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INTST 101 (33)
Chapter 3


9 Pages

International Studies
Course Code
Brian Orend

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CHAPTER 3 – COMPARATIVE CULTURE World religions − Religion  defined as “re-ligio”, linking back of humanity to its origins e.g., in God. − Bibby  sociologist that has shown that over 90% of people worldwide say they believe in some kind of God. − Impact of religion on culture/way of life o Historically, enormous:  ethics/morals, food/music, art/architecture, literature and pop culture, politics and economics.  Frye – wrote book that states that every literature written is basically a footnote on the Bible.  E.g., Weber on link between Protestantism and capitalism • First interest on economics and how they came into being. Questioned why the first societies were capitalists, so he went through several criteria to figure it out. What all the countries had in common: that majority of the people were Protestant. • Protestantism brought with it things that developed capitalism: o Individualism – more common in protestant (individual relationship with God) than catholic o Literacy – Catholics kept their mass and Bible in Latin while the Protestants translated it in their individual languages. Also, because of the individualism in the religion, they read their Bible on their own to develop their relationship with God. o Savings – rich catholic people were encouraged to donate it to the church while Protestants encouraged personal savings, which allowed for large amounts of money available for investments. o No shame in having riches because it was God who was showering you with his blessings. In Catholicism, richness was something not to be boastful about. − Top 10 religions/belief systems o Christianity o Islam o Secular/non-religious  Non religious/secular people tend to come in 3 sorts: • Atheists  people who believe there are no gods • Agnostics  people who don’t take a firm stand on whether any gods exist • Secular humanists  prefer to substitute for a religious code their own systematic code of beliefs, a code that refers not to the divine but only to humanity. o Hinduism o Chinese folk-religion o Buddhism o Indigineous CHAPTER 3 – COMPARATIVE CULTURE o Japanese shintoism o Sikhism o Judaism Key distinctions: 1. Religious vs. secular o Southern part of the world is more religious o Europe is more secular than then US o Australia also reporting greater increase in secularism o Secularism is increasing 2. Monotheistic vs. polytheistic o Monotheistic religions believe in one God: Judaism, Christianity and Islam are the 3 biggest monotheistic religions o Polytheistic religions believe in many gods 3. Abrahamic vs Dharmic o Abrahamic (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) o All 3 religions, which originated in the Middle East are often categorized as being “Abrahamic” since they all share the prophet Abraham as a common figure of both religious and ethnic significance. • Personal God • Contract between God and believers o Common ancestor distantly related to each of Moses, Jesus and Mohammed. • Important factor not only in the lives of these people but also in their politics  whenever there are international peace talks held in a Middle Eastern country, and local countries are represented there, there are usually speeches made referencing the “one true God” in an attempt to use cultural similarities as leverage to solve political differences. o Geographical spread in West and MENA o More book-bound and adhering to the book (Bible, Torah, Quran) o Internal divisions more political/historically important. o Dharmic/Taoistic o These include a number of polytheistic religions. o They do not highlight a personal connection between humanity and divinity. • They have lesser personal gods with whom it is possible to ender a personal relationship with. • There is rather an underlying cosmic force or fate that is highly impersonal. o Geographic spread in the East o They are less book bound and more about shared ritual practice/social togetherness CHAPTER 3 – COMPARATIVE CULTURE o Aim of these religions is to adjust themselves to this underlying, all pervasive order or structure. • This is the route to security and serenity, being utterly aligned with the very cosmos. • There is more blending of their beliefs with physical activities (e.g., yoga, martial arts, tai chi etc). 4. Non-folk vs folk o Non-folk  open to all; not limited to one group, ethnicity, or nationality; seeks converts (proselytizing faiths) o Xianity, Islam, Buddhism o Folk  system of beliefs and ritual that are unique to a people. o Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Chinese folk religion Key elements of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam Judaism − Orthodox vs. conservative vs. reform. (KNOW THIS?) o Orthodox  teaches strict adherence to Jewish law and its traditional observances including numerous laws governing religious and everyday life. Those in Israel are rigid in their mindset and are not willing to negotiate with the Palestinians. They believe that God gave the land to them. o Reform  began as an attempt to adapt to modern changes in social, political, and cultural life. o Conservative  prevalent mostly in N. America and attempts to preserve Jewish tradition in a more flexible way. − Core concepts: o There’s a covenant between the people and God. God promised Land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants. o They must all obey God’s laws – The Ten Commandments. o Believe that the Messiah will come and lead them to the Promised Land. They don’t believe in dying and going to heaven. Christianity − Catholic vs. Eastern orthodox vs. Protestants o Catholic  acknowledges pope as its head. Had religious monopoly for over 1000 years. o Eastern Orthodox  rose in central/eastern Europe e.g., Russia in 476 because they did not accept authority of the papacy. Easter is the biggest celebration. o Protestant  1517 AD Martin Luther formed his own protestant church – Lutherans.  Other protestant churches come into being. o The West was influenced by the Greco-Roman religions, which were more polytheistic. o Paul was thought to be the first evangelical preacher and person responsible for spreading the religion  “Pauline Xinnity”. o *Know that when the religions split up, they bring about armed conflict and have deep historical consequences. CHAPTER 3 – COMPARATIVE CULTURE − Core concepts: o God became human as Jesus. He was crucified, died and rose from the dead. Christians ought to obey not just the Old Testament teaching but the New Testament too. o Faith open to everyone. o Soul survives death and there is belief of afterlife. Islam − Sunni vs. Shias o Sunni majority of Muslims. Accept the first 3 caliphs (leaders) following the death of Mohammed. Saudi Arabia has the most number of Sunnis. In almost every given country in the MENA, there are both Sunni and Shia’s; they don’t get along with each other. Every time they get into conflict, it occurs at the borderline between the two. Civil war in Syria is a proxy war between 2 powerful nations: Iran vs. Saudi Arabia. Both are rich in terms of resources (oil), aggressive in their beliefs and especially in their religion. Saudi Arabia thinks they are the holy land of Islam as Mohammed got his vision there. Iran was the Persian Empire. In 1979 there was a government that believed that they were the true religious government and the Saudis were corrupt. o Shia’s  Iran has the most Shia’s. They reject the first 3 caliphs. − Rise of Islam o 630 AD – Mohammed starts religion o Until 1000AD, it was the fastest growing religion. It was stopped in 1000AD because of the Mongos from the East, and the pope ordered the crusades of Christianity. There were 3 waves (1000-1300AD) of crusades whose main purpose was to drive Islam out and to recapture Israel for Christianity. They were completely bloody (by the third wave) and used violence to convert the people. − Core concepts o Recognizes most of the prophets but to a lesser extent than Mohammed. Abraham is believed to be a common ancestor. o God revealed the Quran to Mohammed who spent his life converting his region to Islam by means of military conquest. o 5 pillars of the Quran stress faith, observances, and charity to the poor. o Soul survives death and they believe in heaven and hell. Heaven is paradise. The Arab-Israeli conflict − It is an example of a protracted war  any war that lasts for decades and seems to have no end in sight e.g., cold war. − Why should we care about the Arab-Israeli conflict? o Has a huge impact on the price of oil, which is the world’s source of energy  Main source of easy oil is in the MENA, and especially Persian Gulf and Arabian Peninsula.  There is an instability premium built into the price of oil due to this war. CHAPTER 3 – COMPARATIVE CULTURE  The violence ranges on a pendulum from violent to uneasy peace, so whenever there is violence, the price goes up. o Fuels terrorism because it hasn’t been solved.  Radical Islamic terrorists such as Al Qaeda have radical agendas: • Establish radica
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