered to be the soul of the founder, and there are those who inhabit and are captured in minkisi singular nkisi , or charms, whose operation is the closest to our modern idea of magic.

The value of these supernatural operations is generally seen as a reflection of the intentions of the worker, instead of the worker being intrinsically good or bad. Vodou, or Voodoo, Voodoo is a religious cult practiced in the Caribbean and southern USA, combing elements of Roman Catholic rituals with traditional African magical and religious rites, and characterized by sorcery and spirit possession. Though relatively small in comparison to other world religions in practice, Vodou can be encompassed under the Catholic religion as many practitioners of Vodou consider themselves devout Catholics.

Vodou is the Haitian spelling for Vodun, which is an amalgamation of West African traditional religion with Catholicism. Consisting of veneration for Catholic saints, Vodou also consists of veneration of ancestral spirits that can be evoked to posses a host through Catholic hymns and ritual dance and sometimes through animal sacrifice, most commonly of chickens.

These ritual parties are normally induced at a spirit's birthday or another important celebration, at which gatherers give the host food or money for the visiting spirit that is used for the party and salutations for the spirit guest. Vodou communities are tightly knit, and are sparing on outsiders as they are surrounded by poverty and are misunderstood by most onlookers that stereotype Vodou to be a form of black-magic practice by using voodoo as a derogatory term and; therefore, looked down upon by outsiders.

Like Catholicism in the act of personal saints, those who practice Vodou often have their own spirits to look after them. Ezili Freda admires and requires cleanliness. If her expectations are not met she will simply leave. The Rastafari movement was developed in the slums of Jamaica during the 's and 30's.

During the 's Jamaica was experiencing a severe depression, and the people were subject to racism and class discrimination. This set the stage for the poor and rural Jamaicans to embrace a new religion and ideology. This movement began with the teachings of Marcus Garvey. Garvey believed Africans were the original Israelites, who had been exiled to Africa as divine punishment. Garvey's "Back to Africa" movement encouraged black pride in the people and helped to reverse the mindset of black inferiority.


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Followers of Marcus Garvey believed Selassie was the messiah that had been predicted, and that the return to Africa would begin. Jamaicans named this movement Ras Tafari. This movement became visible in the 's when peaceful communities in the Kingston Slums began to grow.

Bob Marley, February 6, — May 11, , was a famous reggae musician and arguably the most famous rastafarian. He is credited with taking reggae and expanding to a worldwide audience. He wore dreadlocks and preached the use of cannabis in his lyrics. Most of his music, lyrics and album covers contained nyabinghi and Rastafarian chanting. Rastafari tradition believes the famous King Haile Selassie I was a direct descendant of a lineage from King David and Solomon, of the historic faiths.

The Rastafari religious figures were from then on known for their bloodline which gave them the name Lion of Judah , which has been a symbol on the Rastafari flag since the birth of Rastafari. This concept is one of the most important aspects of the Rastafari way of life, and culture. The symbol is synonymous with other religions, which give it a multicultural connection to many other traditions. Rastafari have unique practices that are recognized worldwide. The most well known practice is the use of marijuana, which grows plentiful in Jamaica. Rastas know it as ganja, cannabis, dank-dank, reefer, pot, the holy herb, or Callie, and they believe it was given by God.

It is used as a part of a religious ritual and as a means of getting closer to their inner spiritual self. Ganja, or marijuana is used among the Rastafari as a religious ritual. At first it was smoked or used in teas as a way to rebel against the system, "Babylon. However, Ganja is also used for several other reasons. Those reasons include gaining a sense of unity, attaining higher meditation, and calming the mind during fearful times. Thus Ganja has become a very dominant symbol in Rastafari culture.

Barrett pg. Marijuana is used at all times, but especially during the most celebrated rituals: reasonings and nyabingi. Reasoning is a meeting in the form of a ceremony that usually takes place out in the woods or in secluded areas. Rastas get together to discuss and debate issues such as ideologies, philosophy and theology. Marijuana is used during this time with the intention of opening up and becoming more open-minded for discussion. Nyabinghi is a musical ritual dance held on special occasions and holidays. Hundreds of Rastafaria come from around Jamaica and gather for this celebration, which can last for days at a time.

The Rastas dance and sing all night until the morning. The heart-beat rythyms of Jamaican music in rock steady and reggae form the basis of Rasta prayers. They seek peace, love, and trust between all the creatures of the living earth. There are many Jamaican holidays, most of which are focused on events in the life of Emperor Haile Selassie. The most important ones are:. Rastafari have transformed the word "dread" from unkempt, dangerous, and dirty, to instead be a symbol of pride, power, freedom and defiance.

The way to form natural dreadlocks is to allow hair to grow in its natural pattern, without cutting, combing or brushing, but simply to wash it with pure water. The way dreads are worn, how long they are, and the newness of them means a lot. If one does not have dreadlocks but is a Rastafari, they are called a "cleanface.

Rastas maintain that dreadlocks are supported by Leviticus "They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in the flesh. Rastas do not eat much meat. They eat small fish such as herring, but the foods they eat the most are vegetables.

Most call the food I-tal which means, "The essence of things, things that are in their natural states. They drink no alcohol, caffeine, or milk, but will drink anything made with natural herbs from the earth. Red: The triumphant church of the Rastas as well as the blood shed of the martyrs in the black struggle for liberation. Green: Ethiopia's beauty and lush vegetation as well as the riches that were stolen from the Jamaicans.

The existence of God and the universe is thought to be eternal, without a beginning or end. Atheists holds a lack of belief in any god, making up about 2. Atheists are often considered 'strong atheists' or 'weak atheists' depending on the context and certainty of their beliefs or lack thereof. Some atheists strongly oppose creationism or intelligent design being taught in place of biological evolution in schools in the U. There is no one symbol of the Many-Faced God, simply the icons used to represent death gods in other religions.

The temple of the Faceless Men in Braavos, known as the House of Black and White due to the color of its doors , contains a large public sanctuary with statues of death gods from all other religions displayed equally:. The Faceless Men see death as a gift from the Many-Faced God to end human suffering: either to euthanize the sick or bereaved who can no longer stand the suffering of living, or as a "gift" to end the lives of those who are causing suffering to others. As a result, these assassins view themselves as Death's servants, strictly bound to His service.

In their at times inscrutable beliefs, they feel that they are only helping to carry out Death's will, and cannot choose their own targets for personal reasons, such as revenge : they can only target those whom death has selected - the targets of assassination contracts they have accepted.

The Faceless Men practice extreme self-abnegation, each devotee believing that they are "no one", with no personal desires, and living only to serve the Many-Faced God. The Faceless Men have no known prayers or worship services - only their actions, by committing assassinations. Their only "clergy" are the Faceless Men themselves, above lower ranking acolytes and novices serving in the temple. The House of Black and White's public sanctum is also open to any who are in pain and seek death: they are given a drink of water from a poisoned cistern, which grants them a gentle and painless death.

In return the Faceless Men collect their corpses to use their faces as disguises by using their magical shapeshifting abilities with them. The Faceless Men believe that they only help bring death to targets of the Many-Faced God - they do not choose the targets themselves for personal reasons such as revenge, they only kill the targets of assassination contracts they have accepted.

However, the Faceless Men will at times refuse a contract if they feel that it clashes with their strange and at times inscrutable religious beliefs. Other times, they choose bizarre "payments" according to what they feel is due: sometimes, if a powerful lord asks them to kill the child of one of his enemies, the Faceless Men give as their "price" that in return they will kill the lord's own child the lord can reject this, but it also means rejecting the entire contract. Daenerys Targaryen was a princess and royal heir, so understandably a contract on her life would have been expensive - but at other times the Faceless Men might set an exorbitant price for an assassination contract, based on their own beliefs about how "important" the target is: a poor widow who wants to kill a wealthy insurance salesman that defrauded her will only be charged a modest sum she can afford, but a nobleman who wants to kill his own brother simply out of greed because he stands ahead of him in line of succession will probably be charged much more.

The death-worshiping cult of the Faceless Men and the Many-Faced God actually originated in Valyria , in the vast slave mines under the Fourteen Fires. The thousands of slaves from a hundred different lands faced death on a daily basis, and over time, the belief developed among some of them that while they came from many different lands and followed many different religions, all of these religions were fundamentally the same, because they all worshiped death in some fashion. In time this turned into a syncretic belief system worshiping Death as "the Many-Faced God". They started out by giving the "gift" of death to slaves who were suffering particularly horribly in the mines, to ease their pain - and in time, they learned to surreptitiously give the "gift" to some of their Valyrian masters as well, becoming skilled assassins.

Many centuries later, after Valyria was destroyed, the surviving Faceless Men relocated to Braavos, which was founded by ex-slaves who had escaped from Valyria. The Braavosi welcomed them because they had both formed in opposition to the Valyrians, and in Braavos the Faceless Men established a firm headquarters where they continued to operate for the next four centuries.