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BELIEFS OF WORLD RELIGIONS
ABOUT ORIGINS

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2. Beliefs by world religions:

bulletBuddhism: This religion teaches a range of beliefs about origins:
bulletThat creation occurs repeatedly throughout time. At the beginning of each kalpa (cycle) land forms, in darkness, on the surface of the water. Spiritual beings who populated the universe in the previous kalpa are reborn; one of them takes the form of a man and starts the human race. Unhappiness and misery reigns. This is the interval that we are experiencing today. Eventually, the universe dissolves; all living creatures return to the soul life, and the cycle repeats.
bulletLama Shenpen Hookham of Buddhism Connect writes: "The Buddhist view is that everything emanates from the Primordial expanse of Openness Clarity Sensitivity and is illusionlike- never really coming into existence, but the illusion is created by infinite intricate connections that are not anywhere and not in time. Time and space are part of the illusion that is emanating from that Primordial expanse - so it is all very mysterious. From the Buddhist perspective there is no problem with life on earth having evolved somehow - but evolution is not in itself a full story or full account of life on earth. It leaves quite basic questions left unanswered. In a way one might want to argue that Buddhism is closer to creationism because our world is created by awareness - the awareness of the beings that inhabit it. Evolution only gives a kind of history of how that illusion unfolds. 6
bulletChristianity: Christians hold a variety of beliefs which are described elsewhere on this site.
bulletHinduism: There are a variety of Hindu creation stories. 
bulletOne started with the sacrifice of the primal man, named Purusa. His body was the entire universe. The lower quarter of his body became the earth; the rest became the heavens. The various castes of humans came from parts of Purusa's body: his arms became the warriors; his legs the commoners, and his feet the serfs.
bulletThe Puranas, ancient Vedic books, states that universes form from the breath of the God Vishnu's breath. They last for the duration of one exhalation and inhalation. "With each breath, countless universes emanate from Vishnu in seedlike forms that expand. Then Vishnu multiplies Himself in as many forms as there are universes and enters into each universe." 1
bulletIslam: At least in the West, some Muslims allow for belief in theistic evolution. Iqbal Hossain, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Salt Lake said: "If you believe in God and in the Qur'an, you have to believe that everything that was in the universe was created by God. "If there was an evolutionary process, that process was created and put in place by God." However, others totally attack evolution. 2
bulletJainism: There is no creator. "The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised and should be rejected." They feel that no single being exists who could create the world. Besides, they argue, how could an immaterial god create a material earth? "Uncreated and indestructible, it [the universe] endures under the compulsion of its own nature, divided into three sections - hell, earth and heaven." 3
bulletJudaism: Jews mirror Christians in their belief about evolution and creationism. Orthodox Jews generally reject evolution. Rabbi Benny Zippel of Bais Menachem Orthodox congregation in Salt Lake City said that they do "not believe in or accept the theory of evolution. When God created the world in six days of creation, it was a mature world and mature creatures." 9 Conservative and reform Judaism generally reject creationism. Saul Korewa, a teacher at the Utah School of Jewish Studies commented: "You would certainly find many rabbinic authorities who teach that the biblical story of creation is a blueprint for what evolution describes in that it moves from less advanced organisms. I don't think that mainstream Judaism has a big problem reconciling science and religion." 4
bulletSikhism: The Real Sikhism web site states: Sikhs believe that God created the whole universe. Earth while being in the universe is a creation of God and all the life on earth is a creation of God. It does not matter to a Sikh whether earth was created in seven days or it evolved in 4 billion years. If the earth was created then God created the earth and if the earth was evolved then God created the evolution of the earth. In addition, Guru Granth Sahib (The Holy Scripture of Sikhs) states remarkable information about the universe, galaxies, stars, planets and the moons. None of the information written in the scripture contradicts with the scientific facts. Furthermore, nothing in Guru Granth Sahib can be disproved with the help of science. However, scientific facts support the teachings of Guru Granth Sahib. 5

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References used for the above essay:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Vaishnava Philosophy," at: http://www.iskcon.org/main/twohk/philo/roots/nature.htm
  2. Harun Yahya, "Books of science-related topics," at: http://www.harunyahya.com
  3. B.C. Sproul, "Primal Myths: Creation Myths Around the World," Harper Collins, San Francisco, CA, (1979), Page 192 to 194. Read reviews or order this book Quoting W. Theodore de Bary, Ed, "Sources of Indian Tradition
  4. Peggy Fletcher Stack, "Creationism sparks debate within many denominations," Salt Lake Tribune, 1999-OCT-23
  5. "Do Sikhs believe in creation or evolution?, Real Sikhism, at: http://www.realsikhism.com/
  6. henpen Hookham, "Evolution or Creation?," Buddhism Connect, 2005-SEP-15, at: http://www.buddhism-connect.org/

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Originally published on 1995-NOV-3. 
Copyright ©1995 to 2005 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Most recent update: 2005-SEP-15
Author: B.A. Robinson

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