Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

Ihave never un­der­stood what religion is and why it is so im­por­tant to so many peo­ple. Well, when I say ‘never', what I prob­a­bly mean is ‘ever since I be­gan to think for my­self' round about the time I went to univer­sity.

Religion is dif­fer­ent for dif­fer­ent peo­ple and cul­tures. Religion at­tempts to give an­swers and ex­pla­na­tions in hu­man terms to the mys­ter­ies of life; how and why the world was cre­ated, why there is life and death, what hap­pens when peo­ple die and why there is so much suf­fer­ing. Religion is a way of ex­plain­ing a supreme power that cre­ated the world and all liv­ing be­ings. Religion de­scribes a di­men­sion be­yond the phys­i­cal world: the spir­i­tual world.

Re­li­gions have codes of be­hav­iour on how to lead a good life on Earth and in an af­ter­life, con­tained in sa­cred doc­u­ments or passed down through oral tra­di­tion. Re­li­gions have ways of wor­ship­ing the cre­ator that has power over the world and peo­ple's lives. Re­li­gions show their dis­ci­ples how to pay re­spect and draw in­spi­ra­tion from spir­i­tual lead­ers. Wor­ship in­cludes prayers of thanks, hopes, or sup­pli­ca­tion for help. Wor­ship in­volves sa­cred ob­jects and im­ages.

World re­li­gions can be di­vided into two groups – East­ern and West­ern faiths. The East­ern tra­di­tions of Hin­duism and Bud­dhism be­gan in In­dia. Chris­tian­ity, Ju­daism and Is­lam be­gan in the Mid­dle East. Other faiths were spin-offs from these main re­li­gions. As of 2014, there were an es­ti­mated 4,200 dif­fer­ent re­li­gions in the world that can be cat­e­go­rized into sev­eral main re­li­gions. These in­clude Chris­tian­ity, Ro­man Catholi­cism, Is­lam, Hin­duism, Bud­dhism and Ju­daism, al­though Ro­man Catholi­cism is of­ten cat­e­go­rized un­der Chris­tian­ity. There are many smaller yet still preva­lent re­li­gions such as the Baha'i faith.

Chris­tians be­lieve that Christ is the lit­eral Son of God and that he rose from the tomb three days af­ter be­ing cru­ci­fied. Chris­tians be­lieve that all can have eter­nal life. Like Chris­tians, Jews be­lieve in one God. The prophet, Abra­ham, was the first leader, but many other prophets fol­lowed. Is­lam also be­gan in the Mid­dle East and Mus­lims too be­lieve in only one God, Al­lah.

Bud­dhism, which orig­i­nated in In­dia in the 6th cen­tury BC, teaches that we suf­fer be­cause of our de­sires. Once hu­mans reach a point where they no longer de­sire things, they are free from suf­fer­ing and en­ter a state of peace. Orig­i­nat­ing in In­dia in 1750 BC, Hin­duism fol­lows no spe­cific set of scrip­tures. Hin­dus be­lieve in many gods, and also be­lieve that when peo­ple die, their souls are re­born in a new body.

So there you have it folks, a de­lec­ta­ble spread of re­li­gious del­i­ca­cies to choose from. And if you don't like the choice you make, you can al­ways move on to the next one, un­less of course your first choice religion de­cides to ex­com­mu­ni­cate you, pun­ish you or even ex­e­cute you for deny­ing your orig­i­nal religion which, con­sid­er­ing all that love and char­ity float­ing around, seems a bit un­fair, but con­sid­er­ing again all the wars and may­hem religion has caused through the cen­turies, might af­ter all seem rea­son­able.

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