The World's Great Religions: an educational multi- media presentation offering a brief and unbiased introduction to the Great Faiths of the World and from History in visual art, essay, and word paintings by
Great Religions which have had a tremendous impact on the History of Civilization...
THE WORLD'S GREAT RELIGIONS
...shown here with deep respect for all...
Among the World's Great Religions the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a belief that is found in nearly every all of them including Buddhism, the Baha'i Faith, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Humanism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Mohism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism and Wicca.
SECTION ONE: MONOTHEISM:
We begin with our first major grouping, Religions believing in only One God.
Sacred Writings: The Law and The Prophets, The Psalms and the Proverbs.
"Hear O' Israel, the LORD thy GOD is ONE LORD and beside him there is no other.
The Hebrew Bible teaches that we and our planet, the whole universe in fact were created by a single, loving, all-knowing divinity, the ONE AND ONLY GOD and that our lives are all part of a divine plan and a definite order. These Ancient sacred writings start at the Creation and tell the story of God's earliest dealings with man, Notables whom God made covenants or contracts with included Adam, Noah and Abraham, "the father of many nations". According to the Bible, God's will for human behavior was first revealed to Moses at Mount Sinai. The Mosaic Covenant was based on The Ten Commandments, which govern how humans are to live their lives and were a gift from God so that they might live in accordance to His will. They are, simply put: 1. Have no other gods. 2. Have no idols. 3. Honor God's name. 4. Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy. 5. Honor your parents. 6. Do not murder.7. Do not commit adultery. 8. Do not steal. 9. Do not perjure yourself. 10. Do not desire ownership of other people's things. Flowing from mankind's earliest origins Hebrewism shares beliefs such as a single deity, immortality of the soul, righteous living, eternal judgment and angels and demons with other faiths. Hebrewism was also characterized by ceremonial laws, temple worship and ritual animal sacrifices.
HOLY MEN in DAYS of OLD; THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHETS: "DANIEL in the LION'S DEN". "The LORD is my SHEPHERD" and "EZEKIEL'S VISION"
The Israelite Religion's Influence: Biblical teachings laid a very large part of the foundation of Western Civilization and still greatly influence our modern laws. "Only if you have some knowledge of the human sacrifices, the vicious temple rites, the degrading superstitions and customs that were practiced... can you realize how much the modern world owes to the Hebrew prophets, whose monotheism and moral teachings entered into Christianity and Islam."
~ C. J. H. Hayes & P. T. Moon "Ancient and Medieval history"1929
Multi-form Hebrewism: In the early 1st century the Israelites had two main factions, the Sadducees and the Pharisees and a new sect called Christians complicated matters even more. According to the Pharisees, God revealed the oral Talmud to Moses on Mount Sinai. This was historically challenged by the Sadducees (the priestly and ruling class) contending that only the Written Torah was revealed. "The return from Babylon at the end of the 2nd century and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism." ~ Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, Chief Rabbi of the United States Disagreements over the oral traditions of the Pharisees and differing interpretations of scripture regarding the coming of the Messiah caused the sects to split and the river of faith in the ONE GOD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob flowed into the streams and sub-streams of Christianity and Judaism by the end of the 1st and 2nd centuries respectively. The texts of the Talmud, the basis for today's Rabbinic Judaism, were completed in the 7th century.
Sacred writings: The Holy Bible; (The Old Testament & The New Testament)
"Behold, the Lamb of GOD, Who taketh on the sins of the world". ~ John the Baptist
Will Durant, the eminent secular historian was troubled by the resurrection but still had to say: "...if we challenge the historicity of Jesus Christ, then Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, and other great notables of history would fade into legend because there is so much less evidence of their existence..."
Christianity is the World's largest religion with over two billion five hundred thousand in its various denominations. The Christian religion asserts itself to be a completely natural development flowing out of Biblical Hebrewism designed by the God of Abraham to reach the whole world. The religion proclaimed by Christ to all nations in the 1st century was neither unexpected nor strange and it places its emphasis on faith, forgiveness and love.
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
Christians are taught the Bible is the protected and living Word of God and the Messianic prophecies in it refer to a spiritual savior and believe Jesus of Nazareth to be that Messiah, (or Christ in Greek) the leader anointed by God to be both priest and King, descended from the royal line of King David. Christianity teaches The OLD TESTAMENT (or contract) is the account of a nation and that The NEW TESTAMENT is the account of a "man". The NATION was founded and nurtured of god to bring this man into the world and That GOD HIMSELF manifested in the flesh as this man (AKA GOD's only begotten son) to give mankind a tangible, concrete, definite idea of what kind of personality to think of when we think of God. Jesus not only came to save mankind but to reveal the true nature of God and that his appearance on Earth is the central event of human history! Christians believe Jesus Christ was virgin born, lived a sinless life, offered himself humbly, willingly and knowingly as the sacrifice to end all sacrifices for the sins of the world and he rose from the dead and will come again, this time in glory to judge mankind at the great harvest of souls and his just kingship will bestow an unprecedented era of prosperity and Peace on Earth.
ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM
There is confusion about Christian Monotheism to outsiders, but just as I am a father to my son, a son to my father and have an eternal spirit, I am only ONE man. So the Christian God is only ONE GOD. Like the other Great Religions of the World, Christianity has several denominations and sub-groups with minor differences but all Christians call JESUS LORD, accept the Bible as divine truth and believe in Following in the footsteps of Jesus: Which are as follows: When we Repent (change philosophy) we die with him on the cross, when we are Baptized in his name we are buried with him and when we Receive the Holy Spirit we are resurrected with him. The keys to the kingdom of Heaven: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is for you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off... even as many as our Lord our God shall call." ~ Acts 2:38
Revered literature includes: The Koran (Q'ran) and The Hadith (Sayings of the Prophet)
"There is only ONE GOD and Mohammed is his prophet." (peace be upon him)
"The Call to Prayer" depicts pilgrims at the mosque at the Dome of the Rock which is built directly on top of the site of the second Hebrew Temple in Jerusalem. It is held sacred because of the belief that the prophet Mohammed (pboh) ascended to heaven from this site which is also considered to be the site where Abraham had built an altar on which he prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Christians of course revere it as well and this site was even sacred to ancient heathen Semitic tradition of the serpent Tahum which claims it is the intersection between the underworld and the upper world.
Islam appeared in the 7th century in Saudi Arabia after the proclamation of a revival of the Abrahamic Covenant of promise was made by the prophet Mohammed (pboh). It basically teaches that the Ancient Israelite and Christian prophets were truly inspired by the ONE GOD of Abraham, but that over time religious authorities strayed from the faith into the worship of idols and materialism, becoming so corrupt that it made an independent reform movement necessary.
ANGELS AND THE KORAN
Muslims believe the Koran was written by scribes after Mohammed (pboh) was told to recite the teachings he received from the Archangel Gabriel. One thing it shares with other religion's texts is the teaching that angels are spiritual and splendid beings made from fire who spend day and night worshipping God and that Satan, once chief of God's angels led a failed rebellion in heaven, and that he and his demons (or Djinn) were cast down to Earth and allowed to try and influence mankind in it's eternal issue of choice - the struggle between good and evil. Both the Koran and the Hadith teach everyone to obey the Ten Commandments and believe that Jesus Christ, son of Mary (May God increase his rank) was a true prophet (but nothing more), that he was virgin born, worked mighty miracles in his day and will return to defeat the Antichrist (Dijall) and judge this world. 'The Last Hour will not come until the Son of Mary come down as the just Judge. ~(EI-Bukhari, Volume III)
THE FIVE PILLARS OF ISLAM
Are these Monotheistic Faiths all forms of one Great Religion?
At first glance this would seem to be true, since all three claim to serve the Biblical God of Abraham, but the Christian idea that THE Almighty God of Heaven and Earth chose to manifest in the flesh on Earth to reconcile the sins of mankind is considered blasphemy to some, while the rejection of Christ's divinity and his free gift of salvation is the unpardonable sin to others. (The Blasphemy of the Holy Ghost). This and other differences cannot be reconciled, only tolerated or fought over.
I wish I could point to history and say we are evolving spiritually as a race, but more killings are in the news everyday.
(Please join us in praying for the slaughter of innocent people to stop)
Ingerii si arta sublim inspirata~ a film by Veveshakti
Revered literature includes: The Vedas & The Upanishads, The Puranas and the Epics.
Hinduism is the world's third largest organized religion, after Christianity and Islam estimated to have at least one billion one hundred thousand followers, ninety percent of which are estimated to live in India, its place of origin. It is a very ancient belief system like Hebrewism dating into "pre-history" and has no single founder. Hinduism calls for the belief in multiple deities and according to some Hindu literature, there are more than 330 million of them. One of the greatest of their practices is Vaishnavism, and the worship of Krishna is an important part of it. Khrishna is looked upon to be the full manifestation of Vishnu, the supreme God, not too terribly unlike the Christian's concept of Christ as the Earthly manifestation of Jehovah. Since Hinduism is not an organized religion per say the question arises ~ what makes a person a Hindu? The modern Hindu may well state that it is conduct, based upon deep, practical understanding of dharma, karma and reincarnation, that makes a Hindu.
Are these all forms of one great religion?
STRIKING SIMILARITIES AND INFLUENCES OF WORLD PAGAN RELIGIONS
Was Zeus also Thor?
Is Apollo another name for Lucifer? The Queen of Heaven is a great
example of this commonality as well: the goddess was referred to by
many names including Semiramis, Isis, Mama, Hera, Ishtar, (Easter),
and others. The Queen of Heaven had such a strong cult following at the Council of Nicea
in 325 A.D. that the Roman Catholic Church re-invented Mary in her image- completely embracing
& pagan goddess worship. Even though they persecuted Pagans, Roman Catholicism
combined Christianity with Paganism and many Protestant Churches retain her polytheistic
doctrines to this day. The Protestant Reformation was more about where the money
went than doctrine, keeping the Trinity, which is not found in scripture. "De'esse et chime're" below from the Book of Revelation
portrays a mystic vision of this Christian/Pagan hybrid.
The Roman Church sainted many Pagan
Goddesses, chose a day near Yule to celebrate Christmas, (Jesus was not born
in December), named Easter after the fertility Goddess and even “borrowed”
egg hunts, bunnies and other symbols of fertility for this holiday. Ostara
is the holiday honoring Eostere and also Spring Equinox on March 21.
Christians bring trees into their home at Christmas, as well as Pagan
mistletoe, there just is not enough room here. (For more on these
revelations visit the Symbolist art gallery below.)
A striking characteristic of ALL these pagan religions is the belief in Animism, that all things are inhabited by spirits such as fairies. The spirits are believed to surround mankind in all aspects of life and death. This all pervading spiritual presence is a feature common to many polytheistic religions; another is that these spirits are both male and female. This concept of divine partnership is a prominent aspect in many polytheistic religions from ancient times to this very day. Like all faiths, Pagans have been persecuted, notably in Europe during the middle ages, as well as other times in history, even in the Americas. In closing let me say this: I have had teachers treat folks as though believing in God made you automatically stupid. If you encounter this, Remember: Believing in God does not make you stupid; Galileo believed, Newton believed, Einstein believed. So can you.
Thank You for Visiting the World's Great Religions Art Gallery of Howard David Johnson.. other galleries are below
With respect to its great contributions to society, I think it is important to make a case that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study or a resource base of useful information. Many everyday people do not understand it at all and accept ALL its teachings on faith.
Science is supposed to be a tool and a path of study for the benefit of mankind and it is. I love Science and greatly appreciate it's benefits. I feel strongly that many scientists are heroes and deserve honorable mention and some truly deserve places of great honor in the hallowed halls of history. Breakthroughs in medical science are saving lives everyday in ways undreamed of just to name only one of so many valuable fields. These are great men and women.
Unfortunately some scientists and academic professionals are not so noble and have perpetrated deliberate frauds and cover-ups of important discoveries. Some have even been criminals or have brought things into the world we all know about that we would have been better off without such as thermonuclear weapons and pollution. I believe it has also become things it should never have become.
I shall briefly examine these frauds and cover-ups and try to explain what I have seen that has made me feel that science is really affecting society more like a religion now than a field of study.
Since most of the attacks on religion by the scientific and academic communities have been directed at The Bible and Judeo- Christianity rather than Islam or World Paganism and they have had an impact on the respectability of all the world's great religions, I shall examine and de-bunk these attacks with scientific and academic methods. The major criticism of science with regards to The Bible has been that it requires a leap of faith to believe that GOD created the world, yet Science also has several leaps of faith of it's own. The Big Bang theory cannot be proven as world renowned cosmologist Steven Hawking has stated and, if it cannot be proven - believing in it - in Hawking's own words requires a "Leap of Faith". In 2011, many Cosmologists are questioning The Big Bang Theory and EVERYTHING we claim to know about the Universe because of Dark energy, Dark matter and Dark flow suggesting outer space is not empty, but contains energy everywhere and in every thing.
Until a theory is proven in a lab or in the field, it is Philosophy, not Physics.
EVOLUTION IS NOT A LAW OF SCIENCE. Darwin's Theory of Evolution was proposed in 1859 and almost a hundred and fifty years later it has still never achieved the status of a Law of Science. This is because of the Missing Link. There is no proof of a link between man and ape, hence the term "The missing link". This blind faith in Evolution has been taught with religious dogmatism in the public schools for generations and is still merely a theory. The Theory of Evolution, not the Law of Evolution is a mere UNPROVEN hypothesis, which the dictionary defines as "a mere assumption or guess or a proposition, or a group of proposals, offered as an explanation for the occurrence of some specified group of phenomena."
Yet this "mere assumption or guess" is taught to children in public schools and young adults in colleges as if it HAD been proven beyond any doubt. It was once a Law of Science that the atom was the irreducible particle of matter. At Alamogordo, New Mexico in 1945 the atom was split and the atomic bomb explosion in the desert blasted that Law of Science out of existence.
Now, if a Law of Science is so unreliable, I ask you, why is a mere theory like Evolution regarded so highly? Simple. It is about political control, not about truth.
Missing Link between Man and Ape
1912 A.D. a respectable geologist named Arthur S. Woodward and a
lawyer named Charles Dawson offered their new “fossil discovery”
to the London Geological Society. The
“artifacts” included a thick portion of a human skull, a
fragment of an ape-like jaw, some animal remains and some primitive
stone tools. These items found in southern England in a place called
Piltdown were estimated to be 500,000 years old.
40 years the remains were accepted by the academic community as an
important part of our evolutionary development. Piltdown
Man was declared genuine and called the
“missing link” between apes and man by important
scientists of the time. Because of this newfound “proof” men of
God were openly ridiculed as ignorant and improperly educated.
Piltdown man was debunked four decades later by chemical tests
proving the jaw and skull were not the same age, nor very old.
It was a DELIBERATE fake. The bones had been
chemically treated and thoroughly stained to make them appear
prehistoric. Recognizable anatomical features were
broken off and filed down.
Why did this fraud by lawyer Charles Dawson fool the experts? For many reasons, but it was never seriously questioned because the scientists of the time were delighted by the way it validated their evolutionist beliefs. For more details of the debunking read: ”The Piltdown Forgery” by Joseph S. Weiner, the classic account of the most famous and successful hoax in science. The new and revised 2002 edition is commonly available. Today, the term “Piltdown” is a term of ridicule, used to label fraudulent research, but the impact on the lives of billions of trusting people has had powerful political implications to this day.
The prover proves what the thinker thinks and prejudice and political power seem more important than the truth or the consistent practice of the scientific method. If truth were important to them, they would use the scientific method when criticizing The Bible but they do not. The scientific method requires going to the source. Yet for these famous disparagements they use the King James version instead of the original Hebrew. Translated in 1611 by non-Christian King James of England for political reasons the K.J.V. is one of the Colossal monuments of English Prose. The King James Translation is not at all accurate enough to use as the sole source for the defense of the Biblical Text.
Consider this example: One of the greatest conflicts between Science and the Bible is the teaching that the world was created in six solar days of 24 hours each. The word " yom" in the source, the original Hebrew text, which was translated as "Solar Day" had 56 other choices. Modern English has more than 60,000 words. Biblical Hebrew had 3,000. The average English vocabulary has 6,000. My favorite choice of the 56 other options:" an unimaginably long but complete period of time" harmonizes with science perfectly. Another choice is: "time itself". So as we can see, going to the source and using the Scientific Method brings very different results than not going to the source.
Getting past this, the order in which life appeared was identical to the theory of evolution's claims in the Book of Genesis, leaving us to discuss the stars, the next main source of conflict between Science and the Bible. The Hebrew text says "a swaddling band around the Earth dissolved, revealing the stars. The Prover proves what the thinker thinks. Here's a fun thought - What if GOD is in control of evolution? What if it's his hobby? What if there is really no conflict between Science and Religion? The scientists cannot disprove the existence of GOD any more than they can prove the Big Bang happened.
Albert Einstein saw no conflict between science and religion. Like Galileo, Newton and other immortal greats of science before him, Einstein believed in GOD.
Therefore, I present to you this idea: Modern Scientific beliefs are based upon a leap of faith in the big bang theory. It has become a belief system based on faith and therefore another form of religion. Scientists, like priests can explain their beliefs but the everyday people accept it all on faith. Scientists and doctors are the priests of this new religion, getting angry and crying "heresy" when anyone respectfully disagrees with them. I once had one of my supervisors in the UT anthropology department explain to me for three hours on a research expedition in mathematical terms how something could have ALWAYS existed, needing no beginning point. When we agreed that the math was good he then made a COLOSSAL leap of faith, saying "This proves the Universe has always existed and there is no GOD." In one second I countered;" I could just as easily jump to the conclusion that this proves the existence of an eternal GOD." It is this "jumping to conclusions" or as Steven Hawking put it; "making leaps of faith." that infuses philosophy with their physics. Then there is the infusion of politics; a perfect example is
The Myth of Carbon 14 dating:
is totally irrelevant to the theory of evolution. Scientists never state
that carbon 14 dating offers proof for the theory of evolution. Ignorant
evolutionists, however, believe carbon 14 dating proves the theory of
evolution, and stubbornly make that claim based on faith in what they were
told in our learning institutions. They were DELIBERATELY lied to
to gain and maintain POLITICAL POWER. I will explain; Carbon 14 dating is ONLY reliable
for five thousand years as even its creator himself admitted in 1972.
Carbon 14 or Radiocarbon Dating was first devised in 1949 by Dr. Willard Libby.
It is based on the rate of decay of carbon 14 or its "half-life"
of 5730 years.
This method offers reliable dates up to 5,000 years ago, but its results
require correction since Dr. Libby's belief that the levels of carbon-14
in the atmosphere were identical through the ages has long since been disproved.
Volcanoes and floods for example skew the results to the point where
guesswork or leaps of faith are required even in dating organic material
from historic times. Dr. Libby once expressed
his shock when he found that radio carbon dates for human artifacts
extended back only 5000 years and older dates were found to be unreliable.
`Radiocarbon Dating', (Chicago, 1952), pp. 4-9] [CRSQ,
1972, 9:3, p. 157]
The gross disrespect and intolerance I have seen of certain members of the scientific and academic communities and their disciples toward anyone who disagrees with them is just as arrogant and abusive as racial, sexual, religious, or any other kind of prejudice.
After the newspapers reported the missing link fraud (The Piltdown Man) to the world as fact, around 1912 and for decades afterward in educated circles it was considered a mark of ignorance to believe the Biblical record. There was little scientific evidence available then to support the Bible's claims and academic circles decided that was the end of the matter and as the decades moved on, the scientific and academic communities stubbornly ignored tidal waves of new SCIENTIFIC evidence.
One excellent example of cover-up that still has tremendous political implications is in what the Bible says about Abraham. In the early 20th century experts in the field of archaeology insisted that no civilization even existed in UR of the Chaldeans when the Bible records that Abraham lived there. On the basis that no evidence was currently available they declared Abraham a mythical character.
20th century evidence however has proven beyond any question the existence of an advanced civilization in UR of the Chaldeans during the 21st and 20th centuries B.C.-That was Abraham's day! Abraham's historicity is also confirmed by ancient inscriptions that bear the names of almost very town mentioned in Ch. 12-14 of Genesis and one even has his father's name. Archeological discoveries also show these towns were in existence until about 2,000 B.C.- but not later!
No longer can the Bible's or Koran's critics get away with accusing believers of being naive or foolish today when they believe what the Bible says about Abraham like they used to in the 20th century.
This is critical to the belief systems of the world's great monotheistic religions Islam, Judaism and Christianity who all claim ascendancy from Abraham. Why isn't this commonly taught in schools? Many scientific professionals openly abuse the authority of their positions to push their personal beliefs and ignore the confirmed scientific data to hold on to political power. Other Biblical confirmations from modern Archaeology include: Date and manner of Jericho's fall, The exodus from Egypt, Major characters from the book of Daniel and many others. The SCIENTIFIC proof is all there waiting for you if you take the time to look it up.
Science is supposed to be the sum of the best knowledge we have at the time - incomplete but always learning, always growing- but sometimes making serious mistakes. Certain scientists and academics like to act like they know everything about the origins of the Earth. They don't. Many of our long taught ideas about planetary science have recently been proven completely wrong. Did you know that The Gas Giants on the outside of our solar system and the surface of the Planet Venus are DRASTICALLY different than what I was authoritatively taught about them as a boy in school? If they can't even tell us reliably how the solar system is TODAY how can we rely on their opinions about its distant unobservable origins? Yet even in the face of constantly changing SCIENTIFIC evidence most scientists are prone to UTTER DOGMATISM about their belief system. I love collecting old science books and Encyclopedias so I can compare the "facts" of the 20th century we were "idiots" to even think about questioning with today's "facts". Internet archives will make these changes harder and harder to cover up. Why admit things were COMPLETELY wrong about planetary science within the solar system but NEVER MENTION the discovery of the unreliability of Carbon 14 dating past 5000 odd years or the discovery of archaeological evidence of Abraham being a historical figure? Simple. There is no danger to the foundation of the belief system of this new religion or it's social and political power base.
Mankind's only hope for continued survival on this planet is to learn to tolerate each others differences and live in peace with one another and in harmony with the environment. We're all in the same boat...
I do not believe that scientists should be exempt from this challenge to be tolerant, since they created the very things that could well destroy us, such as thermonuclear weapons & pollution.
We all have a lot of work to do if we are to survive. I write this in defense of my faith and of the faiths of others which have been disparaged by these attacks on the sacred writings of the world's great religions...If we're going to have a better world we're going to need both better leaders and better citizens.
I personally believe that any belief in a higher power that must be answered to makes us better citizens than if we believed that we are the ultimate life form in the Universe.
~ Howard David Johnson
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