Essay on Religion: Religion and Middle East

Submitted By Breezygirl207
Words: 2140
Pages: 9

Religion
Question 1: What is religion, and what role does it play in culture?
Religion and language are the foundations for culture
The cultural landscapes marked by religions (churches, mosques)
Also see evidence in way people dress (veils, headscarfs) and personal habits
Religion- system of beliefs and practices that people attempt to order life in terms of cultural perceived ultimate priorities
Perceived ultimate priorities are expressed in terms of should:
Should I say this?
Should I do this?
Should I eat this?
Should I wear this?
Many religions have the idea that a good life has rewards and a bad life has punishments. Some religions worship natural objects, a living person with supernatural powers, or a deity/deities
Rituals and prayers are common in all religions.
Many mark important events (birth, death, adulthood, marriage)
These are expressed at regular intervals or certain times of day/ days of the week/ times of the year/ holidays/ astronomical events
Secularism prevails in some societies. In these places, religion has become less significant in people's lives. But even in secular societies, religion permeates art, history, customs, beliefs, architecture, and dress.
Religion is still one of the most complex and controversial aspects of humanity.
Question 2: Where do major religions originate, and how do religions diffuse?
Three categories:
Monotheistic- one deity/ God
Polytheistic- multiple deities/ Gods
Animistic- inanimate objects have spirits
Throughout history, almost all religions were polytheistic or animistic, or both.
Zoroastrianism was developed in the Middle East about 3500 years ago. Many believe Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be traced to Zoroastrianism. The diffusion of these religions transformed the world theologically.
Hearth of Greek philosophy is found on the northern shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Hearth of Hinduism is along the Indus River.
Hearth of Judaism is along the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Chinese philosophy hearth from Huang He River valley.
Many other philosophies and religion originate from these hearths.
Christianity and Islam originate for the Judaism and the Greek philosophy hearths.
Dominant religions by region found on pg. 198-199.
Universalizing- followers seek converts because they view themselves as offering systems of universal appropriateness and appeal (Christianity, Islam, Buddhism)
Ethnic- adherents are born into the faith and converts are not sought out (Hinduism, Judaism)
Hinduism:
Ranks third of adherents behind Christianity and Islam. It began in Pakistan, and is found mainly in India today. It spread along trading routs.
Dates back 4000 years, and has no single founder/theology.
Ancient practices are ritual bathings and reincarnation. Most sacred place is Ganges River.
Polytheistic religion
Main god is Brahma. The other gods are different expressions of Brahma.
Considered to be ethnic, but Hindus have migrated into Southeast Asia.
No administrative or bureaucratic structure.
No prophet or single book of scripture.
Fundamental doctrine is karma. This makes reincarnation important, as Hindus try to move up in life. The caste system is a social class system where people are locked in place.
Brahma is a major deity. (Creator)
Shiva is one. (Destroyer of evil)
Vishnu is one. (Preserver)
Most temples are devoted to Shiva or Vishnu.
Those who worship Vishnu believe that when he is reincarnated, the end of the world will happen.
Shiva's wife keeps him from destroying good. It keeps things in balance.
Buddhism:
400 million followers, most in East and Southeast Asia
Splintered from Hinduism over 2,500 years ago. First appeared as a reaction to questions about Hinduism's teachings.
He believed in enlightenment, or nirvana, and comes through knowledge. Focuses on the eliminations of greed, craving, and desires, along with the belief in honesty and never hurting an animal or person. As Buddhism spreads…