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  • 1. Belief Systems in World Civilizations The Classical Period (1000 B.C.E.-500C.E.) Belief System Origin/Date Spread Polytheism Earliest Religion across all culture regions. Continued in areas that had not been evangelized by Christianity and Islam. Belief in many gods/spirits. Gods personifications of nature Animism Examples: Sumerian, Shang, Greek, Roman, Germanic, Mayan, Aztec, and African Religions Modern Religion: Hinduism Rise of a Priest Caste that controlled people. Zoroastrianism Zoroaster aka Zarathustra 500s BCE Persia Teachings written in the Avestas. Worship Ahura Mazda and later add his son Mithras Struggle between good and evil that man’s actions add to one side or the other. Good will eventually triumph over Evil Good go to Heaven, Evil to Hell. Remained in Persia, however did influence Judaism and in turn Christianity. Still remains today, though in small numbers, Parsis. Judaism Hebrews, Ancient Israelites First writings between 1000 and 800 BCE Land of Canaan, Ancient Israel, Babylon during the captivity; Diaspora 130s CE by the Romans, Middle East, North Africa, and Europe One God Chosen people through a special relationship with God. Covenant with Abraham Messiah to come Beliefs set forth in Torah, Mosaic Law, and Talmud, collection of oral laws Patriarchal Promote the ethics of the prophets First monotheistic religion Greatly influenced Christianity and Islam No widespread hierarchical structure Christianity Teachings of Jesus, 30s CE Spread to Non-Jews by Paul From Palestine throughout the Roman world including Byzantine Empire and northern Europe Tenets Significance One God Jesus as Messiah Through God’s grace people are saved through gift of faith in Jesus Christ. Through this faith, sins are forgiven and receive eternal life. Gospels as main source of teachings of Jesus. Large body of later writings develop to interpret and build on original teachings (Paul, Church Fathers) Share message with unconverted. Slavery, Moses, Exodus, Joshua Ruled by Judges, then Kings Persecuted by the Romans. All souls equal before God appealed to low class and women who helped spread faith. Legalized by Constantine in late 300s o Established Bible, nature of Christ and the trinity. Strong monastic element, monks preserve Greek and Roman learning after fall of Rome. Strong missionary outreach. Strong universal hierarchical structure and discipline.
  • 2. Exclusive religion. Islam Muhammad, early 600s CE From Arabian peninsula throughout Middle East to w. India, w. China, subSaharan Africa, and Moorish enclaves in Spain. Confucianism China, Confucius 500s BCE (Analects) and Mencius 300s BCE China As Roman Catholic Church power of the papacy came to rival European emperors and kings. Schism 1054, split over leadership and some tenets One God, Allah. Muhammad ordered to recite the words of God by angel Gabriel. Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets (Abraham, Jesus, Muhammad) 5 Pillars of Islam “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.” Pray 5x a day facing Kaaba in Mecca. Charity Fasting during Ramadan Pilgrimage to Mecca once in lifetime. Original teachings recorded in Quran Based on jen, quality that relates all people to one another, sympathy Humaneness Filial Piety; family as the teacher of social roles, family as extension of the state; 5 relationships Ruler/subject, Parent/Child, Husband/Wife, Older/Younger Brother, Friend/Friend. Belief people are inherently good. Created tight communities. Split into Sunni and Shi’a sects Sunni=modern majority, originally adherents to Umayyad family. Shi’ites originally followers of Ali Development of Sharia, law code for many Islamic nations Lack of hierarchical structure. Muhammad was political leader and religious leader rather than Christianity’s rise to leadership after 200 years. Philosophical and ethical system of conduct, not a religion Dominant influence in Chinese government, education and scholarship for 2,000 years Knowledge of Confucianism the basis for civil service Conservative influence, accepted status quo Mandate of heaven Ancestor worship Created order Compatible with other religions Evolved within Chinese culture, so does not spread very far beyond China
  • 3. Legalism Qin China, Han Feizi Within China as an alternative to Confucianism and Daoism Peace/order only through centralized, tightly governed state Human nature bad, harsh punishments must be used to coerce people to follow laws Focus on practical, sustaining of society-2 worthy impressions farmer and soldier United China quickly Censorship, great deal of books lost. Massive projects completed, Great Wall, roads, canals Led to wider acceptance of Daoism Daoism Traditionally Lao Tzu, 400s-300 BCE China, second most influential system after Confucianism Tao means “the Way” indefinable but like nature, naturalness Live in accord with one’s nature Oneness with everything through Tao, meditation Interaction of Yin/Yang, passive and active principles, as influences on everything that happens Water is soft and yielding but can wear down stone. A pot on a potter’s wheel, the hole is nothing but without it, the pot is no longer a pot, the hole serves the function. One ultimate reality, Brahma, formless and nameless. Rebirth (reincarnation) determined by Karma Release from cycle of rebirth (moksha) of the soul(Atman) through oneness with the ultimate reality 4 stages of life: student, householder, anchorite, sannyasi (holy one) Dharma, duties and rules of conduct to be followed to achieve salvation. Social conventions such as Confucian rituals unnatural. Became mixed with peasant belief in spirits and over time became polytheistic religion. Interest in nature greatly influenced Chinese arts. Ambition and activism =chaos so separate from it. Counteracts Confucian activism Because it encourages harmony with nature, inspired advances in Botany and Astronomy. Tao te Ching Hinduism Origins with Aryan invaders between 1700 and 1500BCE, later groups added ideas. Spread through India and Modern day Pakistan Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, and Mahabharata (90,000 stanza epic) No founder or date of founding Tolerant of other religions Little in the way of formal beliefs Adaptable, offers meditation and ritual. Varna, division of people into 4 classes which leads to caste system, as a measure of spiritual progress Religion and social system closely connected to Indian culture hindering Hinduism’s spread. Women, subservient, sati
  • 4. Buddhism Grew out of protest of practices of Brahmans, Hindu priests Siddartha Gautama (Buddha) 500s BCE From Northern India throughout Asia and SE Asia as far as Japan in 700s CE Ashoka converts aiding the spread of religion 4 Noble Truths Universality of suffering Desire is the cause of suffering Nirvana is the cessation of desire Eightfold path as a guide to entering Nirvana Rightness of : o Knowledge of the cause and end of suffering o Thought o Speech o Conduct o Livelihood o Effort o Mind, and o Meditation Caste system is unnecessary for Nirvana, anyone can reach it. Appeals to low rank people. Strong monastic tradition Monks carried Buddhism beyond India Revival of Hinduism and Islamic invasions wiped out Buddhism from India by 1000 CE In 1st century split into Mahayana and Theravada Mahayana: delay entrance into Nirvana to help others find enlightenment, use additional texts. o Buddha=god-like deity o Raised the importance o priests and complex rituals that Buddha had tried to remove from Hinduism Theravada: emphasis on seeking individual enlightenment, based more closely on the teachings of Buddha Zen Buddhism 700s in China and by 1200s in Japan, sudden enlightenment through meditation.