||The Hebrew leader Abraham founded Judaism around 2000 B.C. Moses gave the Jews the Torah around 1250 B.C.
||Jesus Christ, who was crucified around A.D. 30 in Jerusalem.
||Muhammad, who was born in A.D. 570 at Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
||Hinduism has no founder. The oldest religion, it may date to prehistoric times.
||Siddhartha Gautama, called the Buddha, in the 4th or 5th century B.C. in India.
|How Many Gods
||Many (all gods and goddesses are considered different forms of one Supreme Being.)
||None, but there are enlightened beings (Buddhas)
||The most important are the Torah, or the first five books of Moses. Others include Judaism's oral tradition, the written form of which is known as the Talmud.
||The Bible is the main sacred text of Christianity.
||The Koran is the sacred book of Islam.
||The most ancient are the four Vedas.
||The most important are the Tripitaka, the Mahayana Sutras, Tantra, and Zen texts.
||Jews believe in the laws of God and the words of the prophets. In Judaism, however, actions are more important than beliefs.
||Jesus taught love of God and neighbor and a concern for justice.
||The Five Pillars, or main duties, are: profession of faith; prayer; charitable giving; fasting during the month of Ramadan; and pilgrimage to Mecca at least once.
||Reincarnation states that all living things are caught in a cycle of death and rebirth. Life is ruled by the laws of karma, in which rebirth depends on moral behavior.
||The Four Noble Truths: (1) all beings suffer; (2) desire—for possessions, power, and so on—causes suffering; (3) desire can be overcome; and (4) the path that leads away from desire is the Eightfold Path (the Middle Way).
||The three main types are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform. Conservative Jews follow most traditional practices, but less strictly than the Orthodox. Reform Jews are the least traditional.
||In 1054 Christians separated into the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. In the early 1500s the major Protestant groups (Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Episcopalian) came into being. A variety of other groups have since developed.
||Almost 90% of Muslims are Sunnis. Shiites are the second-largest group. The Shiites split from the Sunnis in 632 when Muhammad died.
||No single belief system unites Hindus. A Hindu can believe in only one god, in many, or in none.
||Theravada (Way of the Elders) and Mahayana (Greater Vehicle) are the two main types.
||There are large Jewish populations in Israel and the U.S.
||Through its missionary activity Christianity has spread to most parts of the globe.
||Islam is the main religion of the Middle East, Asia, and the north of Africa.
||Hinduism is practiced by more than 80% of India's population.
||Buddhism is the main religion in many Asian countries.