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Religion Chapter 1
Religion “a system of beliefs and practices that attempts to order life in terms of culturally perceived ultimate priorities. ” - Stoddard and Prorak “perceived ultimate priorities” often translate into a list of things a follower “should” do and ways a follower “should” behave.
• Religion lies at the heart of nationalism-e. g. Middle East, Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kashmir, Afghanistan, etc. • Religion in many nonwestern areas practically constitutes culture. • Religious cultural landscapes-churches, temples, mosques, shrines, cemeteries, statues, veils, turbans, beards and scars
Key Characteristics of Religion • Set of doctrines or beliefs relating to a god or gods. • Structure or hierarchy of officials • Rituals for: – – – Birth Death Reaching adulthood Marriage Prayer Routine services on a Fri, Sat. or Sun.
• Impact of religioncalendars, holidays, architecture, place names, slogans on coins or flags. • A major forces in combating social ills and promoting – Education – Medicine and health care – The arts • But also – – Blocked scientific study Oppressed dissidents Supported imperialism Kept women inferior
Religions are divided into • Branches-a large and fundamental division within a religion-such as Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox branches of Christianity. • Denomination-a division or a branch that unites a number of local congregations into a single administrative body. Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist denominations of Protestantism • Sect-has several meanings– – A relatively small group that broke away from an bigger group or An organized ecclesiastical body or A dissenting or schismatic religious body or A religious denomination-such as sects of Islam
Classifications of Religions • Universalizing religions – religions that actively seek converts because members believe they offer belief systems of universal appropriateness and appeal. • Ethnic religions – religions whose adherents are born into the faith and whose members do not actively seek converts.
Classifications of Religions • Monotheistic religions – worship a single deity. • Polytheistic religions – worship more than one deity, even thousands. • Animistic religions – belief that inanimate objects posses spirits and should be revered.
Religious Typology • Monotheistic-belief in 1 god • Polytheistic-belief in many • Animistic-objects have spirits-trees, mountains, rivers • Global or Universal-found all over the world-seek converts -aim to be universal • Evangelical-religions that seek new converts • Cultural religion-limited to a national culture or a single region-Shinto, Daoism, etc.
Religions of the World • Shamanism – a community faith tradition in which people follow their shaman, a religious leader, teacher, healer, and visionary.
Shamanism & Traditional Religions • Community faith and traditional religion which centers around a shamanreligious leader, healer, visionary. • Small isolated groups in Africa, SE Asia, East Asia and Native America • Traditional religions in Africa believe in a god creator and provider as well as spirits and an afterlife.
Where did the Major Religions of the World Originate, and How do Religions Diffuse?
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage • Sacred Sites places or spaces people infuse with religious meaning. • Pilgrimage purposeful travel to a religious site to pay respects or participate in a ritual at the site.
From the Hearth of South Asia • Hinduism – originated in Indus River Valley over 4000 years ago. * ritual bathing, karma, reincarnation sacred text: Vedas sacred sites: Ganges River social manifestation: caste system diffusion: through South Asia and into Southeast Asia
Hinduism • Ranks next in size after Islam, but it the oldest organized religion. • No bureaucracy-but does have holy men. • Vedas or stories, but not a book like the Qu’ran, Bible or Torah. • Concentrated in South Asian hearth. • Polytheistic-thousands of gods-many cults-much fragmentation.
Sacred Landscapes of Hinduism – pilgrimages follow prescribed routes, and rituals are followed by millions. Varanasi, India on the Ganges River where Hindus perform morning rituals.
• The Ganges is a sacred river to Hindus, a symbol of life without end. Pilgrims come from all over to bathe in its holy waters.
Hindu Temple – Angkor Wat, Cambodia. This temple suffers from neglect and destruction now, as Buddhism has supplanted Hinduism in most of Cambodia.
Disposition of the Deceased Each religion approaches the disposition of the deceased in different ways, and cultural landscapes reflect the religious traditions. Hindu crematorium in Mombasa, Kenya
• As Shiva destroys the Universe with fire, Hindus cremate their dead.
From the Hearth of South Asia • Buddhism – splintered from Hinduism 2500 years ago. Originated in a region from Nepal south to the Ganges River area. * anyone can achieve salvation, reach enlightenment founder: Siddartha Gautama (the Buddha) sacred sites: stupas diffusion: most strongly into Tibet in the north and into East Asia
Buddhism • Originated in India as a reform movement of Hinduism. • Founded by Siddhartha Gautama or the Buddha in 5 th cent. BC. • A strongly regional faith-it remains strong in SE Asia, China and Japan, but died out in India. • Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path are the guiding principles.
Buddhism is mixed with local religions in some places. In Japan, Buddhism is mixed with the local religion, Shintoism. Shinto Shrine In Kyoto, Japan, this Shinto shrine is visible after walking through a torii – a gateway usually formed by two wooden posts and topped by two horizontal beams.
Buddhist Stupas 72 stupas, each containing a sculpture of the Buddha in meditation were built around 800 CE and still stand in Borobudur, Indonesia.
Sacred Landscapes of Buddhism Swedogon Pagodo in Yangon, Myanmar Eight hairs of the Buddha are preserved under the dome (chedi)
• Buddhism came to Tibet from India in the 8 th century. Tibetan Buddhism is a mixture of Tantric and other Mahayana teachings developed further by spiritual leaders or monks called lamas. • A prayer wheel contains a mantra, a prayer or chant that is repeated many times. Each turn of the wheel counts as a prayer said and merit gained.
Shintoism • A Japanese ethnic religion based on animism and shamanism. • Was modified by introduction of Buddhismclosely related today-many Japanese practice both. • Reverence for nature and the land-emperor seen as divine. • Belief in kami or spirits • Used by militants as a nationalistic religion in 1930 s to unify the country in war time.
From the Hearth of Huang He (Yellow) River Valley • Taoism – originated in China more than 2500 years ago * oneness of humanity and nature founder: Lao-Tsu sacred text: “Book of the Way” social manifestation: Feng Shui diffusion: East Asia
Chinese Religions • Confucianism-mainly a philosophy of life founded by K’ung Fu-tze in 6 th cent. BC • Became a state religion of China-emphasized duty, social order and respect of others • Daoism or Taoism “the Way” founded by Lao Zi, a reverence and harmony with nature-easily coexisted with Confucianism and Buddhism
From the Hearth of the Eastern Mediterranean • Judaism – originated in Southwest Asia about 4000 years ago. * first major monotheistic religion, covenant between God (one God) and Abraham (the chosen people) sacred text: Torah founder: Abraham sacred sites: Jerusalem (Western Wall), land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River social manifestation: Zionism diffusion: into European cities during the diaspora, into N. America during WWII, into Israel over last 50 years
Judaism • One of the world’s oldest religions • Monotheistic religion that evolved in Southwest Asia • 3 branches-Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed • Not evangelical-does not seek converts • Concentrated in Israel, but widely scattered in Middle East, North Africa, Russia, Ukraine, Europe and the Americas
Sacred Sites of Jerusalem is sacred to three major religions: Judaism (Western Wall) Christianity (Church of the Holy Sepulchre) Islam (Dome of the Rock)
Jewish neighborhoods in European Cities the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, the Czech Republic