Belief Systems

Religions and Social Philosophy

Religion- Organized beliefs and rituals of a culture, usually associated with a "God" or "Spiritual Force."

Social Philosophy- A set of guiding principles that a community follows. They usually have a great influence on how the community behaves.


Animism originated in Africa, where it is still practiced by traditional communities. There are no significant figures or text associated with animism. People who believe in animism believe that all things both living non living have spirit. because of they believe all things have spirits, they are highly respectful of nature. Animists also believe their ancestors serve as a bridge between the spiritual world and the natural world.

Fun Fact- Animism is the oldest known religion.

Fun Fact-Animism pre-dates writing systems all together so it is hard to pinpoint an age.


Buddhism began in India but migrated to Southeast Asia, China and later onto Korea and Japan because Hinduism was already abundantly followed in India at that time. Buddhism was started by Siddhartha Gotama about 2,500 years ago, who was an Indian prince who was enlightened after finding that desire is the key to suffering. Buddhism teaches to lead a moral life, and end your suffering by ending your desires. Buddhist learn to accept what life brings to them, and live good lives. Fun Facts- Siddhartha Gotama's home was in Lumbini which is modern day Nepal. Unlike other religions, Buddha is not considered a god, he was a man who taught a path to enlightenment from his own experiences. He teaches that enlightenment can be found by following the "Eightfold Path."


  • Christianity began in the middle east. The holy book of Christianity is the Bible. Christians are monotheistic which means they only believe in one god. They believe that god had sent a messiah, which was also his son. Jesus Christ was believed to be the son of god. Christians follow the Ten Commandments, which tells them to lead honest, good lives. The simple rules of Christianity won over many converts.
  • Christianity is the basis for our Date system, with Year one being the birth of Christianity.
  • There are roughly 41,000 Christian churches cerca del mundo!


  • Confucianism began in China
  • Confucius is the founder of Confucianism
  • The Analects are the holy texts of Confucianism
  • Confucianism teaches people to accept their role in society
  • Confucianists follow Filial Piety, which means they have a great deal of respect for parents, elders and their country.
  • Fun Fact- The family tree of Confucius is now in its 83rd generation.
  • Funt Fact- Confucius' wife's name was Qi Guan


  • Hinduism originated in India
  • Hinduism includes many gods like Shiva and Vishnu
  • Religious text is called the Vedas
  • Hindu's believe in:

Reincarnation- The belief that the soul comes back in another form after the body dies

Dharma- The overall values and rules of Hinduism

Karma- Behavior of a Hindu

  • Hindu's try to lead a good life in order to keep moving towards perfection.
  • Fun Fact- Hinduism is the 3rd largest religion in the world with 900 Million followers.
  • Fun Fact- Hindu's call their religion sanatama dharma which means eternal religion.


Islam began in the middle east. It is similar to Christianity and Judaism in the respects that they're all monotheistic and Jerusalem is holy to them.

  • Allah is the god of the Muslims, and Mohammed is the Messiah
  • The religious text is called the Koran
  • Muslims follow Allah in all things above everything else, and they believe that Mohammed is the Messiah.
  • The religious laws of Islam are so important that they often become political laws of the nations.
  • Fun Fact- Islam is the 2nd largest worldwide religion with 1.3 Billion followers.
  • Fun Fact- The symbol of Islam is the crescent moon and star


Judaism originated in the Middle East. Judaism is a monotheistic religion that believes god will send a savior one day to save them.

  • The holy text for Judaism is called the Torah.
  • During the "Diaspora" the Jews were kicked out of Palestine by the Romans during the first century AD. Most Jews went to European cities where they lived in ghettos.
  • Jewish people follow gods 10 commandments so the messiah will come.
  • Fun Fact- There are three types of Jewish Followers: -Conservative -Orthodox -Reform
  • Fun Fact- Original language was Hebrew and many traditional followers still speak Hebrew.


  • Shintoism originated in Japan.
  • The main belief of Shintoism is not to challenge the way of nature.
  • In Shintoism, they believe that the spirits of Kami exist in all things, including the emperor who is considered god-like.
  • Shintoists have a great deal of respect for nature.
  • Fun Fact- There are shrines in the homes of believers for praying and other religious rituals.
  • Fun Fact- Shintoism has over 3 Million followers


  • Taoism began in China.
  • The holy text is the "Tal Te Ching"
  • Taoism teaches you to follow the ways of nature and to accept the things you cannot change.
  • People who follow Taoism don't challenge the natural process, they believe in going with the flow.
  • Fun Fact- Taoism has roughly 20 Million followers
  • Fun Fact- The headquarters is the White Cloud Temple in Beijing, China.

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