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Minute Faith ~ Shi'a Islam

Shi’a Islam takes its name from the Arabic “Shi’at ‘Ali, meaning “Party of Ali.” Shi’a Islam places a much greater emphasis on the bloodline of the Prophet, notably Ali, who along with successive imams, was considered infallible. The great divide between Sunni’s and Shi’ites took place after the Prophet passed, leaving no heirs to the bloodline himself.

Ali was the Prophet Muhammad’s cousin and husband of his daughter Fatima. Those following Ali and his descendants believed themselves to be following the descendants of the Prophet himself, and that these were the rightful leaders of the Muslim community.

Shi’a Muslims believe in Allah and the teachings of the Qur’an, but this faction developed its own theology. It opposes the majority of Sunni view that orthodox teaching was established by consensus among authorized lawmakers. Instead, an infallible imam, which means leader or guide, was believed to be the only...

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Minute Faith ~ Shinto

Shinto is the indigenous religion of Japan, a life-affirming animism calling upon the blessings of the numinous forces of nature and of specific spirit deities.

Thus, being about nature, this religion is largely associated with growth and prosperity. It encourages people to be sincere, cheerful, and pure, and to live in relationship with Kami. Kami is sort of a catchall term for invisible spiritual forces that range from the nameless power that inhabits a waterfall, beautiful tree, or enigmatic rock formation, to an actual, personified guardian or helper.

Typically, a Shinto religious site can be a formal temple – approached by a vermilion cross-beamed gateway – or an unadorned feature of the Japanese landscape marked off only by a white straw rope.

The devotee presents an offering, claps hands or rings a bell to alert the Spirit of the environment of their presence, and says a prayer to respect and honor them.

Small shrines for Kami are also very common in homes and...

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Minute Faith ~ Sikhism

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in the Punjab region of South Asia during the 15th century. The word Sikh comes from the Punjabi word meaning Disciple or Learner. Sikhs worship God, who exists beyond all appearances and who is universally available to all, whether they be Hindu, Muslim, or of any other faith. Sikhism is the Indian faith that is rooted in a lineage of ten gurus from Punjab, the north Indian territory where roughly 75% of its 20 million adherents still live. The Sikh chief characteristics are an ardent devotion to God and an ethos of martial valor, which was shaped by the experience of living pious lives under foreign Muslim rule. The first guru, Guru Nanak, was a wandering bard and mystic who sang praises to a formless God that belongs exclusively to neither Hindus nor Muslims, but fundamentally unites them both. From the wisdom of this Guru, and 9 other Gurus following him, many practices were developed into what Sikhism is today.

The Adi Granth,...

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Minute Faith ~ Sufism

Just like Eastern Orthodox is the Mystical branch of Christianity, Sufism is the like for Islam. Sufis exist throughout the Muslim world, as both Shia and Sunni.

The purpose and focus of Sufism is the quest for knowledge of God, also simply known as the Truth, realized in a series of inner states or experiences. Where religion is the external manifestation of the pathway to God, Sufi – meaning mystic, is the Inner path. It was originally influenced by the ascetics of the Eastern Christian tradition, and they also emphasized the importance of renunciation of worldly things, a celebration of poverty and inner purity.

Sufism originated back with the Prophet Muhammad, a profound mystic, who it is said to have taught his son in law, Hazrat Ali, the techniques and inner truths of this mysticism. After this, Sufism truly came to rise roughly 100 years after the founding of Islam and came as fear of increasing materialism within the Islamic faith. They believed that become...

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Minute Faith - Sunni Islam

Sunni is Arabic for “custom” or “code of behavior,” and Sunni’s are those who follow the code of behavior established by Muhammad, Allah’s final prophet and founder of Islam, as a complement to the teachings of the Qur’an.

Sunnis define themselves in terms of practical conformity to Islamic law as agreed by the wider Islamic community to be the authentic practice of the Prophet, who is believed to have led the perfect life. The Sunna is embodied in the Hadith, sayings transmitted by the Prophet’s followers and interpreted by jurists who then codify it in Shari’a. This is the “way of life” that guides Muslims in all aspects of their daily living.

There is no central authority in Sunni Islam, and its teaching emerges from a complex system of jurisprudence – pioneered by al-Shafi’i in the 9th century. This establishes the sunna by deferring to the Qur’an and hadith alongside the analytical tools of...

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Minute Faith ~ Taoism

Taoism, by its very name, flips the nature of a religion upside down. Instead of teaching a Philosophy or Dogma which in reflection defines a person, such as “Christian” or “Sufi”, Taoism teaches a truth; The Tao is undefinable. It then follows this up by teaching that each individual can discover the Tao in their own terms. A teaching like this can be very hard to grasp when most people desire concrete definitions of life.

Taoism is more than a philosophy or a religion, but a mystical way of life, a system of belief, attitude, and practices set towards the service and living to a person’s own inner nature. The path of understanding Taoism is simply accepting yourself. Living life and discovering who you are. Your nature is ever-changing and is always the same at the same time. Instead of trying to resolve the various contradictions in life, instead, you learn to accept your nature. The Tao, sometimes translated as “the way,” refers to an...

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Minute Faith ~ Theravada Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism started 25 and a half centuries ago, 19 days after the Buddha passed away. It is the more conservative of the two major traditions of Buddhism, and the original doctrine of Buddhist teachings. Today, it is strongly practiced in Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, but is also known in smaller communities around the world. The word Theravada comes from Thera meaning Elders, and Vada meaning Doctrine, thus, the Doctrine of Elders. It is a name for the School of Buddhism that draws its information strictly from the Pali Canon, or Tipitaka, which most scholars accept as the oldest record of the Buddha’s teachings. The later sutras that emerged from Mahayana Buddhism are simply not recognized.

The focus of Theravada is based largely on the 4 noble truths, and the 8 fold path. While the 4 noble truths were previously covered in the Mainstream Buddhism video, the 8 fold path are 8 qualities to develop in one’s life: right view, right resolve,...

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Minute Faith ~ Voodoo

Voodoo is a fusion of religious practices from Africa that is a derivative of the world’s oldest known religions. It has been around in Africa since the beginning of human civilization. There is no single founder of voodoo and there is no determinant date for the origin of this spirituality.

It did come to America with the advent of slavery and would play a huge role in bringing freedom to the slaves. However, because of the fears of the European and American Slavers, the idea was spread far and wide that the practice was a primitive, barbaric practice based on superstition and spectacle. This was an attempt to suppress and distort a legitimate and unique religion. When slavers brought these people to the Americas, the Africans brought their religion with them, and voodoo continued evolving from there.

According to their beliefs, and much like Shinto, there are thousands of Spirits that interact with humanity. These Spirits, called Lwa were once human. Some of them are...

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Minute Faith ~ Wicca

Wicca is the most commonly known strain of New Pagan faiths, also known as Contemporary, Modern, or Neo-Paganism. It is a group of new spiritual movements influenced by or claiming to be derived from the various historical pagan beliefs of pre-modern Europe. The underlying basis surrounding all of them is that humans should live in harmony with nature.

Within Modern Paganism, there are many diverse sets of beliefs, practices, and texts, but none that are followed by them all. For this reason, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to make a claim describing what “Modern Pagans” believe. To this group, the diverse practices are considered as denominations, and further, not all members of these faiths or beliefs even self-identify themselves as Pagans, Wiccans, or what have you.

The very word Pagan was a title given to them by Catholics in the 3rd century AD when the Roman state declared them heretics and killed anyone who did not convert to Christianity. The word Pagan...

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Minute Faith ~ Yoruba Spirituality

The Faith of Yoruba is comprised of the traditional religious concepts and practices of the people found primarily in southwestern Nigeria and the adjoining parts of Benin, and Togo, commonly known as Yorubaland. It is a vibrant way of seeking inspiration and energy from deities, ancestors, and other beings so that people can live fulfilled lives. The essence of it is a divine journey to the inner self and to God-consciousness. The tenants revolve around this: Oneness with the Creative Essence brings about a wholeness in the potential of the human essence.

In the Yoruba faith, there is one supreme God, named Olodumare, also called Olorun, who is the creator of all things, and responsible for the creation and upkeep of what he has made. Yoruba is Animistic in nature, and thus many of God's creations are Spirit Deities which inhabit different aspects of life and reality. They do the supreme work of Olodumare and keep and maintain the cosmos in perfect order and harmony.

These deities...

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