We take a look at how some religions view God and the different ways in which their faiths are practiced.
Buddhists do not believe in a God or Gods. The focus in Buddhism is on personal spiritual enlightenment and to gain a deep insight into the true nature of life. Buddhists try to follow the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, to attain a state of nirvana, which is the final goal of Buddhism.
Muslims believe that there is only one God and that is Allah. They believe that Allah sent a number of Prophets to earth in order to teach mankind how to live. Prophets of God include Adam, Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and it is believed that the final prophet was Muhammad.
The Jain religion does not have any Gods or spiritual beings but teaches its followers to care about the universe by leading lives of harmlessness and renunciation. Self-help is one of the main principles of Jainism.
Christians believe in one God. According to Christianity, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God sent his Son to earth to save humanity from death and sin.
Mormonism, also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, believe that God is a perfect, exalted man with a physical body. God is in the form of Godhead, which consists of three beings who are united in purpose – God the Father (also called Elohim), Jesus Christ (also called Jehovah in the Old Testament) and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit).
Judaism is believed to be the original of the three Abrahamic faiths, which also includes Christianity and Islam, and the followers of this religion are known as Jews. They believe that there is only one God who can’t be subdivided into different persons, unlike in Christianity. Judaism teaches its followers that God is transcendent, omnipresent and doesn’t have a body. God is also personal and accessible. In exchange for all the good deeds that God has done and continues to do, the Jewish community believes that they have to adhere to God’s laws on earth.
Hinduism is known to be “a family of religions” since it has no single founder or scripture and no commonly agreed set of teachings. Instead, the religion has developed through different philosophies over time and Hindus worship different representations of gods and goddesses, like Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Shakti, Durga, Krishna, Lakshmi, Indra and many others.
Rastafarianism or Rastafari is a religion that believes in one God named Jah. They believe that Haile Selassie I, the King of Ethiopia who was coronated in 1930, was the physical manifestation of God on Earth.
Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak and is based on his teachings. Sikhs believe that there is only one God and that he/she is without form or gender. Everyone has direct access to God and they are encouraged to do good for the community in order to lead a good life.
Deeply rooted in Chinese customs, Taoism is about the Tao (roughly translated as “the Way”), which is a concept that defines the ultimate creative principle of the universe. This is a religion of unity and opposites, known as Yin and Yang. The Tao is not considered to be God, but followers worship several deities in Taoist temples. However, Lao Tsu is traditionally regarded as the founder of Taoism and is considered as the first God of Taoism.
Shinto is a Japanese religion which has no God and no founder. However, it lays a lot of emphasis on rituals and devotion to “kami,” which are invisible spiritual beings and powers connected to humans. Kami are not God or Gods but spirits which need to be treated properly according to the religion in order to bring happiness to the world.
Founded by the Prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra), followers of Zoroastrianism believe that there is only one God, called Ahura Mazda (meaning Wise Lord). Ahura Mazda is the creator of the universe and of life and is believed to be all supreme. The religion states that it is impossible for the human mind to conceive Ahura Mazda and, hence, has no form. Zoroastrians also place a lot of emphasis on care for the environment.
Followers of the Bahá’í faith believe in one God, who is omnipotent, perfect, has complete knowledge of life and that the universe and all creations belong to Him/Her. However, the religion says that the true nature and form of God can’t be comprehended by humans due to the limitations of the mind. God’s prophets, the most recent of whom was Bahá’u’lláh, spread the values and principles of the religion.
Confucianism was propagated by the Chinese philosopher Kung Fu Tzu, better known as Confucius. The religion does not have a God and is focused on bringing harmony to individuals and to society. However, Confucianism believes in a force called the Tao, also known as the Great Ultimate, which flows through all life.
(Pictured) The statue of Confucius on the altar in Dacheng Hall in the Temple of Confucius in Qufu, China. The Dacheng Hall, also called the Hall of Great Perfection or the Hall of Great Achievement, is the main architecture of the Temple of Confucius, serving as the principal place for offering sacrifices to the memory of Confucius.