Religions of the World Islam the Evolution Reaction Paper

Pages: 6 (1825 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Religions of the World

Islam

The evolution of Islam has been a great one. From its initiation in the sixth century, it has gone through an array of metamorphosis and transformations that have eventually led up to the incorporation of beliefs in today's growing society. Islam started as a way of bringing peace to nations that were feuding over money, power, and resources. Because of this great conflict, blood was a common sight. As a way to bring resolution to what was beginning to be the normal occurrences, a set of beliefs were adapted. The beginning of a religion that is now associated with death and violence in the twenty first century, makes this history very interesting. Knowing that the point of Islam, as is with the beginning of so many other religions, was a search for peace in a world that was once filled with chaos and innocent death, applies so much to today's society (Hopfe and Woodward 345-382).

As the authors report, "Islam has become an increasingly important force in world politics" (372). Islam has gone from being one of religious affiliation and constant search for the meaning of life, to one where it is run by politicians and extremists. These groups of individuals have tainted the image that was once held so highly, and who once held so much power and influence in the world. Nations of occupancy, and billions of followers have now become to be known as "the enemy" to so many people who have been directly affected by the acts of those who do not even hold true to the meaning of what Islam is truly supposed to stand for (Hopfe and Woodward 345-382).

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The growth and evolution of Islam is of particular interest as it has become clear that despite the negativity associated with Islam, it is still powerful enough to continue on a sustainable growth pattern. Despite the violence and the terrorism that has become closely connected to this religion, it is only a small branch of this that actually goes through with the extremist views that Islam has to offer. From people searching for peace and meaning to those who are just looking for an alternative perspective on life, Islam has found its home in the lives of so many (Hopfe and Woodward 345-382).

TOPIC: Reaction Paper on Religions of the World Islam the Evolution Assignment

The growth into the modern nation has been due to the increase in immigration to all parts of the world, not just the United States exclusively. Islam populates a great portion of people, not just the typical Arabic nations for which it has become closely associated with. The powerful force that immigration has had on any religion makes religion a topic that cannot be avoided. However, with Islam, that has never held more truth. Every country has had some sort of Islamic influence. Arabic people are not the only ones living the lifestyle of Islam, but Muslims exist in countries that were once fully and mostly dominated by Christian culture. The stereotypical Muslim is not one that is associated with terror and violence, but is actually one that people might not even think twice about associating with Islam. The power that immigration has on countries is best supported by the Islamic nation. So many branches of this belief and so many individuals living different lifestyles all under the direction of one religious text and one religious leader, makes Islam a religion of complete and major interest to anyone studying religion as a concept. Islam is not just about the stereotypes associated with it, but it is actually about the text, belief, and influence that it has had, which truly defines what a religion is supposed to be like in the first place (Hopfe and Woodward 345-382).

Confucianism

Confucianism truly believes in the power of the individual. From thinking that every person is shapable, to encapsulating the power that each person has in becoming who they are, Confucianism has had very little change since its initiation in the fourth and fifth century B.C. The power that this religion has on individuals makes it a religion of admiration and empowerment. Very few religions offer individuals the opportunities to shape themselves because of their own thoughts and actions. Very few religions offer the opportunity to become a whole person without the absolute resolution of an outside power. Confucianism does all this and more. Its Asian background and collectivist roots, makes it one that empowers the person not just for the benefit of the individual, but as a way to benefit entire societies (Hopfe and Woodward 192-199).

By empowering one person at a time, an entire order can become great and benefit from the teachings that Confucianism can fully bring onto a social order. What is interesting is that despite the empowerment that these great values have, and the fact that it is associated and connected to the religion of Confucianism, it actually brings virtues that every man should strive to have. Loyalty and the strive for perfection is something that every man and woman should have, as they are virtues that can be greatly appreciated and could make an individual move forward in life. And even though it is technically a religion, Confucianism is a lifestyle. It is a way to truly value what is most important and to truly live by what is most simple. It is this aspect alone that makes this religion one that does not have to be associated with any God, to truly encapsulate its extrinsic and intrinsic value (Hopfe and Woodward 192-199).

Shinto

Shinto is a religion with indigenous Japanese roots. What actually started as a folklore, as a mythical creation myth to better understand the surrounding world of people, turned into a religion that many worship even now. Its original creation was rooted in appreciation of nature and of their immediate surroundings. It was a value for a non-material substance, something that was not just rooted in financial standing, but in what everyone had equal access to. Because it created an equal balance for everyone who believed in it, and because it was in full existence during a time where not many people had much, it created a whole new meaning to the power that this religion had on its people and the influence that it had on the creation of other religious institutions. The effect that this had was immense (Hopfe and Woodward 213-224).

Later religions were created from the basis of Shinto. Because of the influence that it had on other religions, but also the influence that other religions had on it, it has become increasingly important to those who still continue to follow it to distinguish its unique values and to associate it with the indigenous roots from which it arose. Shinto has been increasing and connected to more mainstream religions, such as Buddhism, that distinguishing the roots that Japanese have from the characteristics brought on by Korean and Chinese immigration and connection, makes this religion one that has to be valued for their deep affiliation and their determination to remain as close to its origin as possible. Because of this desire to distinguish what is truly innate to the religion and capture the roots that initially made Shinto what is was, this adaptation has begun to capture the attention of even more followers as they seek knowledge of where it was that they came from (Hopfe and Woodward 213-224).

Hinduism

Hinduism seems to stand out from the rest of the religions that are most popular in today's society because of its great influence and its unmistakeable origins from female deities. It is this concept that alone makes this religion stand out from the rest. While most religions come from the worship of a single male character or the collection of an array of male figures, Hinduism expresses its great appreciation of the female soul. Recognizing that it is from females that everyone comes from, female Goddesses have ruled over this concept since its establishment. It is not often that female characters bring meaning and stability to a religion, and because of this, the power and the fact that it is still an emerging and well established religion makes it that much more intriguing. Knowing that the same individuals that are many times downplayed in other mainstream religious households hold influential power in Hinduism, makes this that much more impacting (Hopfe and Woodward 77-113).

Because of this unique virtue, Hinduism is as much a popular religion in India as Buddhism once was in the same region. Instead of individuals moving toward a greater adaptation of the mainstream religion at the establishment of the nation of India, they chose to reform their beliefs and to bring more attention and worship to an emerging religion: Hinduism. Because of the great differences that they found and the wonderful worship figures that reign over the spiritual world, individuals seeking an alternative to the predominantly male dominated religious culture, can find refuge, if not relief, in something that is not really seen too often or… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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