by Jess Brown
Religion can be a heated topic, but here at Blue Osa, we are really curious about what philosophies in the world are inspiring people. These are creeds that people live their lives in accordance with every day. That’s pretty powerful stuff. We have so many different kinds of religions, branches of thought, and philosophies, and if you ask me I think that is wonderful because there are so many different types of people. No one thought could resonate with every person in the world and a lot of religions are similar when you compare the general aspects, so here we take a look at the “bare essentials” of a few different schools of thought, religions, and ethics.
Different Philosophies and Religions at a Glance
Focuses on personal spiritual development to achieve enlightenment based on the story of Buddha (the enlightened one). Buddhists believe that life is endless and that each person is reincarnated and experiences the three signs of existence; transiency, sorry, and selflessness. The core beliefs of Buddhism are surrounded by 4 noble truths.
- Suffering Exists
- Suffering arises from attachment to desires
- Freedom from suffering is possible by practicing the Eightfold path which includes practice and development of morality, meditation, and wisdom
- Suffering ceases when attachment to desire ceases
Christianity according to Jesus
The teachings of Jesus encompass a lifetime of healing, forgiveness, and love. The whole of Christianity was built around the coming of Jesus, his divine lifetime, and the messages he was sent here to deliver. His life was a testament to what he believed. His acts of miracles, healing, love, and his final act of crucifixion displayed his love for all and his message that he was here as a gift from God for the people.
It can be interpreted that from the four gospels, Jesus’ two greatest commandments were to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus taught love and that as you help each other you are helping God. Jesus’s focus of his teachings was love, humility, and to seek perfection. Other messages from Jesus include loving one’s enemy, refraining from hatred or lust, and turning the other cheek. I think it can also be said that forgiveness was a big part of the Christian faith, to be life Jesus was to love and to forgive as God loves and forgives his children.
Christianity according to Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for describing specific traditions in the Christian churches theology. Catholicism is distinguished from other forms of Christianity in its commitment to tradition, the sacraments, the Mediation between God, and communion.
Some of the main point of Catholicism are:
- Full communion is essential
- Union with Rome
- Man must know, love, and serve God in a supernatural manner in order to gain the happiness of heaven. This is done through Jesus, grace, and the free gift of God.
- Believing in the Blessed Trinity, The father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
- We find chief truths in the Apostles Creed.
- The Two Great Commandments: you shall love the Lord your God, and your neighbor as yourself.
- Belief in the 10 Commandments
Eco-Friendly/Environmentalism as a Philosophy
There are many principals and ethics of environmentalism as there are with most philosophies. Environmentalism, as opposed with most religions or philosophies, focuses on the relationship between man and earth, instead of man and God. This philosophy is based on observable scientific facts. The main point being that Earth’s carrying capacity is limited and that unless humans start living within those limits, we will destroy not only the planet and all its resources but our species along with it.
Environmentalism has so many branches like religions do, and each branch fights for different treatment of the planet has different focuses. These branches include but are not limited to:
- Renewable energy
- Changing our food production system
- Fighting for more natural land
- Preventing deforestation
- Going organic
- Fighting for clean water and fights against dams
- Cleaning up garbage and legislation for eradication of the one time use products.
The list goes on, there are so many ideas on how to protect the environment and practice sustainability, the main belief is that any little bit helps, though, and the first step is spreading awareness. The focus is to create a more harmonious existence with the environment through awareness of our impact in all shapes and forms.
The followers of the Islam religion are called Muslims and believe in Allah. There are 6 main beliefs and the 5 Pillars of Islam which include: declaring there is no God except Allah and that Muhammad is God’s messenger, ritual prayer happens 5 times a day, fasting and self-control during the month of Ramadan, giving 2.5% of one’s saving to the poor and needy, and pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in a lifetime. The 6 main beliefs are in accordance with the five pillars and include:
- Allah as the one and only God: He is the supreme and unique God, there is no trinity, no son, no partner. He is eternal, omniscient, and omnipotent, has on shape or form, is just, and is the only one worthy of worship.
- Belief in angels as honored creatures.
- Belief in the Holy books: Also called Allah’s revealed books, that he revealed to his messengers as proof for mankind and guidance for his followers.
- Belief in Prophets: Starting with Adam and ending with the final Prophet, Muhammad. All Prophets were seen as humans and not divine
- Day of Judgment: A day which all people will be judged for their beliefs and deed.
- Belief in Predestination or also called Al-Qadar.
Hinduism is the dominant religion of India and has been called a set of categories of intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs. It is built around the idea that beliefs determine out thoughts and attitudes about life and therefore directly affect our actions, indirectly affect our destiny, and therefore thoughts and attitudes should be intentional.
It has been called the oldest religion, the eternal law/way, and Sanatana Dharma. Hinduism grants absolute and complete freedom of belief and worship, conceives the whole world as a single family that deifies the one truth, and therefore accepts all forms of beliefs ad dismisses labels of distinct religions.
Hinduism works around the main beliefs of:
- The belief in Brahman, the supreme spirit. (Involves devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others) A specific belief about God of gods is not essential, though most Hindus are devoted to one of the principal gods Shiva, Vishnu, or Shakti, but all are manifestations of a single reality.
- The true soul/self-called the atman is eternal and is separate but identical to the Brahman.
- The authority of the Vedas (the oldest Indian sacred texts) and the Brahmans (priests)
- The existence of an enduring soul that transmigrates from one body to another at death (reincarnation)
- The law of karma that determines one’s destiny both in this life and the next.
This is just a look at some of the main religions and schools of thought that are around the world. When you look with an eye of curiosity, instead of perhaps a debate in who is right or wrong, you can see two things, or at least I saw two big things. One is that a lot of religions are based on very similar laws or perspectives the main ones being about loving and recognizing a higher power and loving and respecting each other. The second is that they build communities, and if you are a human, you probably crave that sense of belonging to a community. These provide space for that and we get to choose which community we identify with and that is pretty awesome.
About the author
Explorer and storyteller at heart, I find inspiration and stories waiting to be told everywhere. From international shores to my own backyard in Seattle, it’s never hard to find. When I’m not giving in to wanderlust and traveling, you can find me kayaking the waters of Washington, snowboarding the Cascades or the Rocky Mountains, and climbing everything I can get my hands on.
Calling the Pacific Northwest my home and favorite romping grounds has had a huge impact on my journey and my story. It’s where I grew up and where I discovered two of my deepest passions in life, photography and the outdoors. They allow me to create meaningful relationships with the environment, the people of the outdoor community, and to build a life I love. I call myself a sports and lifestyle photographer but everything inspires me and it’s constantly evolving.
In the end, all I hope is to meet amazing people, see the world, love the environment, and live a life that tells a great story. Explorer, photographer, hippie, my name is Jess Brown.