National Paranormal Society NPS FOCUS June 2016 - Page 31

3. Chinese Folk Religions

4. Hinduism

Islam is the religion of Muslims, a monotheistic faith said to be revealed by Muhammad as the Prophet of Allah (God). There are many sects of Islam which often have divergent views. As with Christianity, they are a book religion and follow the Koran. There are five pillars of Islam that make up the belief system. These are prayer, faith (belief), care of those needy, fasting during the month of each Ramadan and a once-in a-lifetime Makkah pilgrimage. Worship to a Muslim is not just a weekly practice, but a lifestyle practice for all external and internal activities. All aspects of life may become a part of worship and submission.

Like Christians, Muslims believe in a devil. The two terms most often used are Iblis (name or title) and shaitan which describes one who is rebellious against Allah. There is one Iblis who is shaitan, however, there are other shaitans as well.

According to Muslim beliefs, Allah created three intelligent races: angel, jinn and human. Like In Christianity, angels had no free will, but jinn and humans do. Similarly to the Judeo Christian stories, God commended the angels and jinn to revere Adam, only the jinn named Iblis was aghast and would not.

One interesting aspect is that while the Koran does not allow for cruelty, many Muslims fear dogs as they are seen as impure or beings who interfere with prayer.

Chinese folk religion dates back as far as 4,000 BCE. It is composed of a combination of several religious practices: Conficianist ceremonies, ancestor veneration, Buddhism and Taioism. Traces of some ancestral neolithic belief systems include veneration of (and communication with) the sun, moon, earth, the heaven, various stars, and animals. For thousands of years the Chinese people have practiced folk religion alongside Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

Ceremonies, veneration, legends, festivals, and various devotions are associated with different folk gods/deities and

interfere with prayer.

However, Muslim animal doctors are working to expose this myth and educate that according to the Koran, there is nothing about any animal being cursed, or the need to kill the family pet during Ramadan. These are myths that come from the misinformed.

goddess. Excepted as a complimentary adjunct to Buddhism, Confucianism or Taoism, veneration of secondary Gods does not conflict with an individual’s chosen religion. The Chinese dragon is one of the key religious icons in these beliefs.

According to Chinese folk religion thought the world was populated by a vast number of spirits, both good and evil. Such spirits include nature demons (kuei-shen), evil spirits or devils (oni), and ghosts (kui). Evil spirits are believed to avoid light; so many rituals involving fire and light have developed, such as the use of bonfires, firecrackers, and torches. Evil spirits are also traditionally believed to travel in straight lines, and that also explains many curvy roads throughout China. But not all spirits are evil, some are just unhappy. As evidenced by the practice of ancestor worship, most Chinese people believe the souls of the deceased endure after death and must be kept happy by offerings and honor.