The second part of our 'Beginners' series looks at the wide, and often confusing, world of religion.
From the very dawn of time, man has been seeking the truth's to many of the questions of his own existence. In his quest for knowledge and understanding he often turns to religion.
From the all powerful Gods that dictate how this great world was created to codes with which to live ones life by, man has sought solace and compassion from those beings he chooses to follow.
And in times of great peril or distress, he asks for help, declares war in their name, or simply blames them for breaking the fridge.
But what, or who is religion? Why are there so many faiths? And which one is right?
Find out below, with our handy guide to the 10 things you should, no must, know about religion....
1. Christianity was the largest religion in the world until 1953, when the Islamic faith took supremacy. Christianity is based around the word of God, and latterly his son Jesus H Christ. Islam is also based around the teaching of God, but a different version. One with a hat.
2. In popular Christian belief, Jesus was crucified on a cross and died there for our sins. But witnesses say he actually died some time later, after contracting a water-borne disease, similar to cholera.
3. The Bible (often referred to as the 'Good Book') is Christianity's guide to life. It was first published by Dorling Kindersley in 500 BC and featured artwork by several popular artists of the time. Written in a fast and loose style, the books (a series of approximately 39) contained many stories and moral tales, and was a first of it's kind to mix this with interviews with some of the main writers, such as Matthew, Mark and Luke. The magazine format never sat well with some, however, and a new version (often referred to as the New Testament, containing many less instalments, but at an inflated cover price) was written in AD 50.
4. Judaism and Christianity are basically the same thing. They both follow the same God, and both read the Old Testament (the first pressing of the Bible, see 3). But they disagree over certain facets and facts. Such as who Jesus was. Christians believe Jesus to be the divine and heavenly son of God, Jews believe he was merely an associate, possibly building the odd shelf or re-fitting the kitchen in God's house.
5. Buddhism, unlike many of it's counterparts, is a peaceful religion. The teachings guide the listener not to lie, to accept and understand all those around you, to live peacefully in your own existence and hopefully attain Nirvana, when all feelings of desire are extinguished and one is freed from the illusion of existence. Buddhists are easy to take out in a fight.
6. Not everyone believes in God. These people are called atheists. They will burn in Hell for their sins.
7. Hell is the domain of Satan. Known by many names, the Devil, Lucifer etc, Terry, as he prefers to be addressed, is not all that bad. He started his career working for God in heaven (see 8) as an angel. Known by his colleagues as Lucifer Morningstar, he became disillusioned with God's incessant singing in the shower and the hum-drum, mundane lifestyle he lead, and so decided to move on. However, he fell from heaven, whilst packing his case, and was immediately banned from returning by his boss. He had committed an act of blasphemy, the first of it's kind in Christian law. He set up home in Hell, with it's homely fires and roasting meats, and has lived there happily since.
8. Heaven is a place where everyone knows your name. The idea of heaven is held by many religions. From Valhalla to Nirvana, Swarga Loka to Zion, Heaven is a place of peace and tranquillity. Some religions believe you gain access to heaven after you pass on, others believe it is just a place where God's live. One thing is for sure however, there will always be cold beer on tap, and the pool table will always be free.
9. God is dog spelt backwards. Scientists believe this to be a remnant from Egyptian times, when they followed several dog faced Gods. No one has ever seen a God faced dog.
10. Fact flood!! God created man in his own image, he was no Brad Pitt! The little skull cap that Jews wear was invented at a party in 1908, the wearer emptied peanuts out of a bowl and put it on his head, whilst doing a funny dance. The craze caught on from there! Buddah was not fat. He was an expert long distance runner, and always ate healthily, but bullies at his school often depicted him with a rotund belly in drawings on toilet walls. These drawings seeped in to historic conciousness, and a fat legend was born! Praying is the third most practised thing as part of the 'before bed' ritual in the UK, after reading and masturbation!
(*) Satan maintains he was pushed from heaven, but no witnesses, and an unwillingness by his former colleagues to come forward for the stand, has stalled proceedings for some time, bogging the court case down in unnecessary litigation. The trial continues.
Tune in next week for The Beginner's Guide Part 3: Ten Things To Know About Classical Music.
The Beginner's Guide Part 1: Ten Things To Know About Space can be found here!