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Question

In order to answer each of all assignments correctly please first you will use this required book.

• Required textbook “Experiencing the World’s Religions, by Michael Molloy McGraw-Hill “. 

Next, look at the file I have uploaded for you and read it carefully please it will have everything for you to complete the assignments.

Answer

Assignment 1

The definition of religion is extremely subjective. Traditionally, many people would define it as a set of beliefs guided by the worship of a god, rituals, a manual book or code of conduct. While these are the prevailing characteristics of popular or widespread religions, some minor religions will distinctively not worship a central god or have a guiding book. However, religion can be collectively analyzed on principle characteristics. These are a belief system, a common community, central myths, attached emotional experience, rituals, and ethics. This analysis will cover various religions and groups such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Native religions. This will cover the characteristics and make comparisons between different religious practices.

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Indigenous tribes are considered the largest minority group. Indigenous groups are found in all continents and characterized by common physical, social, economic and religious conditions. Essentially, this group traces it roots to the pre-colonial inhabitants of different regions. These people consider themselves unpolluted and undiluted by the factors that offset change during colonization. This population maintains a close link to the land they inhabit thus practice a huge part of their dominant cultural and economic procedures. The marginalization and exploitation that this group goes through especially on social and economic levels has served as their primary unifying factor (Molloy, 44). A few examples include the Aboriginal of Australia, the Maori of New Zealand and Ainu of Japan (Molloy 27). For the longest time, this religion has been ignored due to its lack of text guides and expressions of religion. Interestingly, even through their religious expressions are primarily non permanent, scientists are now looking to these groups from insights on the relationship between people and nature.

Indigenous religions remain threatened by the ignorance that often disregards it as a religion. Their sacred rituals are often described as peculiar and their culture as strange or evil. Societies and governments must take up responsibility to protect his group which is often persecuted and exploited. Evidently, even though this group occupies the places with the richest natural resources, they are often poor and disadvantaged even by their own governments. This should include the inclusion of indigenous recognition in learning institutions or other areas of travel identification which have posed challenges in the past.

Assignment 2

The question of two Bible creation accounts has caused great debate on the authenticity of the story and the inspiration behind writing the scriptures. In the first account, human beings are created last while in the second account they are created first. Even, though these accounts are significantly different, this difference is analyzed to originate from a point writing style and period as opposed to originality or authenticity of content. There are noticeable building themes in both accounts. The sequence portrayed in the first account is a demonstration of order and hierarchy. It also seeks to establish the work of God in creation with a basic concentration on the Holy Trinity (Molloy 359). The second creation is laid out as a concentration on the creations, particularly the animals and human beings.

The Bible’s depiction of immoral and evil acts by chosen people of God has also raised great debate. There are numerous arguments on the role that these stories are said to play in God’s Plan. On a deeper level of understanding, these stories are a realistic representation of humanity and the challenges people face while trying to find direction. In the New Testament, a good example is the life of Jesus who served people but was eventually persecuted and crucified. Even so, this has served as the cornerstone for Christianity. It is through this event that Christians identify with both punishment and forgiveness.

In Judaism, the difference between conservative and reform organizations has always following lines of ethnicity, rituals and ideological differences (Molloy 312). The conservative movement has always been rooted in beliefs of divine revelation and historical recognition. On the other hand, the reform movement is concerned with personal autonomy and choice in ideology or language. Even so, the lines between the two movements are interconnected and sometimes dependent on each other. While they both demonstrate their own extremes, they are linked in practice and significance.

The Bible is inspired by religious truths as its primary theme. At the same time, it is impossible to ignore the historical truths that are described by the Bible and have ultimately influenced religion in the past and even today. An example of historical factors includes the political structure that influenced much of the Old Testament. The New Testament was also differentiated by the different historical factors that were prevalent at that time (Molloy, 311). In truth, historical truths create context and simplify religious truths.

Assignment 3

Basically, the Jews persecuted Jesus and eventually enforced his crucifixion. The Romans and Pharisees also persecuted and rejected Jesus as the Messiah. Until today, Jews do not believe in the first coming of Jesus Christ. They belief that he can neither be born nor die. During the time of Jesus life, his proclamation to be the Messiah was met with a lot o violence and contempt by the Jews because according to them, he went against the laws and the Old Testament. Other main reasons are because they claim that he did not fulfill the messianic prophecies or embody the characteristics of a Messiah.

The split between Roman Catholic in the West and the Eastern Orthodox Church is also known as the Great Schism of 1054. This separation was caused by widening gaps in geography, language, theology and politics (Molloy, 272). The East observed the institution of Jesus in extreme divinity while the west had greatly humanized the role of Jesus. In addition, the West was dominated by Latin languages and politics while the East was dominated by Greek language and ideologies. Eventually, this split was inevitable, with many more denominations emerging from this period.

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The Roman Catholic Church was and still holds itself to great apostolic succession that spans over centuries. Over time, various groups began to question this concept and other theories on where religious authority lies, how a person is saved, the definition of the church and Christian living (Molloy, 382). Those who questioned the structure of the Roman church were persecuted and even ejected from the church (Molloy, 390). Eventually those who protested against the authority of the Roman Catholicism split to form the Protestants in search of a denomination that would accommodate other factors such as race ethnicity and philosophical differences.

St Paul, St. Augustine and St. Benedict played huge roles on spreading the gospel (Molloy, 399). Famously converted during his trip to Damascus, he changed his life and travelled while spreading the gospel to thousands of people. His ministry demonstrates transformation and forgiveness since he himself was a persecutor before his conversion. St. Augustine was a theologian and philosopher who influenced contemporary Western Christianity and philosophy. He formulated profound theories such as the original sin, a spiritual City of God. He famously propelled the theory of the Grace of Christ grounded in the love and mercy that Jesus demonstrated throughout his ministry. St Benedict of Nursia founded communities for monks. His main achievement is his outline on the precepts for monks. His rule which centered on reason, moderation and balance was adopted in Western Monasticism and of Europe.

Assignment 4

Islam is founded on core pillars and elements (Molloy, 431). The Shahadah is the primary declaration that acknowledges their deities as Allah and Mohammed. It forms the foundation of all Islamic practices. The ritual prayer or Salah is a daily and compulsory prayer that is recited five times a day. This is meant to focus on God and maintain communication (Molloy, 433). The third pillar is that of almsgiving or Zakat which required giving and sharing of wealth to those who do not have. This contribution is geared towards improving lives and spreading Islam. The Hajj pilgrimage of Mecca is an annual festival that expresses devotion and allows for the interaction of Muslims. These elements hold similarities and differences to other religions. They promote humanity, worship of God, following the outlined guiding book and service to other human beings. Notably, Islam is efficiently able to maintain its beliefs and build eternal loyalty to Allah, Muhammad and the Quran.

The concept of wahy is used in the Quran to expound on divine revelation. Wahy is used in pre-Islamic poetry to depict communication between God and the prophets. Within the Quran, the term wahy is majorly associated with Prophet Muhammad and the guidance he received from Allah to pass to the people (Molloy, 441). The main themes of this divine book are that of Allah and the expected loyalty for all Muslims. It applies styles of repetition and narratives to reiterate the basic theme of service and following Allah will. At the same time, Islamic art and architecture is characterized by common and repeating techniques of floral and vegetal designs collectively described as the arabesque (Molloy, 442). This style is a representation of the invisible, eternal and infinite nature of their god and their religion.

Assignment 5

Analyzing Buddhism requires understanding concepts of Karma, Samsara and Nirvana. Basically, Karma is a law on cause and effect. A person goes through a process of birth until they reach a point of Nirvana which is the final and eternal state of being. In this state, characteristics of desire and consciousness and suffering are nonexistent. The law of Samsara dismissed the individual unit or individual soul. Therefore, energy and feelings go through birth and rebirth in a continuous cycle. In this way, an individual from a previous life will hold similar characteristics and Karma from their previous life.

Theravada Buddhism is based on the Pali Canon. Originating In Sri Lanka and spreading to other parts of South East Asia, its applies a conservative approach and has become the dominant religion in this area. The monastic composition is a core part of Theravada Buddhism. Monks live in monastic communities called Sangha where they undergo training (Vinaya) to become full monks (Molloy, 147). Monks are required to refrain from indulgences such as alcohol and drugs, sexual activities, harming living things and wrongful speech. Meditation forms a huge part of their training and is identified as the only way to attain wisdom and clarity.  Of particular interest, the Mahayana philosophy is designed on a three body doctrine on Buddha: the Dharmakaya, the Sambhoga-kaya, and the Nirmana-kaya. The Dharmakaya body is place of enlightenment and truth. The Sambhoga-kaya feels the bliss and completeness of enlightenment. It is thought of as a period of transition and a state of rewards for good conduct and wisdom. The Nirmana-kaya is the initial body in which a Buddha is born in and uses before they attain enlightenment (Molloy, 148).

The art and architecture of Japan is widely influenced by Buddhist and Chinese forces. Buddhism was spread in Japan starting from the sixth century. Buddhist art and sculptures became popular among the affluent Japanese. As more monasteries and temples were set up, Buddhist techniques became dominant in Japanese art (Molloy, 149). At the same time, Chinese art has evolved into a combination of local and Buddhist techniques which were also assimilated into Japanese art.

Evidently, religions all around the world hold similar and different characteristics. These aspects are influenced by politics, socialization historical influences. It is important that we understand the major religions such as Christianity and Islam and how they affect political and social structures. At the same time, it is equally important to understand and recognize other minority religions such as Indigenous groups. All religions should be preserved and protected while they remain fair and nondiscriminatory.

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