Essay On Ancient Religions

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Essay On Ancient Religions



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The five major world religions - John Bellaimey

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The civilizations that emerged around these rivers are among the earliest known non-nomadic agrarian societies. Because Ubaid, Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylon civilizations all emerged around the Tigris-Euphrates, the theory that Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilization is widely accepted. This is often identified as the first empire in history. Eridu was the oldest Sumerian site, settled during the proto-civilized Ubaid period. Situated several miles southwest of Ur, Eridu was the southernmost of a conglomeration of early temple-cities, in Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, with the earliest of these settlements dating to around BC.

By the 4th millennium BC in Nippur we[who? Sumerian inscriptions written on clay also appear in Nippur. By BC an ancient Elamite city of Susa, in Mesopotamia, also seems to emerge from earlier villages. Whilst the Elamites The sedentary lifestyle and social structures we know today would be impossible without the development of efficient cultivation techniques. For early humans, almost all time and energy was devoted to gathering plants for food and hunting animals.

Once agriculture became the primary method for cultivating food, societies and governments began to form and the modern notion of the nation state or city state in some cases began. The development of agriculture also had a heavy hand in influencing early religions. Religion would go on to become one of the most dominant forces throughout human history; influencing everything from powerful governments to the day-to-day life of citizens the world over.

This paper will discuss the importance of the development of agriculture among early humans with specific regard to the rise of Mesopotamian city-states and the ancient Egyptian nation state. These two early societies provide poignant examples of the profound influence of agriculture. In their respective eras, they Mesopotamia is home to the invention of writing, our twelve month lunar based calendar, the wheel, the division of minutes to seconds, and the opening of the first routes to import and export trade.

The Sumerians of Mesopotamia were enveloped by environmental conditions that constantly tested their skills and intellect for survival. This need for survival served as the basis that called forth the invention of methods and ideas that overtime increased and spiraled into the creation of a higher human society. Nature threatened the Sumerians with the very essentials needed to help sustain life.

They were shadowed by the constant challenge of floods, droughts, winds, and heat. Faced with these hardships, they took the sources that made them vulnerable and invented ingenious methods and strategies to overcome their complex situation. The construction of canals, reservoirs, dams, and the wheel made it possible to control and deviate the rivers into selected areas. In result, such things as wheat and millet became abundant and a stable food supply was soon possible. Prosperity increased and groups began to colonize along the rivers and the population grew, gradually expanding their habitable land.

Mesopotamia is a Greek word meaning 'between the rivers'. The rivers are the Tigris and Euphrates which flow through modern day Iraq. Thousands of In Sumer and Babylon, the king was often the monarch and the high priest. The position of these so-called priest-kings was relatively unstable. If the god s didn't provide for welfare of the citizens, the people often held the king responsible, and deposed him. Ancient Mesopotamia was a region that contained several city-states, much like Italy during the Italian Renaissance period.

Mesopotamia at this time did not have a centralized government but, instead, had many smaller regions with their own separate governments. The early kings ruled over only their own city-states. Lacking a centralized government and leader, the ancient region was prone to internal fighting among the kings for land and resources. The Mesopotamians believed their kings and queens were descended from the City of Gods, but, unlike the ancient Egyptians, they never believed their kings were real gods. Sumerians: Gilgamesh c. He became known as a demigod with superhuman strength in later legends and tales such as the Epic of Gilgamesh. The tremendous wealth and power of this city, along with its extraordinary size and appearance, were certainly considered a Biblical myth, that is, until its foundations were brought to the public eye and its riches grew physically and mentally stronger during the 19th century.

Babylon is Akkadian which means "the Gate of God s " and it became the capital of the land of Babylonia. There is evidence that man has lived in this area of Mesopotamia since the beginning of civilization. The first records indicate that Babylon was established as a city around the 23rd century BC. Babylonia was an ancient empire that existed in the Near East in southern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Throughout the long period of Babylonia history, the Babylonians achieved a high level of civilization that made an impact on the whole known world.

Sumerian culture was its basis, which later Babylonians regarded as traditional. They are alike and unlike in many ways. Some significant ways in which ancient India and China are similar and different are religion, art, economics, politics, and social structure. Ancient China and ancient India both consider religion to be very important. The main religions of China were Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism. The central religions in India were Hinduism and Buddhism.

Both Ancient China and India had religious teachers that invented these prevalent religions. In India, Hinduism had its roots in the religious beliefs of the Aryan people …show more content… China was ruled by different dynasties, which means they were ruled by different families, depending on the dynasty. India was mainly ruled by empires, which means the rulers were not always of the same blood line. Rajas were princes or tribal chieftains. Meanwhile, China was ruled by emperors.

Furthermore, the economy in both civilizations was important to their survival. Their main cash crops were millet and rice. India and China traded via the Silk Road. Because of the geography and different weather patterns of each ancient society, China grew crops that required little moisture while India was not as restricted. India grew wheat and barley in addition to the millet and rice mentioned above. Ancient India and China imported and exported goods differently, too. India traded by camel caravans and by sea. China mainly traded via the Silk Road. Ancient China and India both had social structures that basically dictated their ways of life, too. They both had patriarchal societies.

This meant that their societies were dominated by men. Family was extremely important in both cultures. In addition, China and India each had their own caste system. In India, at the top of the cast system were the priests. Then came warriors, commoners, the Sudras, and the Untouchables. In short [Wahdat-al-Wujud] is not pantheism, because the world is not Allah. Spinoza's definition in the Ethica of God as "simple substance" pantheism properly speaking , has nothing to do with the experience of those who possess ma'rifa [gnosis]. Rather, the world's existence is through Allah, in Arabic bi Llah, the point under the Arabic letter ba' being both a point of ontic connection and a point of demarcation The matter is between Lord Rabb , and slave who is through Lord 'abd bi Rabb ".

Mainstream Tasawwuf does not present itself as a separate set of beliefs from the mainstream Sunni tradition; well-established traditions like Naqshbandi , Qadiri , Shadhili , and most others have always been part and parcel of normative Islamic life. No doubt some groups in the name of Sufism, just like in any religion, do espouse theologically unorthodox positions. The book tells the lineage of the prophets of Islam. The Barghawata kingdom of Morocco followed a syncretic religion inspired by Islam perhaps influenced by Judaism with elements of Sunni , Shi'ite and Kharijite Islam, mixed with astrological and heathen traditions.

Supposedly, they had their own Qur'an in the Berber language comprising 80 suras under the leadership of the second ruler of the dynasty Salih ibn Tarif who had taken part in the Maysara uprising. He proclaimed himself a prophet. He also claimed to be the final Mahdi of Islamic tradition, and that Isa Jesus would be his companion and pray behind him. Satpanth is considered as syncretism of Ismaili Islam and Hinduism.

Buddhism has syncretized with many traditional beliefs in East Asian societies as it was seen as compatible with local religions. Hinduism , Buddhism , Jainism and Zoroastrianism in ancient India have made many adaptations over the millennia, assimilating elements of various diverse religious traditions. The Mughal emperor Akbar , who wanted to consolidate the diverse religious communities in his empire, propounded Din-i-Ilahi , a syncretic religion intended to merge the best elements of the religions of his empire, Allopanishad is the example there. Meivazhi is a syncretic monotheistic minority religion based in Tamil Nadu, India. Its focus is spiritual enlightenment and the conquering of death, through the teachings.

Mevaizhi preaches the Oneness of essence message of all the previous major scriptures — particularly Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity — allowing membership regardless of creed. Meivazhi's disciples are thousands of people belonging once to 69 different castes of different religions being united as one family of Meivazhi Religion. In China, most of the population follows syncretist religions combining Mahayana Buddhism , Taoism and elements of Confucianism.

Out of all Chinese believers, approximately Many of the pagodas in China are dedicated to both Buddhist and Taoist deities. Likewise, in Southeast Asia, the local variants of Buddhism have been adapted to accommodate folk beliefs, such as the veneration of nats in Myanmar and phi in Thailand. The traditional Mun faith of the Lepcha people predates their seventh century conversion to Lamaistic Buddhism. Since that time, the Lepcha have practiced it together with Buddhism. Since the arrival of Christian missionaries in the nineteenth century, Mun traditions have been followed alongside that faith as well.

The traditional religion permits the incorporation of Buddha and Jesus Christ as deities, depending on household beliefs. One can contrast Christian syncretism with contextualization or inculturation , the practice of making Christianity relevant to a culture: Contextualisation does not address the doctrine but affects a change in the styles or expression of worship. Although Christians often took their European music and building styles into churches in other parts of the world, in a contextualization approach, they would build churches, sing songs, and pray in a local ethnic style.

Some Jesuit missionaries adapted local systems and images to teach Christianity, as did the Portuguese in China, the practice of which was opposed by the Dominicans , leading to the Chinese rites controversy. Historian Yuval Noah Harari argues in Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind that syncretism is pervasive in Christianity, saying that "In fact, monotheism, as it has played out in history, is a kaleidoscope of monotheist, dualist, polytheist and animist legacies, jumbling together under a single divine umbrella.

The average Christian believes in the monotheist God, but also in the dualist Devil, in the polytheist saints, and in animist ghosts. Syncretism did not play a role when Christianity split into eastern and western rites during the Great Schism. It became involved, however, with the rifts of the Protestant Reformation , with Desiderius Erasmus 's readings of Plutarch.

Even earlier, syncretism was a fundamental aspect of the efforts of Neoplatonists such as Marsilio Ficino to reform the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Catholicism in Central and South America has been integrated with a number of elements derived from indigenous and slave cultures in those areas see the Caribbean and modern sections ; while many African Initiated Churches demonstrate an integration of Protestant and traditional African beliefs.

The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the subsequent devotion to her are seen as assimilating some elements of native Mexican culture into Christianity. Some Andean areas, such as in Peru , have a strong influence of Inca -originated Quechua culture into Catholicism. This often results in Catholic holy days and festivities featuring Quechua dances or figures, such as the Assumption of Mary celebration in Chinchaypujio , or the fertility celebrations for Pachamama in the mostly Catholic Callalli.

In the Latter Day Saint movement , doctrine from previous dispensations as recorded in the LDS canon are considered official, though it is accepted that ancient teachings can be warped, misunderstood, or lost as a result of apostasy. He has a son named Hesuklistos Jesus Christ who is supposed to be the god of the foreigners. They recognize that Hesuklistos is a god but do not feel he is worthy of worship as he is a minor god.

Catholicism in South Korea has been syncretized with traditional Mahayana Buddhist and Confucian customs that form an integral part of traditional Korean culture. As a result, South Korean Catholics continue to practice a modified form of ancestral rites and observe many Buddhist and Confucian customs and philosophies. The religion combines ancient Southern Italian folk practices with Roman Catholicism.

Its origins lie with two sources. It can be traced back to the founding of Magna Graecia and the importation of Greek culture including Ancient Greek folk practices. The second source is the introduction of Catholicism during the Norman conquest of Southern Italy. During Spanish rule , Catholicism became heavily enforced. Despite it being separated from mainstream Catholicism, followers still consider themselves to be devout Catholics. Its relationship to previous dispensations is seen as analogous to the relationship of Christianity to Judaism. The process of syncretism in the Caribbean region often forms a part of cultural creolization. The technical term " Creole " may apply to anyone born and raised in the region, regardless of ethnicity.

The shared histories of the Caribbean islands include long periods of European Imperialism mainly by Spain, France, and Great Britain and the importation of African slaves primarily from Central and Western Africa. The influences of each of the above interacted in varying degrees on the islands, producing the fabric of society that exists today in the Caribbean. The Rastafari movement , founded in Jamaica , syncretizes vigorously, mixing elements from the Bible , Marcus Garvey 's Pan-Africanism movement, a text from the European grimoire tradition, the Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses , Hinduism , and Caribbean culture.

Another highly syncretic religion of the area, vodou , combines elements of Western African, native Caribbean, and Christian especially Roman Catholic beliefs. Hoodoo is a similarly derived form of folk magic practiced by some African American communities in the Southern United States. Other traditions of syncretic folk religion in North America include Louisiana Voodoo as well as Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-wow , in which practitioners invoke power through the Christian God.

Santo Daime is a syncretic religion founded in Brazil that incorporates elements of several religious or spiritual traditions including Folk Catholicism , Kardecist Spiritism , African animism and indigenous South American shamanism , including vegetalismo. Unitarian Universalism also provides an example of a modern syncretic religion. It traces its roots to Universalist and Unitarian Christian congregations. However, modern Unitarian Universalism freely incorporates elements from other religious and non-religious traditions, so that it no longer identifies as "Christian.

The Theosophical Society professes to go beyond being a syncretic movement that combines deities into an elaborate Spiritual Hierarchy , and assembles evidence that points to an underlying or occult reality of Being that is universal and interconnected, common to all spirit-matter dualities. It is maintained that this is the source of religious belief, each religion simply casting that one reality through the prism of that particular time and in a way that is meaningful to their circumstances.

Universal Sufism seeks the unity of all people and religions.

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