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Religion

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Chapter 8,9,& 10

1. Are Taoism and Confucianism truly religions argue both sides.
Taoism and Confucianism are two very different religious traditions of ancient China. Both Taoism and Confucianism cannot clearly be explained as a religion with certain doctrines and rituals as other well –known religions. As religious and social forces, they have coexisted for centuries in China and have spread to other Asian regions. The name Taoism is taken from the title of the book called “Tao Te Ching, which translates to “the way of nature. Taoism is based on the ancient Chinese understanding of the universe. Historically, the origin of Taoist philosophy is unclear, but it is said that the founder of Taoism is Lao-tzu, who lived in the sixth century B.C.E. Taoism can be described in terms of its history and its effects on Chinese people, nut it cannot be clearly delineated as a religion with a certain body of doctrine and rituals of Chinese antiquity.
Philosophically, for Taoism, the ideal life is one that is lived in harmony with the way of this shifting nature. By the early centuries of the Common Era, Taoism had been converted into a religion complete with gods, priests, temples and sacrifices. In the modern days, Taoism is mainly associated with charms, exorcisms and magical attempts to prolong life, in which there is a self-generating force called chi (rather than there being a Creator Deity). This force manifests two interplaying aspects: yin and yang. Yin is the dark, receptive, female aspect of the universe; yang is the bright assertive, male quality. These two opposites are ever-present in nature, and are constantly shifting in balance. The rhythm that the two elements create through their interplay is called the Tao or way.

The founder of Confucius is known as K’ung Fu-tzu (Kung, Master). The teachings of Confucius are based on certain central themes. One of the themes is represented by the word li, which is translated as “propriety”, “rites”, “ceremonies”, or “courtesy”. Confucius also taught that people should love another and practice respects and courtesy toward each other in their daily lives. Confucianism provides the moral basis for most historical and some contemporary Chinese societies. The teachings of Confucianism emphasize order, propriety and respect for authority. The Confucians believed that the rites and rituals of religion served the function of uniting the people.

2. Describe the Chinese concept of the yin and yang as a unifying explanation for the universe.
Chinese philosophers believed that the universe operate the way it does because of the balance between the yin and yang forces. The yin was the negative force in nature. It was seen in darkness, coolness, femaleness, dampness, the earth itself, the moon, and the shadow. And the yang was the positive force of nature. It was seen in lightness, brightness, warmth, maleness, dryness and the sun. The interaction between yin and yang was understood as one of the factors in the operation of the universe. It is believe when these two forces were at work in harmony; life was what it should be. Yin and yang are opposite in nature, but they are part of nature, they rely on each other, and they can't exist without each other. The balance of yin and yang is important. If yin is stronger, yang will be weaker, and vice versa. Yin and yang can interchange under certain conditions so they are usually not yin and yang alone. In other words, yin can contain certain part of yang and yang can have some component of yin. It is believed that yin and yang exists in everything.
3. How could the hexagrams of the I Ching be viewed as a means of divination? How could they be seen as having personality and wisdom of their own? Note the editorial work of Confucius.
Divination is the prediction of the future through various magical means, such as Tarot cards, I Ching and etc.
The I Ching reveals the great wisdom and understanding of the ancient Chinese philosophers. They looked at the world around them and sought to understand why and how changes occur. The hexagram of the I Ching can be viewed as divination because of it predication. The I Ching is a method of reading situations through a random toss of coins or stalks of a plant, certain patterns emerge. By identifying these patterns among some sixty-four hexagrams presented in the I Ching , a statement or a prediction is evoke.

4. Why did the decline of the feudal system in ancient China set the stage for both Taoism and Confucianism? The decline of the feudal system in ancient China brought in Taoism and Confucianism because the Lord were no longer able to protect their vassals from invading armies and old aristocratic families began to find themselves without either power or wealth. This then led to the development of warlords who could provide protection and command respect. The great Chinese schools came to the nation aide by finding its own distinctive answer to the problems facing the nation. Because the feudal system turned upside down, both Taoism and Confucianism brought promising future to the Chinese culture. The Confucians dreamed of a restored idealized form of feudalism as the best government. The Taoists wanted no government at all or at least as little government as possible.

4. Contrast the view of the best government as it is revealed in the Tao Te Ching and in the teachings of Confucius.
In the Tao Te Ching it is said that the least government is best. It also mentioned that the best ruler is the one who rules least and is virtually anonymous. Also in the Tao Te Ching, it was mentioned that there would be no grief if the small village conquer the large state with it humility. The small village is the ideal unit of a society. They believe that the best government is the one with little structure.
The teaching of Confucius developed a system of ethics, a theory of government, and set of personal and social goals that deeply influenced the Chinese for almost twenty centuries. The teachings of Confucius are based on central themes. One of the themes are Li, which simply mean “the course of life as it is intended to go”. His believe is that when society lives by Li, it moves smoothly. When society lives by Li, all individuals know their superiors and inferiors and are able to act in the genteel manner. The teaching of Confucius taught people to love one another and practice respect and courtesy toward each other in their daily lives. The teaching of Confucius believed that the rites and ritual of religion served the function of uniting people. The Confucians taught that society needed an elaborate structure, reinforced by etiquette to be effective. Confucius taught that society was best served when people acted with reciprocity towards each other. Confucius believed that poor government with bad laws caused people to do evil, and that a generation of good ruler-ship could cure most of the moral ills of people. Confucius believed that it is unnecessary to offer people rewards or punishments to induce them to good conduct.
5. By what process did Taoism become magic? 484 5349075
Many Taoists used magic and the concept of Tao to try to extend the physical life rather than to focus on the afterlife. Taoism became magic by the process of prolonging and enriching life. The Taoist religion aimed to enhance vitality and life by living in accord with nature's shifting balance. Taoist masters learned to extend their lives indefinitely, to fly through the clouds, to become invisible. The process of transforming of the mind through psychological processes emerged and centered on the stilling of the mind.
6. How could the current leaders of China regard Taoism? How would they evaluate the teaching of Confucius?
The current leaders of China will embrace Taoism because it is allowed in China. This is because Taoism is among the five religions that China recognizes. As far as teaching of Confucius, the government does not support it. The Chinese government tolerates only those religious organizations willing to accept strict regulation. To be officially recognized, religious organization must accept government censorship of religious writing and guidance in the section of clergy, and limit religious activities to approved locations.
7. What political difficulties do religions face in China today?
Chinese government traditionally attempts to manage or control religion, making it hard for some religions. Some difficulties religions faces in China today are Christians were required to join together in the so-called Three-Self Movement to protect them against foreign intervention. Those who refused and formed independently Christian’s communities suffered persecution. The Chinese government refused to recognize the Pope to appoint bishops. The Chinese government tolerates only those religious organizations willing to accept strict regulation. The government does not recognize individual Protestant denominations. Unrecognized religious organizations and those that the government declares to be cults are subject to severe repression. Roman Catholics who remain loyal to the Pope and Muslims who refuse government regulation continue to suffer.

Chapter 9

1. Discuss Shinto as a reverential form of Japanese patriotism and as a religion. Can the two be clearly distinguished?
The word Shinto comes from the Chinese words shen and tao, which may be roughly translated as “the way of the gods”. Shinto in a religious aspect involves the Japanese in a worshipful attitude toward the beauties of their land, which includes the mountain and forests. Shinto involves aspects of animism and ancestor worship. Westerners have compared Japanese Shinto to the feeling that Americans have visiting Gettysburg or Washington Monument. Looking at Shinto in a patriotism aspect involves visiting the graves of war dead, and ask God bless the nation on a beautiful spring day. This is because Shinto was established to engender patriotism and loyalty toward the nation of Japan. . In its most basic sense Shinto is a religious form of Japanese patriotism. It also established a religious foundation. Shinto is more than religious nationalism. I think the two can be distinguished because patriotism in Shinto has it religious and patriotism aspects. As the book mentioned the word Shinto means “the way of the gods” and the native religion is Kami-no-michi, which also may be defined as “the way of the gods. This leads me to a conclusion that the two can be distinguished between each other.

2. Review Japanese mythology and connect the imperial family to the kami.
The Pre-Sixth Century C.E. Japanese religion focused on Kami. The name Kami adopted by science from the language of the Melanesians to indicate the occult force that preliterate man found emanating from objects and experiences that aroused in him emotions of wonder and awe. Kami defined as deities of heaven and earth and spirits of humans, animals, trees, plants, seas, mountains, etc. In Mythology it generally refers to gods or to humans with godlike powers. The major source of Japanese mythology is the Kojiki. The Japanese willing to accept the advanced culture of the Chinese, sought their heritage. The result of this yielded the chronicles, a section called “The Age of the Gods”. The Kojiki includes stories that describe the special creation of the Japanese island by two Kami, which are Izanagi and Izanami. These two became the divine parents of the other Kami in Japanese mythology.
3. What effect did the entrance of the Chinese and of Buddhism into Japan have on Shinto?

Early in its history, Japan became an object to Chinese and Korean merchants and missionaries. The entrance of the Chinese and of Buddhism into Japan brought older culture of China, including arts, language and system of writing and various religion and ethical systems. Before this period, the Japanese had no written language. Japanese adopted the Chinese script and many other elements of Chinese culture and elements that emphasized filial piety were readily accepted. Confucian ethics were welcomed because Japan was governed by a feudal system. Initially emperor feared foreign god (Buddha) would anger the native kami. Eventually Mahayana Buddhism was widespread by sixth century C.E. The Four Japanese reactions to Chinese Buddhism were the development of Shinto as native alternative to foreign religion. The second was Buddhas and Bodhisattvas reinterpreted as revelations of kami to Indians and Chinese. The third was Ryobu (Two-Aspect Shinto) seeks syncretistic mix of Shinto and Buddhism; division of labor develops for ten centuries with Shinto for day-to-day affairs and Buddhism for the afterlife. And the fourth was development of distinctively Japanese forms of Buddhism, particularly Zen, Pure Land, and Nichiren; these forms so popular they nearly eclipse Shinto for average person.

4. What is the connection between Shinto and Samurai class?

There are many connections between Shinto and Samurai class. The connection between Shinto and Samurai class was the combination of Shinto and Confucianism which was used to develop the warrior code of Bushido. The Shinto teaches the importance of personal cleanliness and the sense of communal guilt. Apart from subservience to the Emperor, Shintoism has no definite set of theological beliefs or code of morality. Shinto is a loosely organized religion of the Japanese people embracing a wide variety of beliefs and practices. In its most basic sense Shinto is a religious form of Japanese patriotism. The mythology of Shintoism teaches that Japan and the Japanese people were brought into being by special divine creation and that their emperors were literally descendants of the Sun Goddess. Shinto had become such an inseparable part of Japanese militarism the American occupation forces felt it necessary to direct the abolition of state support of Shinto in December of 1945. The samurai class emphasizes on loyalty, gratitude, courage, justice, truthfulness, politeness, reserve, and honor. The Samurai were educated gentleman who was at the top of the social ladder, the Japanese people have always considered the military class to be the most powerful and influential group of people. The Samurai is bound to be loyal to his master in the hierarchy of feudal system. The Samurai must have a great courage in life, in battle, and in his willingness to lay down his life for his master. A Samurai is to be a man of honor. He prefers death to dishonor and is expected to take his own life rather than face a situation in which he is dishonor. The Samurai is expected to be polite to his master and to people in a position of authority.

5. List the three forms of Shinto in modern Japan.
• State Shinto o The Jinja Shinto emerges in 1889, the state took over the support of 110,000 shrines and 16,000 Shinto priests under government support. Each shrine dedicated to local deity, hero, or event. The grand imperial shrine at Ise was dedicated to the mother goddess of Japan Amaterasu. Shrines have inner and outer buildings, and must be torn down and rebuilt every twenty years. Inner shrine reserved for priests and government officials. Inner shrine contains objects of importance to the deity or the event it commemorates. All loyal Japanese expected to visit shrine at Ise at least once in a lifetime. The goal of State Shinto is to engender patriotism and loyalty.
• Sectarian Shinto o The Sectarian Shinto was develops as reaction to State Shinto during Meiji era. The Thirteen major sects of Shinto divided into three categories. The first are the sects who primary emphasis on mountain worships combine nature worship and asceticism. The second category developed from the basic appeal of these sects in modern Japan is their promise of faith healing. The third type of sectarian Shinto includes sect classified as more or less pure Shinto. Sects focused on traditional Japanese mythology and rituals.

• Domestic Shinto o Domestic Shinto is the most basic and common form of Shinto that take place in many Japanese home. The basic unit of Domestic Shinto is the kami-dana, god shelf, contains symbols important to the family. Offering of food, drink, lanterns, flowers, or incense may be placed at kami-dana alter each day. Simple rituals and important ceremonies held at kami-dana. Many Japanese home have a butsu-dan, a Buddhist household altar, where worship of Buddhist deities is also held.

Chapter 10.

1. Zoroastrianism is called dualism. What does this mean? Contrast the dualism of Zoroastrianism with the monotheism of Judaism or Islam.

Zoroastrianism is called dualistic, it signifies that a religion that see two supreme forces contending with each other for control of the universe. Dualism in Zoroastrianism is the existence of, yet complete separation of, good and evil. The two spirits are emanating from Ahuru Mazda; one is Spenta Mainyu, the Beneficent (good) spirit; the other is Angra Mainyu, the evil spirit. The usual interpretation of Zoroastrianism is that it recognizes a good God and his angels, who are charge of the good that happens in the world, and it recognizes an evil god and his demons, which are responsible for all the evilness of the world. These two spirits do not exist independently but relate to each other and meet in the unity of Ahura Mazda. Neither spirit is free from the influence of the other and each is bound by the other. Zoroastrianism remains monotheism, with the forces of both good and evil under the control of Ahura Mazda.
Judaism is a monotheistic faith, meaning that Jews believe there is only One God. Often this God is beyond our ability to comprehend, but God is nevertheless present in our everyday lives. Some connect with God through prayer, others see the divine in the majesty of the natural world, others may not think about God on a daily basis. Each individual's relationship with God is unique and personal. The essential aspect of this religion is that they believe in one God. Judaism is based on the assumption that there is a covenant between God and the Jewish people. The Jews put their trust and beliefs in God because he destroyed the enemies of the Jews and punished them when they are disobedient.

2. One of the greatest contributions of Zoroastrianism to Western religion is it eschatology. Show how Zoroastrian eschatology influenced Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Zoroastrian eschatology influenced Judaism because in the pre-exilic biblical books did not mention of a resurrection of the body, they had little concern for life after death in either a heaven or hell, no reference to God’s plan for bringing the earth to an end, they occasionally mentioned angels, and no word about the day of judgment. Each of these themes, which were part of the teachings of Zoroastrianism, developed in Judaism after the exile and each had become a vital part of the religion by the time of Jesus. Zoroastrian eschatology influenced the prophet Muhammad by allowing judgment day, resurrection, heaven, hell, Satan, demons and angels all became vital part of Islam. Christianity also incorporated these items into their religion. It may be that all of these major religions drew their eschatology from Zoroastrianism.

3. How does the Zoroastrian scheme of the afterlife affect the ethical teaching if this religion?

The Zoroastrian scheme of the afterlife affect the ethical teaching Zoroastrianism by saying the soul of the dead abide in their heaven and hell until that point when time end. The cycle of time will run out at specified point in the future and the world will come to its final consummation. The soul from hell will be brought up and purified and will join the resurrected souls of righteous. Angra Mainyu and his demons will be destroyed forever and the will of Ahura Mazda will reign supreme. This theory is a bit confusing because Zoroastrian theology is that people are free to choose between good and evil in this life and will be held responsible for their choices in an afterlife, one would expect Zoroastrians to have a lengthy and involved code of ethics.

4. Discuss why Zoroastrians refuse to bury or burn the bodies of the dead.

The Zoroastrians refuse to bury the bodies of the dead because they believe it contaminate the soil. They also refuse to burn the bodies of the dead because they believe it contaminate the scared fire. And it cannot be buried at the sea because the water will be polluted. The Zoroastrians solution to this problem is has widespread attention. When a Zoroastrians dies, the corpses is washed, a clean clothes is placed on it, and kusti of the deceased is wrapped around the body. The body is taken to enclosure called a tower of silence, dakhma. Inside the dakhma corpse is placed in open compartment for vultures to eat. After the bones are dried out by the sun, they are washed down into the central well of the dakhma. The body of the Zoroastrians is disposed of without risking contamination of soil, fire or water.

5. Compare the position of Zoroastrians in Iran and India. 236-241
There are approximately 11,000 Zoroastrians in Iran. They have always been regarded with suspicion by Shi’ite Muslims. Zoroastrians in Iran are called Gabars by the Muslims. Their situation became much more difficult after the Islamic Republic was established in Iran in 1979. During this time the Shah of Iran was overthrown and the country came under the strict Islamic rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Since then, non-Muslims, including Zoroastrians and Baha’is have suffered persecution. Most Zoroastrians have fled Iran and went to India because of persecution. There are small communities in western nations and approximately 100, 000 in Bombay in India. There Zoroastrians are known as Parsis and are very prosperous. There is some concern that the religion may vanish entirely because birthrates are low, and Zoroastrianism does not allow conversion from other faith.

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...Religion refers to a set of beliefs of people regarding the cause, the character and the purpose of the universe, containing moral codes that govern the behaviors of human beings. It can also be termed to as a set of human beliefs and practices that are agreed upon a group of people (Haught, 1990). There are many religions in planet earth such as Christian religion, Islam religion, Buddhism and Hinduism. All these religions are different in terms of what they believe and practice. These disparities cause conflicts among the religions as each religion believes that it is the best. It is with this observation that I decided to undertake a keen study of these human beings to understand the role of their different religions in their lives. In order to get accurate data to help determine the religious life of people of planet earth, various methods of data collection were used. These include interviews which were carried out on different individual from different parts of planet earth. The individuals were inquired about their religion and their views about other religions. Observation as also employed to follow the behaviors of the different people practicing different religions on earth. Majority of the people on planet earth is religious most of all being Christians followed by Muslims and then Hindus (Haught, 1990). It was also noted that people from poorer nations considered religion important than those from richer nations (Hansen, 2011). Generally, each religion has a......

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Religion

...Religion 133 Religion There have been thousands of definitions of religion. Some scholars define religion as a belief in one or more gods, or in the supernatural beings. But this would not include all religions for some religions have a belief in the way of living vice beliefs. Religion could perhaps be best defined as man’s attempt to achieve the highest possible good by adjusting his life according to a higher cause. The majority of the western hemisphere practice Christianity but there are other prominent denominations that are included in the make-up of the United States. Every religion includes ethics, or codes of conduct. But religion is more than codes of conduct. Religion asks us to parallel our own life in accordance with our belief, of what our superior would agree with. Religion is so powerful that many nations have fought one another in defense of their religion. From the beginning of time religion has been part of mankind. Religion traditions In all religions that the belief of the forces that surrounds it becomes part of our daily lives. These forces are called deity. Deity are pratices we submit ourselves to in order to meet the requirements’ of our beliefs. Some religions practice fasting as part of their belief while other practice sacrifice while other maybe observed through ceremonies and......

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Religion

...CHAPTER TWO: NATIVE AMERICAN RELIGIONS Chapter Outline and Unit Summaries Introduction: The Challenges in Studying Native American Religions A. The Contemporary Revival of Interest in Native American Religions 1. Important Role in History of North America 2. Emphasis on Nature and Personal Religious Experience 3. Absence of Formal Organizational Structure B. A Wider Variety of Religious Types Under One Heading 1. A Fifteen to Twenty Thousand Year Legacy 2. Geographic Spread Across a Continent 3. Numerous Forms of Social and Economic Organization C. A Dearth of Reliable Sources on Native American Religions 4. Literary Sources from Only Past Four Hundred Years, with Best Sources from Past One Hundred Years 5. Difficulty of Identifying a Pure Type: Many Changes Fostered by Engagement with Europeans 6. Archaeology Provides Some Clues to Pre-European Era 7. The Necessity of Generalizing about the Entire Field The Spirit World A. A Mixture of Polytheism, Monotheism, and Monism B. Native American Religions Tend Toward Polytheism 1. The World Populated by Numerous Spirits 2. Mother Earth at Heart of Nature 3. Deities Represented by Natural Forces C. Native American Religions Tend Toward Monotheism and Monism1. The Supreme Being / High God Above Lesser Deities 2. High God Generally Uninvolved in World—Lower Deities Hold Sway over Nature and Everyday Life 3.......

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