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The five major world religions - John Bellaimey

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    In all times and places in our history,
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    human beings have wondered,
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    "Where did we come from?
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    What's our place in the world?
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    What happens to us after we die?"
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    Religions are systems of belief
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    that have developed and evolved over time
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    in response to these
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    and other eternal mysteries,
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    driven by the feeling that some questions
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    can only be answered by faith
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    and based on an intuition
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    that there is something greater than ourselves,
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    a higher power we must answer to,
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    or some source we all spring from
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    and to which we must return.
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    Hinduism means the religions of India.
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    It's not a single religion
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    but rather a variety of related beliefs
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    and spiritual practices.
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    It dates back five millennia
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    to the time of Krishna,
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    a man of such virtue
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    that he became known as an avatar of Vishnu,
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    an incarnation of the god in human form.
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    He taught that all life follows karma,
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    the law of cause and effect,
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    and our job is to do our duty, or dharma,
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    according to our place in society
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    without worrying how things turn out.
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    When we die, we are reincarnated into a new body.
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    If we followed our dharma
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    and did our proper duty in our past life,
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    we get good karma,
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    which sends our soul upward in the social scale.
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    Our rebirth into the next life
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    is thus determined by what we do in this one.
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    The wheel of rebirths is called samsara.
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    It's possible for a very holy person
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    to lead a life with enough good karma
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    to escape the wheel.
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    This escape is called moksha.
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    Hinduism teaches that everything is one.
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    The whole universe is
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    one transcendent reality called Brahman,
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    and there's just one Brahman
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    but many gods within it,
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    and their roles, aspects, and forms differ
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    according to various traditions.
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    Brahma is the creator,
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    Vishnu is the preserver
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    who sometimes takes on human form,
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    and Shiva is the transformer,
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    or Lord of the Dance.
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    Durga is the fiercely protective divine mother.
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    Ganesha has an elephant head
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    and is the wise patron of success.
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    Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world.
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    And although most Hindus live in India,
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    they can be found on every continent,
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    one billion strong.
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    Now, let's travel west,
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    across deserts and mountains
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    to the fertile crescent about 4,000 years ago.
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    Judaism began with God calling
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    Abraham and Sarah to leave Mesopotamia
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    and migrate to the land of Canaan.
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    In return for their faith in the one true God,
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    a revolutionary concept
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    in the polytheistic world of that time,
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    they would have land and many descendants.
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    From this promise came the land of Israel
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    and the chosen people,
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    but staying in that land
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    and keeping those people together
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    was going to be very difficult.
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    The Israelites were enslaved in Egypt,
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    but God freed them with the help
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    of the prophet Moses,
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    who received the Ten Commandments
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    and later hundreds more.
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    They conquered the Promised Land,
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    but could only keep it for a few hundred years.
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    Israel sits at a crossroads
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    through which many armies
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    marched over the centuries.
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    And in the year 70,
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    the Romans destroyed the temple
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    in their capital, Jerusalem.
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    So, the religion transformed itself
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    from a temple religion
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    with sacrifices and priests
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    to a religion of the book.
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    Because of this, Judaism is a faith
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    of symbolism, reverence, and deep meanings
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    tied to the literature of its history.
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    The many sacred scriptures make up
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    the Hebrew bible, or Tanakh,
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    and hundreds of written discussions and interpretations
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    are contained in an expansive compendium
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    of deeper meanings,
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    called the Talmud.
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    Jews find rich, symbolic meaning in daily life.
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    At the Passover meal,
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    every item on the menu symbolizes
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    an aspect of the escape from slavery.
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    The importance of growing up
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    is emphasized when young people
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    reach the age of bar and bat mitzvah,
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    ceremonies during which they assume responsibility
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    for their actions
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    and celebrate the weaving
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    of their own lives
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    into the faith, history, and texts
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    of the Jewish people.
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    There are 14 million Jews in the world today,
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    6 million in Israel,
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    which became independent
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    following the horrors of genocide in World War II,
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    and 5 million in the United States.
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    But now let's go back 2500 years and return to India
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    where Buddhism began
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    with a young prince named Siddhartha.
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    On the night he was conceived,
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    his mother, Queen Maya,
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    is said to have been visited in her sleep
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    by a white elephant who entered her side.
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    Ten months later, Prince Siddartha was born
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    into a life of luxury.
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    Venturing forth from his sheltered existence
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    as a young man,
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    he witnessed the human suffering
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    that had been hidden from him
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    and immediately set out to investigate its sources.
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    Why must people endure suffering?
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    Must we reincarnate through hundreds of lives?
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    At first he thought the problem
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    was attachment to material things,
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    so he gave up his possessions.
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    He became a wandering beggar,
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    which he discovered certainly made him no happier.
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    Then he overheard a music teacher telling a student,
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    "Don't tighten the string too much, it will break.
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    But don't let it go too slack,
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    or it will not sound."
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    In a flash, he realized
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    that looking for answers at the extremes
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    was a mistake.
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    The middle way between luxury and poverty
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    seemed wisest.
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    And while meditating under a bodhi tree,
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    the rest of the answer came to him.
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    All of life abounds with suffering.
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    It's caused by selfish craving
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    for one's own fulfillment at the expense of others.
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    Following an eight-step plan
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    can teach us to reduce that craving,
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    and thus reduce the suffering.
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    On that day, Siddhartha became the Buddha,
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    the enlightened one.
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    Not the only one, but the first one.
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    The Buddhist plan is called
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    the Eightfold Path,
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    and though it is not easy to follow,
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    it has pointed the way
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    for millions to enlightenment,
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    which is what Buddhahood means,
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    a state of compassion,
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    insight,
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    peace,
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    and steadfastness.
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    From the time he got up from under that tree
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    to the moment of his death as an old man,
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    the Buddha taught people how to become enlightened:
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    right speech,
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    right goals,
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    a mind focused on what is real,
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    and a heart focused on loving others.
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    Many Buddhists believe in God or gods,
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    but actions are more important than beliefs.
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    There are nearly a billion Buddhists
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    in the world today,
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    mostly in East, Southeast, and South Asia.
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    2,000 years ago in Judaism's Promised Land,
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    Christianity was born.
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    Just as Hindus called Krishna "God in Human Form,"
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    Christians say the same thing about Jesus,
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    and Christianity grew out of Judaism
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    just as Buddhism grew out of Hinduism.
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    The angel Gabriel was sent by the God of Abraham
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    to ask a young woman named Mary
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    to become the mother of his son.
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    The son was Jesus,
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    raised as a carpenter
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    by Mary and her husband Joseph,
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    until he turned 30,
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    when he began his public career
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    as the living word of God.
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    Less interested in religiousness
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    than in justice and mercy,
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    Jesus healed the sick in order to draw crowds
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    and then taught them about his heavenly father --
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    affectionate, forgiving, and attentive.
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    Then, he would invite everyone to a common table
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    to illustrate his Kingdom of God,
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    outcasts, sinners, and saints all eating together.
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    He had only three years
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    before his unconventional wisdom
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    got him into trouble.
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    His enemies had him arrested,
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    and he was executed by Rome
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    in the standard means
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    by which rabble-rousers were put to death,
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    crucifixion.
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    But shortly after he was buried,
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    women found his tomb empty
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    and quickly spread word,
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    convinced that he had been raised from the dead.
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    The first Christians described
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    his resurrected appearances,
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    inspiring confidence that his message was true.
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    The message: love one another as I have loved you.
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    Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus
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    in December at Christmas,
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    and his suffering, death, and resurrection
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    during Holy Week in the spring.
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    In the ceremony of baptism,
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    a washing away of sin
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    and welcoming into the Christian community,
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    recall Jesus's own baptism
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    when he left his life as a carpenter.
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    In the rite of Communion,
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    Christians eat the bread and drink the wine
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    blessed as the body and blood of Jesus,
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    recalling Jesus's last supper.
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    There are two billion Christians worldwide,
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    representing almost a third of the world's people.
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    Islam began 1400 years ago
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    with a man of great virtue,
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    meditating in a mountain cave
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    in the Arabian desert.
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    The man was Muhammad.
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    He was visited by a divine messenger,
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    again the angel Gabriel,
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    in Arabic, Jibril,
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    delivering to him the words of Allah,
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    the one God of Abraham.
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    In the next few years,
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    more and more messages came,
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    and he memorized and taught them.
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    The verses he recited were full of wise sayings,
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    beautiful rhymes,
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    and mysterious metaphors.
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    But Muhammad was a merchant, not a poet.
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    Many agreed the verses
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    were indeed the words of God,
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    and these believers became the first Muslims.
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    The word Muslim means one who surrenders,
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    meaning a person who submits to the will of God.
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    A Muslim's five most important duties
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    are called the Five Pillars:
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    Shahada, Muslims declare publicly,
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    there is no other God but Allah,
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    and Muhammad is his final prophet;
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    Salat, they pray five times a day facing Mecca;
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    Zakat, every Muslim is required
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    to give 2 or 3% of their net worth to the poor;
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    Sawm, they fast during daylight hours
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    for the lunar month of Ramadan
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    to strengthen their willpower
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    and their reliance on God;
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    and Hajj, once in a lifetime,
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    every Muslim who is able must make a pilgrimage
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    to the holy city of Mecca,
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    rehearsing for the time
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    when they will stand before God
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    to be judged worthy or unworthy
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    of eternal life with Him.
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    The words of God,
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    revealed to the prophet over 23 years,
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    are collected in the Quran,
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    which literally translates into "the recitation."
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    Muslims believe it to be the only holy book
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    free of human corruption.
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    It's also considered by many
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    to be the finest work of literature
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    in the Arabic language.
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    Islam is the world's second largest religion,
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    practiced by over one and a half billion Muslims around the globe.
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    Religion has been an aspect of culture
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    for as long as it has existed,
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    and there are countless variations of its practice.
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    But common to all religions
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    is an appeal for meaning
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    beyond the empty vanities
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    and lowly realities of existence,
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    beyond sin,
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    suffering,
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    and death,
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    beyond fear,
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    and beyond ourselves.
Title:
The five major world religions - John Bellaimey
Description:

View full lesson: http://ed.ted.com/lessons/the-five-major-world-religions-john-bellaimey

It's perfectly human to grapple with questions, like 'Where do we come from?' and 'How do I live a life of meaning?' These existential questions are central to the five major world religions -- and that's not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

Lesson by John Bellaimey, animation by TED-Ed.

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Video Language:
English
Team:
TED
Project:
TED-Ed
Duration:
11:10

English subtitles

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