India`s Religion Essay Research Paper
Religion in India
Religion plays a vital role in the Indian way of life. About 83 percent of the Indian people are Hindus and about 11 percent are Muslims. The next largest religious groups in order of size are Christians Sikhs Buddhists and Jains. Religious laws of the Hindus and Muslim govern the people?s clothing food and marriage. They also strongly influence the type of violence between Hindus and Muslims that led to the division of India into two nations India and Pakistan. Many thousands of Indians have died in fighting between Hindus and Muslims. The bloodshed still occurs from time to time.
Hinduism has about 453 million followers in India. Hindus believe that all living creatures will have many lives on earth after they die. Hindus are divided into groups on the basis of social classes. India has about 3 000 of these groups. They are called castes.
Islam the religion of the Muslims has about 14 million followers in India. Most Indian Muslims live in the northern part of the country. When Pakistan became part India about 6 million India Muslims migrated to the new country.
Sikhism began as a movement to combine Hinduism and Islam. Sikhs in India number about 10 million most whom live in the northern part of India. They are the leading wheat farmers. Sikhs forms one of the largest Indian of the largest Indian Army.
Christianity has about 14 million followers in India. Many live in the state of Kerala where they make up about a fifth of the population.
Buddhism is ranked as India?s chief religion in ancient times. Today the country has about 4 million Buddhists in India.
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Definition of religion and defense
Definition of Religion:
Religion is norms,values, or a way of life to an individual or community. A
spiritual guide that governs the way a person lives from day to day by giving
that person hope, belief, and reason to exist in this world. Religion can be
whatever that person makes of it. Religion can be a persons assets,
family, or other individuals or possessions, it can be many things besides
worship to a "God" or "Deity". It can be whatever a person deems holy or
"Religion is norms, values, or a way of life to an individual or community".
This can be defended by taking a look at they way most religious people live.
Many people live accordingly to there religions rules and regulations. This
includes Buddhists, Muslims, Mennonites, and Amish just to point out a few.
Not only in dress and in possessions but people who respect their religions
live by their religion’s rules.
"A spiritual guide that governs the way a person lives from day to day by
giving that person hope, belief, and a reason to exist in this world."
Religion can give an individual codes to live. It can give a person hope,
belief, and a reason to exist by making the individual feel loved or cared
about by their religion or their religious deities. It can also give them
hope and belief by feeling included within a group of individuals that share
their same views. By giving them a reason to exist religions give an
individual something to look forward to after death and purpose for being on
"Religion can be whatever a person makes of it. Religion can be a persons
assets, family, or other individuals and possessions, it can be many things
besides worship to a "God" or "Deity"."
Religion can mean different things for different people. It can be a rich
mans money, poor mans shelter, a mad mans weapons. Many people or cultures
worships numerous "gods" for different occasions. Some people worship the
earth or animals while many other individuals worship other "people" or
"mortals". A persons religion can be what they make it.
"It can be whatever a person deems holy or sacred."
By determining what is holy or sacred to the individual they can choose to
make that their religion. Whether it be a feeling of enlightenment or a
persons bank account, the individual has the right to make what they
consider holy their religion. Not saying it is wrong or right because it is
all based on a matter of opinion and belief. Much like my definition of
Religion Essay, Research Paper
CHRISTOLOGY: THE HISTORICAL & THEOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE
Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, was born in Bethlehem in Judea. The chronology of the Christian era is reckoned from a 6th-century dating of the year of his birth, which is now recognized as being from four to eight years in error. Christians traditionally regard Jesus as the incarnate Son of God, and as having been divinely conceived by Mary, the wife of Joseph, and a carpenter of Nazareth. The name Jesus is derived from a Greek rendering of the Hebrew name Joshua, or in full Yehoshuah. The title Christ is derived from the Greek christos, a translation of the Hebrew Messiah. Christ was used by Jesus’ early followers, who regarded him as the promised deliverer of Israel and later was made part of Jesus’ proper name by the church, which regards him as the redeemer of all humanity (http://www.encarta.com).
The principal sources of information concerning Jesus’ life are the Gospels, written in the latter half of the 1st century by the generation that had known Jesus firsthand. The Epistles of Saint Paul and the Acts of the Apostles also contain information about Jesus. The scantiness of additional source material and the theological nature of biblical records caused some 19th-century biblical scholars to doubt his historical existence. Others, interpreting the available sources in a variety of ways produced biographies of Jesus in which his life was purged of all supernatural elements. Today, scholars generally agree that Jesus was a historical figure whose existence is authenticated both by Christian writers and by several Roman and Jewish historians (http://www.encarta.com).
In its simplest form, the definition of Christology is the study of Christ. We derive this definition by defining the syllables: “ology” means ‘the study of and Christ is self-defined. Theologians and scholars; however, tend to make all definitions more difficult and more complex than this. The definition; however, is fully dependent upon which theologian one reads. Some focus on the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ; others explore his life and work on earth. Some deny the fact that Jesus is God, and others express strongly that yes, Jesus is part of the trinity and is God. Christianity is founded on the belief that Jesus walked the earth and was given to humanity to die for our sins. In a manner of speaking, Christianity is Christology because all Christian faiths study the life of Jesus Christ (http://www.encarta.com).
William M. Thompson defines Christology thusly: “Christology entails a struggle or contest over the true meaning of the Bible; that Christology and biblical studies are two aspects of a single inquiry into divine revelation; and that this kind of inquiry demands a meditative form” (12). Another aspect of some points of view in Christology has to do with the formation of Christian Churches, especially the Catholic Church. Hans Kung says that the student must begin with the historical life and teachings of Jesus instead of depending on the interpretation of the early church, which is still prevalent today. He believes that by negating what he believes is the Hellenistic paradigm, dialogue with both Judaism and Islam would be facilitated which would be a good thing for the world (35).
Robert Imbelli’s interview with Jesuit Father Joseph Fitzmyer interprets Jesus’ place in the historical and spiritual worlds are more in line with the Bible. He suggests the question being asked by Christology is age-old: “Who do you say I am?” The responses found in the New Testament are many: “You are the Messiah. the Son of God. the Image of the invisible God. the Word made flesh. Lord and God.” The canon rules out any other answer to the question (25). Imbelli also notes that there has not been such a “farrago,” meaning a mixed up hodgepodge, of differing images of the identity of Jesus as there is today since the second century. He quotes some of the images as Jesus the cyruc philosopher; Jesus the social reformer; Jesus the therapist; Jesus the protofeminist. He also argues that although some of these presentations capture some of the traits of Jesus, they are, for the most part, reductive. He asserts that this latest chapter in the “age-old postic saga” divorces the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith (25).
These interpretations attempt to categorize Jesus. Jesus cannot be placed in a category. He is too large, too vast, and too mysterious for labeling. In much of the current academic study that is what is missing — the mystery of Jesus. Instead, there is an effort to examine the “Jesus of history.” There is certainly nothing wrong with a historical study but if it ignores or denies the “Spiritual Jesus,” the “Christ of faith,” the study is a hoax. It isn’t real, accurate, or valid. This type of study neither illuminates nor inspires the student and those who study Jesus to walk in his path is left without any sort of nourishment for the mind or the soul (27). For Imbelli, the central interpretive key to Christology is the “Resurrection of the crucified Jesus and his presence.” This is the view that is reflected in the New Testament, which views Jesus’ life and ministry in the light of the Resurrection and the Lord’s continuing presence in His community (25).
The development of the church’s Christological faith came through the early councils but Imbelli argues that this does not represent a Hellinization of the simple gospel; instead, it demonstrates a Spirit-guided discernment of the truth of the narrative proclaimed in the Scriptures. The Nicaea and Chalcedon councils affirm a new understanding of the divine and the human revealed in Jesus Christ. The expositions from these councils serve as the norm for systematic understanding (25).
The first Ecumenical council of the Christian Church was called by Constantine the Great. It was held in Nicaea in Asia Minor. The primary purpose of the council was to discuss the views of Arius, who argued that Jesus was the most exalted human of all time but that is what he was – human. Jesus was not created out of nothing; he was not eternally existent; and he was capable of right and wrong through his own free well. The council rules against Arius’ views and ascribed a purely divine nature to Jesus (Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia 216). The council also published a confession of faith that is called the Nicene Creed. This was based on an older creed that had been used in Caesarea, but it clearly defined the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. The Nicene Creed is still used and recited in the liturgies of numerous churches including Roman, Greek and Anglican. Further, it has been adopted, although sometimes slightly modified, as part of the doctrinal teachings that are accepted by most Protestant religions (Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia 216).
Modern Christology honors the affirmation of both the divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ in a unique union as described in Chalcedon. Imbelli and O’Collins together offer an explicit relational understanding of the person of Jesus and His filial relationship to the person he calls “Abba (Father). This understanding inherently argues the legitimacy of speaking of the faith of Jesus. He alleges that faith is not yet sight (27). In summary, the understanding of Christ focused initially on his divinity. Through the councils, that focus changed to Jesus’ divinity and humanity. Both are essential in understanding Jesus Christ, Son of God. This same view is held by both Catholic and Protestant theologians.
Perhaps the greatest mystery surrounding the life and death of Jesus was his resurrection and then his subsequent presence among the Apostles and other disciples. This aspect of Jesus’ life is a focal point in some of the Christological studies. It was in the crucifixion, then in the resurrection that both the humanity and divinity of Jesus Christ can be seen; it is called the hypostatic union as stated by Imbelli (28). One of the interesting aspects to come out of these kinds of studies was stated by Cunningham in his interview with Father Joseph Fitzmyer on St. Paul. The crucifixion of Jesus is treated as an historical event, one committed upon his human body that has had a dramatic effect on the minds and hearts of all believers. This event is significant to Christians who profess they are trying to be Disciples of Christ. At some point in the middle ages; however, the crucifixion became separated from the resurrection. In the Pauline tradition, the crucifixion became something that happened “for us” and the mystery of the resurrection is all but forgotten (40). People typically remember that Easter celebrates the resurrection but there is far less emphasis placed on this day than there once was. (40)
Millard J. Erickson observed that the resurrection of Jesus has taken on greater importance in theology in the last half century. (255) Wolfhart Pannenberg has been a major force in this emphasis. Pannenberg also argues strongly that there is only one kind of history, and that resurrection is an objective event that happened to Jesus and, like other historical facts, it can be proven (Erickson 1995, pg. 255). Pannenberg s argument has encouraged evangelicals, who have argued for the resurrection both positively and negatively. The positive argument is that there are three kinds of evidence: the empty tomb; the appearances of Jesus; and the rise of Easter faith. Evangelicals have argued that these three evidences increase the likelihood of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ more probable. On the negative side, some simply refute the possibility of miracles. In the resurrection of Christ, evangelicals see the supreme miracle that definitively sets Jesus apart from others as unique among all humans who have ever lived. They argue that the arguments by David Hume and Anthony Flew are circular, not proving anything (255).
Soteriology is the theological doctrine of theology as Christ effected it. Tillich argued that Christology is a function of soteriology and Pannenberg argued that soteriology is a function of Christology. The core concept of Pannenberg’s theory, called Christological soteriology is the concept of reconciliation, wherein God is perceived as the only agent in the process of atonement. Pannenberg asserts that: “Humanity as the recipient of God’s reconciling action participates in it by being represented. And in this way representation is the form of the process of salvation. Jesus’ death on the Cross is therefore the divine judgement over sin and in this sense the ground of the possibility of reconciliation” (260). Christ represents all the sinners in the world and thus, this has an inclusive significance for all humanity. This is an essential concept for Christians: Jesus’ moral body was crucified, died, buried and that body rose. His appearances following the crucifixion was of his divine spirit in a form his disciples recognized.
The following reflects explanations of some words and concepts:
In the humiliation of Jesus’ self identification with humanity (Hebrews 2:17; 4:15), Jesus fulfills not just the part of the victim but also of the high priest (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12), offering himself in an act that brings about a new relationship, a new covenant, between God and man. Jesus’ life from his baptism through His cross is His own self-sanctification to His eternal priesthood. It is in and through Jesus self-sanctification that His people are sanctified forever (John 17:19). For Paul, God made Christ Jesus “our sanctification,” the means whereby human beings are dedicated anew to God and oriented to serve God with awe and respect (Editors 2000, pg. 22).
Justification is addressed, when Paul says that Christ has “justified” human beings, he means that by His Passion, death, and Resurrection, Christ has brought it about that humans now stand before God acquitted or innocent (Editors 2000, pg. 22). The image of salvation expresses deliverance from evil or harm, whether physical, psychic, national, cataclysmic, or moral. Paul recognizes that Christians are being saved by the cross of Christ (Editors 2000, pg. 22). Redemption, Paul acknowledges that Christ’s Passion, death, and Resurrection was a ransom to set sinners free from bondage and enslavement (Editors 2000, pg. 22). Erickson argues that “Christian faith is dependent on the process of mediation of tradition and its institutions, but it must nevertheless lead to an independent immediate relationship of the believer to Christ which Christians experience as the effect of the work of the Spirit” (Erickson 1995, p. 261). The Pauline triad of faith, states that hope and love is based on the fundamental salvific effects of the Spirit in the believer. For Pannenberg, both hope and love have their foundations in faith because faith is based on the promise of God in Jesus. Love is based on faith through the inclusion of Jesus’ filial relationship to God the Father (Erickson 1995, p.259).
Evangelicalism emphasizes the authority of the Bible, the deity and humanity of Jesus, and the regeneration for salvation through faith in Christ. Calvin taught that God would select or repudiate individuals based on their works. If a person did the necessary works of regeneration, it was likely that he would be among the chosen. Calvinists, thus, had high motivation to live a life that was appropriate for the regenerate. An individual must demonstrate conscientious observation to whatever duties one was called to do in order to bear witness to regeneration. This was the way to salvation (Pannenberg s Html). Jesus, the Son, did what the Father sent him to do; a reconciling action and this is the fulfillment of the old covenant’s promises. The work of reconciliation then, is perfected in the Spirit, which elevates humans above their station (Erickson1995, pg. 260). Every human is created to enjoy the freedom that comes from communion with God but that freedom is only realized through redemption from sin and death. These were attained through Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the Christian notion of freedom (Pannenberg s Html).
Archbishop Averky has spoken out to present the truth about secularism and theology in today’s world. He pointed out that the terms Christian and Orthodox was once understood clearly by everyone. Today, there is so much deception and so much falsehoods floating around that the terms and concepts do not convey what is significant without the speaker clarifying them. These terms, in fact, have become nothing more than deceptive labels (Averky s Html).
Averky points to the number of organizations and societies and new sects that call themselves Christian but they reject the principal dogma of Christianity, specifically, the divinity of Lord Jesus Christ (Averky s Html). The same holds true for the term ‘Orthodox.’ This term no longer expresses what it should. The latest innovators reject the true spirit of Orthodoxy. Some of these people call themselves “neo-Orthodox” and they verbalize the importance of renewing the Orthodox Church. At the same time, they spend no time renewing their own souls and reforming their own sinful natures (Averky Html). Archbishop Averky rebuked all those who would call for unions of the religions of the world but do not focus any amount of energy on the spiritual union of peoples (Averky s Html). Averky makes some clear and valid points as the citizens of the world try to come to a point of spiritual edification and of spiritual growth and yet they still debate the most basic concepts of Christianity, specifically, but they are still debating who is Jesus?
Custom Religion in Confucianism.
Defining religion has been hard as it elicits mixed reactions from different societies all over the world. What exactly is religion? While westerners describe religion as something that inspires, the easterners have their own definition based on mythical interpretations. Westerners believe there has to be God or gods involved for a specific religion to exist. In their context then, Confucianism cannot be described as a religion. It has core beliefs, rituals, and philosophy that dictate the lives of the people living by it, but there are no aspects of the gods involved. This is still a huge debate since Confucianism is viewed as being an ethical system. According to Poceski (2009), Confucianism has a long history in influencing the lives of the Chinese society dating back to 100BC. Confucius, its founder, created a moral system that placed its emphasis on three concepts: ren (empathy or human compassion), yi (Righteousness), and li (Ideal action).
While Confucianism largely affected the political life of ancient China, there is no doubt that there was a connection between its values and various aspects of religion (Dorothy 2000). It has also affected the spiritual life of the Chinese for some time. The role of religion is evident in Confucianism in the following aspects: morality, doctrine, and duties.
While Confucianism does not tackle the existence of God or the afterlife, it has some aspects of religious beliefs and practices. Firstly, Confucians believe that their main goal here on earth is to become perfectly moral. They hold the view that people have innate traits which make them distinct; however, their positions in the end will be determined by how they went about before attaining their ultimate goal – the Dao. According to Confucius, “Those who are possessed of understanding from birth are the highest type of people”. In addition, “those who learn things from painful experience are yet the next.” “Those who have painful experiences but do not learn from them are the lowest type of people” (The Analects of Confucius, Sommer, p. 42). The fact that Confucians focus on attaining perfect morality makes it a characteristic of religion. Most if not all religions in the world call their followers to pursue morality in its purest form possible. Many view religion as a process that involves transformation from origin to sacred.
The junzi, according to Confucianism, is a title give to an individual with the highest variety of issues. However, only countable exceptional men reach this stage. Just as Christianity, Hindu or Islam, Confucianism also encourages its followers to transform their lives to higher ones through studying rituals (Sommer, 1995). In fact, Confucianism calls people to replace their original sins with good morals learnt from the Sutra or Bible. This shows that even they had an allegiance to a high god. They had to worship the god for them to replace their sins and enter paradise after they die. This transformation is a religious aspect that screams out. While their path to transformation is considered secular by Western view, the fact that Confucians strive to attain the highest level of Sagehood makes Confucianism religious.
Secondly, Confucianism also has religious cult involved in some of its teachings. However, most of their rituals were directed towards the Emperor, which depicted a form of state cult. Performing these rituals, according to Confucianism, ensured the well-being and happiness of the Emperor, the people he led, and the land they ploughed. The same can be seen in other religions such as Hinduism and Christianity. These religions believe in offering sacrifices or offerings to their gods to ensure the prosperity of their religious leaders and humanity in general. Confucianism taught that offering sacrifices or sincere prayers would call for the goodwill of the heavens. The emperor also performed these rituals in Confucian temples on behalf of the people he led. Certainly, this one aspect makes a connection between religion and Confucianism. Notably, Confucius respected his beliefs and acknowledged the importance of expressing heart-felt reverence to ancestors-spirits. He called for people to understand the spirits.
Western definition of religion still finds fault with such offering of sacrifices. They tend to separate philosophy from religion. However, the Chinese did not have a word that defines religion until the late 19 th century. They used chiao, which referred to teachings in place of religion. This proves that the definition of religion should be carefully expressed to cover different aspects from different communities all over the world. What appears to be religious to one group may not be religious to another.
Confucianists believe that the entirety of the individual is in spirit and flesh. After the death of an individual, the spirit is released while the body remains in the ground. The belief in the existence of spirits and offering sacrifices to them brings out the religious nature of Confucianism. Confucianists also believe that judgment will befall all the inhabitants of earth in the coming years. This belief resembles that of other religions like Islam and Christianity, which stress the existence of a higher power that would judge man in the end of times.
Confucianism emphasizes the importance of offering sacrifices to sovereigns under strict regulations. According to Sommer (1995), an individual has to make a moderate vigil of seven days as well as three-day full vigil before making any type of sacrifice. In observing the vigils, Confucius ought to clean himself before moving to a lonely place without taking wine or eating fish or meat. There has to be a proper association between the individual offering the sacrifice and the spirit. Those who offered sacrifices had to be qualified, so they had to prepare thoroughly. The host of such a ritual or formal events was usually an honorable individual, who has to be a Confucian. After offering the sacrifices, the sovereigns can then go ahead and seek for blessings for things like rain. All these sacrifices depict the existing connection between the human race and imaginary supernatural beings in the heavens such as spirits. This clearly shows the religious aspect of Confucianism.
Thirdly, Confucianism also has its own doctrines just like the other religions. Its main principle is ren (humaneness), which should reflect exceptional character in accordance with xiao (filial piety), li (ritual norms), shu (reciprocity), and zhong (loyalty to a true nature). All of the above constitute what is called de (virtue). Confucianism bases its faith on the likelihood of normal human beings to attain high sages. It also insists that human beings can be taught and improved through personal or communal endeavor.
According to Sommer, ren is very important as it is one of the parts constituting the Dao. An individual who wants to perform ren with positive externality has to fully develop in order to cultivate ren in his mind. Other religions like Christianity also place emphasis on exclusive doctrinal orthodoxy. Confucianism has religious beliefs that focus on cultivating ethics. The concept of ren implies that people have to possess the determination of doing the righteous. Li refers to a system of norms that stipulate the individual’s proper moral conduct in the community.
Most values in Confucianism teach that an individual can decide to give up his or her own life and pursue cardinal moral values. The same applies to other religious beliefs. Christianity, Muslim and Hinduism also teach on the possibility of an individual forsaking his/her own life to focus on several cardinal moral values. Xiao, filial piety, was seen as one of the greatest virtues which had to be shown towards both the living and the dead. “Filial” means “a son”, which shows the respect that a son should offer to his parents.
According to Confucianism, there exists hopes and lives to humans if they act nicely to the society. This applies to other religions as well; they all demand that human beings extend a compassionate heart to the society and help those in need. According to Confucian philosophy, human nature is always good, and possession of the knowledge will help keep everyone on the right path. The ultimate goal of Confucianists emphasizes that the society is dynamic and change is a part of it. According to Yin and Yang, the spirits of good and bad control the world. This belief in the presence of spirit powers resonates across other religions.
The debate as to whether Confucianism is a religion will go on as long as there is no distinct and universal definition of religion. If religion is, as defined by the West, focused on one awe-inspiring creator or God, then Confucianism does not fit to be a religion. However, a broader definition of religion across the globe would count Confucianism as religion. It focuses on the aspect of cultivating humanness. Notably, the teachings of Confucianism can be beneficial just as other religions are in the interest of the betterment of the society. Just like other religions, Confucianism urges its followers to pursue education and become loyal to the society. It also teaches individuals to be simple humans, which somehow coincides with most teachings of other religions.Custom Religion in Confucianism.
6 January 2012
Neivanism is a religion based off of snow. The religion i found where ever there is snow all year round, on the poles, on mountaintops, but mostly in the Northern Hemisphere, especially in Greenland, Canada, and Alaska. Mythic
Contrary to where Neivanism is practiced, the religion originated in Spain. The story goes that a man named Carlos was stuck in a freak snow storm in Central Spain. The storm lasted for 4 days and for 4 nights. Carlos blunders bout in the storm for this days, and before dawn on the fifth day a figure appeared to him. The figure was tall and broad, and wore a coat of pure white. He introduced himself as Hladgunnr. He spoke to Carlos telling him that he shall be the founder of a new religion, one that would be the most pure and sacred on the Earth. He asked Carlos that in twelve days time he was to take a boat and head north at sunset, and he will guide them to they place they are meant to be. The next morning the blizzard ended. Carlos went into the city of Madrid and spread the good news. His followers were mostly poor and middle aged, but in twelve days he set out north just as he was instructed.Then Carlos and his followers spent 20 days and 20 night following the snow cloud that was send by Hladgunnr. On the 21st day they landed in a snowy tundra at dawn. As the days went by Carols had been getting visions on how to start his new religion. The rules and duties of the community were carved onto a glacier. The beginnings of Neivanism started. Doctrinal
This religion has many beliefs and creeds. Neivanists belief in a life after death. They believe that when a person dies their soul ascends into the sky and later snows down. When the snow melts their soul reforms up in the sky and the cycle continues. However if the person has led an bad moral life their soul is sent into the mouth a volcano where they will never turn.
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