World Religions


WH 1

Era 1, 2, 3

Recognize the world's major religions and their founders (i.e., Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed).


WH 1, 2

Era 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Identify examples of groups impacting world history (i.e., Muslims, Christians, Mongolians, Vikings, slave traders, explorers, merchants/traders, and inventors.)



Interpret a graph that illustrates a major trend in world history (i.e., population growth, economic development, governance land areas, and growth of religions).



Recognize how migration and cultural diffusion influenced the character of world societies (i.e., spread of religions, empire building, exploration, and languages).



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Day 1  Judaism

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Notes for Lecture



Students play the dreidel game.


Day 2 Christianity

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2000 years after Abraham lived - land of Judea ruled by Rome
Jews hoped of a divine savior (Messiah) to come to free them

angel named Gabriel appeared to Jewish woman named Mary and told her she was chosen to give birth to the Messiah
later Mary and  Joseph went to Bethlehem where Mary gave birth to Jesus in a stable
Christmas celebrates this day

Jesus raised in religion of Judaism
when a young man began to talk to people about God
he called God his father
told people God loved all his children equally
Jesus visited poor people, sinners, and outcasts teaching of God's love
crowds came around Jesus to listen to him
Jesus was brought before the Roman authorities and sentenced to be crucified
Christians remember this day on Good Friday

3 days after he died several women visited his tomb and discovered his body missing
an angel appeared and told them "He is risen!"
the 1st Sunday after the first full moon of spring Christians celebrate Jesus' resurrection (Easter)

Jesus told followers that the Holy Spirit would visit them and give them power to spread his teachings
50 days after the Resurrection a mighty rushing wind and flames entered a meeting room in Jerusalem and the various people began speaking in other languages (Pentecost)

after this Christians believe Jesus is still with them Trinity
- God (the Father who created the world), his Son (Jesus Christ), & Holy Spirit (God's presence on earth)

people began writing about Jesus
Christians so connected to Judaism they added the Tanach, the Bible of the Jews to these new writings
Tanach (Old Testament) & Christian writings became New Testament
1st four books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John) called the Gospels (tell the life of Jesus)

1000 years ago Christian divided into 2 groups Roman Catholic and Orthodox
500 years ago a German priest named Martin Luther tried to make changed in Roman Catholic church
Luther's followers the Lutherans expelled
other groups broke off from Roman Catholic church after this - became known as Protestants

Day 3  Islam

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founder Muhammad born almost 600 years after Jesus
lived in Mecca (which is now Saudi Arabia)
at time people in Arabia believed in many gods and goddesses (worshiped idols)
traveled to Mecca to worship the Black Stone (located in a shrine called Kaaba)

Muhammad spent many hours in a desert cave praying
when 40 years old he heard a voice tell him to listen to words of God and repeat them
rushed home to his wife Kadijah (afraid)
Kadijah helped him understand he was going to be a prophet

for next 20 years Muhammad heard the voice again and again
he thought it was angel Gabriel giving him messages from Allah (chief god)
voice told him Allah was the one and only God

Muhammad told his people about Allah
merchant unhappy because they were making a lot of money selling idols
life threatened many times - 622 fled to Medina (north of Mecca)
built the first mosque

later returned to Mecca with followers and took over city
destroyed all the idols around the Kaaba
dedicated the mosque to Allah

followers called Muslims
religion called Islam (meaning to surrender to God)
Muhammad could not read or write but followers wrote down his revelations (became Koran)
Koran also contains many stories from Jewish and Christian scriptures

on Fridays Muslims go to mosque for  worship were mosque leader recites from Koran and gives a sermon

Ramadan- Muslims celebrate the night Muhammad first heard the voice of the angle Gabriel



Day 4   Hinduism

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developed over centuries from the traditions of different races and cultures.
believe in a universal spirit called
Brahman (meaning World-Soul)
The World-Soul is all things in the universe
more than 300 million different deities (gods and goddesses)
most Hindus all gods and goddesses are the countless different faces of Brahman

Important early Hindu gods


believe special places in nature can also be gods or goddesses like Ganges River
Hindu make pilgrimages to Ganges to wash away their sins and help cure their illnesses

Certain animals sacred - all creatures have a soul - after person dies the soul is released from the body - body in cremated to help release the soul -  often throw the ashes into a holy river

soul is reincarnated into a new body ( if you are very good in this life, you might be born again as a person with remarkable talents - if bad you might come back as a worm or ant) idea called karma
soul goes through reincarnation again and again until finally it is freed to join the World-Soul

as sign of respect Hindu do not eat meat - don't believe in hunting or offering animals as sacrifices

monkeys sacred
believe in
caste system - people must marry and work within own caste
people worship individually not in a congregation - have shrine at home
family's daily routine is to pray at the shrine
family members place gifts of food or flowers in front of statue in shrine
also worship in temples -towns have temple usually devoted to one main god
worshipers ring a bell at temple entrance as they walk in - place flowers or sweets before the images of the gods and offer silent prayers

practice meditation - repeat simple word or phrase such as om one grows calm - helps person feel united with the source of all life
yoga - exercises
when children become young adult - sacred thread ceremony (only for upper three castes)

Many Hindu festivals


The students made a clay diya. The diya is a lamp made of clay or brass and lit with a cotton wick dipped in vegetable oil. They are used for special occasions. Diyas are also lit and floated on the Ganges River to remember deceased ancestors.


Day 5 Buddhism

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500 years before Jesus was born, prince named Siddhartha Gautama born in Nepal
raised as Hindu
one day after wondering outside the palace and seeing old and sick decided to become a monk
put on faded orange robe, shaved hair and beard and left palace
wandered 6 years
one night started practicing yoga meditation - had a revelation that explained everything to him (called
became known as the Buddha after this
(the Awakened One)

Buddha believed other people could achieve enlightenment but must free themselves of worldly desires
understand of suffering and detachment is called dharma

Four Noble Truths

for 45 years the Buddha taught people how to find enlightenment
religion grew
different from Hinduism

died of food poisoning at age of 80
stupas built to house some of his bones and teeth

monks kept religion alive
split into 2 different groups