“Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic
in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its
solemn complement, and its universal basis of Consolation and Justification. It is the
fantastic realization of the Human essence since the human essence has not
acquired any true reality.” - Karl Marx
Seven Theories of Religion (interesting read)
- Daniel Pals
3 Major Religious Traditions
1) Western Mediterranean traditions
2) Indic traditions
3) Chinese traditions
Presuppositions of Western Religious Tradition – Jewish, Christian & Muslim
Historically all come from and located near the middle and near east. They all have
their origins in biblical Judaism and the Hebrew bible. They all central myths like
creation (Adam & Eve), God of Abraham, and scripture etc. This includes God,
angels, heavens above etc. They believe in God as being transcendent, you cannot
see Him or touch Him and there is no manifestation of Him on Earth yet he
manifests history. This is very fundamentally important. He shows himself by
controlling human history. He has a plan or a vision of what human history is about.
Moreover, he does not tolerate other deities; he demands exclusive rights of
worship. This God speaks with humanity through Prophets (divine messengers) and
they convey divine will. Solidifies prophets into scripture or holy books. When
prophecy dies out, their scripture is authoritative. These traditions generate a way
that shows that there is a proper and true way of being what you are, which makes
orthodoxy. All of these religions were fully aware of each other as they grew (same
goes for Hinduism and Buddhism). Historically they are intermeshed. They are all
subscribed to the notion of afterlife. There is somehow a continuation of human
existence beyond the grave. They all share the same ethical code (more or less).
They also believe that time is linear meaning God created the world, then Adam,
then Moses, Jesus, Mohammed came then at the end, destruction of the world. This
is called a linear understanding of history (where Buddhism is cyclical).
Judaism is a historical religious tradition. It’s a religion of ethical monotheism. It has
its origins in one man, Abraham, who was chosen by God to start a nation and a
religious tradition. God entered into a Covenant or in Hebrew, Berit with this man.
There is covenantal bond between God and Israel (the people not the state).