Help!! Teacher needs info on religions of the world!!


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Hello to all. I hope I've come to the right place. I am looking for information on the major (and not so major) religions of the world. I have to teach a new class at an American High School next year and I truly wish to have my facts straight so I don't present a stereotypical view of unfamiliar religions.

I am a Protestant Christian, so anything beyond that I am unsure about (including Catholism).

Please, if you do not mind, I am loking for a run down of major people, god(s), and core beliefs, traditions, holidays, etc.

Please respond with the name of your faith prominatly displayed.

I do not want to get things mixed up.

Thank you all for any help.:)
I don't have any horns.

-- Jew.

Welcome to the site kirb. I think that's a very tall order. It would be helpful for me and probably everyone else to know what sites you have been to and what books you have been reading as part of your research into world religions. I would imagine that for such extensive research that also remains very much at the surface, that would be the place to find the best info.

kirbjohnson said:
Hello to all. I hope I've come to the right place. I am looking for information on the major (and not so major) religions of the world. I have to teach a new class at an American High School next year and I truly wish to have my facts straight so I don't present a stereotypical view of unfamiliar religions.

I am a Protestant Christian, so anything beyond that I am unsure about (including Catholism).

Please, if you do not mind, I am loking for a run down of major people, god(s), and core beliefs, traditions, holidays, etc.

Please respond with the name of your faith prominatly displayed.

I do not want to get things mixed up.

Thank you all for any help.:)

Hello Kirb and welcome!

I'm not going to persoanlly respond as it would probably be too long a post but there is a site that has the major principles, history and Writings available about the Baha'i Faith:

Once you've checked it out and still have questions feel free to contact me.

And good luck on your class!

- Art
Dear Kirb--

Don't panic, just study. You do not have to be an expert to have a heart. There are many people here, just like the ones who have already replied, that can help you.

Study in faith, with your heart, and you will do just fine.

No horns here, either. I'm a jewitch. Where you could try is Religious Tolerance, a site based out of Canada ( ) to read about different religions. They aren't completely unbiased, but they are better at explaining the path I follow and several different paths that I've studied, including some that aren't represented here, like voudoun and shamanism (I'm a college student who has taken a few comparative religions classes).

I hope I, Brian doesn't mind me posting the url to Religious Tolerance. :eek:

Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
That's quite a request - but I should definitely compile something like that for this site. :)

Feel free to browse the categories on the left for information, though I fear it won't be as detailed as you require. Not yet. :)
likewise non-horny (if you'll pardon the expression) jew. i would recommend and the bbc religion and ethics homepage: as excellent places to start. the bbc might even be best because they have some educational remit and this extends to schools. for judaism specifically, i recommend - but if you want my advice on this class in general, don't try to do too much. for figures, you can try which is quite useful for educational purposes.


I should follow suit and supply a link for Jewish information. While jewfaq is good for the traditional answers, tends to have a broader perspective, giving better info on the liberal movements. But sites covering all religions like religious tolerance are probably more accessible over a summer. Good luck.

Thanks Dauer!

You've provided me with a great resource for textual study and i"m adding it to me personal bookmarks for more study.

- Art
As a religious studies minor, and having taught comparative religions courses, I'd suggest a few books-

For the Asian religions: "Religions of Asia" by Ninian Smart- covers the basics of Hinduism, Buddhism, the Jain tradition, the Sikh tradition, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Islam in Asia. This does a great overview of the different traditions, their history, and their various forms as they've been assimilated into different cultures. And it's not too long and has pictures! ISBN 0137724276

For the Indigenous/Traditional/Animistic Religions: "Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion" 6th ed., edited by Arthur Lehmann, James Myers, and Pamela Moro. The 5th ed. has some good stuff too, but I'll just stick with the 6th. It's a good overview, but I'd thumb through at the library and pick out articles specifically on what you're looking for. It's a pretty massive book and lots of stuff wouldn't apply too much to your situation. A few good articles to look up in this volume:
"Female Circumcision in Egypt and Sudan" by Daniel Gordon (some insight into this very controversial issue)
"Body Ritual Among the Nacirema" by Horace Miner (this is a great article that lets students- and teachers- know what it is like to view US culture from an outsider's perspective)
"On the Peyote Road" by Kiyaani and Csordas (Native American Church- they do traditional rituals with peyote as their ancestors did- another controversial and interesting topic)
"A School for Medicine Men" by Robert Bergman (another Native American perspective)
"The Goat and the Gazelle: Witchcraft" by TM Luhrmann (a perspective on Wicca)
"Voodoo" by Karen McCarthy Brown (an overview of this syncretic religion that combines Catholicism and African ancestor/spirit worship)
"Urban Rastas in Kingston, Jamaica" by William F. Lewis (Rastafarianism)
"The Veil in Their Minds and on Our Heads: Veiling Practices and Muslim Women" by Homa Hoodfar (an excellent overview of the controversy surrounding veiling of women in Western societies, what the veil means to Muslim women, and why people choose to veil. I really recommend this to help understand one of the more controversial practices of Islam.)

Most of my studies have been in Asian and "primitive" religions- the religions of traditional/indigenous peoples, so I'm not much help for resources on Catholicism (I would suggest you contact Quahom about that- he seems very knowledgeable about it), Islam, or Judaism.

The Religious Tolerance website is a bit biased, but still one of the best I've found, especially dealing with intros to some of the neo-Pagan religions.

I'm a sort of Quaker-Christian-mystic-Druid hybrid. Quakerism is one form of Protestantism, but is quite distinctive. If you're interested, I'd try or specifically for the basics:

Edited to add: a good website on Christian mystics is:

Druidry is very diverse, and while the Religious Tolerance site tries to put out the basics, the truth is that different Druid organizations are really different. Some are religions, while others are spiritual paths and/or philosophies. There are druid organizations that are neo-Pagan religions, like A Druid Fellowship. I'd suggest looking at ADF's website to learn about them:

I am not neo-Pagan, but I'm still modern Druid (no one, of course, is Druid in the ancient sense of the word). For me, it is a spiritual path and philosophy. To check out the largest organization of those kind of Druids, try: In the same website, there is an excellent series of articles that discusses how Christianity is often being merged with Druidry: This may also give you insight into how some of the modern "neo-Pagan" or magickal traditions are being merged by individuals with other major world religions such as Christianity and Judaism. Currently, while neo-Pagan and hybrid movements are still relatively small, they are increasing at an enormous rate. People in many areas are becoming more individualistic in their beliefs and practices, so it is important to remember that people may identify with one thing, but actually practice several, or may identify with several different religious traditions. Syncretism has always been happening in the religions of the world (meshing and overlapping various world religions with local, indigenous ones), but we're starting to do this more consciously and individually.
dear kirb-,

i really apreciate your honesty and your search for the exact and the real truth of religions far away from any sterotypes and prejudices. i am Muslim and i hope i have a time to reveal you about Islam, but unfortunately i have not time.yet one main thing i want you to focus on while teaching your students about Islam.Advise them of not reading Islam in all the Muslim doings which is a very dangerous mistake, for if we do the same and read Christianity and Judaism in the Christian and the Jewish doings we will make the same mistake.Christianity and Judaism are free from the first and the second world war.they are free from the American bombing on Japan. they are free from the sexual freedom, they are free from the slavery system which tortured a lot of peoples. they are free from the long terrible history of the Western colonialization to the rest of the world. they are free from any bad thing we are watching every day.
May God help you, brother, in your job.
with my best wishes
I second what path-of-one said re the site. The fellow who set it up-Brian Robertson-has wonderful writings of his own there re Christian mysticism as well as many contemporary & classic works-in fact its cyber forum became the first one I ever joined when I was a babe in cyber world. I would guess it's one of the best & maybe one of the few Christian mysticism sites available. The site Vajradhara mentioned re Buddhism is also a good, Huge gateway into Buddhist thought. Enjoy your trips down religion lane, Earl
Thank you so much to all how have given me a start. It has been tremendously helpful.

Currently, I am focusing on the 12 classical world religions,

and possibly adding more if class time allows. (it is only a one semester class in high school....never enough For reading materials, I have picked up a copy of "The Worlds Religions" by Smith. I think its a slight update on "The Religions of Man".

Really, I just wanted everyone to know how truly thankful I am that I stumbled on to this site and you good people. Thank you.

Try the rollowing for articles on Liberal Zoroastrianism

The articles from that site will, perhaps, give you a feel for the teachings of "Gathas Only" Zoroastrianism.

As well I have post-graduate qualifications in Comparative Religion & I am willing to help.

Hare Krishna

There are some very nice books you can download on

I would recommend to you to first read the book "Science of Sef-realization".
There you can get a lot of nice information about orthodox Hindu religion. Of course we don't call it Hindu, you will see why, but I am calling it like that so you can easily relate to what I say.

In the above book I mentioned, there are interesting things about research of the scientists about soul and consciousness; understanding Krishna and Christ and many other valuable topics.

Hare Krishna
For Buddhism I'd check BuddhaNet. You'll find it at

Taoism? Grab yourself a copy of the Tao Te Ching. has a free translation and you should be able to find it at your local library. For Confucianism, grab the I Ching - the book of change.

This site ( ) is also fairly good. They don't have a lot of information and I've found that their information on Buddhism is heavily biased towards the Tibetan schools, but it should provide you with enough information to get you started. It has "fast fact" summeries for each of the religions on the site, I'm guessing they'd be very useful to you.
Hello all,
If you want to know about islam,hinduism,christianity,buddhism goto an islamic,hindusit,christian and buddhist site respectively.Don't goto a site which lists all the religions .The chances are maybe the owner of site had tried to twist other religions.

The best neutral site that i would recommend is's open source,anyone can write in it.If there is some dispute in the information provided in this website,they display a warning heading saying this article is disputed so i think it's the most accurate website to get information on different religions particularly if you don't have a time.

If you have time you can goto to search for each religion,and goto to a top ranked web site of that religion.If you want to investigate a particular religion,you can goto www.factbites and search there.I hope this helps.
Generally I would agree. Except that Brian, et al. have tried to make this web-site as neutral as possible & IMO they have largely succeeded.

Just got to put my props in for Rastafarianism.

One Love
Lij Marques B.