Faith Group Descriptions

Atheism is the absence of belief in any higher power or spiritual beings. Atheists do not use God to explain the origins of the universe. Atheists believe that people and societies are able to develop and abide by suitable moral codes without the use of scripture or religion (See Humanism).

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The Baha'i faith, founded in Iran in 1863, is one of the youngest of the world's major religions. The central idea of the faith is that of 'unity' and that people of all backgrounds and faiths should come together for the common benefit of humanity. The Baha'i faith teaches that progressive revelation occurs throughout history by means of Divine Messengers sent to reveal God's messages.

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Buddhism is a spiritual tradition that encourages personal spiritual development through following the teachings and path of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhists do not believe in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is perpetual. Spiritual enlightenment can be achieved through the practice of wisdom, morality and meditation.

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Candomblé is a religion based on African beliefs, which is particularly popular in Brazil. The religion is derived from traditional Yoruba, Fon and Bantu traditions. Practitioners of Candomblé believe in an omniscient God called Oludumaré who is served by lesser deities. Music and dance play an important part in this oral tradition. 

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The world's most popular faith, based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, sent to earth to save humanity from the consequences of sins. Christians believe that there is only one God but three elements: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Christian holy book is the Bible, which consists of the Old and New Testaments.

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Heathenry as it is expressed in Canada is used as a universal term to describe a wide range of Germanic Neopaganism.

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Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. Hinduism has several founders, scriptures, and teachings. The central Hindu texts are known as the Vedas which discuss the dharma or 'code of conduct'. Hindus believe that existence consists of a perpetual cycle of birth, death, and rebirth, governed by the laws of Karma.

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Humanism is an approach to life based on understanding a common humanity and practicing moral values founded on reason and human nature. Humanists reject the idea of a 'revealed' knowledge from gods or religious texts, advocating instead for rational thinking.  

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Islam is the second largest religion in the world, revealed in its final form by the Prophet Muhammad. Muslims believe that there is only one God, Allah, who has sent Divine Messengers or Prophets to humanity throughout history. Jesus, Moses, Abraham and Noah are respected as Prophets of Allah. Muslims derive their philosophies and teachings from the holy book, the Qur'an.  

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Jainism is an ancient religion from India that teaches that the way to liberation is to practice renunciation and harmlessness. Jainism's central pillar is concern for the welfare and health of every being in the universe. Jains believe in reincarnation as a continuous cycle of birth, death, and rebirth to be liberated from through balancing one's karma. 

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Jehovah's Witnesses are members of a Christian-based religious movement. This religion was founded in the USA at the end of the 19th century under the leadership of Charles Taze Russell. Jehovah's Witnesses base their beliefs solely on the text of the Holy Bible, believing its 66 books to be divinely inspired and historically accurate. 

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Judaism is based on the Jewish people's covenant relationship with God. As a monotheistic faith, Jewish people believe there is only one God with whom they keep God's laws and try to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives. Judaism's most central and important religious document is the Torah. 

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or Mormonism was founded in 19th century America. Mormons believe that their church is the restoration of the Church as conceived by Jesus. Mormons strongly focus on traditional family life and values. 

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Paganism describes a group of contemporary religions usually based on reverence for nature. Wiccans, Druids, Shamans, Sacred Ecologists, Odinists and Heathen all make up parts of the Pagan community. Most Pagans share an ecological worldview that focuses on organic vitality and spirituality based on the physical, natural world. 

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Rastafari is an Africa-centered religion which developed in Jamaica in the 1930s, following the coronation of Haile Selassie I as the King of Ethiopia in 1930. Rastafarians believe Haile Selassie is God and that he will eventually return to members of the African diaspora around the world. Rastafari theology is based on the philosophies of Marcus Garvey, a political activist. 

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Santeria (Way of the Saints) is an Afro-Caribbean syncretic religion originating from the slave trade in Cuba. This religion focuses on building relationships between human beings and powerful spirits called Orishas (manifestations of God). Santeria is an oral tradition, and therefore has no written scriptures.

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Shinto is a Japanese folk tradition with no founder or single sacred scripture. The essence of the religion is based on devotion to invisible spiritual beings and powers called kami, to shrines, and to various rituals. With a significant focus on rituals, Shinto is seen as fundamental part of the Japanese way of life. 

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Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak in India in the 15th Century CE. As a monotheistic religion, Sikhism stresses the importance of living a good life through keeping God in one's heart and mind, living honestly and working hard, treating everyone equally, and serving others. The Sikh scripture is the Guru Granth Sahib, a book that Sikhs consider a living Guru or guide. 

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Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and belief rooted in Chinese customs worldview. As a religion of unity and opposites (Ying and Yang), the world is seen as comprised of complimentary forces. Taoism promotes achieving harmony with nature, the pursuit of spiritual immortality, and being virtuous in one's daily life. 

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Unitarianism is an open-minded and individualistic approach to religion. Religious freedom is central to Unitarianism where each individual is free to search for one's own meaning in life. Unitarians believe that diversity and pluralism in people's beliefs lends to a greater collective strength. As such, Unitarians believe that religious truth and salvation is not solely offered through one single scripture or religion. 

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Zoroastrianism is one of the oldest monotheistic faiths, founded by the prophet Zoroaster in ancient Iran. As a monotheistic religion, Zoroastrians believe in one God - Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord). Zoroastrians traditionally pray several times a day in communal temples. The Holy Scriptures of Zoroastrianism is called the Avesta.  

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