.. s (perfect teachers) who guide the faithful from their locations in Paradise.There are over 70 other groups which originated within Islam and broke away from the Sunni and Shi’ite faith communities: Sufism: a mystic tradition in which followers seek inner knowledge directly from God through meditation and ritual and dancing. They developed in the 7th century CE as an ascetic reaction to the formalism and laws of the Qur’an. Baha’i World Faith: This is an attempt to integrate all of the world religions. It was originally a break-away sect from Islam but has since grown to become a separate religion. Ahmadis: Followers of the Ahmadiyya Movement believe that God sent Ahmad as a Messiah, a messenger of His in this age who has claimed to have come in the spirit and power of Jesus Christ. He has come to call all people around one Faith, i.e. Islam..

The movement’s founder was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835- 1908). He was born in Qadian, India. He felt that he had a mandate from God to correct a serious error within Christianity. Most Christians believe that Jesus is a member of the Godhead. ..because Jesus, whom God sent as a Messiah to the Israelites was taken for a God, Divine jealousy ordained that another man [Ahmad] should be sent as Messiah so that the world may know that the first Messiah was nothing more than a weak mortal.

After his death, the community elected a series of Khalifas (successors). The current and Fourth Successor (Khalifatul Masih IV), to the Promised Messiah was chosen in the person of Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad on 1982-JUN-10. The Ahmadiyya Community currently has more than 10 million members worldwide. They are very heavily persecuted in Pakistan. Black Muslim Movement (BMM): This is largely a black urban movement in the US.

One driving force was a rejection of Christianity as the religion of the historically oppressing white race. It was started by Wallace Fard who built the first temple in Detroit. Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Poole) established a second temple in Chicago and later supervised the creation of temples in most large cities with significant black populations. They taught that blacks were racially superior to whites and that a racial war is inevitable. The charismatic Malcolm X was perhaps their most famous spokesperson; he plaid an important role in reversing the BMM’s anti-white beliefs.

In its earlier years, the movement deviated significantly from traditional Islamic beliefs (particularly over matters of racial tolerance the status of the BMM leaders as prophets). This deviation is being reversed.Islam is growing rapidly and is now followed by more than 20% of the world’s population. Christianity is not growing; its popularity has been stuck at about 33% of the worlds population for many decades. It is in decline in the United States (in terms of market share). Christian attacks on Islam are inevitable. Most criticisms are not well grounded in reality: Islam is often blamed for female genital mutilation.

But it is obvious that FGM is grounded in cultural tradition, not religious belief, in those countries where it is practiced. A number of anti-Islamic books have been written recently, criticizing some Islamic countries for lack of religious tolerance Some conservative Christian web sites include attacks on Islam. They base their position on the inerrancy of the Bible, and their belief that Christianity is the only valid religion. An essay by Ric Llewellyn at dubious beginnings, fanaticism, irrational, accursed, religious bondage, cults, wicked doctrines, etc. It is our belief that these attacks are counter-productive. The main result of these web pages is to demonstrate the degree of intolerance and hatred held by their Webmasters; this does not reflect well on Christianity The media has historically disseminated a very negative image of Islam.

It overwhelmingly reports on the beliefs and practices of the most conservative wing of the religion. Many non-Muslims are unaware that a moderate wing even exists in Islam. A number of anti-defamation groups have been organized to combat these negative portrayals. CAIR, The Council on American-Islamic Relations is a leader in this field. BUDDHISM: to be fully understood: the universality of suffering to be abandoned: the desire to have and control things which causes suffering to be made visible: the supreme truth and final liberation of nirvana which is achieved as the cause of suffering is eliminated.

The mind experiences complete freedom and liberation to be brought into being: the truth of the eightfold ariya path leading to the cessation of suffering. History Buddhism was founded in Northern India by the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. H was born circa 563 in Lumbini which is in modern-day Nepal. At the age of 29, he left his wife, children and political involvement’s i order to seek truth; this was an accepted practice at the time for some men to leave thei family and lead the life of an ascetic. He studied Brahminism, but ultimately rejected it. In 535 BCE, he reached enlightenment and assumed the title Buddha (one who ha awakened).

He is also referred to as the Sakyamuni, (sage of the Sakya clan) He promoted The Middle Way, rejecting both extremes of the mortification of the flesh and of hedonism as paths toward the state of Nirvana. He had many disciple and accumulated a large public following by the time of his death in his early 80’s in 483 BCE. Two and a half centuries later, a council of Buddhist monks collected his teachings an the oral traditions of the faith into written form, called the Tripitaka. This included a very large collection of commentaries and traditions; most are called Sutra. Buddhist Beliefs Buddhism is a religion which shares few concepts with Christianity.

For example, the do not believe in a transcendent or immanent or any other type of God or Gods, the need for a personal savior, the power of prayer, eternal life in a heaven or hell after death etc. They do believe in reincarnation: the concept that one must go through many cycles of birth, living, and death. After many such cycles, if a person releases their attachment to desire and the self, they can attain Nirvana. The Buddha’s Four Noble Truths may be described as: His Eightfold Path consists of: 1.right understanding 2.right thinking 3. right speech 4.right conduct 5.right livelihood 6.

right effort 7.right mindfulness 8.right concentration Southern Buddhism has 100 million followers, mainly in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka and Thailand, and parts of Vietnam. It started in Sri Lanka when Buddhist missionaries arrived from India. They promoted the Vibhajjavada school (Separative Teaching). By the 15th century, this form of the religion reached almost its present extent. Concepts and practices include: Dana – thoughtful, ceremonial giving Sila – accepting Buddhist teaching and following it in practice; refraining from killing, stealing, wrong behavior, use of drugs. On special days, three additional precepts may be added, restricting adornment, entertainment and comfort.

Karma – the balance of accumulated sin and merit, which will determine ones future in the present life, and the nature of the next life to come. The Cosmos – consists of billions of worlds grouped into clusters; clusters are grouped into galaxies, which are themselves grouped into super-galaxies. The universe also has many levels: four underworlds and 21 heavenly realms. Paritta – ritual chanting Worship – of relics of a Buddha, of items made by a Buddha, or of symbolic relics. Festivals – days of the full moon, and three other days during the lunar cycle are celebrated. There is a new year’s festival, and celebrations tied to the agricultural year.

Pilgrimages – particularly to Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka and India. Eastern Buddhism is the predominant religion in China, Japan, Korea and much of Vietnam. Buddhism’s Mahayana tradition entered China during the Han dynasty. It found initial acceptance there among the workers; later, it gradually penetrated the ruling class. Buddhism reached Japan in the 6th century.

It underwent severe repression during the 1960’s in China during the Cultural Revolution. Eastern Buddhism contains many distinct schools: T’ein-t’ai, Hua-yen, Pure Land teachings, and the Meditation school. They celebrate New Years, harvest festivals, and five anniversaries from the lives of Buddha and of the Bodhissattva Kuan-yin. They also engage in Dana, Sila, Chanting. Worship and Pilgrimage. Northern Buddhism has perhaps 10 million adherents in parts of China, Mongolia, Russia and Tibet. It entered Tibet circa 640 CE. Conflict with the native Tibetan religion of Bon caused it to go largely underground until its revival in the 11th century.

The heads of the Gelu school of Buddhist teaching became the Dalai Lama, and ruled Tibet. It has been, until recently, wrongly dismissed as a degenerate form of Buddhism Ceremony and ritual are emphasized. They also engage in Dana, Sila, Chanting. Worship and Pilgrimage. They developed the practice of searching out a young child at the time of death of an important teacher.

The child is believed to be the successor to the deceased teacher. They celebrate New Years, harvest festivals and anniversaries of five important events in the life of the Buddha. Buddhist and Tibetan culture suffered greatly during the Cultural Revolution when an attempt was made to destroy all religious belief. JUDAISM Early History of Judaism Circa 2000 BCE, the God of the ancient Israelites established a divine covenant with Abraham, making him the patriarch of many nations. From his name, the term Abramic Religions is derived; these are the four religions which trace their roots back to Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Baha’i World Faith.

The book of Genesis describes the events surrounding the lives of the three patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Moses was the next leader of the ancient Israelites. He led his people out of captivity in Egypt, and received the Law from God.After decades of wandering through wilderness, Joshua led the tribes into the promised land, driving out the Canaanites through a series of military battles. The original tribal organization was converted into a kingdom by Samuel; its first king was Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the religious and political center.

The third king, Solomon built the first temple there. Division into the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern kingdom of Judah occurred shortly after the death of Solomon in 922 BCE. Israel fell to Assyria in 722 BCE; Judah fell to the Babylonians in 587 BCE. The temple was destroyed. Some Jews returned from captivity under the Babylonians and started to restore the temple in 536 BCE.

Alexander the Great invaded the area in 332 BCE. From circa 300 to 63 BCE, Greek became the language of commerce, and Greek culture had a major influence on Judaism. In 63 BCE, the Roman Empire took control of Palestine. Four major religious sects had formed by the 1st century AD: the Basusim, Essenes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Many anticipated the arrival of the Messiah who would drive the Roman invaders out and restore independence. Christianity was established initially as a Jewish sect, centered in Jerusalem.

Paul broke with this tradition and spread the religion to the Gentiles .Many mini-revolts led to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE. The Jewish Christians were wiped out or scattered at this time. The movement started by Paul flourished and quickly evolved into the religion of Christianity. Jews were scattered throughout the known world. Their religion was no longer centered in Jerusalem; Jews were prohibited from setting foot there. Judaism became decentralized and stopped seeking converts. The local synagogue became the new center of Jewish life, and authority shifted from the centralized priesthood to local scholars and teachers, giving rise to Rabbinic Judaism.

The period from the destruction of the temple onward give rise to heavy persecution by Christians throughout Europe and Russia. Many groundless stories were spread, accusing Jews of ritual murder, the desecration of the Catholic host and continuing responsibility for the execution of Jesus . Unsubstantiated rumors continue to be circulated today. In the 1930s and 1940s, Adolph Hitler and the German Nazi party drew on centuries of anti-Semitism, and upon their own psychotic beliefs in racial purity. They organized the Holocaust, the attempted extermination of all Jews in Europe.

About 6 million were killed in one of the world’s greatest examples of religious and racial intolerance.The Zionist movement was a response within all Jewish traditions to centuries of Christian persecution. Their initial goal was create a Jewish homeland in Palestine. The state of Israel was formed on MAY-18-1948. There are currently about 18 million Jews throughout the world. They are mainly concentrated in North America (about 7 million) and Israel (about 4.5 million).

. Jewish Texts The Tanakh corresponds to the Jewish Scriptures, (often referred to as the Old Testament by Christians). It is composed of three groups of books: the Torah Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. the Nevi’im, the Prophetic books of Isaiah, Amos, etc. the Ketuvim, the Writings including Kings, Chronicles, etc.The Talmud contains stories, laws, medical knowledge, debates about moral choices, etc.

It is composed of material which comes mainly from two sources: the Mishnah, 6 orders containing hundreds of chapters, including series of laws from the Hebrew Scriptures. It was compiled about 200 CE. the Gemara (one Babylonian and one Palestinian) is encyclopedic in scope. It includes comments from hundreds of Rabbis from 200 – 500 CE, explaining the Mishnah with additional historical, religious, legal, sociological, etc. material. It often records many different opinions on a topic without giving a definitive answer.

Traditional Jewish Beliefs: They include: God is the creator of all that exists; he is one, incorporeal (without a body), and he alone is to be worshipped as absolute ruler of the universe. The first five books of the Hebrew Bible were revealed to Moses by God. It will not be changed or augmented in the future. God has communicated to the Jewish people through prophets. God monitors the activities of humans; he rewards individuals for good deeds and punishes evil Although Christians base much of their faith on the same Hebrew Scriptures as Jews, there are majo.