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Major Belief Systems Belief System Judaism Christianity Where it Major beliefs or started Practices Middle East ­Monotheism (belief in one God) ­Torah­ holy book ­Ten Commandments­guide to moral behavior ­ people should act according to God’s teachings Middle East ­ Monotheism (belief in one God) ­Jesus is the Son of God (the Messiah) ­Bible­holy book contains the Old Testament and the New Testament (life of Jesus) ­Ten Commandments ­Golden Rule­“Do unto others and you would have them do unto you” ­faith in Jesus will lead to salvation and heaven ­treat people with love Influence on Society Belief that God made a covenant with Abraham in which God promised land has lead to the desire to maintain Israel as a Jewish state During the Middle Ages, Christianity was a unifying force in Europe – message of salvation provide comfort to the harsh daily lives of peasants. During the Reformation, Christianity was divided between Protestants and Roman Catholics­this lead to religious wars. In Latin America, the Roman Catholic Church has been a stabilizing influence­it promoted education. Liberation theology seeks to help the poor people gain equality.
Islam Middle East ­ Monotheism (belief in one God) ­Muhammad is last and greatest prophet ­Five Pillars­ faith in one God (Allah), daily prayer (5X), help for the poor, fast during the holy month of Ramadan, visit to holy city of Mecca ­Koran (Quran)­ holy book ­Sharia­Islamic system of law ­Worship in mosque The Muslim world included lands and people from parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia. In the 700s and 800s it experienced a golden age with advances in art, literature, mathematics, and science. Islamic law was an important unifying element. Through the Crusades, the advances of the Muslim world gradually influenced Christian Europe. In modern times, the laws of Islam influence government, society, and personal life. In the 1970s, increasing numbers of Muslims opposed westernization. In 1979 in Iran, an Islamic Republic was born. In Afghanistan, the government came under the control of Islamic Fundamentalist Taliban. They imposed strict religious law on the people and restricted the role of women. In the 1990s there was a revival of Islamic traditions.
Confucianism China Buddhism India ­social order is based on 5 key relationships ­people need to know their role in society ­family very important ­education very important ­filial piety­children should respect parents ­rulers should set a good example for their subjects Confucius’ teachings were used to create a stable government in China. Officials were chosen based on civil service exams that tested knowledge of Confucian teachings. ­Four Noble Truths­life is suffering; we suffer because we desire; to end suffering we must end desire; end desire by following Eight­fold Path ­Eight­fold Path­ the way to end suffering and reach enlightenment by right behaviors ­Nirvana­ a state of perfection and harmony­end of rebirth ­Reincarnation­ the soul is reborn again and again ­Karma and dharma­ right actions and behaviors lead to Nirvana Buddhism spread from India through traders and missionaries into China, Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia. Ideas such as family loyalty, honoring parents, and respect for learning and the educated class spread to Japan. Zen Buddhism spread in Japan­ values peace, simple living, nature, and beauty. It influenced Japanese society, including its theater, literature, and art.
Hinduism Animism India Africa ­Brahman is supreme force­ major gods are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva ­Caste system­people are born into a social class which determines their job ­Reincarnation­people are reborn into a higher or lower caste based on their behavior ­Karma­ actions or behavior ­Dharma­ duties or obligations that must be fulfilled ­Vedas and Upanishads­ sacred texts Hinduism had a strong effect on the golden age of the Gupta Dynasty. Social life was based on caste system which lead to stability. Beautiful Hindu temples were built. Differences between the Hindu majority and Muslim minority lead to the partition of India in 1947. Millions were killed as a result of the migration that followed the partition. Today, the caste system is an obstacle to progress even though discrimination against Untouchables is against the law. The caste system remains strong in rural areas. ­Spirits and forces of nature exist Prayers to ancestors important way to in all things influence the gods. People would ­Ancestor worship­ respect for offer food and other necessities to dead relatives whose spirit can their ancestors’ spirits.
influence one’s life Japan ­Shinto is a form of Animism ­Kami are spirits found in all living and non­living things ­Kami control powerful forces of nature Shinto lead to a strong respect for the natural world. The shared beliefs of Shinto helped unite all of Japan. Shinto shrines appear throughout Japan in places of unusual natural beauty or interest. Daoism China Daoist have a deep respect for nature and harmony and accept things as they are rather than trying to change them. They are opposed to existence of large government bureaucracies and many laws. Some daoists practice alchemy. Legalism China ­based on teachings of Lao­zi ­ focus is the relationship between people and nature ­ people should accept the way of nature rather than try to resist it; “go with the flow” ­Human nature was evil ­People must be restricted by strict laws and harsh punishments ­A strong central government is necessary to maintain peace and order Emperor Shi Huangdi established a unified China under the Qin Dynasty. Run on legalist principles, it was a totalitarian state. He has books burned and scholars executed. Achievements included Great Wall begun, standardized weights and measures and writing system, improvements to canals and roads. Forced labor and harshness led to the end of the dynasty.