Hinduism
By: Greg
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Hinduism Hinduism was founded sometime between 1500 and 500 CE in the are of the Indus valley civilization. There is no individual founder and no names given to say who developed it. They are many gods in the religion of Hinduism. Many Hindu followers believe that one of the gods is the true god, this creates a division in Hinduism, Vaishnavaism and Shivaism. People who follow Vaishnavaism believe that Vishnu is the one true god and people who follow Shivasim believe that Shiva is the one true god. Yet there are many sects that worship both gods. Over eighty percent of Hindu people worship the Lord Vishnu. One out of six people in the world is a Hindu. Hinduism can be described as a monotheistic or a polytheistic religion depending on the point of view but Hindu people describe themselves as henotheisitic, which is the belief in one god without denying the existence of others. Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and re-enters a body of flesh and blood to resolve experiences and learn all the lessons that the material life has to offer. Hindus also believe in karma. They believe that karma is one of the natural laws of the universe. If you do good things, good things will happen to you. If you do negative things, negative things will happen to you. Hindus also believe that the cow is sacred. The cow represents their life and all other animals. They also regard the cow as sacred because it gives and gives but only takes grass and grain. Not all of the Hindu people are vegetarian, they are given the freedom to make their own decisions. Hinduism claims over 793,076,000 people, which is 13.7% of the world’s population. Most of the Hindus are concentrated mainly in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. The Hindu purpose is basically to learn all that they can from this life so that they can pass their knowledge to the spiritual world. Taoism The founder of Taoism is Lao-Tse, which lived between 604-531 BCE. Taoism began as a combination of philosophy and psychology but was later turned into a state religion in 440 CE. Lao-Tse was later established as a deity. In 1911, support for Taoism had disappeared and with the communist victory in 1949 there was very little room for religious freedom. Taoism has many sects and groups that have been influenced by Buddhism and Confucianism. Taoism is still practiced in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong although the current government has made attempts to suppress it. The Taoist beliefs are that there is no god and that Tao is a force that flows. There are no personified beliefs in Taoism and they do not pray to a god. They seek out life’s problems through meditation and observation. Much like Hinduism, time is cyclical. There are five organs of the earth water, fire, wood, metal and earth. Lao-Tse developed “Yin” and “Yang” which are two competing energies found in all things which must be “balanced.” There are two different denominations of Taoism, Ortodoxes and Spirit Claud Taoists. Ortodoxes are Tao masters and Black Headed Taoists. They stress the importance of rituals, cosmic renewal, and controlling spirits. Spirit Claud Taoists are Masters of Methods or Headed Taoists they concentrate on meditation, not rituals. There is not a specific number of Taoists in the world. It’s hard to find the exact number of Taoists because at one time a person in China could be a Buddhist, a Taoist and a Confucian. The main concentration of Taoists are in China and Taiwan. Shintoism Shinto was started about 500 CE or earlier. The Shinto people believe in nature deities, Buddha was regarded as one of these deities. There was a divine couple, Izanagi and Izanami who gave birth to the Japanese Islands. Their children became the deities of the various Japanese clans. The Sun Goddess is regarded as the chief deity. There are “four affirmations” in Shinto. Tradition and Family, Love of Nature, Physical Cleanliness and Matsuri. Matsuri is a festival that honors the dead. Shinto is divided into three different forms. Jinja, which is the original form of Shinto. The Emperor of

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