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A man dressed in white is shown from behind looking down over the Kaaba, Islam’s most sacred site. Hundreds of other people, dressed in all black or all white, can be seen circling a large black cube-like structure on the floor of a stadium-like structure.
cornerstones of Muslim practice is journeying to the religion’s most sacred place, Mecca. (Photo courtesy of Raeky/flickr)

Christianity

Today the largest religion in the world, Christianity began 2,000 years ago in Palestine, with Jesus of Nazareth, a charismatic leader who taught his followers about caritas (charity) or treating others as you would like to be treated yourself.

The sacred text for Christians is the Bible. While Jews, Christians, and Muslims share many of same historical religious stories, their beliefs verge. In their shared sacred stories, it is suggested that the son of God—a messiah—will return to save God’s followers. While Christians believe that he already appeared in the person of Jesus Christ, Jews and Muslims disagree. While they recognize Christ as an important historical figure, their traditions don’t believe he’s the son of God, and their faiths see the prophecy of the messiah’s arrival as not yet fulfilled.

Different Christian groups have variations among their sacred texts. For instance, Mormons, an established Christian sect, also use the Book of Mormon, which they believe details other parts of Christian doctrine and Jesus’ life that aren’t included in the Bible. Similarly, the Catholic Bible includes the Apocrypha, a collection that, while part of the 1611 King James translation, is no longer included in Protestant versions of the Bible. Although monotheistic, Christians often describe their god through three manifestations that they call the Holy Trinity: the father (God), the son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a term Christians often use to describe religious experience, or how they feel the presence of the sacred in their lives. One foundation of Christian doctrine is the Ten Commandments, which decry acts considered sinful, including theft, murder, and adultery.

Summary

Sociological terms for different kinds of religious organizations are, in order of decreasing influence in society, ecclesia, denomination, sect, and cult. Religions can be categorized according to what or whom its followers worship. Some of the major, and oldest, of the world’s religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

Short answer

Consider the different types of religious organizations in the United States. What role did ecclesia play in the history of the United States? How have sects tended to change over time? What role do cults have today?

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What is your understanding of monotheism versus polytheism? How might your ideology be an obstacle to understanding the theism of another religion you’re unfamiliar with?

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In U.S. society, do you believe there is social stratification that correlates with religious beliefs? What about within the practitioners of a given religion? Provide examples to illustrate your point.

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Further research

PBS’s Frontline explores “the life of Jesus and the rise of Christianity” in this in-depth documentary. View the piece in its entirety here: (External Link) .

For more insight on Confucianism, read the Analects by Confucius, at (External Link) . For a primer on Judaism, read Judaism 101 at (External Link) .

Sorting through the different Christian denominations can be a daunting task. To help clarify these groups, go to (External Link) .

References

Craig, Mary, transl. 2002. The Pocket Dalai Lama . Boston, MA: Shambhala.

Feng, Gia-fu, and Jane English, transl. 1972. “Introduction” in Tao Te Ching . New York: Random House.

Holy Bible: 1611 Edition, King James Version. 1982 [1611]. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson.

Smith, Huston. 1991 [1958]. The World’s Religions . San Francisco, CA: Harper Collins.

Questions & Answers

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KIEH Reply
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ALIYU Reply
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Zakir
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Adamson Reply
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BILAL
what are the advantages and disadvantages of multi​ culture
fazil Reply
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trying to answer the advantage and disadvantage of multiculruralism. 1. The advantage is multethnic countries are home to majority of migrants a signifacant population of it being a highly educated skilled of workforces aroun the world.
yuusuf
2. Disadvantage may couse risk of social conflict occurs due to differences in relegios, beliefs, and practoces though ethnic retuals or certain weys of life that may couse rift between two or more groups.
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How would you classify crimes like child abuse, human trafficking and domestic violence?
Omego Reply
I would say that these are very serious crimes especially because they hinge on the rights of human beings, therefore they would be classified as felonies. Felonies;are the most serious of crimes that one can commit.  
Douglas
what are the factors responsible for drug addiction using the theories of deviance
Cora Reply
parents are the first responsible for drugs addiction in our society today
Yakubu
what are the unique features of rural areas?
Gidion Reply
what is the positive influence of peer group on the adolescent
Nkolie Reply
i think the positive influence of peer group on the adolescent,overall is small but not big.
Ahsanul
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JOHNMIKE
Peer group makes a individual to know about the team work capabilities and also learns norms and values of society
roamers
explain problems of accommodation
Rank Reply
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suleiman Reply
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Special Reply
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roamers
his perspective about suicide
Saidu
his perspective about division of Labour
roamers
founder of sociology and a significant figure in the feild of sociology. He was the functionalist.
shoaib
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Ajisafe Reply
Sociology is a combined word. It is made up of one Latin word "socious" which means society and the other Greek word "logus" which means knowledge or science. The combination and merger of these two words gave rise to the word sociology.
Ame
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IBRAHIM
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IBRAHIM
sociology is the systematic and scientific study of human groups, society,including patterns of relationships and social interaction and culture.
SOPHIA
personality of socialization
Abakim Reply
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Abakim
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Source:  OpenStax, Introduction to sociology 2e. OpenStax CNX. Jan 20, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11762/1.6
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