Defining Religion

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Defining Religion

By Courtney Herrig
Gandhi once said that there are as many religions as there are people in the world.  One perspective on Gandhi thought is that each individual defines their faith in their own way.  USF has students how practice Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Shinto and so on.  The majority of USF’s most practiced religions come from the Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. 
What is Christianity?

Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as depicted in the New Testament. Christians believe Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament, and that the New Testament records the Gospel that was revealed by Jesus. Christianity began as an offshoot of Judaism, and includes the Hebrew Bible (known to Christians as the Old Testament) as well as the New Testament as its canonical scriptures.

What is Islam?

Muslims believe that God revealed the Qur’an to Muhammad, God’s final prophet, and regard the Qur’an and the Sunnah (words and deeds of Muhammad) as the fundamental sources of Islam.  They do not regard Muhammad as the founder of a new religion, but as the restorer of the original monotheistic faith of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets.

Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni and Shi’a. The schism developed in the late 7th century following disagreements over the religious and political leadership of the Muslim community. Roughly 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 15 percent are Shi’a.

Diyanah Elyaman., a senior majoring in communication science and disorders says, “People don’t realize Islam is not much different than Judism and Chrisianity, We believe in one God. We believe in the same Prophet, Islam is building upon Judaism and Christianity”


What is Judaism

Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, based on principles and ethics embodied in the Hebrew Bible. According to Jewish tradition, the history of Judaism begins with the Covenant between God and Abraham. Judaism is among the oldest religious traditions still in practice today. Jewish history and doctrines have influenced other religions such as Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith.

Judaism has always been monotheistic in theology. It differs from many religions in that central authority is not vested in a person or group, but in sacred texts and traditions. According to traditional Jewish belief, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Israelites, and revealed his laws and commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai in the form of the Torah, and the Jewish people are the descendants of the Israelites.
Rabbi Uriel Rivkin of USF’s Jewish Center says, “Judaism is just a religion, it is way of life for an orthodox jew.  Judaism is peace & love, not fighting.”


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