Within this presentation, I will be addressing two topics; the first topic is religion, and I will give a basic background of five different religions, as well as non-religious beliefs,atheist andagnostic beliefs. The second component of my presentation will tell about the altruism within each religion.[Slide with pronunciation of altruism]So, altruism…I honestly say that I’ve been asked multiple times what I would be spending eight months researching and how many people have gone, “Oh yea, altruism.” And tried to pass it off like they knew what it meant. I know that excluding a select few, none of you have ANY idea what the word means, and that’s okay, because I am here to explain it.[& its definition]Like all topics, many people have different exact definitions. Yet, through this presentation, this is the definition I will be using. Altruism is the “intentional action intended ultimately or the welfare of others that entails at least the possibility of either no benefit or a loss to the [person].” (xiii) Throughout this presentation, I have found this book (hold up book) extremely helpful. Even though it doesn’t spell out what the altruism definition in each religion is, it is a guide to show its reader where altruism is shown in the religion’s sacred texts.
Since we’re looking at definitions, let’s look at the definition for the word ‘religion.’ Religion is “the adherence to a set of beliefs or teachings about the deepest and most elusive of life’s mysteries” (Renard 3) Why is religion important to us? We look to religion to answer some of the heaviest questions we have in life; where did we come from? What does it mean to be human? How should a person of good will behave? What happens after death? (Renard 3) The way we answer these questions come from our religious beliefs, and what people believe, and why people believe it, profoundly influences the way they act, and interact with others.
When we look at the breakdown of how popular religions are, we can see that Christianity leads with one third of the world’s population following; however, that number is extremely misleading, because that includes all of the branches of Christianity, which I will discuss on the next slide. Following Christianity is Muslim, then Hinduism, Buddhism. The next two are normally categorized together, but it is imperative that I address the difference between the term “non-religious” and being an “atheist.” If someone is considered “non-religious”, it means that they do not know, therefore do not follow, a specific religion. Atheism, on he other hand, is the distinct belief that no God exists.
Like I said, Christianity is the largest religion practiced, but that includes all of the denominations. The most popular are Roman Catholics and Protestants. There are also Orthodox and Anglican Christians. Protestants are a total number, like Christianity was in respect to the world views. I’ll explain further once I get to that point, but this is just to give everyone a background idea of the numbers involved.
“…the goal of gaining merit for good karma has been central…Even selfless action with no concern for merit will bring about the positive result of making [you] a more liberated person.” (115)So, Bradley Clough wrote this section in reflection of ThichNhatHanh’s writings and actions within socially engaged Buddhism. NhatHanh, a Zen Buddhist master, was raised in the tradition of Vietnamese BuddhismNhatHanh created a Buddhist university where monks and nuns are trained “to perform helpful work for the people and to ethically and meditatively develop the measure of tranquility, loving-kindness, and awareness that he deemed necessary to carry out such work.” (116)He also created the School of Youth for Social Services, which branched into a major part of the United Buddhist Church of Vietnam.“He and his community of practitioner-activists also continue their work to help alleviate the suffering of refugees, boat people, political prisoners, and hungry families in Vietnam and other economically poor countries around the world.” “…we pursue self-interestedly—wealth, fame, and sensual pleasure—are wrongly assumed to be sources of joy and in fact are obstacles to true happiness.” (117)
“They must go out and help people, doing so in mindfulness.” NhatHanh named this practice “engaged Buddhism”. “Buddhists must be aware of the real problems of the world. Once they see these problems, action is imperative.” (119)“I vow to develop my compassion in order to love and protect the life of people, animals, plants, and minerals” (120)“Buddha-nature (our true identity, conditioned by understanding and compassion) could be said to be altruistic, in the sense that one who acts from it acts in a spontaneously selfless, kind, and skillful way and acts only with the welfare of others in mind…For them, compassion is a goodness higher than ethical discrimination.” (131)
Those practicing Hinduism have what they call dharma. Now, any Sanskrit-English dictionary will tell us that it literally means something along the lines of a decree, law, practice, duty, right, a virtue, morality, religion, and more along those lines. Now, like all things, this word has changed over time, and now has had two definitions over its lifetime. The earlier understanding of the word involves self-interested action, “as something one does…which then unfailingly connects one to an important good, or goods, that do not lie completely within the reach of normal human effort, such as victory, glory, future prosperity, or a good afterlife.” The new concept of dharma “often replaces personal self-interest with a devaluation of one’s particular being affiliated with a sense of connectedness to all others and a [related] sense of kindness towards others.” (165) --The Mahabharata, an activist Hinduism text, tells its followers to “take delight in the welfare of all beings”. (166) --“…action devoid of all selfish interest and conducive to the welfare of others paradoxically benefits the selfless actor in the highest degree.” (176)
So, we’ve just discussed how the sacred text of Judaism is the first part of the Christian Bible, and why it is such. Within the Torah, remember Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, in Leviticus 19:18 it says, “You will love your neighbor as yourself.”--“mitzvah,” commandment--A story in YerushalmiTaanit 1:4.I tells about a man and the donkey he used to make a living, and the woman who he helped. He saw her and asked her why she was so depressed, and she told him that her husband was in jail for debt, so the man sold his donkey and gave her the money he received from the sale. He told her to use the money to free her husband from jail and not use her body to earn the necessary money. The man that owned the donkey did something to benefit the woman whom he did not know.--Tzedakah, or righteousness, has eight levels, but let me explain the highest level. Everyone can give because they feel obligated to, and you could give to your Temple, or church, and they in turn give it to those in need. “Give a man a fish, you give him but one meal. Teach a man to fish, and he never go hungry.” This is the idea behind the highest level. By sacrificing something of my own, whether it is the time to teach someone how to fish, or my money as a loan to someone who wants to open he or her own business. (36)
--“Acts of kindness toward others bring divine rewards…Such behavior is encouraged and justified by the claim that such actions bring divine benefit.”(35)--Obligatory service to the needy, poor, and disempowered. “Supporting the poor is a religious duty, and this duty occurs in concrete and detailed patterns. Altruism does not enter into action for the welfare of others, conventionally construed, which is commanded and not self-initiated.” (38)
The literal translation of “altruism” into Arabic is al-gharîyah, which is a relatively new word, so it is rarely seen in religious literature.--“As in other ancient cultures, pre-Islamic Arabs held hospitality and generosity as foundational virtues.” (67)--What did Muhammad say?“They should give what charity they can to benefit parents, relatives, orphans, the destitute, and way farers. For indeed, God is aware of the good deeds that you do.” (2:215) “How will you understand what is the steep road [to righteousness]? To free a slave; to feed in time of famine, the orphan and relative or the destitute in misery, and to be among whose who believe and counsel each other to be patient and kind” (90:12-18).
“The Muslim devotee submits himself to God through the practice of prescribed duties.” – (Riens 8)So, Muslim, Judaism, and Christianity are a bit confusing because they all worship the same god, on some level. The most important prophet in Muslim would be Muhammad. Muslim is based on these visions and revelations experienced by Muhammad from God, and these are retold in chapter 53 and 96 of The Koran, the sacred text. His visions led him lead a community to leave everything they had to follow him into a new community. They took over Mecca and threw out the idols. He became the political and religious head of the new community. This photo shows Muhammad’s stamp, carved, and used to show the authenticity of all letter written by him. It translates, line by line, to say “God”, “Apostle”, and “Muhammad”.
As I’ve said, the Qur’an is the sacred text of Muslim. It has 114 suras, or chapters, and a total of 6,226 verses, known as ayat Allah, or “the signs of God”. Sunna are the traditions and the deeds, words, and actions that constitute a rule of life, practices, and beliefs. Sharia is the canonical law that includes all the dispostions, or rules, of God and mankind. It was derived from both the Qur’an and Sunna. It describes what the community’s faith should look like, and it applies to all social, religious, political, and private aspects of life.
They have faith in “dawhid,” or the oneness of God, creator and dispenser of all necessary things.” (Riens 8) Muslims are monotheists, meaning they believe in only one God. They believe their God is al-Rahman, or merciful, and al-Rahim, or clement, which is another word for merciful. Allah has over 99 different names. With help from His angels, Allah will decide an end on the final judgment day. The faithful and virtuous will cross the bridge of Sirat that leads to paradise, that has seven layers, while the others will go to Hell. Islamic belief of Jesus Christ is that he was one of the greatest prophets, was a man, the son of Mary, and a perfect Muslim. He is addressed in chapters 2, 91, 98, and 1 through 4 of the Qur’an. Allah asks his prophets to leave all the non-believers alone that way they can get what they deserve since they don’t believe, and that is one of the many ways that Islam differs from Christianity. This is also found in the Qur’an, in chapter 53,30 and 51, 54.
Shahada, or the first pillar of Islam, is the spoken testimony to the one God and His Prophet. One must have a profession of faith, stating “There is no god except Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah”Prayer is the second pillar of faith, and it is “the expression of the monotheistic faith of man who was created by Allah to serve for His adoration” The Qur’an 109, 110. It is thanksgiving to God and memory of Him. Ritual prayers are said five times per day.Alms, which are required by law, and it purifies the believer and increases his wealth. Zakat, which is a “a social institute designed to benefit those in need, the poor, and travelers,” and sadaqa, which is voluntary almsgiving, found in in the Qur’an at 9,103.Ramadan is also considered its own pillar of faith. It is a period of fasting during the ninth month of Islamic lunar calendar. Muslims only eat before sunrise and after sunset, and in between that time.Pilgrimage, or haj, is the journey to Mecca dome by all Muslims at least once in his or her life. Once there, they perform a series of rituals and prayers on remembrance of Islamic history. For example, Muslims may run the path of Hagar seven times to remember her search for water for Ismael, the “bastard” child of Abraham and Hagar. Abraham and his wife Sarai appear in the Bible, and God promised them a child, but Sarai was incredibly old and did not believe she would ever be able to conceive a child. Sarai told Abraham that he should sleep with their servant Hagar, in order to produce a son. Later, after Hagar and her child Ismael left, Sarai became pregnant.
Muslims live in a temporal community, which is run similarly to a church. It is the same as a church in the way that they are concerned with each other’s relationship with Allah, worries about the believers on a moral, social, and political level, and the sacred texts act as guide for the whole community, as well as just the individual. It is different from a church in the sense that they do not attend a church and do not have a priesthood. The place of worship in the mulim community is a Mosque
Religion and culture: Buddhism was large within the culture of Asia. There were four social classes based on the Buddhist. The Buddha himself was raised in Southeast Asia, so the spread of Buddhism has only reached the surrounding areas
Brahmans, priests, are in charge of the order of the divine worldKshatriyas are rulers and warriors and they keep order in the physical worldVaishyas are the farmers and the landownersShudras were the peasants and worked for the upper classmenUntouchables were those that were lower than the Shudras and weren’t even in the social castes systemThe caste system was looked at as a body, and each class could not exist without the others
Karma can be described as the thinking that everything you do, whether good or bad, will come back to you. This will influence what class you are reborn into during reincarnation, or when you come back as someone, or something, else.The entire idea the four noble truths is based on is the idea that one understands suffering, its origin, and how to prevent and stop it. You must realize that EVERYTHING suffers and that suffering is caused by the futile desires we have. If we learn to ignore our desires and we don’t act on them, we will see suffering slow down. To stop suffering completely, desire must not exist.
Realms Desire : there are both levels of heaven and levels of hell. Everything from the various innumerable hells (dwelling places of animals, humans, lesser gods) Patriarchal because to reach highest heaven women must be reborn as men. Form : Leave senses of taste, touch, and smell Few higher levels of heaven, takes more to get to each step Non-Form Four more levels of heaven, then reach nirvana.
He was sheltered as a child because his father was told that he would become either a great king or religious leader. Once he was married and had a son, he went out exploring the world at multiple times. He saw four events that led him to enlightenment. He saw an old man, a sick and crippled man, a funeral march, and a hermit, someone wandering and living alone. These things led him to establish the four noble truths. All things are suffering, caused by our desires, and if we realize this and stop our desires, and follow the eightfold path we’ll be free from the cycle of suffering
Bodhisattvas are people who know the Buddhist faith and have done everything a believer is to do, except for the last step, intentionally. They do this so they can show others the truth in Buddhism, even if that means another cycle of rebirth where others are influenced.Missionaries were sent out during the rule of Ashoka and Kanishka, who belonged to different dynasties. Although the kings ruled during different periods of time, they spread Buddhist thought, Kanishka sending monks to China, Tibet, and Burma.
Hinduism differs from Christianity and other monotheistic religions in that it does not have:a single founder,a specific theological system,a single concept of deity,a single holy text,a single system of morality, a central religious authority,the concept of a prophet. 837 million followers -- about 13% of the world's population.Dominant religion of India, Nepal, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka.1.1 million live in the US
Many prefer the devotional way the most as it “offers the assurance of divine aid in all life’s difficulties, as well as cause for rejoicing in better times.” The idea of salvation is strong in the popular theistic or devotional Hinduism. There are two schools of thought when it comes to divine grace in Hinduism: option 1) cat school – where the mama holds the cats, basically referring to how there is no human action required. Option 2) Monkey school – where the baby monkey first holds onto the mom, implying human action is necessary.
There are over 1000 gods/deities within Hinduism, and the major gods are Vishnu and Shiva. There is also no known founder in Hinduism, like Siddhartha Guatama is in Buddhism.Principle vedic gods: Agni, god of fire and sacrificeIndra, god of sky and war Surya, the sun Vishnu, consorts and avatars
Rig Veda: 1017 hymns for 33 deities invitations to share in sacrifice prayers for protection, happiness, and salvationSama Veda melodies and chants to reaffirm and celebrate faithYajur Veda (intended for priests) record of ritualsAtharva Veda “the veda of magical formulas” “consists of spells and elements of popular cults”
Metempsychosis can also be referred to as reincarnation or transmigration of a soul.Death is opposite birth, not life.We are constantly in the cycle of birth and death, the only way to stop it is through liberating the soul.Karma determines what you return as – if you are selfish and die wanting more, you will return.
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Can be traced back 4000 yearsAbraham can be classified as the founder of Judaism As seen in Genesis 11-35 God told him to leave his home. Him and his son travel around Middle East “to lay foundations of a monotheistic tradition”Moses Believe that he wrote the entire Torah, see diagram on next slide Torah: all rules and things God requires of his peopleCan be traced back to the late 6th BCE It was translated from Hebrew to Aramaic then passed through generations orally
This is the way the Hebrew Bible is broken up. If it looks familiar to some of you, it is because it is the Old testament of the Christian Bible.
Yarmulke or kippah (skullcap worn by men and boys)Rabbi would wear (full length cloak and sash or girdle) clothes that would distinguish his as a rabbi (in a synagogue there is normally a small stage to stand on)Star of David, also known as Magen David and Shield of David, it appeared as early as the tenth century as a lucky sign in Mezuzah Saw it in 1897 in the First Zionist Congress, and adopted it. It later was put on the flag of Israel. It was also used during the time of the Holocaust to label Jews from everyone else.Menorah 7 candles, used in Hanukkah and is the most widely known and used Jewish symbolIsrael the land itself is what the Bible calls the promise land.Islam and Judaism, as well as Christianity, worship the same God. Both the Muslims and the Jews feel that they have a claim on the land. There was a Jewish temple there but it was taken down during a fight between the two.
Orthodox Judaism Strict observance of 613 commands and prohibitions contained in the Torah. They take the command very literally. Approx. one out of 10 American JewsReform Judaism Also known as Liberal or Progressive Judaism Wanted to relate more to modern day Approx. 2 million people, making this the largest Jewish community in the USConservative Judaism Middle ground between for orthodox and and reformReconstructionist Believe “God is more of a cosmic process than a personal creator and sustainer.” Smallest of sub-communities which approx 100,000 Jews is USHasidic taught “the transforming power of divine compassion.”Sephardic Less than 20% of all jewsAshkenazic Majority of all Jews
God gave the Jews the promise land, and it seems futile to go out to other land when the land given by God is pivotal in their faith. Although they do have people convert into Judaism, many people believe there are too many rules and regulations than just being a Jew.
SGP 30 Slides
al•tru•ism:<br />(n.) “The intentional action intended ultimately or the welfare of others that entails at least the possibility of either no benefit or a loss to the [person]” <br />
re•li•gion:<br />(n.) “Adherence to a set of beliefs or teachings about the deepest and most elusive of life’s mysteries.” <br />“…what people believe – and why they believe it – profoundly influences the way they act.” <br />(Renard ix)<br />(Renard 3)<br />
Largest Branches of Christianity<br />Roman Catholics………………………………..1 billion<br />Protestant……………………………………...425 million<br />Orthodox………………………………………175 million<br />Anglicans…..........................................75 million<br />Other……………………………………………..200 million<br />(Renard 45)<br />
Buddhism : Altruism<br />ThichNhatHanh<br /> Buddhist University<br />Youth for Social Services<br />(Clough 116)<br />(Clough 117)<br />(Thich Nhat Hanh ) <br />
Buddhism : Altruism<br />“They must go out and help people, doing so in mindfulness.”<br /> engaged<br />Buddhism<br />Buddha-nature<br />(Clough 120)<br />(Clough 119)<br />(Clough 131)<br />(Spirit & Nature)<br />
Hinduism : Altruism<br />Dharma<br /> Two definitions<br />Mahabharata<br /> “take delight in the welfare of all beings”<br /> “…action devoid of all selfish interest and conducive to the welfare of others paradoxically benefits the selfless actor in the highest degree.”<br />(Davis 165)<br />(Davis 166)<br />(Davis 176)<br />
Judaism : Altruism<br />Leviticus 19:18<br />“Mitzvah”<br />YerushalmiTaanit 1:4.I<br /> Man and his donkey<br />Tzedahkah (righteousness)<br />(Neuser and Avery-Peck 36)<br />(Old Jewish Cemetery)<br />
Judaism : Altruism<br />“Acts of kindness toward others bring divine rewards…Such behavior is encouraged and justified by the claim that such actions bring divine benefit.”<br />Obligatory service<br />(Neuser and Avery-Peck 35)<br />(Neuser and Avery-Peck 18)<br />(Star Filled Sky)<br />
Islam : Altruism<br />Al-gharîyah<br />What did Muhammad say?<br /> “They should give what charity they can to benefit parents, relatives, orphans, he destitute, and way farers. For indeed, God is aware of the good deeds that you do.”<br />(Homerin 70)<br />
Islam : Background<br />Major Prophet : Muhammad<br />Sacred Text : The Qur’an, also spelled Koran<br />“Muhammad became the religious and political head of the new community founded on Allah, the one God.”<br />(Stamp Ring)<br />(Riens 8)<br />(Riens 13)<br />
Islam : Sacred Texts<br />The Qur’an<br /> 114 suras<br />6,226 ayat Allah<br />Sunna<br />Sharia<br /> “…canonical law that includes all the dispositions of God concerning mankind”<br />(Riens 16)<br />(Qur’an Cover)<br />
Islam : Allah<br />“Dawhid”<br />al-Rahman<br />Al-Rahim<br />Judgment Day<br />Jesus Christ<br />“Allah asks the Prophet to shun non-believers because they will be judged and punished reserving divine mercy for only believers”<br />(Riens 21)<br />(Riens 8)<br />(Allah)<br />
Islam : Five Pillars<br />Shahada<br />Prayer<br />Alms<br />Ramadan<br />Pilgrimage<br />(Riens 24)<br />(Renard 191)<br />(Reciting the Heart of the Qur’an)<br />
Islam : Society & Culture<br />Temporal Community<br />Similar, yet different, than a church<br />Mosque<br />(Mosque)<br />(Putrajaya Mosque on Water)<br />(Riens 24)<br />
Buddhism<br />Founded: Fifth Century BCE<br />98% of Buddhists found in Asia<br />Buddhism Percentage by Country<br />(Kennard 47)<br />
Buddhism<br />To reach a state of nirvana<br />Four Noble Truths<br />Suffering exists<br />Suffering exists as a result of desire<br />Suppress desire, suppress suffering<br />Stop desire by following the eightfold path<br />Karma & Reincarnation<br />No one god<br />Buddhism Students<br />(Renard 320)<br />(The Many Faces of Buddhism Ries 8) (Kennard 56-57)<br />
Kanishka</li></ul>Bodhisattva<br /><ul><li>Knows the truth of life, yet decides instead to show others the way</li></ul>Dhammadutas<br /><ul><li>Missionary workers spreading the dharma</li></ul>(Renard 333)<br />(Renard 311)<br />Dalai Lama<br />
Hinduism<br />“…Hinduism is not a religion in the same sense as Christianity is; it is more like a way of life -- much as Native American spirituality is.”<br />Hinduism : The world's third largest religion<br />NameDict1<br />
Hinduism’s Various Spiritual Paths<br />Karma/Action: proper ritual and ethical action as a means to spiritual progress, including purification of one’s deeds through detachment from the fruits of one’s actions.<br />Jñana/Knowledge: attainment of intuitive or mystical understanding of the essential unity of all reality, resulting from meditative approach to the scriptures and wisdom traditions.<br />Bhakti/Devotion: “participation” in the divine life through devotion to a chosen manifestation of the deity, complete emotional attachment to the chosen deity, and unselfish service to God.<br />- John Renard, 263<br />
Major Hindu Deities<br />Principal Vedic Gods<br /> Agni, Indra, Surya, Vishnu, <br />Principal consorts: Lakshmi, Shri, Bhu<br />Shiva, consorts and offspring<br /> Principle consorts: Parvati and Uma<br />Children of Shiva: Ganesha<br />(Renard 259)<br />
Hinduism : The Vedas<br />Rig Veda<br />Sama Veda<br />Yajur Veda<br />Atharva Veda<br />“The Vedas do not talk about Gods. It talks about one energy, Brahmn, that is powerful beyond measure, unlimited, infinite and present in every form of life. It is this energy that is both the beginning and the end.”<br />Meditating Shiva<br />(Man and the Divine in Hinduism Ries 14)<br />
Life After Death?<br />Metempsychosis<br />Death is opposite birth, not life<br />Karma<br />(Renard 264)<br />Nirvana<br />
Buddhism v. Hinduism<br />Find more information on this!<br />
Judaism<br />Started: Late 6th BCE<br />Place of Worship: Temple / Synagogue<br />Leader: Rabbi<br />Founder: Abraham<br />Moses<br />Ten Commandments<br />Torah<br />(Renard 65-124)<br />Blue Blue Ocean<br />