Belief Systems

Religious and Social Practices


Animism is a very traditional religion, and one of the earliest belief systems, starting before 2100 B.C.E. and is still being practiced today. It originated in Africa and is based heavily on the belief that everything has a spirit, living and nonliving things alike, this gives them a strong respect for nature. People who practice animism also have a destiny.

Animism, which means Soul or Breath, is about the overall respect for nature, and even with no holy book or very important people around it still is practiced by many people today. Animism is usually practiced by tribes that live in very rural areas of the middle east because of its strong beliefs in spirits.

FUN FACTS: Animism is p[practiced mostly by rural tribes rather than people in the modern world


Shintoism is a fairly new religion (beginning ~ 450 B.C.E.) that started in Japan. Shintoism is a somewhat traditional religion, its followers worship the spirits, including the emperor that is considered godlike. The main spirit that is worshipped is called "Kami", Kami is believed to be in everything, living and non- living. A Torii is a place where people can go to pray or practice the Shinto religion, depicted by an arch type structure, (show in the picture above)

Because of there belief in Kami, they also had a great respect for nature and the natural world, along with there emperor and their ancestors. there belief in all of these sprits makes this religion polytheistic. Shintoism has no related people or holy book associated with it.



Hinduism started in India and has been around since ~ 1500 B.C.E. and is still being practiced by millions today. Hinduisms main belief is Reincarnation, this is the belief that the sole comes back in another form after the body's death. The form of the new sole is dependent on the karma that the person had in there previous life, which are the behavior, and more specifically, the thoughts and actions of that Hindu, and biased on if the overall karma is good or bad that Hindu can either be reincarnated in a higher or lower class of people. There overall goal is to reach perfection. The result of this presses is called the Caste System. This belief affects the people who follow it by having them try to lead a good life as they try to make there way closer to perfection.

Hinduism dose have a holy book, which is called Vedas. There are no important people that have to do with this religion, however there are many gods, making Hinduism polytheistic.

FUN FACTS: There are many gods in this religion, many of them resemble humans and animals, many of the gods have multiple heads and arms


Buddhism started in India ~600 B.C.E. but because most of the population in India was following other religions like Hinduism, is moved to southeast Asia and China, from China it traveled to Korea and Japan, it was spread by people called missionaries, they are people who spread religion by teaching others about their beliefs. Buddhism has no holy book or people in its religion, but it follows something called "The Four Noble Truths", this says that everyone suffers, suffering is caused by having desires, so to end the suffering all you do is end your desires, and to end the desires all you do is follow the "eight fold path"

There are people who follow the Buddhist religion that they devote there lives to it, they are called monks (shown in the picture above) Buddhist monks have no personal possessions, and only focus on not having any desires. there are also people who follow this religion a little less strictly, these people just learn to accept what life brings them.

FUN FACTS: Monks have zero personal positions, Buda is often depicted as a fat happy man or tall man in the lotus position.


Taoism came about in China ~600 B.C.E. This social philosophy is biased heavily on following the way of nature and keeping everything balanced, which is represented by the ying- yang symbol (shown above) Taoism dose not have any important people associated with it but it does have a holy book called "Tao Te Ching"

Taoism is a quite laid back philosophy, there beliefs say to not mess with the natural processes and to accept things as they come, and also accept that you cannot change things as they come.

FUN FACTS: The Ying Yang symbol is meant to represent the balance in life,


Confucianism came about ~600 B.C.E. in China, this social philosophy has no important people involved with it, however it does have a holy book called "Analects" Through this text, the main idea of the philosophy is revealed, it is that everyone should accept their roles in society. In Confucianism, there was four main principles the people followed; Education is important for a well run society, Government officials should be good role models for society, Everyone should know and accept their role in life and society, and finally, Respect your elders, or as we know it, "Filial Piety"

In Confucianism there is something known as the "5 Relationships": Father > Son, Older brother > Younger brother, Husband > Wife, Ruler > Subjects, and Friends=Friends.


Judaism was the first of three religions to come out of the middle east around 1100 B.C.E. Judaism more of a rough start than many other religions, First off, all Jews were kicked out of Palestine by the romans, this was called Diaspora. After that most Jews went to cities in Europe, where they lived in gettos.

Judaism has a holy book called Torah, the Jews believed that god had not yet sent a messiah, unlike the Christians belief that there had been a messiah already. The Jewish people also tried to follow the 10 commandments so the messiah would come.

FUN FACTS: the second most popular religion, also they have different special holidays like ha.


Christianity was the second of the tree religions to come from the middle east, also, it shared its holy land of Jerusalem with Judaism and Islamic religious. This religion came about around 100 A.D. However this religion spread differently from most other religions. It started in the Roman Empire were its followers were persecuted at first, slowly the roman empire started accepting it, after some time passed Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, and because the Roman Empire was so big at the time, they spread it through the empire and eventually onto other places too. Christianity also had a holy book called the Bible (shown below) that had the entire story of Christianity's history and how it came about.

Christianity is much like Judaism except in Christianity, the people believed that there was a messiah, sent by god that would forgive everyone for there sins by being crucified, had already been sent to the world in the form of Jesus Christ. Because of the simple ideas of this religion over many others, it won many peoples beliefs, also there was only one god making the religion monotheistic.

FUN FACTS: Jesus Christ was believed to be the son of god, by having Jesus crucified all people would be relieved of their sins at his expence


Islam is the newest religion, starting around 600 A.D. it also came about from the middle east. Islam is known as a Muslim religion, which means, like the Muslim empire by military conquest, it came out of Mecca, east to India, West across north Africa, and into Spain were the Muslim empires expansion stopped by Charles "The Hammer" Martel. Along with military conquest, the Islam religion spread through trade because the Muslims were great traders with other parts of the world.

The Islam religion Allah is their god and Mohammad is his prophet, making there ideas similar to Christian beliefs, Islam also has a holy book called "Qur'an". The Islamic religion also has something called "The Five Pillars of Faith" these said: they have to make a pilgrimage, or visit, Mecca (shown above), at least one time in their lifetime, They must pray five times a day facing the holy city of Mecca, During the holy month of Ramadan they must fast from sun up to sun down, They must give to charity, And finally the have to recite, "There is no good but Allah, and Mohammad is his prophet", at least once a day.

FUN FACTS: this is the most popular religion with over a billion

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