Save this PDF as:

Size: px
Start display at page:

Download ""



2 Category: *News & New Content* Subcategory: Getting Around This Site Tip: Sign Up For Our Free Newsletter Keep up to date! Don't miss out on our free newsletter. Be the first to read exciting new tips, and new book and product reviews. Learn about upcoming religious holidays, fun ideas, new articles, and Big Brain tests. To receive the Religion-tips weekly newsletter, simply send a blank to: You may also subscribe from the website at or write Sherry at Tip: Welcome! Welcome to, and thank you for coming to learn with us! Have you poked around and discovered everything we have to offer? In addition to our exciting and informative Religion Tips, we also offer book reviews and free newsletters to keep you up to date. Also coming soon to are Big Brain tests (test your knowledge!) and articles varying from the educational to fun ideas. Bookmark this site and keep up to date on our new content! Click here for our New Tips section -or- Subcategory: New Tips Tip: The Place to Check For New Content Here is the place to check for new Religion-Tips content. This New Tips section is your guide to brand new tips, timely information (like upcoming holidays), fun ideas, newly launched articles, and Big Brain tests. Have any trouble using this site? Please Category: Buddhism Subcategory: All Buddhism Branches Tip: What is Buddhism? The idea of a supreme creationist god is not relevant in Buddhist belief. Buddha is not revered as a god, but as a person who reached total enlightenment (or Nirvana). Buddhism teaches souls are liberated to Nirvana by reaching a state of selflessness

3 though eliminating cravings, doing acts of kindness, doing no harm, and meditation. Tip: Who is the Dalai Lama? Today's Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, born in Tibet in 1935 is the 14th Dalai Lama. According to Tibetan tradition, the Dalai Lama is the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lama, and the incarnation of Avalokiteshvara (the Buddha of Compassion). He is considered to be the highest-ranking Buddhist in Tibetan Buddhism, but is not officially recognized in other Buddhism branches. Category: Calendars & Fun Ideas Subcategory: Just For Fun (Archive) Tip: Decorate Your Egg! Egg decorating dates back to primitive times. Commonly now thought of as a Christian tradition, egg decorating is shared by other traditions as well. Eggs are now generally hard-boiled, and are commonly dyed, painted, or colored, although some egg decorating is quite extravagant. Grab an egg and come up with your own ideas! It's a fun time with your family. Category: Celebrations Subcategory: Chinese Holidays Tip: Chinese New Year The Chinese New Year is the most important holiday in China. Based on Taoist belief, the New Year is an important time to honor ancestors, gods, and living elders. The three-week long festivities include lavish feasts, new clothes, firecrackers, and the famous dragon and lion dances. It is also a time of visiting family and friends, good wishes, and reconciliation. Tip: The Chinese Moon Festival The Chinese Moon (or Mid-Autumn) Festival is a time for family reunion, gazing at the moon, eating commemorative mooncakes, and telling moon legends. One of the legends says that Chang E, the Emperor's beautiful daughter, stole her husband's immortality pill and remorsefully escaped to the moon. If you look towards the moon,

4 some say you can still see her today. In 2002, the Moon Festival will fall on September 21. The Moon Festival does not fall on the same day each year, because Chinese holidays are based on a lunar calendar. Subcategory: Christian Holidays Tip: Easter Easter is the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Christians around the world celebrate this holiday many different ways, but popular activities include going to church in nice (and often new) dress clothes, decorating eggs, egg hunts, and time with family. Some countries celebrate with the Easter Bunny, some with dances, parades, or fireworks, but they all have fun! Subcategory: Japanese Holidays Tip: Japanese New Year The New Year is the most important holiday in Japan. On New Year's Eve, big bells are rung 108 times in temples and shrines to drive away the 108 evil thoughts in Buddhism. New Year's Day is the busiest postal day in Japan, delivering numerous New Year's postcards. The New Year should be started fresh with past grudges forgiven. This is a time of visiting family, friends, business associates, and also going to temples or shrines to pray. Subcategory: Jewish Holidays Tip: What is Purim About? Esther, a Jewish orphan girl, was chosen by the king of Persia to be his wife. Esther hid her Jewish identity until she learned of the king's prime minister's plans to kill all the Jews in the kingdom. She chose to risk her life to save her people, and told the king of her identity and the terrible plan. The king spared her people and sentenced his prime minister to death. Subcategory: Other Tip: Halloween Many people think of Halloween as a witchs' holiday, but the word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church as "All Hallows Eve". This is the eve of All Saints' Day observed by Catholic and Orthodox Christians. The church absorbed this

5 Druidic holiday when Pope Gregory moved All Saints' Day from February to November 1 in 835 CE. While we know Halloween originated with the Druids, much of the historical information in circulation today is not reliable. The Druids associated this time with the completed harvest and souls of the dead entering this world. Some Neopagans including Wiccians base their celebration of this holiday on old Druid/Celtic practices. Category: Children & Religion Subcategory: Teaching Children Tip: Preparing Children One of the most important jobs a parent has is teaching their child how to successfully enter adulthood. A most difficult balancing act is teaching children to retain the values they are brought up with, while still blossoming into a healthy adult prepared for the large world around them. Loving parents must work hard at teaching children to hold fast to their values while still respecting and doing no harm to others. Category: Christianity Subcategory: Seventh-Day Adventists Tip: What are the Seventh-Day Adventists' Scriptures? The Seventh-Day Adventists use standard Protestant Christian bible translations such as the New American Standard Bible or the New King James Version. Seventh-Day Adventists also rely heavily on the teachings of Ellen G. White, who is considered a prophetess in the SDA religion, however they do not consider her teachings to be canonized Scripture. Category: Ethical & Work Issues Subcategory: Rights of Others Tip: Know Your Biases When someone claims his or her opinions regarding religion are unbiased, they are either being foolish or deceptive. Consider you own biases; then strive to understand

6 how they affect your opinions and judgments. Understanding oneself is the first step towards understanding others. Tip: Know Your Biases - Strive to Be Fair Consider how your opinions affect interactions with others. Do you favor people in your workplace who share your point of view? Do you listen and try to learn about others, or only try to persuade people to your point of view? Fair interaction does not require an empty brain with no opinions; it requires a genuine respect of those who differ. Subcategory: Rights of Self Tip: Religion & Zealous Coworkers Dealing with religious issues in the workplace requires careful skill, especially when deciding how to handle over-zealous coworker issues. Before taking any action, have a clear picture what your goal is. Will you likely have to deal with this person every day? Would you like this person to keep his or her job? Realize that many issues can be solved with a polite, yet firm, conversation before taking more drastic action; and choose your major battles wisely. Remember to keep a log of the behavior, your goals, and the actions you take. Category: Expanding Perspectives Subcategory: Learning About Others Tip: Sadako and Her Thousand Cranes Sadako was a young Japanese girl who fell sick after the WWII bombing of Hiroshima. Because of her religious belief, Sadako began to fold 1000 origami cranes for her unrealized hope of recovering. Many people around the world now have traditions of folding origami cranes for World Peace Day. Tip: The White Buffalo Legend Many Native American tribes passed along the legend of the White Buffalo Calf Woman. According to the story, she made her first appearance 2000 years ago to teach lessons, ceremonies, and prophecies. She promised to return again to purify the world. She foretold that, when a white buffalo was born, the time would be near for the Great Spirit to bring in the age of harmony and balance.

7 Category: Foods Subcategory: Traditional Foods Tip: Moon Cakes Mooncakes are eaten during the Chinese Moon Festival. Mooncakes are believed date back at least to the Yuan dynasty (CE ), and are credited with helping to bring about a rebellion. The legend says that a Han Chinese rebel leader named Liu Fu Tong, wanted to coordinate a rebellion against the foreign ruling Mongolian people. Liu devised a plan to sneak messages in through the mooncakes, with instructions to the Han Chinese to strike. Today, mooncakes are eaten to commemorate the success of this plan. Tip: What's For Dinner - Tales From the Past When adding a dish that your great grandmother made, learn the stories behind it. Discover how the tradition got started, and what it meant to your great grandmother. Share the stories about your dish when enjoying it with your family and guests. Tip: What's For Dinner? What foods did your Great Grandmother make and why? What religious and cultural significance did some of those foods have? Learn about your cultural and religions heritage and start adding one or two of these interesting foods from your past. Category: Hinduism Subcategory: All Hinduism Tip: What Does the Dot on the Forehead Mean? The dot on a Hindu's forehead symbolizes the third eye of spiritual sight. The custom is for unmarried women to wear black marks, and married women to wear red. However, today women often wear dots that match the color of their saris (or outfit). Tip: What is Hinduism? Although Hinduism consists of thousands of different religious groups, and therefore does not have only one specific theological system, many common beliefs in Hinduism exist. Some believe in transmigration of the souls (rebirths through many lifetimes),

8 karma (the accumulation of good and bad deeds), the number of gods to be worshipped is large, and the ways to salvation are diverse. Category: Islam Subcategory: Islamic Traditions Tip: How is Ramadan Pronounced? Ramadan is pronounced rom-a-don, with the "a" sounds respectively being similar to a sound in pat, the a sound in about, and the a sound in father. Tip: What Does (pbuh) Mean? Have you ever seen (pbuh) and wondered what it means? Muslims traditionally write (pbuh) after Muhammad, Jesus, and other Islamic prophets' names to show respect. (pbuh) is an abbreviation for (peace be upon him). Tip: What is Ramadan? Ramadan, the holiest period of Islam, is observed for the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar. Most healthy Muslims over the age of 12 are expected to "abstain from food, drink and other sensual pleasures" from dawn until sunset. Ramadan ends with Eid al Fitr, a day of feasting and celebration on the first day of the tenth month. Subcategory: Understanding Islam Tip: What is Islam? The worship of a single, indivisible God is very important in Islamic belief. Islam teaches submission to God, prayer, the study of Scripture, and avoidance of alcohol, drugs, pork, and gambling. The Day of Judgment in which all believers and non-believers will be sent to either Heaven or Hell is also a fundamental belief in Islam. Tip: What is the Difference Between Muslim and Islam? Islam is the name of a religion, while the word Muslim refers to a person (or persons) who believes in and practices Islam. Tip: Who Founded Islam & When?

9 Islam was founded by Muhammad (also spelled Mohammed or Muhammed) around 622 CE. Islamic teaching is that the angel Gabriel (or Jibreel) read the first revelation to of the Islamic faith to Muhammad in Mecca during the ninth month on the Muslim calendar (or the month of Ramadan) and continued to come to Muhammad many times over a period of 23 years. Category: Judaism Subcategory: All Branches Tip: Are There Various Branches Within Judaism? Three major branches exist within Judaism: Orthodox, Conservative and Reform. Orthodox Judaism is the most traditional branch and closest to Judaism as it was when it began. Reform Judaism is a much more liberal branch of Judaism and Conservative Judaism began out of an effort to reconcile the two. Tip: What is Judaism? Judaism, like many religions, has more than one branch. The majority of religious Jews are members of the Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform branches. Ideas commonly agreed upon in all three branches are the belief in only one God, study of Torah, good deeds, and prayer. Judaism also teaches there will be a Messianic Age with peace on earth and the resurrection of the dead. Tip: Who Founded Judaism & When? As with many religions, there is more than one school of thought as to when Judaism began. Some would say Abraham was the first Jew, while others teach Judaism began with Moses and the giving of the Torah about 3,300 years ago. Judaism teaches a mass conversion took place Mt. Sinai when the Torah was given; and afterwards, Moses taught the lessons given to him by God. Category: Other Eastern Religions Subcategory: Confucianism Tip: What are Confucianism's Scriptures? The Analects are a collection of sayings and teachings of Confucius, recorded by his

10 disciples. They are part of the Si Shu (or Four Books) that also includes The Doctrine of the Mean (or Chung Yung), The Great Learning (or Ta Hsueh), and the Meng Tzu (containing the writings of Meng Tzu, one of Confucius' most famous followers). Also important, but predating Confucius, are The Wu Jing (or Five Classics). The Wu Jing contains philosophies of life cycles, history, poetry, etiquette and civil behavior. Tip: What is Confucianism? As Confucianism is more properly described as ideologies for right living rather than a religion, Confucianism is often practiced in harmony with other belief systems such as Taoism, Buddhism, and/or Shinto. Confucianism places high importance on values such as humaneness towards others, family love, etiquette, and honesty. Important life events emphasized through traditions in the Confucian religion are birth, reaching maturity, marriage, and death. Tip: Who Started Confucianism & When? Confucianism is based on the moral and ethical teachings of K'ung Fu Tzu (Confucius), a Chinese philosopher born in 551 BCE in the state of Lu in China. Confucius spent his life giving advice to Chinese rulers, and trying to find one who would rule according to the tenets of Confucianism. Confucius died with only a small amount of followers, not living long enough to see the great influence he would have on Chinese culture. Subcategory: Mixes Tip: What are the Majority Religions in Japan? The most widespread and influential belief systems in Japan are Shinto and Buddhism, often with some Confucian philosophy mixed in. Since none of these religions demand or claim exclusivity, it is common for people to consider themselves a Shinto-Buddhist, and to see elements of all three religions co-existing harmonically throughout Japan. Subcategory: Shinto Tip: How is Shinto Pronounced? Shinto is pronounced shin-to, with the to sound being similar to the to sound in toe or tow. Tip: What are Shinto's Scriptures? Unlike many other religions, Shinto does not have any set Scriptures. There are important texts however, from around the 7th century CE, called the Kojiki (Record of Ancient Matters) and Nihongi (Chronicle of Japan) that contain creation stories and

11 Japanese history. These are usually not studied by the common person. Tip: Who Started Shinto and When? Shinto goes back at least as early as 500 BCE. Unlike many other religions, the exact origins and founders of Shinto are lost to us. According to the historical chronicles of ancient Japan, there was a divine couple that gave birth to the Japanese islands. This couple was also believed to be divine ancestors to the emperor, who is seen as a unifying symbol in Japan. Subcategory: Taoism Tip: How is Tao Pronounced? Tao is pronounced dou, with the ou sound being similar to the ou sound in out or the ow sound in cow. Tip: What is Taoism? Taoism, or The Way is the all-encompassing force that flows though all - living and non-living. Yin and Yang represent the dualities of the universe: good and evil, darkness and light, male and female. Taoism teaches that one concept cannot exist without its opposite. Through compassion, moderation, and humility, Taoists strive to become one with the Tao. Category: Other Religions Subcategory: Baha i Tip: Who Founded Baha'ism & When? The Baha'i faith was started when Baha'u'llah, a Persian born man who began to record teachings the Baha'i faith believes were revelations from God. These early nineteenth century writings became what are now the Baha'i Scriptures. Category: Politics Subcategory: People Tip: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

12 An amazing man who reached across educational, racial, and religious divisions, Martin Luther King, Jr., ultimately gave his life for what he believed in. King successfully taught non-violent means of advancing equal rights, which helped advance many oppressed groups. One may wonder if he knew of his coming fate and pressed forward anyway considering the theme of this last speech, "I've Been To The Mountaintop" (a reference to the Judeo/Christian Bible story of the last days of Moses). Subcategory: Quotes Tip: You Must... "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." -Mahatma Ghandi Category: Religion & Relating to Loved Ones Subcategory: Dating & Marriage Tip: What About Dating? Know what you are looking for in a partner and make a list of the ideals you would and would not compromise on. Consider the future and how you expect religion to play a role in your life. Be sure to discuss these issues with potential life partners. Category: Science Subcategory: Ethics in Science Tip: Religion, Ethics, & Science It is likely impossible to separate our own personal points of view when it comes to ethics in religion and ethics in science, as our religions are a part of who we are. Consider how your religious beliefs affect your views on scientific and moral issues; and learn how they affected the ancestors' of your religion views in the past. Envision that past, and consider how it compares to your convictions today. Subcategory: Religion/Science Clashes Tip: Galileo Born in Italy almost 500 years ago, Galileo is most known for his astronomical pursuits,

13 particularly inventing the first complete telescope and insisting that the Copernican system (that the planets move around the sun) was correct. Galileo went before the papal court in Rome several times, and maintained that the understanding of the Bible should be reconciled with the results of science, instead of science reconciling with peoples' understanding of the Bible. Eventually, Galileo was ordered to desist his teachings and was temporarily imprisoned. He was allowed to return to his villa at Arcetri, where he remained under surveillance of the Inquisition until the day he died. Category: Sikhism Subcategory: Understanding the Sikhs Tip: What is Sikhism? The basic beliefs of Sikhism include an infinite God as creator of the universe, continual rebirths until soul is joined with God and the Divine Light recorded in Scriptures by the 9 Gurus. Sikhism emphasizes importance on prayer, meditation and good works. Tip: Who Founded Sikhism & When? Guru Nanak was born to a Hindu family in Western Punjab over 500 years ago. According to Sikhism belief, Guru Nanak was given divine messages while spending three days in communion with God. He made several long journeys over the course of his life spreading the Sikhism religion, by teaching Hindus and Muslims what he had learned.