HIST 2070 DE World Religions in Historical Perspective
August 11, 2013
0715438 Part A
Identify and state the historical significance of the following:
Martin Luther was a monk, a priest, and a lecturer; he also began the protestant
reformation with publication of the ninety-five theses in 1517, which he had posted on the door
of the University of Wittenberg‟s chapel. These theses criticized and attacked the church‟s sale
of indulgences and explained the fundamentals of justice by grace alone. This post of the ninety-
five theses marked the beginning of rationalism, individualism and reading (modernity) in the
Christian religion. The ruler of Germany, at the time, enjoyed the idea of a reformation in the
church so that he would be able to govern Christianity and religion as a whole within his own
borders. This transformed Christianity in the western world from a mainly physical experience to
a literal culture.
Shi‟a is one of the two sects of the religion Islam; there is also Sunni Islam. Shi‟a Islam
teaches its followers of the twelve Imams, or twelve prayer leaders of a mosque. In Shi‟a, each of
the twelve Imams begins with „Ali‟, hence the direct translation of Shi‟a meaning “party of Ali.”
This division of Islam sees the twelve Imams not as humans, but instead, as incarnations of the
divine, himself. However, you can only know of eleven Imams, as the twelfth Imam is hidden
and will only appear at some time chosen by Allah. This twelfth Imam was exposed as a young
man, Ali Muhammed, or Shiraz, Iran in 1844, when he declared himself to be the hidden twelfth
Imam, or the hidden gateway between the people and their God, himself. Pure Land
Pure land is a division of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitabha, a previous Buddha, created
and lived in the „pure‟ land where there was no evil and one could meditate to achieve Nirvana,
this pure land was undisturbed of the changes in the world. This version of Buddhism was the
first to gain converts in China in huge numbers, it later entered Japan, and by the 13 century
A.D., it was extremely well known. Japanese Buddhists called Amida taught followers that
repetition of Buddha‟s name within the ritual formula, “Homage to the Buddha Amida”, would
bring rebirth to the Pure Land. It was later discovered that attainment of the Pure Land was a free
gift from Amida, and any devotions or expressions to Amida were purely for gratitude rather
than a means to attain the perfect land.
The Qur‟an is a record of teachings by God onto his prophet, Mohammed. During the
month of Ramadan, the Angel Gabriel approached Mohammed while he was meditating on Mt.
Hira. Mohammed told of these teachings, which were written down and kept. The Qur‟an is
believed to be the final message of God to humanity where Mohammed was merely a vessel
through which the message was received. The Qur‟an, to Muslims, is like the Holy Bible for
Christians, or the Torah, for Jews. The Qur‟an represents diving thought in written form; it is the
mind and essence of God, which has been communicated to others.
The Bab The Bab, literally translated to “The Gate” is the twelfth Imam of Shi‟a Islam. The Bab
was one of the messengers recognized in the Baha‟i faith, especially as being the forerunner of
the Baha‟u‟llah, the prophet-founder of the Baha‟i Faith. The Bab‟s job was to prepare humanity
for “Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest.” Although the Bab was said to be of major
importance to Shi‟a Islam, his teachings, during his time, were considered a departure from
Islam, and he was seen as a non-believer; because of this, he was executed by a firing squad.
Before his execution, the Bab created a calendar for the Baha‟i faith. There are 19 months, each
with 19 days, also with intercalary days. This is followed by a 19 day fast with New Years on the
20 day being on March 21, the Spring Equinox.
During one of the Civil Wars, at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in Rome, Emperor
Constantine adopted the symbol of the cross as his battle symbol. At this very moment, Emperor
Constantine recognized Christianity as a politically wise move. However, it was not until
Constantine was dying, when he converted to Christianity. It was said if you were baptized just
before death, you would go straight to heaven, as your body would have no more chances to sin.
Constantine‟s conversion to Christianity changed the face of Christianity until the advent of
secularization in the Western World. Because of Constantine, Christianity was promoted from
persecuted status to favoured religion of the empire in 313 A.D. From this moment on, Rome
was to be a Christian empire.
Bonus Marks Identify & state the significance of the photograph:
The picture is of Downtown Toronto‟s Eaton Centre. The picture is important because it
shows that r