Ancient people weren't able to explain how many things worked, especially forces of nature such as the wind, rain, storms, illness, death etc, so they thought there must be supernatural beings who controlled those things, and they called those beings 'god'. They conceived there must be many gods, one for each different thing, the god of storms, of love, of death etc, and they thought those gods must have supernatural powers to be able to control the force, because even their strongest men couldn't control or understand them. 'Religion
' is the name we give to belief in such a supreme being and the way of life its believers follow. (Return to top)
There are many different religions in the world; some have relatively few members whilst the principal ones have millions, if not billions of followers. The biggest religions include Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism and Buddhism.
With the exception of Buddhism (which doesn't believe in a supreme being but seeks a pure state of existence known as Nirvana), each of the principal religions believes in a supreme being with powers greater than humans. Most believe that the supreme being created the universe (ie: space and time) and everything in it including humanity and that they maintain an ongoing influence over their creation. Most of the different religions give their supreme being (god) similar capabilities, but each interprets the details differently. (Return to top)
Some members of each religion believe the basic concepts but put emphasis on different details - such divisions of detail are called a 'denomination
' and some denominations are further divided into smaller 'sects
'. This includes for Judaism: Orthodox and Liberal Jews, for Christianity: Catholic and Protestant Christians, and for Islam: Shia and Sunni Muslims, etc. (Return to top)