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Intro to world religions
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Intro to world religions



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    • Historians view religion in the context of time and place. Religions’ main beliefs may not “change”, but how people interpret those religions does change.
      • Buddhists in India in the 300s ce were not the same as Buddhists in Southeast Asia in the 1800s ce.
    • Historians view religions as an influence ON culture but also influenced BY culture .
      • Christianity changed Roman culture and the Renaissance in Europe influenced Christianity.
  • 3. RELIGION as a study topic
    • Historians view religions as a part of human experience
      • Hinduism is not judged as right or wrong in its beliefs or practices, but interpreted in how it influenced human history as it started in India and spread elsewhere.
    • Which religions are the most important?
      • Largest or “most influence” based on historians’ interpretation?
    • Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam “get the most ink”
    • Polytheism – belief in many gods; each god represents aspects of nature or life
      • Rain god, war god, goddess of fertility
  • 5. Some Comparisons In Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, & Christianity Religions of the Classical Period
  • 6. Foundation
    • There is no recorded founder of Hinduism – it is the oldest institutional religion of the 4 classical religions.
    • Judaism began in the Middle East around the 1200s bce when it had its own political empire.
    • Abraham is considered its founder.
    • First monotheistic religion
  • 7. Foundations
    • Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), the founder of Buddhism, was originally a Hindu in the upperclass.
    • Buddhism emerged in India out of Hinduism starting in the 500s bce.
  • 8. Foundations
    • Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, was a lower class Jew along with his first followers living in Roman controlled Middle East.
    • The Jesus movement became Christianity with non-Jewish converts.
  • 9. Spread
    • Groups within Buddhism and Christianity supported missionaries – men and women who took the message of a religion into different regions.
    • Religions also spread along trade routes.
  • 10. Spread
    • Buddhism spread from India into East and SE Asia.
    • Buddhism by the 500s ce was stronger in areas where it spread than where it originated.
  • 11.  
  • 12.  
  • 13. Spread
    • Christianity spread into the Roman Empire, into North and East Africa, and beyond.
    • Christianity by the 1200s was stronger in areas where it spread than in where it originated.
  • 14.  
  • 15. Spread
    • Judaism spread after the Romans exiled Jews to new territories in Western and Eastern Europe after several rebellions against Roman rule in the 1 st century c.e. (the Jewish temple was also destroyed).
  • 16.  
  • 17. Spread & CHANGE
    • As religions spread and new interpretations arose – there were changes, splits into different sects (or groups), and new influences
  • 18.  
  • 19.  
  • 20. Existence after Death
    • Hinduism and Buddhism – Existence is cyclical until one breaks from the cycle and becomes eternally spirit.
    • Judaism (some forms) and Christianity – Existence is linear; one lives and then becomes eternally spirit.
  • 21. Challenges to Society
    • Both Buddhism and Christianity, more than Judaism and Hinduism, challenged the social class system and the status of women.
    • Especially in the early centuries, these religions appealed to lower classes.
  • 22. Texts
    • The founders of Buddhism and Christianity did not record their own statements or life story.
    • The interpretation of texts was a main basis for different groups or sects to separate in each religion.