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A   DEEPER   FAITH   by
LEARNING   &   UNDERSTANDING
the  DIFFERENCES  between
CHRISTIANITY   and
other  Faiths  of  the  World

To better understand how CHRISTIANITY has a different message from every other World Faith, we must know the tenets of other Faiths. To that end we are listing websites from the Internet, which purport to give information on other Faiths.

Please note that the Faith shown, information on that Faith, and tenets and positions stated in the website shown:

1. may not accurately state such Faith, the information thereon and/or the official tenets or position of the Faith listed;

2. is not an endorsement by the United Methodist Church of such Faith, its purported tenets or recognition that the information in such website is the correct information on such Faith, its tenets or position.

As Christians we are raised to know about our Faith, but as our society becomes more involved with the other Faiths of the World, it behooves us to understand what others believe and why.

From your study, we believe you will conclude that Christianity is different from all other Faiths in some important ways:


So here then are some websites, which we have located, on various Faiths, which may be of benefit to those wishing to view, study and understand what other people of the World believe in Faith:

(NOTE: * This symbol, after a website link indicates that the Web Master, for FLAME's website, has created a comment about the website link. OTHERWISE, the text after the website link, is directly from the website shown, and not a comment on or about the website and not a comment on the website.)

IMPORTANT FURTHER NOTE: Some of the websites and/or information, may actually not be the core beliefs of that Faith, but are sites of radicals. Therefore, please read to understand and recognize those websites and information which appear to be propaganda or even calls for violence. This will allow you to have a broader understanding of what is going on in different parts of the world, among purported calls to Faith by some factions of Faiths or purportedly in the name of a Faith.



JUDAISM ISLAM
  • http://www.askmoses.com/ *a broad website which answers questions, when one highlights the area. The site starts with a quote from Rabbi Manis Friedman, which states "Religion offers salvation, enlightment, a place in heaven. I'm glad that Judaism is not a religion. WHAT'S WRONG WITH RELIGION?".
  • http://www.rossel.net/basic03.htm What Beliefs Do Jews Share?
    Most Jews share certain beliefs. Among these are
    the unity of God,
    God’s concern for humanity
    the partnership of God and humanity
    the concern that one person should show for another
    the belief in a world to come or in the Messiah or in the Messianic Age
    the covenant, an agreement between God and the people of Israel expressed through God’s laws for the proper use of the universe. * This site's Home Page has a great deal of material of what Jews believe.
  • http://shamash.org/trb/judaism.html *This site has a list of Links to numerous other resources on Judaism.
  • http://www.jewfaq.org/--Welcome to Judaism 101! Judaism 101 is an online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs. My goal is to make freely available a wide variety of basic, general information about Judaism, written from a traditional perspective in plain English. This web site is constantly growing, with new information added every few weeks. * The Home Page contains more copy than just the above.
  • http://rj.org/--Reform Judaism took root in North America more than 130 years ago under the leadership of Rabbi Isaac Mayer Wise, one of several European rabbis who brought the changes in Judaism occurring in Europe to these shores. Reform Judaism is now the largest Jewish movement in North America, with more than 900 congregations and 1.5 million people.

    The word "Reform" in the name of our Movement is a recognition that reform is part of our way of life, as it has been for Jews throughout the centuries.
  • http://judaism.about.com/ * This is not a Jewish site. "about.com" is a site with information on many things. It has links to Jewish sites, such as "What is Hebrew?", "What is Jewish?,
  • http://www.torah.org/ * Has click on pages to learn about: Jewish Law; Ethics; Texts; Basics; Seasons; Features; and other sites on this website.
  • http://kolhadash.com/judaism/Resources.html * It appears that not all Jews believe in a Supreme Being, and in this site is stated "Secular Humanistic Judaism is one of the five major branches or movements within Judaism, along with Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform Judaism. (underline was added). On another page on this site is stated: "We believe that human beings possess the intelligence and wisdom to determine the purpose and course of their lives without the need for supernatural guidance or protection. Rather than prayer, we rely upon human reason, initiative, and courage in formulating and achieving our noblest aspirations". (WebMaster's NOTE: It is believed that the views herein are decidedly in the minority of what Jews believe).
  • http://www.fiu.edu/~library/internet/subjects/religion/reljud.html* This is a site from the Florida International University, giving an extensive list of resources for information on Judaism. Some of the links at this site are no longer good, but a number are, so it is still listed.
  • http://www.religionsorg.com/Judaism/ * This is not a Jewish site, but has links about Judaism.
  • http://dir.yahoo.com/society_and_culture/religionand spirituality/faiths_and_practices/judaism/* This is the Yahoo Directory for a number of sites on Judaism.
  • http://holyland-isreal.tripod.com/ * From statements on this site, it appears that this is a Zionist site which appears more radical to the Zionist State of Israel than just a site for Jewish information and Judaism.
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/judaism/beliefs/index.shtml * This is the BBC's page on Judaism.
  • www.islamonline.org This site aims to present a unified and lively Islam that keeps up with modern times in all areas. The site strives to provide you with all the information you need about Islam and its civilizations, the universe and its changes, current affairs and their analyses, and general information and services that one cannot do without in the 21st century. Their mission is to create a unique, global Islamic site on the Internet that provides services to Muslims and non-Muslims in several languages. To become a reference for everything that deals with Islam, its sciences, civilization and nation. To have credibility in content, distinction in design, and a sharp and balanced vision of humanity and current events.
  • www.isna.net The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) is a product of the resolve of the Muslims in North America to live an Islamic way of life. In keeping with its charter, ISNA works to advance the cause of Islam and Muslims in North America. ISNA activities include support for better schools, stronger outreach programs, organized community centers, and other Islamic programs. ISNA serves to help foster unity among Muslims, which is vital to an Islamic way of life. ISNA is committed to establishing and nurturing the Muslim community in North America and contributing towards the well being of the society at large. ISNA's mission is to provide a unified platform of expression for Islam, to develop educational, outreach and social services that translate the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah into everyday living, and to enhance Islamic identity in the Society.
  • www.islam-guide.com This website is designed for non-Muslims who would like to understand Islam, Muslims, and the Holy Qur'an. It is rich in information, references, bibliography, and illustrations. It has been reviewed and edited by many professors and well-educated people. It is brief and simple to read, yet contains much scientific knowledge. It contains the whole book, A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam, and more.
  • www.islam.org Is an in depth website that providers people with news information, ranging from enlightening articles on Islam, information on events, and even a mosque locator. The site also has a multimedia section where people can learn more about Islam. Interested people can also visit their education center, business & finance area, and even has a bazaar section for interested shoppers.
  • www.islamctr.org The Islamic Center of Southern California is an independent organization. Its function is to practice and propagate Islam in the United States of America by providing religious, educational and recreational facilities for members of the public at large. The emergence of an American Muslim identity is its prime goal.
  • www.usc.edu/dept/msa The MSA of USC is a student organization comprised of Muslim students attending USC. It is part of a nationwide network of MSA's distributed across hundreds of universities, colleges, and even high schools. The first MSA's were established in the East and northern Midwest back in the 1960's. The idea spread rapidly, and eventually found its way to southern California, where in 1969, the MSA of USC was formed, serving not only USC but the entire Los Angeles area as well. On campus, the MSA has striven to provide as many services for its members as possible. These have included Friday (Jumu'ah) prayers, sponsored dinners during Ramadan, weekly discussions on Islam, social activities such as picnics and sports, and a small newsletter on Islamic topics. The MSA also provides a service to the non-Muslim students of USC who request information on Islam by supplying them with the necessary literature and guidance. The MSA also maintains an outdoor booth on campus staffed by one or two of its members simply to answer questions on Islam.
  • http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/reference/glossary.html * A glossary of Islamic terminology
  • http://www.islamicity.com/ *a broad website, which carries on the home page, reference against Israel and in favor of the Palestinians. Obviously contains anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian material. Also cites pro-Pakistan information, etc.
  • http://www.noi.org/ *this is the website for the Nation of Islam. This is the U.S. religious organization headed by Minister Louis Farrakhan, whose teachings are considered by many to be radical. Minister Farrakhan has in the past viciously attacked Judaism and has taught use of force. However, this organization apparently provides some humanitarian services to fellow Muslims and preaches against alcohol and other abuses of one's self and life.


HINDUISM BAHA'I
  • http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/ features/world_religions/hinduism.shtml * This is the BBC's page on Hinduism. The heading says: "Hinduism is the name given to a family of religions and cultures that began and still flourish in India.
  • http://dir.yahoo.com/Society_and_Culture/ Religion_and_Spirituality/Faiths_and_Practices/ Hinduism/Beliefs_and_Practices/ * This is the Yahoo's page on Hinduism.
  • http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism.htm HINDUISM--The world's third largest religion * This site states: "Hinduism differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE." 1
    Hinduism has grown to become the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. It claims about 762 million followers - 13% of the world's population. It is the dominant religion in India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. According to the "Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches," there are about 1.1 million Hindus in the U.S. 2 The "American Religious Identification Survey" is believed to be more accurate. 3 They estimated smaller number: 766,000 Hindus in 2001. Still, this is a very significant increase from 227,000 in 1990. Statistics Canada estimates that there are about 157,015 Hindus in Canada. 4
    Hinduism is generally regarded as the world's oldest organized religion.
  • http://www.dallasmindfulness.com/tibetan_ buddhism_dzogchen_hinduism.htm#hinduism * This site states: "Hinduism is, some would say, the world's most ancient and sprawling religion. Its scriptures and teachings are voluminous and wide-ranging, addressing everything from science and history to philosophy, art and, of course, spirituality. Comparatively speaking, the Hindu teachings are uniquely inclusive rather than exclusive. One of its early Vedas (a body of Hindu scriptures) openly recognizes the universality of the spiritual path: "Truth is one; sages call it by different names."
    It continues "ATMAN--The deepest layers of the Hindu teachings are in fundamental agreement with those of Buddhism, which later sprang from a relatively degraded form of Hinduism. As in Buddhism, Hinduism stresses the necessity of letting go our compulsive attachment to, and fascination with, the ego or the self, so that we can realize The Self, or selflessness—what Hindus call the Atman or Brahman".
    The site continues "The deepest layers of the Hindu teachings are in fundamental agreement with those of Buddhism, which later sprang from a relatively degraded form of Hinduism. As in Buddhism, Hinduism stresses the necessity of letting go our compulsive attachment to, and fascination with, the ego or the self, so that we can realize The Self, or selflessness—what Hindus call the Atman or Brahman. At more surface layers, however, Hinduism sharply contrasts with traditional Buddhism in that it fancies ornate ritual and iconography. If Buddhists are the Protestants of Eastern religion, Hindus are the Catholics.
  • http://www.us.bahai.org/ The Bahá'í Faith has been an active part of religious and social life in America since the late 1800's. We are a recognized advocate for spiritual solutions based on the Teachings of Bahá'u'lláh on issues such as the elimination of all forms of prejudice with an emphasis on race unity, the equality of women and men, the spiritual education of children, the importance of family cohesion, and the establishment of world peace. Bahá'u'lláh is God’s Messenger for this day, a day in which all humanity is spiritually mature and can visualize the reality of uniting to build the Kingdom of God on Earth.
  • http://www.bahai.org/ We are Bahá'ís - members of the Bahá'í Faith, the second most widespread of the world's independent religions, established in 235 countries and territories throughout the world. We come from over 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups and number some 5 million worldwide.
    For more than a century, Bahá'í communities around the globe have been working to break down barriers of prejudice between peoples and have collaborated with other like-minded groups to promote the model of a global society. At the heart of our belief is the conviction that humanity is a single people with a common destiny. In the words of Bahá'u'lláh, the Founder of our Faith, "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens."
    Bahá'u'lláh taught that there is one God Who progressively reveals His will to humanity. Each of the great religions brought by the Messengers of God - Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Jesus, Muhammad - represents a successive stage in the spiritual development of civilization. Bahá'u'lláh, the most recent
  • http://www.ccgm.org.au/articles/ARTICLE-0003.htm * This is not a Bahai site, but a site by something called CCG Ministries which is critical of the Bahai Faith and in one section say: "The Baha’is were described, not many decades ago, as a ‘small obscure Islamic sect’ - they have worked hard to change their image and to become acceptable in a naive and ill-informed Western Society. They have misused the Bible and distorted both theology and history to conceal their true nature and promote an image of being a respectable major world religion with a message of love, peace and unity. Be aware of the Baha’is - their true cultic nature and ultimate agenda".


BUDDHISM SIKHISM


CONFUCIANISM SHINTOISM
  • http://www.confucius.org/lunyu/edcommon.htm * This sites recites passages from books and writings. It doesn't, as such, set out the beliefs of Confucius. However, Confucianism is understood not to be a religion as such anyhow, but a set of moral beliefs, which those of any religious faith can read, understand and/or subscribe to. On this site, you may click on http://www.confucius.org/lunyu/ed0101.htm and then click on a chapter and then on a verse, much like books and verses from the Bible, and read what Confucius said about various things. As a sample: Chapter 1, Verse 1 "Confucius said to learn and to practise what is learned time and again is pleasure, is it not? To have friends come from afar is happiness, is it not? To be unperturbed when not appreciated by others, is gentlemanly, is it not?
  • http://www.cifnet.com/~geenius/kongfuzi/ To many people, Confucius is no more than the setup to a one-line joke. Few have heard or read any of his teachings. Yet the truth and importance of his words resonate today when they are heard, because Confucius' teachings developed in reaction to the times in which he lived -- and our times are very much like his.
    According to writings of the era, the days in which Confucius lived were, compared to the past, a time of moral chaos, in which common values were widely rejected or simply disregarded. Crime was on the rise, with robbery and theft increasing in the countryside and murder a serious problem in the cities and at court; there was a general lack of interest in trying to reintegrate criminals into society. The gulf between rich and poor was broad and growing, with the rich living extravagantly in enormous mansions while an abundance of food somehow failed to reach the hungry who needed it. Government was routinely corrupt and distrusted by the people, who didn't fail to observe the lack of productivity among the rich and powerful: as the chronicler Shu Xiang noted, "The ministers never go out to work in the field."
    The economy was changing as well. The productive class -- mostly farmers -- was shrinking, while the mercantile sector was growing. The marketplaces were flooded with goods described as being costly and of "no real utility." Part of the growing middle class was a sector of scholars, who had great difficulty finding employment.
    While reformers such as Confucius existed, they were a minority: society was dominated by pessimists and conservatives. Pessimists -- perhaps predecessors to today's millennial survivalists, militiamen and "patriots" -- withdrew from society in disillusionment, convinced that the social order was irreparably corrupt and resistant to reform and that the best thing one could do was to look after one's own. Conservatives were either ordinary people wrapped up in their own lives and indifferent to social and political problems or men of society with good reputations and a vested interest in maintaining things as they were, determined to block social reform and new ideas wherever they popped up; although the latters' own private conduct was generally unimpeachable, in the public sphere they were fierce defenders of an unpleasant status quo.
    Sound familiar? It certainly should. It's worth noting, however, that even in such apparently barren philosophical ground, Confucianism not only took root, it flourished, eventually transforming Chinese society with its values and dominating it for centuries.
    That's why Confucianism is still significant.
  • http://mb-soft.com/believe/txo/shintois.htm Shintoism was the primitive religion of Japan before the coming of Buddhism, which is currently the main religion of Japan. Shintoism is a very simple religion. It gives only one command, the necessity of being loyal to one's ancestors. * This site has a lot of information about Shintoism.
  • http://www.allfaithspress.com/Shintoism/ FOUNDED:
    Shintoism began around 2,500-3,000 years ago.
    FOUNDER:
    Each of the thirteen ancient sects has its own founder.
    SCRIPTURES:
    Kokiji (Record of Ancient Things), Nikong, (Chronicles of Japan), a later work, Yengishiki (Institutes of the period of Yengi), and the Collections of 10,000 Leaves are the primary works, but are not regarded as revealed scripture.
    ADHERENTS:
    Estimated at 30 million, mostly in Japan. A large majority are also Buddhists.

    SYNOPSIS:
    There are two main divisions. One is the thirteen ancient sects, all very similar. The second is known as State Shinto, and is a later synthesis finding its highest expression in the worship of the Emperor and loyalty to the State and family. Shinto, (from the Chinese characters Shin and Tao, signify the "Way of the Spirits") is called Kmi-no-michi in its native Japan. In the shrines no images are worshiped, rather it is considered that the Kami themselves are there. Fresh foods, water, incense, etc., are offered daily upon the altar. There is an inward belief in the sacredness of the whole of the universe, that man can be in tune with this sacredness. Stress is place on truthfulness and purification through which man may remove the "dust" which conceals his inherently divine nature and thus receive the guidance and blessings of Kami.
    The Shintoist's ardent love of the motherland has found unique expression in the loyalty and devotion of the Japanese people to their state institutions.
  • http://directory.google.com/Top/Society/ Religion_and_Spirituality/Shintoism/ * This is the Google Search Engine's page on Shintoism.


TAOISM ZOROASTRIANISM
  • http://www.taoism.net/ * This site has a lot of Taoistic items, such as poems and writings, but not a doctrine statement of what Taoism is. However you can enter the site to some lovely oriental music, which is enjoyable.
  • http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/ Taichi/taoism.html Taoism and the Philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan--In a very real sense one can consider Tai Chi Chuan to be a physical expression and manifestation of the principles and philosophy of Taoism. *This site then has then has an index of many areas which one can go into, to learn or read more about Taoistic thought and material.
  • http://www.webzc.com/ * There is little in the way of information on some Zoroastrian sites. It appears there are two factions: 1 believes you must be born into this Faith and the other that you can join, not having been born into this faith. The site states: "The Zoroastrian Community is an international organization. Its highest goal and vision is the dissemination of Zoroastrian philosophy, ideology and religion, based on the prophet Zarathushtra's teachings - the Gathas. All Zoroastrians, irrespective of origin, are eligible to become official members of the Community.
    Non-Zoroastrians who are interested in Zoroastrian philosophy and religion or ancient Persian history and culture can become members of a special section of the Community called "The Friends of Zarathushtra". This gives them the possibility to use the Community's facilities, such as library, bookshop, courses and educational material.
    We must emphasize that membership in "The Friends of Zarathushtra" does not automatically mean that one becomes a Zoroastrian by religion. However, those individuals who are willing and interested, and have acquired the requisite knowledge to join the fellowship of Zoroastrians, shall have the opportunity to be initiated. FOR MORE INFORMATION, click here to go to the ZOROASTRIANISM page.
  • http://www.sacred-texts.com/zor/ * lists areas, such as The Zend-Avesta Pahlavi Texts. Then states "This is only a small selection of the Zoroastrian texts available online. Much more can be found at the Zoroastrian Archives [an external site to the above website], which we highly recommend to anyone interested in Zoroastrianism".


References to the Old Testament Bible
and other Common Sources
for more than one Religion

and views by one Religion as it bears on another
  • http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/intro.html *This site says "Welcome to
    SCROLLS FROM THE DEAD SEA, The Ancient Library of Qumran and Modern Scholarship.
  • http://www.icjs.org/who/index.html *This site is headed as THE INSTITUTE FOR CHRISTIAN & JEWISH STUDIES, which states:

  • Mission & Goals
    The Institute for Christian & Jewish Studies
    exists to address the contemporary challenges of religious pluralism by helping to shape a new relation-ship between Christians and Jews. Through careful and in-depth studies of sacred writings and traditions, we enable lay people and clergy to:
    Reexamine the meaning of our religious assumptions, particularly about one another.
    Question the theological distortions and misconceptions that have contributed to the historical conflict between Christians and Jews.
    Develop resources within our respective communities that inspire both Christians and Jews to appreciate the legitimacy and distinctiveness of one another.
  • http://www.believersweb.org/view.cfm?ID=628 *This is a site by a group called "Computers for Christ", so obviously it is from a viewpoint not originating with a Jewish writer. However, it seems to have some extensive information on Judaism, which might be helpful in study of Judaism.