An Introduction to the Study of World Religions
From the earliest known evidence of human religion by Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis around 100,000 years ago to the present day, religion continues to be a very influential aspect of human lives.
Today, there are numerous challenges and problems faced by humans from every possible background, location and social class. Every day people must face issues of health, safety and mortality. It is because of these daily challenges that religion continues to exist. Religion is the universal tool for explaining things which we do not understand through the context the known physical world.
Although there are countless religions, each different from the other, they all serve the same purpose. Each answers questions which all humans seem to be programmed to ask: Why are we here? What happens when I die? How shall I live my life?
Religion helps us to transmit our values from one generation to another, and influences the way we interact with the natural environment. It teaches us how to see ourselves in light of the universe and gives purpose and meaning to life.
Whether you are a member of a particular religious group, unsure of what you should believe, or do not have any religious beliefs, these web pages will introduce you to the world's six major religions. They are not meant to convert, or to be the synopsis of every aspect of the religion they explain. They are intended to serve as an introduction, to whet your appetite for further study and to help you understand those around you better.
With our global society, it is likely that in your lifetime you will meet people from every corner of the planet. Understanding the religious beliefs of these people is one of the many steps which mankind must take in order to someday prosper together in peace.
Written by Sara Wenner, 2001