World Religions Essay

Pages: 4 (1304 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Hindu influences in America.

Although the United States did not receive Asian immigrants in large numbers until the twentieth century, Hinduism has had a deep and lasting influence on American culture, politics, and social life. The most notable example of how Hinduism has indirectly affected the United States is the influence of Mahatma Gandhi on Martin Luther King, Jr. In the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the late 1960s, the hippie movement embraced Hinduism via the Beatles and other cultural icons. From that social movement, Hinduism began to influence American culture via alternative spiritualities, the New Age movement, and widespread interest in yoga and meditation. Hinduism has left a distinct mark on American society and culture.

The Civil Rights movement in the United States was indirectly linked with Hinduism. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drew extensively from the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi, who first practiced civil disobedience and nonviolent political protest to drive out the British from India in the 1940s. King directly acknowledged Mahatma Gandhi's interpretation of ahimsa as the root of his own civil disobedience theory. The Hindu concept of ahimsa thereafter made its way into American political theory and practice, changing the ways citizens protest.

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During the 1960s, an interest in Eastern religions in general flourished with the hippie movement. The Beatles spent time in India and studied with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a Hindu spiritual leader. Subsequently, the Beatles incorporated Hindu motifs and musical instruments into their work. The Beatles were partly responsible for introducing the American public to Hinduism.

Essay on World Religions Assignment

The hippie movement's embrace of Hinduism had a long-lasting effect on American culture. From then on, Hindu meditation practices and philosophies have been incorporated into New Age and self-help movement literature. Yoga is now a mainstream practice taught at standard gyms and meditation is a recommended practice by conventional doctors. These trends stem from Hinduism but have been adapted to suit the American lifestyle.

Hinduism has had a tremendous impact on the United States, even though that influence is indirect and subtle. The Civil Rights movement and especially Dr. Martin Luther King, drew from ahimsa. The Beatles seized upon Hindu spirituality and music and brought those concepts into the mainstream. Hindu meditation and yoga practices then took root and are now part of the foundation of American popular culture.

Written Assignment Unit Two

2. Compare and contrast the general world views and major ideas of Shinto and Taoism. What do these religions basically share in common and how do they basically differ?

Shintoism and Taoism are often fused in the daily spiritual practice of people in East Asia. However, the two religious trends differ in terms of their histories, beliefs, and practices. Shintoism is the indigenous religion of Japan and has many shamanic elements. Taoism encompasses a larger geographic area and more closely resembles a philosophy than a religion. The two religious traditions do differ on some key points, but also share many elements in common.

One of the main differences between Shinto and Taoism is that the latter is less concerned with deities than the former. Shinto is characterized by its kami or nature deities. The religion is animistic. Taoism likewise has some concept of deity but is more fundamentally a way of life than it is an animistic belief system. A Taoist is more concerned with issues such as harmony and balance in daily life.

Shinto and Taoism also differ in terms of their concept of morality. Whereas Taoism is rooted in the dualistic concept of yin and yang, Shinto does not have a clearly explicated ethical code. Shinto practice is rooted more in ritual honoring of the deities than Taoism.

In spite of these differences, Shinto and Taoism share some elements in common that make them essentially compatible religions. Both Shinto and Taoism share in common a respect for ancestors, often interpreted as ancestor worship. Ancestors are prayed to and receive offerings… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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