6 Religion


Philosophy and religion often go hand in hand. As you take a look at the world’s five major religions, answer the questions below.

The five major world religions – John Bellaimey

It’s perfectly human to grapple with questions, like ‘Where do we come from?’ and ‘How do I live a life of meaning?’ These existential questions are central to the five major world religions — and that’s not all that connects these faiths. John Bellaimey explains the intertwined histories and cultures of Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam.

See if you can answer these questions as you watch the video.

Which of the following could be called the “founder” of Hinduism?

A Krishna

B Buddha

C Moses

D Muhammad

Which of the following pairs of founders is considered by “their” religion to be God in human form?

A Moses and David

B Muhammad and Buddha

C Krishna and Jesus

D Jesus and Paul

Which of the following is the Holiest Book of Islam?

A The Talmud

B The Hindu

C The Gospel

D The Qur’an

Who are the trinity of gods in Hinduism?

A Brahma, Shiva, and Moses

B Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu

C Shiva, Muhammad, and God

D Father, Son, & Holy Spirit

The bar or bat mitzvah is a coming-of-age ceremony in ________.

A Judaism

B Islam

C Buddhism

D Hinduism

The Five Pillars (fasting, declaration of belief, pilgrimage, alms, and daily prayer) are the principle religious duties in ________.

A Christianity

B Hinduism

C Buddhism

D Islam

What do you think is the relationship between religious ceremonies and religious beliefs? Choose examples from any two of the five religions in the lesson.

Do you notice any similarities between all five religions? Give two examples.


Religion is an important part of human life. Describe how someone following one of the five paths in the lesson might incorporate his/her faith into their daily life.

I’ve chosen to include a lesson on the Yin and Yang from Daoism and one on Buddhism. Buddhism is often referred to as a philosophy instead of a world religion. I’m sure many people will continue to question where it might belong, but let’s take a closer look.

The ubiquitous yin-yang symbol holds its roots in Taoism/Daoism, a Chinese religion and philosophy. The yin, the dark swirl, is associated with shadows, femininity, and the trough of a wave; the yang, the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth. John Bellaimey explains why we all contain the spirit of yin and of yang — and how we can achieve a balance of both in our lives.

Answer the following questions as you watch.

Answer these questions as you listen:

Which of the following is on the yang side of a person:

A Feet

B Internal organs

C Shadow

D Head

Which part of a teacup is most yin?

A the cup itself

B the space inside the cup

C the hot tea being poured into the cup

D the hand of a person grasping the cup

In Daoism, the Higher Power is not a God, but

A Is a force permeating the universe

B The natural flow of all things

C A path which people ought to follow

D All of the above

Compared to a person with too much yin energy, a person with too much yang energy would probably

A Be calm and thoughtful

B Be very relaxed and flexible

C Rush into things more often

D Be receptive and patient

You should know your yin from your yang because

A Every aspect of our lives ought to be balanced

B Yin is bad and yang is good

C Yin is good and yang is bad

D The more yang you can accumulate, the wealthier you will become

From its beginning as a seed to the moment you bite into it, an apple is the result of quite a journey. Trace the yin and yang influences in the growth of a piece of fruit: soil, rain, sunshine, photosynthesis, flowering, the tree itself, and anything else you can think of.

Describe an imaginary or real person whose yin and yang are out of balance. Identify several imbalances.

Think about your favorite sport. What are the yin and yang forces which, when put together, make the sport so much fun and challenging?


The hidden meanings of yin and yang – John Bellaimey

Additional Resources for you to Explore

It’s been called “The wisest book ever written,” and it’s very short, too. If you want to know more about Daoism (often spelled “Taioism”) you should definitely check out the Dao De JingThis excerpt attempts to define the Dao as a force in human life. Do you know anyone who seems to live this way? How so?

“The supreme good is like water,
which nourishes all things without trying to.
It is content with the low places that people disdain.
Thus it is like the Dao.
In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
When you are content to be simply yourself
and don’t compare or compete,
everybody will respect you. “
(Dao De Jing 8, Stephen Mitchell Translation)

The more you know about China, the better you will understand Daoism. It’s been said that Daoism is the Chinese cousin of Buddhism, which grew up in India before spreading all over Asia, and eventually the world. Here’s a good website which also can lead you into Chinese medicine.

Here is an interesting article about the Daoist idea of “wu wei.” It’s about doing without doing, or why too much effort can be self-defeating. It’s from Psychology Today. The founder of Daoism was Laotsi (sometimes spelled “Lao-Tzu”).

The Buddha’s philosophy teaches us that our desires are at the root of our restlessness – and that calm can be achieved through willpower and spiritual exercise.

Answer these questions as you watch the following video.

Answer these questions as you listen:

According to Buddhism, a prophecy foretold that when he grew up, the Buddha would become either a holy man, or…

A the emperor of India

B a doctor

C a powerful general

D a god

What does it mean to reach a state of nirvana?

A to reach a state of enlightenment where you no longer need to eat or sleep

B to reach a state where you have everything you want

C to reach a state of enlightenment where all your questions are answered

D to reach a state of enlightenment where you aren’t ruled by desire

What does the word “Buddha” mean?

A God

B Siddhartha Gautama

C Prince

D The Awakened One

What is the Noble Eightfold Path?

A the fourth Noble Truth

B a path to moving beyond suffering

C a series of aspects of behaving right, or wisely

D all of the above

According to the Buddha, what happens when we see suffering as something that we have in common with all living things?

What is The Middle Way?





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