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Comparing Four Religion

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  • Pages: 7
  • Word count: 1520
  • Category: Ramadan

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The business world is ever-fluctuating. Economic status, population and natural resources of a country are typically thought of when a business owner considers international ventures. However, it is important not to overlook the significance of religion in business dealings. In various parts of the world, business may be influenced by Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and Islam.BeliefsThree of the four religions believe in a supreme being – God, for Christians and Jews; and Allah for Muslims. Alternatively, Buddhists adhere to the teachings of Buddha, who was a human that followed the path of enlightenment in order to reach Nirvana (Robinson, 2017). When Christians refer to God, they believe in a supreme being (father), a human named Jesus who walked the earth amongst us (son), and the spirit of Jesus that reappeared after death (holy spirit) (Steton, 2018). When Jews refer to God, they instead refer to one divine Supreme Being, not of this earth (Rich, 2011). Muslims also believe in one Supreme Being, although the name of Allah is used. Followers of all four religions have a basic set of rules that must be adhered to in order to gain entrance to heaven, or a place beyond this life on earth. Commonly discussed as commandments, precepts, principals or articles, these rules share the beliefs of not taking another’s life, no stealing, no killing and remaining faithful to God, Allah or Buddha. Buddhism is set apart from the other three religions in terms of its take on the afterlife. Muslims, Christians and Jews all believe that by living a virtuous life, they will gain entrance into heaven. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, which is a rebirth after dying (Robinson, 2017). A rebirth does not necessarily mean that a person with return as a human, they could return as an animal, a tree, or other natural connection to this earth.

A common practice amongst Muslims, Jews and Christians is prayer. Prayer may take place in a church, synagogue, or mosque building. Christians observe the Sabbath, or holy day, on Sunday and attend church services (Steton, 2018). Evangelism is often practiced by Christians, and is a means to spread the word of God to those who do not identify with any religion. Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on Christmas and his death and resurrection on Easter. Conversely, Jews observe the Sabbath on Saturday, and attend services at a synagogue. Celebrations of Bar or Bat Mitzvah are common and are held as a coming of age celebration for 12 year-old girls and 13 year-old boys. Jews follow specific dietary laws as a means of self-control and reminder of morality, as outlined in the Torah (Duignan, 2017). Buddhists follow the Three Trainings of Sila, conducting themselves morally; Samadhi, concentrated meditation and mental development; and Prajna, gaining insight and wisdom to have a pure and clean mind. Buddhists practice meditation as a means to achieve Nirvana, which is a state of liberation and freedom not of this earth (Robinson, 2017). The practices of Islam may be the most demanding of these four religions. Muslims follow what is called the Five Pillars in life: 1) Shahada, reciting the Muslim profession of faith; 2) Salat, daily prayers which are five times each day (dawn, midday, late afternoon, sunset and before midnight); 3) Zakat, giving of money or items to the needy; 4) Sawm, fasting during the month of Ramadan; and 5) Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca (BBC, 2011). Culture and MisconceptionsAccording to the Pew Research Center, the global populations of the four religions are as follows: 2.2 billion Christians; 1.6 billion Muslims; 500 million Buddhists; and 14 million Jews (Liu, J.). Although these religions are followed on a large global scale, there are plenty of

Misconceptions surrounding the culture of each religion. As previously stated, Christians are commonly known for their evangelization efforts. They are taught that they must spread the word of God through sharing and reaching out to others. Others may view this approach as being pushy, or even judgmental. Christians are also commonly viewed to be hypocritical, due to the practice of “confession” where all sins will be admonished through prayer (Crosetto, 2015). However, Christian culture is based on sacrificing for others, as Jesus sacrificed his life for them. Christians believe in charity, education, strong family bonds, and social welfare (Steton, 2018). During the seasons of Christmas and Easter, the spirit of giving is evident in various charity driven events commonly seen in the United States, as well as around the globe. The Jewish culture may seem mysterious to many who are unfamiliar. There are several misconceptions about Jews that extend from centuries ago, such as a desire for wealth, stubbornness and laziness (Eisen, 2004). However, these misconstrued concepts are derived from the Torah’s teachings that do not permit Jews to perform manual labor. The idea that Jewish people are out for financial domination is untrue, however Jews have made great gains in the financial world because of their steadfast belief regarding labor. The claim of stubbornness is derived from the many millions of Jews who refused to convert to Christianity (Eisen, 2004). A few of the celebrations of the Jewish religion are Hanukkah (eight day celebration of the triumph over the Greek army), Rosh Hashana (the New Year), and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). These celebrations are a time for prayer, and gathering of friends and family.Buddhist culture is typically stereotyped with thoughts of peace, pacifists and a general belief that they are all vegetarian (Buswell and Lopez, 2017). While there is no steadfast rule that Buddhists must be vegetarian, they are concerned with the ethical treatment of all living beings and vegetarianism tends to vary by region. Not all Buddhists are pacifists either, as exemplified

In the tradition of Buddhist Monks. They have been known to fight and defend their sacred temples and territory, and have challenged the British forces in the past (Buswell and Lopez, 2017). As Buddhism is adhered to as a philosophy, the concept of Karma is a part of everyday life. It is believed that virtuous actions will lead to pleasure, and that non-virtuous actions will lead to pain, and there is much thought placed into the notion of cause and effect. Also tying into this lifestyle is the belief in reincarnation, leading to the thought that nothing is permanent (Sampaolo, 2018). Followers of Islam are deeply entrenched in their religion, and it dictates their attire, social practices and in some cases even their governmental laws. The largest misconception about Islam is the theory that Muslims are violent. This is not the case, as Islam is based in peace, not violence (Chaney and Martin, 2011). Recent history will point to the events of September 11, 2001 as a reference for Muslim violence, however it was a minority number of Muslims that set out to cause catastrophe and a majority of Muslims world-wide denounced these acts of violence. Muslims are also thought of as a repressive culture for women because they are given less authority and are veiled in public. The veil covering their head, and in some cases most of their face, is a directive of the Qur’an, which stresses modesty and dictates the closeness between a husband and wife (Moore, 2013). BusinessBecause the United States is a diverse nation, many Americans may believe they have either a good understanding of different religions, or may feel that their beliefs are better than those of a different cultural system. These are thoughts based in ethnocentrism, and are not helpful when pursuing business with foreign counterparts. For instance, if an American Christian were to secure a meeting in the Middle East, he or she should be careful not to schedule this

Meeting during a holy time of reflection, such as Ramadan. They would also find it helpful to be flexible with meeting times, as Muslim business people will need to adjust work schedules for prayer (Chaney and Martin, 2011). Another consideration in working with the Muslim community, is that they are forbidden to deal in gambling, lottery or the production or sale of alcohol. Although Buddhists do not appear to have any strict restrictions when it comes to business practices, many Buddhists apply their ideologies to become successful in business. It would be important to understand the principles of humility, patience and enlightenment when negotiating with a follower of Buddhism (Butt, 2018). Along the same vein, Christians do not have many restrictions dictated by religion in their business practices. The basic tenets of being honest and fair are true for Christian as well as Jewish business people. The Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy calendar vary in each religion, and a business person would be prudent to not only take note of the calendar dates, but what that time entails. Fasting, praying and taking time away from work will impact any international business dealings. In conclusion, the business world is influenced by many factors, one of those factors being religion. In order to be successful in international business, a business person should have at least a basic understanding of the foreign region including the most prevalent religious practices. 

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