Study "Religion / God / Theology" Essays 551-605

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Theology and the Church: A Response Thesis

… Theology and the Church: A Response to Cardinal Ratzinger and a Warning to the Whole Church by Juan Luis Segundo

Liberation theology is a highly complex and often misunderstood topic, especially for those with less than a professional or academic interest in the Church. For the average member of the Catholic faith, the term "liberation theology" is layered with many different variations in meaning and overtone, from extreme visions of an armed Marxist rebellion to the simple giving of charity and maintaining an awareness of social injustice. The realities of what theologians and scholars are referring to when they discuss liberation theology is, if anything, even more complex than this view, and only slightly better defined. Disagreements concerning the proper perspective and derivation of liberation theology and its appropriateness in Catholic doctrine has formed one of the central conflicts in Church theology, politics, and practice in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Juan Luis Segundo's Theology and the Church: A Response to Cardinal Ratzinger and a Warning to the Whole Church does an excellent job of articulating the perspective of the liberal theologists of Latin America as the ideology was understood at the time of his writing. In a measured yet unequivocal tone, Segundo lays forth both the social and the doctrine-based imperatives for liberation theology and social activism on the part of the Church. His book, as the title implies, is a direct response to Cardinal Ratzinger's (now Pope Benedict XVI) condemnation of liberation theology, or at least of certain aspects of the ideology and doctrinal interpretation. The book does not read as a defense of certain tenets of liberation theology, however, so much as an attack on Ratzinger's interpretation of the theology.

Segundo makes this clear very early on in the book, acknowledging that while Ratzinger's "Instruction on Certain Aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation'" "means to respond for the good of the Church," Ratzinger fails to accomplish a fully lucid and meaningful interpretation of true liberation ideology because he focuses on "the negative and only the negative" in warning against a rising current of opinion, rather than systematically analyzing and understanding the basic tenets of the theology (Segundo 22). This argument provides one of the great strengths of Segundo's book; he does not merely attempt to define and defend liberation theology, but rather levels a direct response to the most recent official attack on the growing strand of theological and political thought in Latin America that is both more comprehensive and more persuasive than Ratzinger's text.

Despite the fact that he is responding to a doctrine released by an official body of the Church, Segundo's stance is strangely and powerfully on the offensive. He is not attempting, that is, to defend the principles of liberation theology so much as he is attempting to dismantle the reasons liberation theology is objected to by the Catholic Church. His use of specific claims of Ratzinger's "Instruction" from which to draw general proofs and concepts regarding the incompleteness of the… [read more]


Theistic Religion as a Fundamental Problem Essay

… Theistic Religion as a Fundamental Problem in Society

In contemporary society, religion is presented as a tremendously important source of human of morality in human life, spiritual comfort for the individual, and as the basis of much that is valued… [read more]


Religion and Pleasure Research Proposal

… ¶ … Religious Motivation

The Origin of Modern Religion

Religion in some form or another probably predates recorded human history as evidenced by ancient cave drawings and ritualistic artefacts associated with some of the oldest burial sites ever excavated by modern archaeologists. While it is unknown precisely what the earliest religious beliefs might have been, anthropologists theorize that they likely provided many of the same functions as modern religious traditions (Armstrong, 1993).

In the millennia since the dawn of modern religions, they have served the role of establishing moral guidance, psychological comfort, in addition to filling in for gaps in human understanding of life and the world we inhabit. On the other hand, religion, and religious differences in particular, have also been the source of tremendous antagonism and outright persecution and brutality perpetrated in the name of religion (Armstrong, 1993).

In contemporary society, religion often provides the basis of social structure, community, and moral values and rules. Religious institutions are frequently the source of local unity within human communities and they have been a source of informal confidential social counseling and spiritual advice.

Human Morality

Sociologists have long debated the source of the human moral impulse without much in the way of concrete evidence to support conclusions besides theoretical constructs. The advent of modern magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other brain imaging technologies have finally yielded possible evidence suggesting that the actual source of the human moral impulse is in our genetic code (Marantz-Henig, 2007; Pinker, 2008).

The Source of Pleasure in Religion

Religion is undeniable a source of pleasure in human life of a…… [read more]


Catholic Tradition Essay

… ¶ … creation accounts of Genesis as a basis for your explanation, what specific dangers/problems can arise when viewing the Bible within a fundamentalist framework? How would you advocate solving or addressing these problems?

One rather obvious problem with a literalist interpretation of Genesis is that there are two creation narratives within the Bible, both of which are mutually exclusive. In the first version, God creates humanity in a fairly impersonal fashion, and each day is spent constructing different aspects of the heaven and the earth. The second version, which details the story of Adam and Eve, is a far anthropomorphic version of God's creation of humanity (Albl 211). The composite nature of Genesis suggests that the Bible is not a singular, linear source of eternal truth, but a collection of myths and literatures of an ancient people. It can be used as a source of wisdom and profound spiritual reflection, but to use it as a literal depiction of the universe is limiting: to do so limits the spiritually creative responses of the believer to the text as well as forces an ancient text to do something it was never intended to 'do,' namely conform to the empirical standards of modern science.

This is the inherent flaw of creationist science -- it strives to merge modern scientific standards with ancient texts. Taking a literal approach to the Bible forces believers to choose between modern, life-saving scientific research and the spiritual comforts religion can bring. The best approach is to use the Bible as a source of ancient and profound wisdom and teaching: it instructs the reader in transcendent truths, not in the scientific method of how the world was literally created. A reader does not have to reject evolution or the Big Bang to be a good Christian. Also, by understanding the fact that the Bible was filtered through human and historical methods, ancient attitudes towards women become more comprehensible. A believer does not have to reconcile them with his or her own era and modern ethics of toleration.

Q2. Suppose that you are a faithful, dedicated follower of Hinduism (that is, a non-Christian). You meet up with a Christian who tells you that you are a pagan, and that no matter how good you are, you will go straight to hell unless you accept Jesus. Give your thoughtful response to this person. To support your beliefs, be sure to discuss the inclusive view of salvation, and to…… [read more]


Mormon Religion Specifically Polygamy Essay

… Mormons

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS) is an American curiosity. Founded in the early nineteenth century by Joseph Smith, Jr., the faith blends traditional Christianity with visionary fervor. The Mormon Church diverges so much from mainstream… [read more]


Pietro Dinato and Religion Essay

… Di Donato on Immigration, Faith and Labor

The countless individuals and families who arrived in America during the Industrial Revolution would find in the urban tenements, factory floors and slumlike ethnic enclaves an opportunity far more elusive than anticipated. Greeted with a life of hardship and bigotry, new arrivals in America during the early 20th century would find their sense of faith and their religious values challenged by the harsh demand for toil and little to no insulation against the worst of possibilities. So is this demonstrated in the compelling 1939 memoirs by Pietro Di Donata, entitled Christ in Concrete. Dramatizing the experiences of Italian immigrants during the Depression Era, Di Donato paints through a set of moving and devastating stories a life in which religion might either be taken as a luxury or as a last refuge against America's false idealism.

"The Lean loaded his wheelbarrow and spat furiously. 'Sons of two-legged dogs . . . despised of even the Devil himself! Work! Sure! For America beautiful will eat you and spit your bones into the earth's hole! Work!' And with that his wiry frame pitched the barrow violently over the rough floor.'" (Di Donato, 3) it is thus that quite early, and sparing no degree of rhetorical flair, the author introduces the condition of the immigrant in the United States. The idea to which many of us have become accustomed -- that the flowery terms used to describe "America beautiful" are rarely consistent with the experience of those who come in search of it -- is here induced as a major premise in the larger text.

And in the story provided by Chapter 1 of Book I, entitled Geremio, this impression is reinforced by harsh realities such as the labor conditions which the Italian immigrants here portrayed faced on a daily basis. The theme of religious devotion permeates the relationship which the author describes with the job, as though the performance of this labor was part of a covenant entitling his family survival for another day in harsh America. He explicitly states this relationship in Chapter 1, reporting "Blessings to Thee, O Jesus. I have fought winds and cold. Hand to hand I have locked dumb stones in place and the great building rises. I have earned a bit of bread for me and mine.'" (Di Donato, 6) Framing his life thusly, the author seems to view his spiritual faith as a validation that his struggles are justified and that his toil is ultimately rewarded. This becomes an important premise throughout the work, which remarks upon immigrant life as inherently brutal and demanding a total submission to faith as a way to persist.

In Chapter 2 of Book I, this theme begins to take on more complex proportions, as the danger and psychological suffering brought to bear upon the immigrant laborers by their jobs had come to represent its own encompassing being. The degree to which many immigrants must bow to and pray before the "Job" with utter… [read more]


Jainism and the Jain Concept Term Paper

… One author notes, "Mahavira likened karma to coats of clay that weigh down the soul" (Fisher 116). Karma forms the basis of the pillars, and Jains try very hard not to gather karma during their lives by avoiding violence, not accumulating possessions, and practicing autocracy.

They reach "eternal bliss" by following certain principles. The first is "Ahimsa," the practice of non-violence in all forms, "mental, verbal, and physical" ("Jainism"). Next is "Satya," which is always telling the truth. Next is "Asteya" not to steal from anyone. Next is "Brahma-charya" which is remaining faithful to your spouse, and finally is "Aparigraha" which is not being dependent on others, locations, and especially material things. They do not believe in excess or over-indulgence. These principles guide their daily lives and are extremely important in their religion.

They also believe that they can escape endless reincarnation by reaching true enlightenment, and they can reach enlightenment by reaching total perfection and denial in their principles. Essentially, the only Jains that reach this level of enlightenment are those who devote their entire lives to self-denial and religious study, namely monks and nuns. There are two separate factions of Jains; one requires monks to remain nude, while the other requires them to wear white robes.

In conclusion, Jainism is an old and established religion in India, where almost all of its practitioners live. Jains believe in karma, and that what you do in this life, good and bad, can follow you into the next world. Many of their principles resemble those of Christianity, but they are much stricter than most Christian religions, and much more Spartan in their lifestyle.

References

Editors. "Jainism." ReligiousTolerance.org. 2009. 28 Oct. 2009.

.

Editors. "What is Jainism?" Beliefnet.com. 2009. 28 Oct. 2009. .

Fisher, Mary Pat. Living Religions: An Encyclopedia. London: I.B. Tauris & Co., 1997.… [read more]


Person of the Holy Spirit Thesis

… Person of the Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity, along with God and Jesus. While all three parts of the Trinity are part of each other, Christian religions that believe in the idea of the Trinity stress… [read more]


Christianity Beliefs System Research Proposal

… Beliefs

Everyone has certain beliefs that they consider to be true. This, of course, does not guarantee that these beliefs actually are true, but the person is convinced they are. Beliefs normally come in groups, one building on another over… [read more]


Why Study Religion Essay

… Religion is an extremely controversial matter, with people from around the world both supporting and rejecting it. In hope that their children would learn about religion and its benefits, parents generally accept to have religion taught in public schools. A main argument for religion to be taught in schools would be that it can be compared to any other matter, since it brings up ideas and activities and it encourages children to think better and more efficiently.

Educators have been often reported of prohibiting children from expressing their religion while at school.

In the same time, educators generally support children in expressing themselves freely in various discussions. All things considered, it should only be normal for a child to express his or her religious beliefs, as it is not wrong for one to put across their convictions.

While schools had been initially controlled by the church, people have gradually distanced themselves from the institution. This is how secular societies have emerged. They became predominant in the western world. The public had come to the conclusion that there is no practical need for religion to have any connection to the educational system. Moreover, a large number of people believe that religion actually prevents children from receiving a proper education, as it distracts their attention from other, presumably more important, matters.

The U.S., especially, has a history of pure anti-Catholicism beliefs, and, it had not been until the second half of the nineteenth century that Protestants accepted religion to be taught in public schools. A main cause for their acceptance had been the coming of immigrants from southern and central Europe in large numbers.

Because lesser and lesser children are being taught religion in schools, they grow up without knowing some of the basic things about how they should behave in society, according to higher principles than their own judgment. Generally and regardless of the faith, religion teaches people to be kind and to abstain from performing any immoral activities. When hearing about religion in schools, most people relate to holy books reading and to school prayers. However, religion as a school matter involves very different concepts, as teachers have to teach about ethics and about how children have to act in certain stressful situations. According to the Supreme Court, teacher-led prayers are prohibited, since it would not be natural for teachers to force all children (including the non-Christian ones) in the classroom to carry out such an action.

The Changing Impact of Religion on the Sexual and Contraceptive Behavior of Adolescent Women in the United States journal article goes at proving that religion has truly had a beneficial influence on teenagers. Apparently, the…… [read more]


Faith Healing Research Proposal

… ¶ … Apostle James Mean by

"…LET HIM CALL for the ELDERS of the CHURCH;

AND LET THEM PRAY OVER HIM, ANOINTING HIM WITH OIL

IN the NAME of the LORD…"

(JAMES 5:14), and WHAT ARE

THE IMPLICATIONS of THIS… [read more]


Religion as a Positive Force in Eurasia Essay

… Religion as a Positive Force in Eurasia's Ancient History

When one considers the ancient history of Eurasia, religion is often associated with violence, conquest, death, and destruction. However, many aspects of religion positively influenced the development of culture from the years of 3500 BC until 1400 AD. Indeed, through an examination of religion's artistic and cultural gifts, it is easy to see how religion can, indeed, be viewed as a positive force, one that has had a lasting impact on contemporary society.

The artistic contributions of religion across Eurasia have been the subject of study for sociologists, anthropologists, and dealers in fine art for centuries. Komaroff, the curator of Islamic art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, describes the beauty, functionality, and inventiveness of Islamic art, including a perfume bottle shaped as a camel that Komaroff finds interesting because the camel is clearly recognizable, but incredibly basic. Further, the author writes that, through religious conquest, Muslim art embedded the cultural techniques of other tribes. It is possible, then, that because of religion these techniques have been preserved. Indeed, other religious contributions to the world of fine art include the magnificent Greecian temples and the Christian icons. In fact, Muslim, Christian, and Greek religions had a profound influence on art -- so profound that their styles and subjects are still mimicked…… [read more]


Christianity and Judaism Thesis

… Christianity and Judaism have close ties to one another through their common history and theology. . This paper describes the origin of Judaism and the major beliefs of this religion. Judaism's beliefs regarding overcoming the presence of evil, and the… [read more]


Isaiah 57 3 13 Thesis

… Isaiah 57 can be divided into three sections, according to the audience. The chapter addresses the righteous and those who have fallen into idolatry. The chapter opens with a message to the righteous, comforting them that they will have peace,… [read more]


Belief Systems of Christians Term Paper

… It is interesting to note that many of the angels have similar names in both of the religions, even though the Arabic names appear different. In both religions, there are angels with the names of Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael, and they are mentioned in the English translation of the Qur'an. It says, "Whoever is an enemy to Gabriel - for he brings down the (revelation) to your heart by God's will, a confirmation of what went before, and guidance and glad tidings to those who believe - Whoever is an enemy to God, and His angels and prophets, to Gabriel and Michael - Lo! God is an enemy to those who reject Faith" (2:97-98, Ali, 2000, p. 21). The Bible mentions many of the same names, which indicates how closely tied these religions are at their core. It says, "And the angel answered and said to him, 'I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings'" (Luke 1:19, New King James Version). How did two very different holy texts come up with the same names for their angels? It is one of history's greatest mysteries, and yet it shows the deep roots of both of these faiths, and their ability to learn and share with one another, at least at some point in history.

Finally, the two religions do not rank angels in the same way. In Christianity, there are "choirs" or different levels of angels, such as archangels and many other levels, like Seraphim and Cherubim (Neusner, Chilton & Graham, 2002, p. 17). In Islam, there are no "choirs" or different classifications of angels, but they all have different jobs in heaven, so there is order in their relationships. There are archangels in Islam, and those are the angels that share the same names as their Christian counterparts.

In conclusion, there has been friction between Muslims and Christians for centuries, and there have been hostilities between them for centuries, too. The Crusades of the Middle Ages pitted one against the other, and on the surface, it might seem that they have very little in common, except they are both deeply held beliefs. However, there are many commonalities between the two religions, including their strong belief in angels. They believe angels exist, they can fall from grace, they can be supportive or destructive, and they look over believers and help decide their final judgement. Angels play very important roles in both religions, as well, and they are some of the cement that could bind these two religions together if they ever make it that far in history.

References

Akbar, M.J. (2002). The shade of swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity. London: Routledge.

Ali, A.Y. The holy Qur'an. London, UK: Wordsworth Editions.

Gauss, J.A. (2009). Islam and Christianity: A revealing contrast. From Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved June 11, 2009 from http://www.cbn.com/spirituallife/BibleStudyAndTheology/perspectives/Gauss_Islam_Christianity.aspx.

Holy Bible (New King James Version). (2009). From Bible Gateway. Retrieved June 11,… [read more]


Reformation and Renaissance Term Paper

… Reformation and Renaissance

Renaissance Thinkers' Criticism of Religious Beliefs and Practices

The Renaissance was a series of literary and cultural movements in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, beginning in Italy and eventually expanding to other parts of Europe (Microsoft… [read more]


Christian Identity Movement and Mainstream Christianity Research Proposal

… ¶ … Christian Identity Movement and Mainstream Christianity:

An Example of the Problem of Fundamentalism

By now, the word fundamentalist has become of the household variety, as the attacks against the United States by Muslim extremists on September 11, 2001 evoked shock and awe around the world. Still, fundamentalists come in many varieties. Indeed, Ruthven argues that "fundamentalism, as it is broadly understood, has been the principal source of conflict since the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union collapsed, bringing the Cold War to an end with its attendant spin-offs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America" (4). In fact, members of the Christian religion -- who are among the most furious opponents of Muslim fundamentalism -- have fundamentalists groups of their own.

One of those groups is the Christian Identity movement. Although Fairley calls the group poorly organized, Tuft and Holleman list its numbers in the 50,000s and claims that the group is on the top of the FBI's list of most dangerous hate groups. But even Tuft and Holleman's arguably negatively biased article shows that the group has two sides -- that which blatantly engages in racism and anti-Semitism and that which displays a more moderate leaning toward basic Christian beliefs. Indeed, this dichotomy is indicative of this group's past. The Christian Identity movement has its roots in the theology of British-Israelism, which claims that the Anglo-Saxon race is composed of the direct descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel. While controversial, this philosophy contained "no real element of violence or racism" (Fairley para. 12). Today, however, the Christian Identity movement contains members of white supremacist groups. Although the Christian Identity movement explains its beliefs as attempts to rid the world of the devil incarnate, I believe they are not true Christians because they ignore the fundamental Christian doctrine that Christianity is for everyone and engage in violence, which is generally unacceptable in mainstream Christianity.

The Christian Identity groups have their roots in the teachings of John Wilson, who advocated the teachings of British-Israelism. Fairley says that even this movement was not necessarily a unique one in 1840, in which Wilson published his teachings. Instead, even the Puritans believed that the Anglo Saxons had direct blood ties to the ten tribes of Israel and were, therefore, God's chosen ones (para. 12). What Wilson advocated, however, was that there were two groups in the Biblical world -- the Jews and a "lost" people. Christian Identity theorists believe that the "lost" people are God's rue chosen ones (Fairley para. 12-13). When the movement came to the United States, racism began to become embedded in its teachings (Fairley para. 15). Today, members of the Christian Identity not only believe that the Anglo-Saxons are the chosen people of God and the most privileged race, but they are also closely associated with the Ku Klux Klan, as well as the Confederacy and a traditional Southern view of African-Americans, as well as an appreciation for slavery… [read more]


Fundamentalism Christianity Thesis

… ¶ … Christians

The prevalence and impact of religious fundamentalism among the peoples of the world has been of great and growing interest to the global community in the past decade, and indeed in the latter half of the twentieth century. As at various other periods throughout human history, the differences between different religious beliefs and the populations that adhere to them are playing a more prominent role in world politics, and the question of fundamentalist behaviors must be addressed. It is not only abroad -- and, to be frank, in Arabic and Islamic countries -- that one can find religious fundamentalism at work, however. Though Islam and Muslims, specifically those living in theocracies and dictatorships, have received increased scrutiny of late, fundamentalist sects are present in many if not all of the world's religions. Even in the United States, fundamentalist religious groups are enjoying a resurgence.

From the debate over abortion to the teaching of evolution in schools, religion -- particularly Christian fundamentalism -- has come to dominate and possibly create many of the most prominent political and social debates. In both the breadth of their involvement and the fervency of their rhetoric, these Christian fundamentalists show an uncompromising intolerance to other worldviews and an embittered proselytizing of their own that is characteristic, and indeed even the defining feature, of fundamentalism (Ruthven). But can any group or person who so completely fits the definition of a fundamentalist be considered a true Christian? Even on the surface, the tolerance, acceptance, and forbearance that are among Jesus' most well know teachings do not seem to fit with -- and in fact, seem diametrically opposed to -- the intolerance and even violent rejection of society and sin that seem to be among the most essential parts of Christian fundamentalist beliefs, calling the very label of "Christian" into question.

According to scholar and Christian Charles Hendrick, "Forgiveness of sins is one of the key marks of Christianity. Christ died to seal our forgiveness by God. We [Christians] are expected to respond by forgiving each other, and acting as a force for reconciliation in the world" (Hendrick par. 41). The condemnation by fundamentalist groups of various other individuals and sectors of the population who disagree with them are impossible to fit into this concept of forgiveness. One example of this is the reaction of fundamentalist Christian groups to homosexuals and homosexuality in general. It is certainly within their moral right to believe that homosexual behavior is wrong, but certain actions and statements made by Christian fundamentalist leaders go much further. After Matthew Shepard, a homosexual teenager, was killed in a hate crime, Rev. Fred Phelps attempted to erect a statue of Shepard with the date he "entered hell" and the implication that he deserved to be brutally murdered (Robinson, par. 10).

It should be quite clear that this does not fit with the Christian ideal of forgiveness; even after his death, there were some fundamentalist leaders who called themselves Christian who wished to continually… [read more]


Brazil in His Book, Looking for God Essay

… Brazil

In his book, Looking for God in Brazil, John Burdick addresses the issue of the Catholic Church in the country, how it manifests, and the fact that it is slowly but surely losing against Pentecostal churches in the country, represented most prominently by the Assembly of God church. Burdick's premise in the book is to search for reasons for the increasing popularity of Pentecostal churches in Brazil, as opposed to the waning membership experienced by Catholicism. Two of the most important reasons include factors associated with migration, plurality, and the psychological and social needs of the Brazilian population.

According to Burdick (vii), the most prominent manifestation of the Catholic Church, and also the basis of its former power, was in the form of Christian Base Communities (CEBs). These communities used their faith and the Bible mainly for political purposes. This is a direct reaction to the political oppression experienced by the majority of Brazilian citizens. Discrimination is experienced not only by the poor, but also on the basis of race, class, gender and age, as Burdick describes in Chapters 4-6 of his book. This leaves a need in the majority of the Brazilian population to find a basis of power from which they can both liberate themselves and that they can use for a sense of meaning in their lives.

According to Burdick, one manifestation of an attempt to fill this need is CEBs reading the Bible as a "progressive political manifesto" (Burdick vii). This means that priests viewed their role as community leaders as including uplifting them from their poverty and oppression by encouraging a political struggle against the force perpetrating such oppression. In this, the Catholic Church positioned itself as a beneficent authority figure to replace the hostile governmental forces of the government. Burdick notes that the basis for this position was that the Church operated from a higher social position than that of its members. The Church provided help and charity for the benefit of priests in terms of eternal rewards. In other words, the tendency was for priests to see themselves as both superior and separate from the congregation that they are helping to uplift. The focus was to provide help for their own benefit, although the rewards will only manifest after their death.

Burdick goes on to note that the Catholic community in Brazil at his time of investigation was in fact in the minority (Burdick viii). Indeed, there were many religious options in the country besides Catholicism. In most of the towns the author visited, the Pentecostal sector was represented by a far more numerous membership than the Catholic church.

In finding reasons for these, Burdick examines the specific religious solutions offered by both the Catholic and Pentecostal churches. Burdick ascribes the popularity of the latter largely to the fact that Pentecostal churches were able to provide people with something that Catholicism did not (Burdick 4).

One important factor…… [read more]


Christianity vs. Islam Thesis

… Christianity v. Islam

Christianity and Islam

Christianity and Islam have many historical, political, and even religious similarities. The former is the largest religion in the world, and its influence over the course of Western and even world history hardly requires comment. From the extensive reaches of the Holy Roman Empire, the authority wielded by the Catholic Church over almost all of Europe and other adjacent areas for over a thousand years, and the political and societal fragmentation and reorganization that took place during the Reformation, the Christian religion has for better or worse been one of the most decisive factors in shaping our modern world. In the modern era itself, however, Islam is one of the fastest growing religions, and has had an increasing impact on world politics and many domestic societies over the centuries. Historically, Muslims retained control of a flourishing society in Spain and the surrounding areas for many centuries. During the period of the Moorish empire, great advancements were made in mathematics, science, and literature that still have resounding effects on our society and culture today.

Due to the common heritage of these two religions and their combined influence on Western culture, it may perhaps seem strange that the differences between the two belief systems have caused so much conflict over the millennia of their co-existence. This can in many ways be seen as stemming not from true differences in the basic theology of the two religions, but rather on different historic interpretation of certain elements of the religion. Because of their common origin, the concepts of the arche and the cosmos are very similar in the two religions. There are some differences in these concepts, it is true, but it is in the areas of telos and ethos that the fundamental differences that have created the modern conflicts between Christianity and Islam -- or more specifically between Christians and Muslims -- have arisen.

First, to explain the similarities: both Christianity and Islam have a belief in one universal God or Allah, and this God is also the primary arche according to both theological systems (Smith 1991; Ibrahim et al. 1997). According to certain interpretations of the Christian Bible, God is literally "the word;" the substance of thought and/or idea from which the matter of the universe and all of its inhabitant were created. There are some differences in the concepts of God among the various branches of Christianity and Islam (neither of which can be considered a fully unified and rigidly defined system of theological belief), most notably the Catholic concept of the Trinity that holds Jesus Christ to be one aspect of God and therefore fully divine, whereas in Islam he is considered a major prophet but not a divine figure (Smith 1991; Ibrahim et al. 1997). This difference had led to major conflicts in the past, but it is not of as much importance now as it has been in other periods of history.

The theory of the cosmos according to both Christian and… [read more]


Roman Religion and Ideas About Afterlife in Petronius Satyricon Essay

… Satyricon

"Litterae thesaurum est."

(The Satyricon, sec. 46)

During the time of Petronius, who lived during the reign of the Emperor Nero, in one of the most reportedly "unpredictable and daunting periods of Roman history," the perception of the afterlife… [read more]


Justification and Sanctification Thesis

… Justification and Sanctification

"Because God chose it [the Bible]

to be this unique instrument and witness, it has always been since its inception a unique authority to which Christians turn for guidance and correction, and by which they measure all… [read more]


Influence of Spirituality on Restorative Justice Research Proposal

… Restorative Justice and Religion: A Significant Connection

An important component of most cultures, religion often impacts the way that a society is structured. Rules for governance, customs, and both formal and informal structure can often be influenced by a society's… [read more]


Islam Is One of the Largest Thesis

… Islam is one of the largest and fastest growing religions in the world, and its tenets have permeated the culture and politics of many regions of the globe. The religion is staunchly monotheistic. Islam borrows much from its predecessor faiths… [read more]


God and Government Christians Essay

… God and Government

Christians and Government

The separation of church and state that many in the Western world take for granted is far from a standard feature of government. This concept is not even clear-cut today, with such issues as the placement 0f the Ten Commandments in or immediately outside many court buildings, and even the portrayal of several religious figures on the Supreme Court building. But the issue goes much deeper than this, from political, theological, and philosophical perspectives. Regardless of whether or not a given government practices or even establishes a certain religion, early Christian texts have been used as arguments that obedience to an earthly government must be absolute, as this serves the basic interest of creating peace and harmony in the world. This view can be seen to raise many problems, and in fact there are many historical events generally regarded as good from both a general moralistic viewpoint and a specifically Christina perspective that would be considered immoral according to these texts.

Of the many contradictions that seem to arise throughout history in regards to this dichotomy, two are especially central to the history of the United States. The very formation of the country itself required an act of disobedience to the already established government of Great Britain. Many of the founding fathers believed that this action was not only philosophically defensible, but even that it was their duty as true Christians to establish a free government in place of the monarchy imposed on them from afar. Two hundred years later, Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced civil disobedience in his fight for the rights of African-Americans in an attempt to establish the same kind f freedom in an equal and unprejudiced manner. Few today would disagree with the morality of King's actions and beliefs, nor with their effects, and yet they can be seen as in opposition to certain Christian texts and even the Bible itself.

The Book of Romans contains one of the injunctions that Christians must show obedience to their governments: "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans, 13:1-2). This passage seems clear-cut and straightforward; it goes on to claim that the individuals in authority are the servants of God, and that wrongdoing against them is the same as sinning in the eyes of God. But despite how clear-cut the issue seems, like much of the Bible it is very much subject to interpretation and can be seen to change with the course of history.

St. Augustine of Hippo's theological and political work City of God is even more open to interpretation. It is much more lengthy and complex than this brief passage from the Book of Romans, and not everything -- or even most things --… [read more]


How Did Chinese Religion and Culture Influence the Religious History of Korea and Japan? Essay

… ¶ … Chinese Religion and Culture on the Religious History of Korea and Japan

Throughout history, the culture and civilization of China has exerted an enormous influence on the societies of its neighbors. The religious histories of Korea and Japan… [read more]


Colonial History Essay

… Colonial History

Subsequent to the discovery of the American continent, and, to the times when the Native-Americans posed a significant threat to the new-comers, the New World was opened and full of possibilities for anyone that wanted to live there.… [read more]


Traditional African Beliefs Thesis

… African Religion

African traditional religions comprise a melange of practices and beliefs. Some African religions are monotheistic, some polytheistic, and some nontheistic. Religious roles, rites, and rituals differ from region to region. Supernatural elements of African religion also vary, including… [read more]


Societies in the Classical Period Essay

… Societies in the Classical Period

Thought and Faith: Moving from One Culture to the Next

No matter our distances based on linguistics or locality, all men are the same. We breathe the same air, walk the same earth, and feel… [read more]


Predestination and Free Will Thesis

… Theology - Free Will

PREDESTINATION and FREE WILL

The debate over predestination and free will played a formative role on the evolution of different Christian faiths, particularly during the Middle Ages (Armstrong, 85). It remains one of the most divisive… [read more]


Role of Religion and Politics Thesis

… Religion and Politics

Religion and Candidacy:

The Debate

President Barack Obama's inclusion of atheists in his inaugural address spiked discussion, blogs, and even a lengthy talk on NPR. Some were thrilled with the development, while others were shocked and found… [read more]


Revelation Ethics Religion Essay

… ¶ … Revelation Ethics

Religion, by definition, is a matter of faith rather than logic. This is not to say that religion cannot employ logic, and indeed all serious theologians use logic regular in deciding what it is their particular religion wants. But at the heart of any religion is an essential leap of faith; a belief in something that cannot be logically proven. One way in which this faith is inspired is through revelation, where people see (or claim to see) God or other proofs of divinity, often accompanied by instructions specific to the individual or to the people they represent at large. When the serious and huge impact that religion has had on the history of the world is considered, the fact that faith is inherently making a logical leap, and that revelation is so supremely subjective, ought to give one pause when considering a sstem of ethics based on revelation.

Mass revelations are not a commonly recorded occurrence. To be frank, neither are individual…… [read more]


Studying Religion Essay

… Education - Religious Studies

THE MOTIVATION for STUDYING RELIGION Introduction:

Practically every known human culture ever discovered maintains specific beliefs about the origin of human beings on earth, their place in the universe, and the nature and character of a supposed supreme being called "God." Exposure to the religious beliefs of other cultures exposes a challenge to the most fundamental presumed truths of one's own religious beliefs and assumptions. Partly for this reason, religious plurality has resulted in more human warfare and atrocity than any other motivation. Still today, in many parts of the world, religious antagonism is the root cause of tremendous human tragedies.

The Psychological Significance of Religious Differences:

It is perfectly understandable that awareness of religious beliefs that, by definition, imply that all other religious beliefs are necessarily false can arouse profound psychological responses. For one common example in American society, the predominant religion is Christianity, practiced in numerous variations, all of which believe in a single Christian God who is the only God to have ever existed. Furthermore, most Christians also believe that they will eventually be reunited with their loved ones after their death on earth and that this is a specific reward of accepting Jesus Christ.

On the other hand, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, and many other religious traditions may recognize the historical significance of Jesus the man, while completely rejecting the belief that Jesus was the Son of God or that human beings reunite after death in Heaven. The fact that other religious beliefs imply the falsity of others, as well as the fact that religious beliefs tend to represent some of the individual's most fundamental elements of one's very psychological orientation can explain the degree of antagonism with which believers of different religions have feared and battled each other throughout recorded human history. Likewise, modern students of religion may gravitate to that course of study by virtue of some of the same deep psychological threat posed by opposing religious views.

However, instead of responding to the awareness of religious beliefs contrary to their own defensively, they focus their energies on understanding the evolution of human religious traditions partly to better understand their religious heritage and perhaps, to decide for themselves what to believe.

Concepts of Human Religion:

Beyond challenging specific religious beliefs, expanded awareness of other religious perspectives also has the capacity to change one's existing beliefs about what religion is, what constitutes morality in human life, and even the very character and significance of God. Despite their many other differences, all major Western religious traditions (in addition to Judaism) are monotheistic and conceive of a judgmental God…… [read more]


Chicano Studies Influence of Education and Religion on Identity in Two Novels Research Proposal

… ¶ … Earth Did Not Part /

Bless Me, Ultima

Bless Me, Ultima / and the Earth Did Not Part

It is not possible to read Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima, and Tomas Rivera's and the Earth Did Not Part… [read more]


Absolute and Ordained Power of God Research Proposal

… ¶ … Absolute and Ordained Power of God was written by Francis Oakley, and published in July, 1998. The main focus of the text in question is placed on the development of the idea of "the absolute and ordained power… [read more]


Zionism in the Biblical Jewish Tradition Thesis

… Zionism

The concept of Zionism is one with a rich history, and ramifications in social, political, and theological realms. Rooted in the Jewish tradition, it is a controversial position that some hail as gospel to the Torah, while others claim… [read more]


Spread of Christianity and Buddhism Essay

… The Spread of Buddhism and Christianity
Throughout history people have always exchanged goods, technologies,
ideas, and customs. Likewise religions were also spread out of their
homelands due to contact with other societies. This phenomenon also caused
several religions to no… [read more]


Religion, Hinduism Is Somewhat Unique Research Paper

… Widow burning and the caste system were for example seen as abuses from the British point-of-view, and these were modified accordingly. In addition, British teachers told Indians that Hinduism was not viable on either an intellectual or ethical basis. This influenced some to abandon their traditional faith in favor of Christianity (Fisher, 2005, p. 107).

In response, leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi arose to lead the further evolution of Hindu practice. Gandhi encouraged his people towards non-violent resistance and grassroots nationalism combined with an awareness of spiritual truth. By combining these diverse elements, Mahatma Gandhi became renowned not only in his own country, but across the world for his unconventional approach to oppression.

Today, Hinduism not only survives, but thrives across the world. It has taken many different forms according to the cultures in which the religion is adopted, but remains as one of the most widely popular religions in the world today.

3. According to Fisher (2005, p. 97), spiritual realization, also known as spiritual liberation, takes at least one lifetime, and possibly many. This is the process of both physical and spiritual growth that allows the individual to attain cosmic consciousness. In this, the individual reaches a level of maturity that allows him or her to leave the earthly life for good, and enter eternal cosmic bliss. Physical birth provides the human being with an opportunity to become spiritually perfect.

According to Fisher (2005, p. 98), spiritual education and therefore the path towards spiritual liberation was only available to upper-caste males in the past. Beginning with an initiation ceremony, a Brahmin male's lifespan could be divided into four periods: the chaste student; the householder stage; withdrawal from worldly pursuits; and finally complete detachment from the world. Each stage lasts for about 25 years. During the householder stage, the individual marries and contributes productively to society. At the age of 50, the individual is expected to begin the withdrawal process from society and from worldly pursuits. By 75 years, the individual withdraws completely and focuses only on spiritual practices.

Although few males today follow this path to its conclusion, spiritual liberation is still a prominent part of the Hindu religion. Indeed, many follow related paths such as Transcendental Meditation (Fisher, 2005, p. 108) in order to attain a sense of spiritual fulfilment that is unrelated to worldly possessions or achievement.

In the world today, Hinduism provides many with the opportunity to attain a connection with a version of cosmic truth and transcendence. In this way, Sanatana Dharma has passed the test of time many times over. It offers the individuals and cultures the option of flexibility within faith. The beauty of the religion lies in the fact that all life eventually becomes one with its source.

Sources

BBC (2004). Religion & Ethics…… [read more]


Islam and Christianity Muslims Practice the Religion Thesis

… ¶ … Islam and Christianity

Muslims practice the religion of Islam, a monotheistic belief that is based on the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, the final Islamic prophet. In Islam, there is only one true God, Allah, and followers of this religion observe the commandments of the Qur'an and the Sunnah. There are significant differences between the teachings of Muhammad and the notion of who Allah is. Is it noted that the Arabic word "Islam' means the submission or surrender of one's will to the only true God worthy of worship Allaah; and anyone who does so is termed a 'Muslim'. The word also implies 'peace' which is the natural consequence of total submission to the will of Allaah. Hence, it was not a new religion brought by Prophet Muhammad, in Arabia in the 7th century CE, but it is the true religion of Allaah re-expressed in its final form" (IslamWeb.net). This understanding is critical to the foundation of Islamic tradition.

No one prays to Muhammad; he was important, however. According to Southern California University, Muhammad ibnu Abdillah was born in Mecca in the year 569 CE and was a trader "known by his people as al-amin (the trustworthy one)" (SCU.edu). At the age of 40, the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad "with revelations that established his prophet hood" (SCU.edu). Muhammad taught his family about Islam and over the next 20 years, he taught everyone about Allah and lived as an example. Alain Besancon notes, "Muslims also hold that they received a revelation... not as part of a historical narrative but as the transmission of an eternally preexisting text... He does nothing but receive texts, which he repeats as if under dictation" (Besancon). In short, Muhammad is not adding anything to the text that was not already there. We can say that Muhammad is like a holy messenger from Allah.

Islam is a religion of many practices but those practices should not come before worship. For Muslims, Islam means "the worship of Allah alone and the avoidance of worship directed to any person, place or thing other than Allah" (IslamWorld.net). Once this is understood, it must be known that practices do play a significant role in the Muslim's life. The Five Pillars of Islam are an example of these types of practices that Muslims are expected to observe. The Five Pillars of Islam are confessing faith daily, daily prayer, paying alms, fasting during Ramadan, pilgrimage to Mecca. These five pillars are considered to be "anchoring points in the Muslim community and designated "pillars." Fulfillment of the Five Pillars is believed to bring rewards both in this life and in the afterlife" (ReligionFacts.com). Daily confession is believed to be one of the most defining characteristics of a Muslim. Those who wish to become Muslim must confess this before two other Muslims. Prayer is to be practiced five times a day and those in prayer always direct themselves toward the shrine in Mecca. While prayer can be done alone, it "carries special… [read more]


Religion and Politics: The Impact of Religious Thesis

… Religion & Politics: The Impact of Religious Affiliation on Voting Choices of Americans

RELIGION and POLITICS: THE IMPACT of RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION on VOTING CHOICES of AMERICANS

Although the separation of church and state has been long heralded as one of… [read more]


Influence of Shinto Religion in Japanese Politics Thesis

… ¶ … Shinto Religion on Japanese Politics

This work makes an examination of Shinto and the influence held by this religion on the politics in Japan.

This work intends to disseminate the beliefs of Shinto and then apply these beliefs… [read more]


Metanoia Is at the Core of Catholic Term Paper

… Metanoia is at the core of Catholic consciousness: usually conveyed as the concept of repentance. However, repentance is only one possible interpretation of the term metanoia, which refers more broadly to any change of mind or heart that positively affects… [read more]


Western Civilization Mesopotamian Religion Term Paper

… Western Civilization

Mesopotamian religion is the first to be recorded. Because they had very little knowledge on the universe, Mesopotamians believed that they were surrounded by water, and that the world was born out of that immense body of water.… [read more]


Spread of Christianity Term Paper

… ¶ … Spread of Christianity

In an age where the conditions were not ideal for most people, Jesus accentuated the Christian movement from reason to mysticism by bringing hope as a Messiah. His teachings and principles made a connection with… [read more]


Comparison on Sharia and Sufism Term Paper

… Islam: Sufism and Shariah

Islam is grounded in some core concepts which include Shariah, Tariqa, Tassawuf and Tawhid. Another concept that might also be of significance is Sufism. The reason for this slight doubt on its importance is due to… [read more]


Sikhism and Dasam Granth Term Paper

… Sikhism & Dasam Granth

SIKH STUDIES DEBATE-Explore the polarized academic debate surrounding the "Dasam Granth." What issues do the traditional Sikh historians and the critical Sikh historians put forth about the "Dasam Granth"? In the light of the polemical debate,… [read more]


Mexican Migration and Religion to the United States Term Paper

… Mexican Religion in the U.S.A.

2003 national survey on the Hispanic Churches in American Public Life found that 70% of all Latinos were Catholic, 22% of them Charismatic (Espinosa 2008). The rest identified with various non-Catholic denominations, such as Evangelical,… [read more]


Intellectual and Philosophical Roots of William Miller's Hermeneutics an Analysis and Assessment Term Paper

… INTELLECTUAL and PHILOSOPHICAL ROOTS of WILLIAM MILLER'S HERMENEUTICS: AN ANALYSIS and ASSESSMENT

The objective of this work is to examine the development of Seventh-day Adventist Theology and will do so through an extensive review of literature in this area of… [read more]


Non Canonical Books Essay

… Non Canonical Books

Introduction study of the non-canonical books, those books left out of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, stands informed by the books that were included in the Old and New Testaments. The question must be… [read more]


Philosophy Reason and Faith the Place Term Paper

… Philosophy

Reason and Faith

The place that the faculty of reason should hold in ministry has been a debatable question for a long time. It is generally believed that faith and reason are antagonists that cannot coexist in the human… [read more]


Humanities Death Rites and Religion. Throughout History Term Paper

… Humanities

Death rites and religion.

Throughout history and in all human societies, death rites have been part of the religion and culture. From the earliest times, ritual was involve with the disposal of the dead. Long before written history, primitive… [read more]


Church Government Term Paper

… Church Government

The Early Church

The Catholic Church Government

Church Government and Secular Government

Government and Protestantism

Ongoing Changes

Church government is a self-explanatory phrase for the mode of governance of the church, but the phrase has different meanings. The… [read more]


Religions in Africa Term Paper

… ¶ … religions in Africa. He describes the infamous movement known as the Zimbabwean Assemblies of God Africa (ZAOGA) which brought a revolution in the way of thinking and the culture of the Africans. More importantly the author David Maxwell… [read more]


Women and Islam the Western Perception Term Paper

… Women and Islam

The Western perception of Islam is of a religion that is especially restrictive of women. Christianity has had its own more restrictive policies toward women in the past, but the West believes it has evolved to a… [read more]


Lord' Is a General Phrase of Judgment Term Paper

… ¶ … Lord' is a general phrase of judgment that can describe the final eschatological judgment of the world, but more often describes any forthcoming day of judgment. What "day" is in mind is determined by context, not merely by the phrase itself" (Holding 1).

In Chapter 53:5, Isaiah spoke of the suffering servant, who "was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities..., and by his wounds we are healed." For centuries, this hope was held up by the Jews as the character of the Messiah and since Christ came, this description of Him has held out hope for those who have learned of Him.

The theologian Arnold Toynbee believes that prophets of all religions are the precursors of Christ and that Christianity may save Western civilization in a spontaneous rally of faith. Toynbee himself was a prophet of things to come, holding out hope for the future (Time 6). As Christ was the light and the hope of the world for us, we are the hope of the future of this world. As we and others have hoped for better times, we are the only ones who can really do anything about it. In the book Journey of Hope Reader, Stevens says that "each of us, in a sense, is called to be a prophet in the paticular circumstances of our…… [read more]

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