Faith Communities

To find out more about the origins of faiths and more about them click one of the links below.

Bahá’ís

Definitions A Bahá’í is a member of the Bahá’í Faith, youngest of the independent world religions, hardly more than 160 years old. Bahá’ís often introduce their faith through its principles, many of which appeal to people of other faiths, as well as people who are not especially religious. These include equality of men and women, harmony of science and religion, elimination of extremes of wealth and poverty, and the...

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Sikhs

Definitions A Sikh is a person who belongs to the religion of Sikhism. ‘Sikh’ is usually translated as ‘disciple’ or ‘student’, and has been defined as someone who faithfully believes in one immortal Being (God); the ten historical Gurus (from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh); the Guru Granth Sahib (the collected Sikh scripture); the utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus; the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru; and who does not...

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Muslims

Definitions A Muslim is someone who submits to the will of God (Allah in Arabic), as it has been made known through the Qur’an (‘Recitation’) and the life of Muhammad (570-632 CE). These are the foundations of the religion of Islam (an Arabic word, meaning ‘submission’). Islam is one of the Abrahamic faiths; its followers believe that it continues and fulfils the revelations of Judaism and Christianity, both of which came before it....

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Jews

Definitions Jews follow the religion of Judaism. There has long been debate over what being Jewish means. For example, from the Orthodox point of view, one has to be descended from a Jewish mother, or be a convert to Judaism, to be Jewish. However, the Reform movement also accepts those whose mother is not Jewish, but who have a Jewish father. There are many people around the world who describe themselves as Jewish without being actively...

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Jains

Definitions A Jain is someone who follows the teachings of the Jinas (‘Spiritual Victors’) a title given to a succession of 24 great teachers or Tirthankaras (‘Fordmakers’), enlightened human beings who have shown the way to spiritual liberation since ancient times. The raised hand in the Jain symbol reminds us to stop and consider our actions. The wheel in the symbol represents samsara (the endless cycle of reincarnation), the 24 spokes...

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Hindus

Definitions Hindus are people who practise the religion known as Hinduism, which they themselves call Sanatan Dharma. This means the ‘Eternal Way to God’ in Sanskrit. This way of living embraces many beliefs and practices, based on some broadly agreed principles about the nature and purpose of existence. ‘Hindu’ can also be used to describe one’s cultural heritage and identity. This is not a religion of many gods (as is often...

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Christians

Definitions Christians are people who have dedicated themselves to following the life and work of Jesus, also known as Christ (the ‘Anointed One’). Christianity is the religion which has developed over the last 2,000 years from the personal example and divine teachings of Jesus Christ. Christianity is one of the Abrahamic faiths, along with Judaism (which comes before it historically) and Islam (which comes after). Church originally meant a...

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Buddhists

Definitions There are as many ways of defining a Buddhist as there are ways of being a Buddhist. What they have in common is that they are inspired by the teachings and example of Buddha, the ‘Enlightened One’, the title given to Siddhartha Gautama (c560-483 BCE), the historical founder of Buddhism. Buddhism challenges some of the accepted western ideas of what makes a religion. While many people would prefer to describe it as a way of life...

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