Many believe that faith and prayer can have a significantly positive impact on health outcomes, can improve health, and promote healing. Below is a description of some of the religions of the world.
Atheism is the absence of a belief in the existence of gods, or an active belief that gods do not exist. It rejects the nature of God, religious belief, and organized religion. Some atheists do not believe in God because of a lack of proof or scientific process.
Agnostics believe that nothing can be known of the existence of God. They do not claim faith or a disbelief in God. They believe human understanding is limited and make the existence of God, the origins of the universe, and the possibility of an afterlife unknown.
The Bahai Faith believes that all religions are of value, and that universal equality and unity are of great importance. The Bahai Faith was founded in Persia in 1863, and is described as being a hybrid of other faiths. The governing international council of the Bahai Faith is the Universal House of Justice, and operates from Haifa, Israel. Worldwide, there are between five and eight million followers of the Bahai Faith.
Buddhism is described as both a religion and a philosophy. The traditions, beliefs, and spiritual practices of Buddhism are from the original teachings of The Buddha, born as Siddhartha Gautama. The Buddha is defined as the Awakened One. Buddhism is thought to have originated in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC. The Four Noble Truths are the foundation of Buddhism. Buddhists share the ultimate spiritual goal of overcoming suffering and the cycle of death and rebirth. They believe the end of suffering can be achieved by the attainment of Nirvana by following the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddhism is the world’s fourth largest religion, with over 520 million followers.
Christianity is a religion that believes in the existence of one God who created the world, intervenes in the world; and is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity who was a preacher, teacher, and religious leader. Jesus was born in Bethlehem through divine intervention to his parents, Mary and Joseph. The death and resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone to the Christian faith. According to scripture, Jesus was crucified, died a physical death, was buried in a tomb, and rose from the dead three days later. The birth of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. His crucifixion is recognized through Good Friday, and His resurrection is celebrated at Easter. Christianity is a culture of ideas, way of life, practices, and artifacts. Christians believe in the teachings of the Bible, and that through the acceptance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, sinful humans can be reconciled to God, offered salvation, and promised eternal life. Christianity is the largest religion in the world with 2.4 billion followers.
Hinduism is an Indian religion, has more than 1.25 billion followers, and is referred to as the eternal way. Hindus worship the deities Brahma, the god responsible for the creation of the world and all living things; Vishnu, the god that preserves and protects the universe; Shiva, the god that destroys the universe in order to recreate it; Devi, the goddess that fights to restore dharma; Krishna, the god of compassion, tenderness and love; Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and purity, and Saraswati; the goddess of learning.
Hindus believe in the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation; and karma, the universal law of cause and effect. Hindus believe that all living creatures have a soul, and are all part of the supreme soul. Their goal is to achieve salvation which ends the cycle of rebirths to become part of the absolute soul. They believe that the thoughts and actions of people will determine their current and future lives. Hindus strive to achieve dharma, a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality. They respect all living creatures, and the cow is considered a sacred animal.
Islam is a religion that believes in the existence of one God who created the world, intervenes in the world, and is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Islam teaches that Muhammad is the Seal of the Messengers and Prophets of God. Muslims believe that the Quran is the religious text of Islam, and that the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by God. The religious, social, and political principles and beliefs that Muhammad established with the Quran became the foundation of Islam and the Muslim world.
The Five Pillars of Islam are the mandatory acts of worship by Muslims. The Five Pillars of Islam include Profession of Faith; Prayer which is done at dawn, noon, afternoon, evening, and at night, with the individual facing Mecca; Almsgiving or charity; Sawm or Fasting, and Hajj or Pilgrimage to Mecca during the 12th month of the lunar calendar. Islam originated in the 7th century in the Arabian Peninsula in Mecca, and has a following of more than 1.8 billon followers with communities throughout the world.
Judaism is an ethnic religion with its religious, cultural traditions, theology, and law components being the way of life for Jewish people. Religious Jews believe in the existence of one God, and that Judaism is the expression of the Mosaic covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. Judaism consists of a range of practices, theological positions, texts, and forms of organization. The Torah is the religious law and tradition of Judaism. The Torah is known as the Five Books of Moses, and is part of the Hebrew Bible. Judaism was organized in the Middle East around 500 B.C, and has 17.4 million worldwide followers.
Walking the labyrinth is a powerful tool used since ancient times by different faiths for spiritual centering, contemplation, meditation, and prayer. There are three stages of walking the labyrinth.
- Center the mind by releasing the details, thoughts, and distractions of your life; to open the heart and quiet the mind, and set an intention for a walk.
- Begin the walk, and when the center of the labyrinth is reached, pray, meditate, reflect, and open the heart to receive whatever is there for you.
- As you walk out of the labyrinth, you will follow the same path out as was entered, as you join God/your Higher Power to express gratitude for the insights and gifts you may have received.
Worldwide Labyrinth Locator
Religion and Spirituality Resources
Then God Moved
Then God Moved is a Christian blog of inspirational stories highlighting diverse peoples from around the world who have faced insurmountable challenges and overwhelming experiences in their lives. Their stories illustrate in detail how God moved in their lives to transform their situations into surprising and unexpected results. Consequently, many individuals experienced miraculous shifts which helped them to overcome obstacles, bringing them renewed faith and strength. Storytellers for Then God Moved range from the formerly incarcerated to college students to entertainers such as Christian Band, Atlas Rhoads, and actress, Ashley Bratcher.
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Join Oprah Winfrey as she engages in insightful and inspirational conversations with many of the world’s faith leaders, entertainers, philanthropists, authors, and entrepreneurs in interesting, relevant, and timely issues affecting those throughout the world. Conversations are available in video and podcast format.