This thread is to hopefully end confusion about what a certain religion believes, and other generally debating topics here.
I've taken it upon myself to come up with the four main religions Kidzworld seemingly brings up - if you're a Taoist or Shintoist or Buddhist or Jianist or Voodooist or Rastafarian, or anything else, I'll be more than happy to add a brief overview of the religion you believe in here. However, we're going to be talking about four main ones that are usually brought up - Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and then the lack thereof a religion Atheism and Agnosticism (combined into one.)
Now, I expect most people to know what Christianity is, so this won't be that long. Christianity is the monotheist (believing in one God) belief that there is an all-powerful, God who watches over everything we do. God created the Earth, and the first people, Adam and Eve. God sent his son to Earth, and was born from a "pure" Mother, Mary. Jesus was God's son name - however, Jesus was the living embodiment of God. Jesus was a philanthropist who went around and did amazing deeds that could only be explained by divine answers. Jesus was crucified by the Romans, and arose to Heaven. There is one other entity you should know - The Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a spiritual form of God that allows him to be on Earth without actually being on Earth. The Holy Spirit supposedly lives inside each of us. This creates the Trinity. God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. The Holy Book of Christianity is called the Bible. The bible was wrote by followers of Jesus called disciples. It is broken up into two main parts, the Old Testament (before Jesus' birth, this is what Jewish people believe in) and the New Testament. (After Jesus' birth) Christianity is a peaceful religion that teaches the Golden Rule. "Love thy neighbor as you love thyself."
Islam is a monotheistic religion created by a man named Mohammed. Mohammed is a prophet of the God of Islam, Allah. Muslims (people who follow Islam) believe that Allah sent the angel Gabriel to Mohammed one day while he was meditating in a cave, and told Mohammed to preach the word of Allah, rather than the polytheistic (believing in many Gods) religions that were going on at the time. Mohammed led the Muslims through trials and tribulations of people wanting to hurt him for preaching monotheism, and he was very successful in doing it. Mohammed established the faith of Islam in the Middle East and preached peaceful actions in the name of Allah. There are, like Christianity, certain rules you need to abide by and do in the religion of Islam. There are 5 Pillars of Islam. Each of them state to do a different thing. Shahada- (Declaration of Faith) Proclaiming that there is no God, only Allah.
Sadat- (Prayer) Five times a day, you must pray and face the holy city of Mecca.
Zakat- (A donation, or charity) You are required to donate a portion of your income to charity.
Fasting- (Sorry, couldn't remember the word for this.)
As a Muslim, you will fast during the holy month of Ramadan
Hajj- (Pilgrimage) If you are willing, and able, you will make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca once in your life.
Judaism is the oldest monotheistic religion in the world, and is taken from the Old Testament of the Bible. The Jewish Holy Book is known as the Torah. God chose Jews to be the Holiest of the people, and wanted them to be the leading example of the world. Jews have strong beliefs in follow the old codes depicted by God, such as Kosher Foods. You cannot eat anything that contains pork, it was one of the rules stated in the Old Testament. There are tons of other ceremonies performed in Judaism, like Bar Mitzvahs and Bat Mitzvahs. A Bar Mitzvah is the coming of age ceremony for boys, in which he will be allowed to read the Torah. The Bat Mitzvah is the same thing - but for girls.
Atheism is the belief that there is no God, no spiritual thing controlling the universe, nothing. And to answer many questions, you shouldn't turn to religious claims but to scientific answers. (will be expanded on shortly) Agnosticism is the belief that there may or may not be a God, however, you cannot prove the existence of lack thereof and as such you will live your life without practicing any religion.
Buddhism is the philosophies, beliefs, traditions, etc. that are largely based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, known as the Buddha or "awakened one." Buddhism is practiced world wide, but you mostly see Buddhists in the Eastern Asian region and India.
Who is Siddhartha Gautama and how did he become the Buddha?
Siddhartha Gautama was a prince of a very rich family. He was brilliant, but bored easily. He grew tired of his life the palace and set off on his own to explore the countryside that particular day. Siddhartha saw injustices everywhere he passed while he was walking through the streets and out to the country. The story is told many ways, but it usually encompasses Siddhartha seeing a dying man, a dead man, an old man, and a Holy Man (NOTE: The holy man did not take upon worldly things, but was more content with finding spiritual enlightenment. This is instrumental in understanding Buddhism!) Siddhartha was shocked that his parents had sheltered him from so much of these injustices. Siddhartha immediately abandoned his palace life and set out to achieve a way to end suffering in the world. Siddhartha went to some of the best religious teachers of the day to find peace within himself, and help him find peace within the world. He eventually began to go the route of the Holy Man he met so long ago, and starve himself of worldly things. He nearly starved himself all together, and realized holiness through this punishment would not work.
What did work?
Siddhartha found a way to balance the the two extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification; this is called The Middle Way. Siddhartha decided that he would do the most instrumental of techniques to clear his mind and achievement enlightenment - meditate. He sat beneath a holy tree called the Bodhi tree for days and days and meditated. Siddhartha finally destroyed the fetters, or chains that bound a normal human to the cycle of death and rebirth, and became enlightened. Now as the Buddha, he traveled throughout the country of India attempting to teach others how to achieve enlightenment like he. The Buddha died at the age of 80 in northern India. (To show how long he did this, it is said that Siddhartha ascended to Buddhahood at the age of 35.)
So, what is the gist of Buddhism?
Buddhists do not worship a conventional God, or even worship the Buddha. They attempt to achieve enlightenment through meditation and practice and karmic balancing. If, in a Buddhists life, he or she does not achieve enlightenment, they will be reincarnated to live again. Essentially, Buddhists want to reach Nirvana a state of complete oneness with the world.
To make this go a bit faster I'm going to just post some more important terminology for you to expand on if you wish:
"The Three Jewels"
Buddhist's Concept of Karma
The Four Noble Truths: These were "laws" said by the Buddha that you must learn to abide by before even dreaming of Nirvana.
1) Life leads to suffering (dukkha) in one way or another.
2) Suffering is caused by greed or craving.
3) Suffering ends when craving ends.
4) Reaching the liberated state is done by following the Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path: This is the Fourth Noble Truth, it details how to become liberated.
Prajna- purification of the mind
1. You must view reality as it is, not as what it appears to be.
2. You must be willing to be free and harmless.
Sila- ethics and morality.
3. You must speak in a truthful, non-hurtful way.
4. You must act in a non-hurtful way.
5. You must live a non-harmful life.
Samadhi- practice your meditation!
6. You must make an effort to improve.
7. You must see things unbiased, with a clear conscious.
8. Meditate correctly as explained in the jhanas. (feel free to search that as well)
The Big Bang Theory- The creation of the world was not by God, but by little particles floating around in space. And as they collided they created such a huge explosion, that every space rock and piece of debris went flying everywhere. Overtime, the space rocks and debris came together and became superheated by the Sun (which was also formed at this time but as a supernova star) and the space rocks and debris formed our planets which fell into the gravitational orbit of the Sun.
The Evolutionary Theory- An idea that was created by Charles Darwin. The evolutionary theory states that overtime, animals evolved or changed accordingly to their surroundings, for their survival. This has nothing to do with whether you believe in God or not. Evolution also never once says we came from monkeys.