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Religion Similarity Chart

 

Judaism

Christianity

Islam

Buddhism

Hinduism

God

One God

One God

One God

No God

One God – many forms which represent different aspects of one God

Central Figure

Moses

Jesus Christ (as the son of God)

Muhammad

Buddha

No prophets or messiahs

Scripture

Torah, Prophets, Writings from the Talmud (oral and traditional commentary)

Bible (Old Testament and New Testament)

Qu’ran (direct revelation from God) and Hadith (Muhammad’s teachings and sayings)

Dharma (teachings of the Buddha)

Many scriptures such as Vedas, Upanishads,  Gita, Ramayan

War

Peace is always preferable, but war in self-defense is considered obligatory.

‘Just war’ can be fought as a last resort; tradition of non-violent resistance

War should be fought only in self-defense within strict limits.

Dialogue is used for conflict resolution

Practice of Ahimsa is preferred (non-violence in thought and action towards all aspects of nature)

Divisions

Modern movements include Reform, Conservative, Modern Orthodox, and Reconstructionist.

Many theological divisions and schisms; Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, numerous Protestant churches.

Sunni-Shiite schism based on disagreement over Muhammad’s successors; broad debate over Islam’s role in modern society; little theological debate

Therevada, Mahayana, Tantric, there are many different schools within these divisions

Worship: Vaishnava (worshippers of Vishnu) and Shaiva (worshippers of Shiva);  Brahmanical:  Based on one of the 4 Vedas; Philosophical:  Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga, Tantra

Fundamentalism

Ultra-Orthodox Jews reject the secular world and live in strict communities.

Debate over literal meaning of the Bible; efforts to bring religion into daily life.

Return to “pure” Islam; rejection of secular culture; efforts to bring religion into daily life and create an Islamic state.

Strict following of the Buddha’s teaching doesn’t allow for fundamentalism because of the core love and kindness teachings

Although there are Hindus who are more  conservative or traditional than others, there are no real religious fundamentalists because there is no exclusivity in Hinduism

Holy City

 

Jerusalem

Jerusalem

Mecca

None

Many holy cities: Varanasi, Badrinath (N), Rameshwaram (S), Kedarnath (W), Jagannath (Puri)(E)

Jesus

A historical figure; not the Messiah.

The Son of God

Highly respected as the second-to-last prophet,Muhammad was the last prophet

A historical figure

A historical figure

Hierarchy

No hierarchy; rabbis are considered teachers.

Catholics and Orthodox have extensive hierarchy; some Protestant branches have almost non.

No hierarchy; prayers are led by imams (teachers) who have studied the Qu’ran.

Very little hierarchy, Dharma teachers or monks help Buddhists to achieve enlightenment

Although the modern Indian caste system originated from Hinduism, the original hierarchy was fluid and  based on a being’s actions not class, occupation, or family

Idols, images

Images and statues are forbidden.

Images and statues allowed in some denominations, but not worshipped

Images and Statues are forbidden.

Many images of the Buddha can be found in many different shapes and forms, they tell stories of the Buddha

Statues and images are used as a vessel for prayer, a representation of a relationship with God - the images and idols themselves are not worshipped

Charity

Tzedakah; 10 percent of income

Tithe:  10 percent of income

Zakat: 2.5 percent of total wealth each year

Buddhists live their lives with kindness and generosity so they are willing to help someone in need anytime they can

Daya (compassion) and Dana (being charitable in actions and sharing possessions with those less fortunate without seeking praise) are two important beliefs

Proselytizing

(to convert)

No proselytizing; Jews must turn away would-be converts three times to ensure their commitment.

Conversion considered important in most traditions; Catholic and Protestant churches have missionaries.

Da’wa:  Muslims should share their knowledge of Islam without trying to convert.  Only God can bring someone to Islam.

Buddhists meditate and act in kindness and compassion to put positive energy out into the world to help others – there is no proselytization because all beings have Buddha nature

Hindus believe in one ultimate truth which is inside everyone, therefore, there is nothing to be converted to, different religions are seen as different paths towards discovery of the true Self (universal truth)

Tolerance

Jews tolerate other religions, and does not seek to convert.

History of intolerance, oppression of other religions and dissenting Christians.

Muslims taught to tolerate other religions; special respect for Jews and Christians—“People of the Book.”

Buddhist teaching is grounded in love and kindness to everyone

Hindus are taught to respect all other religions -  Hinduism does not insist upon one God or one religion for all beings

Women

Men and women are equal in the eyes of God; traditional Judaism prescribes different roles for men and women.  Orthodox men and women worship separately.

Men and women worship together.  Some Protestant churches ordain women as priests.

Men and women are generally treated the same in the Qu’ran, although women are oppressed in many Muslim cultures today.  Men and women traditionally pray separately.

In some schools of Buddhism women cannot be high monks

Men and women are treated equally in the religion, many forms of the Divine and many powerful deities are represented as female goddesses

House of Worship

Synagogue

Church

Mosque

Temple

Temple

Main day of Worship

Saturday

Sunday

Friday

There is no worship, Buddhists chant and meditate daily

Many gods and goddesses traditionally have a day upon which they are worshipped

Diet

Must keep “kosher”: no pork or certain seafood; other meat to be killed by kosher method; separation of meat and dairy.

None

No pork; other meat should be prepared by a halal method. No alcohol

Buddhists don’t believe in killing, including for food, but some monks beg for their food so they must eat meat

Ahimsa leads to a simple vegetarian diet.  No alcohol.

Life after Death

No immediate life after death; life in the “world to come” after the coming of the Messiah.

Day of Judgment, followed by Heaven and Hell.

Day of Judgment, followed by Heaven or Hell.

Buddhists are reborn into new lives until they reach enlightenment then they can stop the cycle or birth and death or take the Buddhist vow and keep being reborn until all beings reach enlightenment

The Hindu soul is reincarnated and continues in the cycle of rebirth (Samsara) until they reach Moksha -  liberation when truth is realized

Mysticism

Kabala

Numerous mystical traditions

Sufism

Some used in select schools of Buddhism

Some mysticism practices