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Minute Faith ~ Mainstream Buddhism

Buddhism, to those who follow it, is more than simply a religion, but rather is experienced as a philosophy or a way of life. It is considered a philosophy because the etymology of philosophy means “love of wisdom." The Buddhist path can be summarized as 3 key things: Leading a moral life, to be mindful and aware of our thoughts and actions, and to continually develop wisdom and understanding.

The Buddha was a renunciate holy man named Siddhartha Gotama, who was born into a royal family of Nepal in 563 BC. He stepped outside of the mainstream Indian religion and the wealth of his family to seek the keys to happiness.

After 6 years of study and meditation, he found what he called “The Middle Path”, and became enlightened. He then spent the rest of his life teaching the principles of Buddhism, called the Dhamma, or truth, until he died at the age of 80. The purpose, as he described it, was Nirvana, or the end of human suffering.

Suffering, Buddha said, is the...

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Minute Faith ~ Mormonism

Mormonism is practiced within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was founded by Joseph Smith in 1830 in Fayette, New York. Mormons believe that Smith received a series of divine visitations. He was given specific instructions and priesthood authority to restore the Christian Church from the Apostasy that it had become. Mormons are considered Christian, but not Catholic nor Protestant.

Central to these was the unearthing and translation of a holy book written on buried plates. It contained the story of God’s dealings with the ancient native people of the Americas, as compiled by the ancient prophet Mormon.

Mormons use this book alongside the King James Bible in religious teaching and study. Mormons believe in the continuation of prophecy: living prophets are chosen by God to act as a means through which revelation can be communicated. For Mormons, all people can receive inspiration from God, but in practice, God uses senior Church officials. For Mormons, Jesus...

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Minute Faith ~ Orthodox Judaism

Orthodox Judaism is not an organized movement, but a tendency among various groupings of Jewish people focused on resistance to the changes introduced by modernizing factions within the broader Jewish community.

It can be traced to mid-19th-century Germany. It characterizes Jews, who, countering Reform Judaism, emphasize the unchanging authority of the Torah, their Bible, Law, and Halacha, interpretations of legal rulings found in holy scripture, contained in the rabbinic texts of the Talmud and Midrash.

Orthodox Jews believe God is One and is independent of the world, but has given humankind the law, which reflects the cosmic order God has set in place. So that in following Jewish law and engaging with Halacha, Jews are participating in that order.

While more resistant to compromise than Reform and Conservative Jews, the Orthodox often acknowledges the need to engage with the modern world, although the core of Jewish law and tradition are taken to be unchanging.

Worldly engagement...

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Minute Faith ~ Pentecostalism

Pentecostalism is a fairly modern branch of Christianity that can be traced back to the holiness-movement of the Methodist church. This faith is centered on the belief of spiritual gifts bestowed by the Holy Spirit.

Pentecostalism takes its name from the Christian festival of Pentecost, which was the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Harvest, or Feast of Weeks. The Christian Pentecost then was a holiday taking place 50 days after Easter. This commemorates the episode after Jesus’ death and Resurrection. It is described in the bible that the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit of God and spoke in tongues, strange utterances interpreted as divine language.

This phenomenon was recognized in the early Church as a sign of God’s presence, although later the Church came to view this event as ending when the first disciples died. Speaking in Tongues disappeared for a long time until the turn of the 20th century. This is when groups of North American Christians began to...

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Minute Faith ~ The Rasta Movement

The Rastafarian movement, or Rasta for short, is more than just a religion, but a way of life, a social movement, as well as a mindset, without the structure that most religions are used to. The movement began in Jamaica in the 1930s among working-class people. It followed a prophecy made by Marcus Garvey, a black political leader, about the unification of black people with Africa, their land of origin. It began in part as a social stand against the oppression of white people and other middle-class people. At the heart of it, they believed that by being taken to the Caribbean by slave traders they had been robbed of their African heritage, which they sought to recapture, and celebrate.

The prophecy was rapidly followed by the crowning of Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia. The Rastafarians saw this as a fulfillment of Garvey’s prophecy. Haile Selassie was regarded as the Messiah, Jah Rastafari, a figure of salvation who would redeem black people from white suppressors, and...

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Minute Faith ~ Reform Judaism

Reform Judaism, a major branch of Jewish religion, is characterized by a commitment to adapt Jewish tradition and identity to the changing norms of modern life. Jewish law is not seen as an unchanging truth, as in Orthodox Judaism, but as a tradition to be used as an adaptable resource. Reform Judaism sees the modern world not as a threat, but as an opportunity to explore more innovative ways of expressing Jewish identity.

It has its origins in the 18th century, among European Jews who sought to modernize Judaism in keeping with changing times. For some Reform Jews, an unquestioning belief in God comes second to maintaining Judaism as a cultural identity. Some reform Jews might even describe themselves essentially as agnostic, or perhaps willing to reduce Judaism to a kind of ethical monotheism.

This radical tendency has proved resilient in the United States, although its breakaway movement of Conservative Judaism – seeking to reconcile elements of traditional Judaism with...

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Minute Faith ~ Roman Catholicism

The Roman Catholic Church has been the largest unified organization in the world – over half the world’s Christians are Catholics. The head of the church is the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope from the informal Greek term “Pappas” for “Father”, who claims unbroken succession from Saint Peter, the first Bishop of Rome and designated leader of Jesus’ followers.

The Catholic church considers its primary purpose is to proclaim the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, namely that God had saved the world from its state of sin by becoming incarnate in the man Jesus of Nazareth.

For Catholics, the Church itself is the continuing presence on Earth of Jesus, ensuring that God’s work of salvation is maintained until Jesus’ prophesied return.

Sacraments are central to the Catholic Church’s work, understood as visible signs of God’s grace entrusted to the Church. The principal sacrament is the Eucharist, in which bread and...

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Minute Faith ~ Satanism

Satanism is a group of ideological and philosophical beliefs based on the biblical character of Satan. It is often considered a ferocious religion based on materialism, the empowerment of the self and the ego, the carnal realities of animal life, the questioning of social taboos, the ridiculing of most other religions, and the promotion of tough social justice. The first church of Satan was founded in 1966 by Anton LaVey, and since then has become one of the largest branches of Satanism. Although founded in 1966, historical precedents do exist, in particular, a group called the Ophite Cultus Satanas was founded in Ohio by Herbert Arthur Sloane in 1948.

It should be noted that there are 2 main kinds of Satanism, with many diverse followings branching off from there. These are the Atheistic Satanism, also known as Laveyan Satanism, which believes that Satan is not real, but is the most ideal and accurate symbol of reality and nature, as well as a symbol of fundamental human traits....

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Minute Faith ~ Scientology

Scientology is an accumulation of different religious beliefs and practices. In 1950 L. Ron Hubbard, often called LRH, wrote a book called Dianetics, the modern science of mental health. The book became very popular in a short amount of time in the early self-help movement, but quickly lost its steam as a fad, and the Dianetics foundation went into bankruptcy. Hubbard then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, building and expanding upon the writings of Dianetics.

According to this book, humans are limited by engrams, bad experiences stored in the unconscious mind that affect behavior long after the traumatic experience. These experiences may be from earlier in one’s life, from the womb, or even from past lives. Engrams can be removed from a process called “Auditing” – which involves answering questions in a reflective manner. It is done either using the book or in a professional environment connected with a device called an...

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Minute Faith ~ Shamanism

Shamanism is an incredibly ancient practice. In the modern western world, the most common idea of a Shaman is an image of an indigenous tribal person, dancing around a fire and leading some sort of mysterious ritual, accompanied by all manner of tribal music. However, underneath the masks and the outfit and the ritual, there is a woman or man with a set of very real skills. The Shaman is the master of the trance experience.

Shamanism is an ancient healing tradition which to those who follow it, consider it a way of life. In the modern world, it is considered to be a way to connect with nature, the spirit world, and all of creation by reaching altered states of consciousness, and then channel these transcendental energies into the world. The word Shaman originates from the Tungus tribe in Siberia, which Anthropologists then coined and have used it to describe spiritual and ceremonial leaders among indigenous cultures worldwide.

Today, the word Shamanism can be used to describe the...

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