Who is Bhagwan/God?
There are five major religions of the world. This are Christianity (2.1billion), Islam (1.3billion), Hinduism (900million), Chinese traditional religion (394 million), Buddhism (376 million) and Primal-indigenous (300 million). The Non-religious comprising of the secular, Agnostic and Atheist are 1.1 billion. Other religions include African traditional and Diasporic (100 million), Sikhism (23 million), Juche (19 million), Spiritism (15 million), Judaism (14 million), Bahai (7 million), Jainism (4.2 million), Shinto (4 million), Cao Dai (4 million), Zoroastrianism (2.6 million), Tenrikyo (2 million) and Neo-Paganism (1 million)
Approximately 75 per cent of the world's population practices one of these five most influential religions. Christianity and Islam are the most widely spread religions together covering more than half of the world's population. God has been referred by many names including Jupiter, Allah, Brahma, Ra, Viracocha, Ashur, Izanagi, Odin, Ahura Mazda and the Great Spirit to name just a few.
According to the Christian faith, the greatness of God is beyond human comprehension. This means God cannot be studied, He can only be revealed. The sign that you know God is by the dimension of the strength inside you. God is invisible, immortal and incomparable. There is a strong emphasis for a personal encounter with God for anyone to understand God since human beings are spirit beings and their encounter will always vary.
Some of the attributes given to God include God is omnipotent, is powerful at all times (Psalms 66:3, Jeremiah 32:27); God is omniscience, all knowing at all times; He is omnipresent, always present everywhere at all times. As a result, He cannot live in temples. God is also given the attribute of indwelling presence. His greatest passion is to dwell in human beings.
According to Christianity, God is the creator of human beings and everything on earth. Their faith is anchored on the Holy Book of the Bible which is divided into 2 sections; the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Christians believe God is the creator of all things. In addition, Christians believe God has no beginning and will never have an end. He is the Source of the good news found in the Bible. Since God gives human beings life, they should worship only him. There are many attempts that have been made to describe what God is like. While no human has ever seen God because he is a Spirit, which means that he is a higher form of life than the physical creatures who live on earth, God's personality is discerned from the things he made. For instance, the size of the universe tells of the power God, fruits and flowers tells us of his love and wisdom.
Furthermore, since the advent of Christianity, there's no consensus about who God is. God has many titles but with only one name. In each language, this name is pronounced differently. In English the name is "Jehovah" with some people pronouncing it as "Yahweh". Some of the people who interacted closely with God like Abraham, Moses, Samuel, Job, Daniel and Noah in the Old testament described God as "a friend", as "the great I am"," the ancient of days", "the great physician", "the avenger", "mighty man of war" etc. In the New Testament, God is described as redeemer, merciful, gracious, loving etc.
In the scriptures in Genesis 1:1., God is revealed as Elohim, a plural name of God that is God the father, God the son and God the Holy spirit. In addition, God is revealed as our creator and source, God is a redeemer and restorer (Genesis 3:9-24), God is a just God (Genesis 4:6-7, Isaiah 45:21,6-7), He responds to darkness with light, to calamity with peace, God is the only gracious and compassionate father as demonstrated in Exodus 33:18-19. The greatest calling for every Christian is to worship God, the salvation decision is a decision to respond to the call of God and God is the reason for human's existence and they owe their life to the Lord.
The word islam, which means submission, refer to the original religion of all mankind to serve Allah. According to the Islamic faith, god is referred to as Allah which means god is the all-powerful, all-knowing creator who is the sustainer, ordainer and judge of everything in existence. Islam emphasizes that God is inherently one, strictly singular, unique, all-merciful and omnipotent.
The most important concept which lays the foundation in Islam is monotheism, the belief in one God who is the creator of the universe and has power over everything within it. Islam exalt god above everything He created and His greatness cannot be compared to His creation. In addition, God is the only one deserving of any worship and the ultimate purpose of all creation is to submit to Him. The understanding of God in Islam that is distinct from all other religions and beliefs is based on a pure and clear understanding of monotheism.
According to the Islamic statement of witness, "There is no god but Allah". Muslims often refer to God as Allah, a universal name for God which does not refer to an exclusively ‘Islamic' God. This name is interestingly related to the Aramaic and Hebrew names for God, Allaha and Elohim. Allah is the Arabic name for God affirming that He is one singular God with no partners or equals. The name Allah cannot be pluralized. Neither can it be limited to a specific gender. This establishes that God is one and that He is unique from everything He creates. The original Arabic name for God (Allah) has continued to be used by Muslims since it perfectly expresses His unique qualities.
One of the most widely-held myths particularly among people in English-speaking countries is that Islamic believers are Arabs. This is not true because majority of the Islamic people do not live in the Arabic nations of the Middle East.
The Islamic faith believe God is the Creator and the Sustainer of the universe who created everything for a reason. Muslims believe God created humankind for the purpose to worship Him. They also believe He sent messengers to guide people in fulfilling this purpose. These messengers include Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad.
When Muhammad, the final prophet was asked about God, it's believed his answer came directly from God in the holy book of Muslims, the Quran (also spelled ‘Koran'). He said ‘He is God the One, God the eternal. He begot no one nor was He begotten. No one is comparable to Him (112:1-4). in the statement, God clearly describes Himself to humanity. God is One and is exalted above everything He creates and He is capable over all things.
The oneness of God distinguishes Him from everything else. God's majesty and glory does not allow Him to associate with the limited attributes of His creation. God is the First with no beginning and the Last with no end. The universe and everything therein was created by His will. Neither does space nor time confined Him since He is the only One who is in control and provides for His creation. It is He who knows what is hidden and what is in the open, He is the Lord of Mercy as well as the Giver of Mercy. He is the Originator, the Holy One, the Creator, the Shaper, the Controller, Source of Peace, Guardian over all, Granter of Security, the Almighty, the Compeller and the Truly Great (Quran, 59:22-24)
Muslims believe that Allah created the world in six days and then sent his prophets including Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus and lastly Muhammad to call upon His people to worship him, and rejecting idolatry and polytheism. Some of the prophets received scriptures from Allah, notably the Torah of Moses, the Psalms of David and the Gospel of Jesus. However, their messages and books either were lost or became corrupted. Miraculously, the Qur'an which was the very word of Allah revealed to Muhammad did not suffer this fate. As a result, there is no need for further prophets or revelations.
The Qur'an declares, "Our god and your god are one" (29:46). The Qur'an (5:17-18) criticises Christians for identifying Christ with Allah and for Jews and Christians for calling themselves children of Allah. According to Islam, Allah is not a trinity of three persons and has no son who was made flesh as a man. Some Christians therefore deny that Allah is the God they acknowledge.
In Indian history of religion Lord, Narayanan (Vishnu) is the supreme God and he produced Brahma and Shiva. Shiva is the supreme god. According to Hindu faith, Shiva was worshipped in pre-historic time. Hinduism are the originator of the concept of Supreme Being.
Hindus believe in one Supreme God, the creator of the universe. God is all-pervasive, He created many Gods, He has highly advanced spiritual beings to be His helpers. One of the reasons while Hindu people have many Gods is because the peoples of India have different languages and cultures and as a result have understood the one God in their own distinct ways. There exists four main Hindu denominations—Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. To Sai-vites, God is Siva, to Vaishnavites, Lord Vishnu is God, to Shaktas, Goddess Shakti is supreme while Smartas see all Deities as reflections of the One God. The devotee can chose which Deity to subscribe to. One profoundly thing about Hindus is their tolerance of other religions having a view that every individual has his/her own pathway to the one God.
The Hinduism also believe that God is not far away, is not in a remote heaven but lives inside every soul, is in the heart waiting to be revealed to the individual. This understanding gives Hindus hope and courage and knowing God in this way is the goal of Hindu spirituality.
The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim faith is in the perception of God. The common Hindus' belief in everything living and non-living as divine and sacred including the sun as God, the moon as God, trees as God, the monkey as God, the snake as God and even human beings as manifestations of God is contrary to Muslims who believe that everything including the trees, the sun, moon, starts, snake and human beings belong to God.
Judaism is associated with the Jewish people, the Israelites. The Jewish believe God's proper name according to the Torah is Yahweh also pronounced as Adonai and Elohim. Other names include HaMakom (The Omnipresent), HaKadosh Barukh Hu (The Holy One Blessed Be He), Mi-she-amar ve (the not-so-pithy) and Hayah ha-Olam (The One Who Spoke And Thus Created The World).
In the book of Exodus the Israelites are exhorted to only worship the God who liberated them from Egypt. Prohibition against idolatry and against imaging God is a fundamental teaching of the Bible. While it is acceptable to discuss and describe God, any attempt to try to express a physical representation of the divine is considered idolatry.
The Torah asserts that believing in God is the fundamental of all fundamentals. As a result, Jews are commanded to believe in God. This is the commandment upon which lays the foundation for all of Judaism. On the contrary, there are and always have been Jewish atheists affiliated with Secular Humanistic Judaism. Nonetheless, the major Jewish denominations strongly believe that there cannot be Judaism without God.
Jews believe that there exists a single God, the creator of the universe with whom every Jew can have a personal and individual relationship with. They also believe that God continues to work in the world and He affects everything that they do. According to the Jewish faith, their relationship with God is a covenant relationship. God requires the Jews to keep His laws and seek to bring holiness into every aspect of their lives.
In addition, Jews believe there are no other gods. Unlike Christians, Jews believe God cannot be subdivided into different persons. They believe in worshipping only the one God who is above and beyond all earthly things, is Transcendent, and doesn't have a body meaning that God is neither female nor male, He created the universe without help, is omnipresent (God is everywhere, all the time), omnipotent (He can do anything) and God is beyond time ( He has always existed, will always exist). Other attributes given to God include God is just, He is merciful, punishes the wicked, rewards the righteous, God is forgiving, is personal and accessible and is not only interested in each individual but also listens and sometimes speaks to each individual.
The Jewish idea of God is of paramount importance to the world because it was the Jews who developed two new philosophies about God: There is only one God and God is both just and fair.
Buddhists do not believe in God. The Buddha like modern psychologists and sociologists believe that the idea of god originates in fear. According to them, as a result of primitive humans finding themselves in a dangerous, hostile world including the fear of wild animals, of hunger, of injury or disease, of natural phenomena like thunder, lightning and volcanoes, human beings created the idea of gods. The idea was to in order for the gods to give them comfort in good times and courage in times of danger. According to their belief, you will notice even today that people become more religious during times of crises. People will definitely confess their belief in god or gods because they prayed in time of need and their prayer was answered. This assertion seems to support the Buddha's faith and teachings that the god-idea is a response to fear and frustration.
Another reason why Buddha do not believe in a god is there lacks any evidence to support this idea. They also do not believe in a god because they don't think it's necessary. Buddha see each human being as having the capacity to purify their mind, develop infinite love and compassion and perfect understanding. He shifted man's attention from the heavens to the heart and encourages human beings us to find solutions to their problems through self-understanding.
The Bahia faith, a religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century in Persia describe God as a single, imperishable God, the creator of all things in the universe. They believe in the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of mankind.
The definition of god in Taoism is based on the idea of cultivating the Tao of your own life, your soul and spirits and other spiritual bodies. Statues are used in Taoism but it does not entirely mean to worshiping or praying to gods.
The existence of different conceptions of God and of gods cannot suggest that humans have strayed from an original authentic revelation. Rather, these conceptions are human constructions and reconstructions that reflect our own revelations, rationalisations, hopes, fears and aspirations.
This seems to explain why some Christians deny that Allah is just another name for God. It also seems to justify why Malaysian Muslims have made attempts to prevent Christians from referring to God as Allah for fear that this will threaten Islamic dominance in their country.
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