Different faiths at Westminster
Religions come in many varieties and the explanations of these different faiths can cause confusion. We've attempted to demystify the various faiths that are observed within the University and provide some basic overviews of the main faiths represented here.
Based on the teachings of Buddha, the awakened one, there are two major branches: Theravada (realisation of the true nature of reality) and Mahayana (path to enlightenment). Mindfulness and meditation are an essential part of Buddhism, which are actively encouraged as part of one's whole well-being.
Based on the faith in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and holding as the revealed Word of God, the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament which make up the Bible. There are three main groups: Orthodox, Catholic and the Reformed Churches, which together form the world's largest group of believers. Christian discipleship calls the whole person and all of society to continual transformation, especially through the witness of self-giving love and service in the example of Jesus Christ.
Based on the Veda scriptures, it encompasses diverse traditions without a single founder. Other notable texts are the Upanishads, the Mahabharata (at the end of which is the Bhagavad Gita) and the Ramayana. Hinduism expounds the principle of non-violence to all beings (as does Buddhism) and so its followers are strict vegetarians.
Based on the revelation (Quran) and tradition (Sunnah) of Muhammad, Islam provides a comprehensive way of life from spirituality and worship, to economics and politics. There are different sects who follow Islam. The majority identify as Sunni Muslims however a substantial number identify as Shia Muslims. There are also various other sects who identify as Muslims.
Based on the words of Moses in the Torah (first five books of the Bible), and later texts such as the Talmud. It is the oldest of the three Abrahamic faiths, the others being Christianity and Islam. It also has an esoteric tradition called the Kabbalah, and more recently Humanistic movements.
Based on the teaching of Guru Nanak and ten successors, and the scriptures Adi Granth, Dasam Granth and the Janamsakhis. The practice, commonly associated with wearing a turban, is actually distinguished by the wearing of the five Ks: kes (uncut hair), kanga (small comb), kara (iron bracelet), kirpan (dagger) and kaccha (undergarment).
Other world religions
Other world religions recognised in the University's Religion and Belief Policy, but not currently supported, include: Baha'i, Confucianism, Jainism, Rastafarianism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism. Information about these, as well as Gnosticism, Paganism, Neoshamanism, Vodun or any New Religious Movement (NRM), is available on request. Secular humanist perspectives and other ethical movements are also considered as they share common ground with theistic beliefs.