- Harvard Library
- Research Guides
Introduction to Religion
- All Religions
- Buddhism & Hinduism
Ramona Islam, Reed Lowrie, Anna Assogba
Find Overviews & Introductions
Encyclopedia of Religion Short introductory essays on almost all topics of religion.
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion In-depth essays giving an overview of various topics within religion, along with suggested further works.
Oxford Very Short Introductions A series of short books giving the development of and important issues within a subject area. Included in this series are:
- African Religions: A Very Short Introduction ;
- Confucianism: A Very Short Introduction ;
- Mormonism: A Very Short Introduction ;
- Sikhism: A Very Short Introduction ;
- Theology: A Very Short Introduction ;
- and many others .
Vocabulary for the Study of Religion Relatively brief but detailed essays giving definition and context for terms relating to religious studies. Articles also contain a bibliography.
Cambridge Companions Online The Cambridge Companions to Philosophy, Religion and Culture are a series of books with in-depth exploration of religious figures or subjects, such as American Islam or Christian Doctrine.
Cambridge Histories Includes books on religious histories of geographic areas as well as religions as a whole.
Find Journal Articles and Statistics
Many-in-one search (from the Divinity School Library) Search across several major databases in religious studies simultaneously: Academic Search Premier, ATLA Religion Database, Catholic Periodical and Literature Index, Bibliography of Asian Studies, Christian Periodical Index, Index Islamicus, Index to Jewish Periodicals, New Testament Abstracts, Old Testament Abstracts, and Philosopher's Index.
Atla Religion Database ® ( Atla RDB ® ) The main database for all religious traditions; main coverage back to 1949.
Religious and Theological Abstracts Database of scholarly literature, particularly as religion intersects with other fields, such as sociology, psychology, criminology, urban studies, education, anthropology, etc. Coverage starts in 1958.
World Religion Database A good source of statistics for religions.
Find journal articles for a religion in a cultural or geographic region
Bibliography of Asian Studies Contains journal articles on topics in the humanities and social sciences related to East, Southeast, and South Asia. Coverage 1971-present.
Africa-Wide: NIPAD Covers all topics in African studies, including religion. Coverage: 19th-century to present.
Hispanic American Periodical Index (HAPI) Index to articles covering Latin America and the U.S. Hispanic population. Coverage: 1970-present.
Find Primary Sources
Religions of America Contains manuscripts, pamphlets, newsletters and other ephemeral materials related to the development of religious movements in the United States, including Pentecostalism, Mormonism, Christian Science, Neopagan, Wiccan, and other lesser-known religious practices.
Search tips for HOLLIS
Find materials on your topic.
Search HOLLIS (in Library Catalog) using one of the search constructions below:
- Spirituality -- [name of country/continent]
[name of country/continent] -- Religion
[name of religion]
Find primary sources
Search the terms below as subjects in HOLLIS Advanced Search (in Library Catalog) to find various primary source types:
- sources (collections of published primary sources)
Find secondary sources
Search the terms below as subjects in HOLLIS Advanced Search (in Library Catalog) to find secondary sources on your topic:
- political aspects
- social conditions
- social life and customs
Find Sacred Texts & Commentaries
To find the sacred text(s) of a religious tradition, search for it by name in HOLLIS (in Library Catalog):
For analysis or interpretation of the sacred text, use one of the following searches in HOLLIS (in Library Catalog):
- [name of sacred text] + Commentaries
- [name of sacred text] + Criticism and interpretation, etc.
Other Guides on Religion
Research Guides from the Divinity School Library
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- Last Updated: Jun 24, 2022 4:54 PM
- URL: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/religion
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Essay on What is Religion for Students and Children
500+ Words Essay on What Is Religion?
Religion refers to a belief in a divine entity or deity. Moreover, religion is about the presence of God who is controlling the entire world. Different people have different beliefs. And due to this belief, many different cultures exist.
Further, there are a series of rituals performed by each religion. This is done to please Gods of their particular religion. Religion creates an emotional factor in our country. The Constitution of our country is secular . This means that we have the freedom of following any religion. As our country is the most diverse in religions, religion has two main sub broad categories:
Monotheistic religions believe in the existence of one God. Some of the monotheistic religions are:
Islam: The people who follow are Muslims . Moreover, Islam means to ‘ surrender’ and the people who follow this religion surrender themselves to ‘Allah’.
Furthermore, the holy book of Islam is ‘ QURAN’, Muslims believe that Allah revealed this book to Muhammad. Muhammad was the last prophet. Above all, Islam has the second most popular religion in the entire world. The most important festivals in this religion are Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
Christianity: Christian also believes in the existence of only one God. Moreover, the Christians believe that God sent his only Jesus Christ for our Salvation. The Holy book of Christians is the Bible .
Furthermore, the bible is subdivided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. Most Importantly, Jesus Christ died on the cross to free us from our sins. The people celebrate Easter on the third day. Because Jesus Christ resurrected on the third day of his death.
However, the celebration of Christmas signifies the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. Above all Christianity has the most following in the entire world.
Judaism: Judaism also believes in the existence of one God. Who revealed himself to Abraham, Moses and the Hebrew prophets. Furthermore, Abraham is the father of the Jewish Faith. Most Noteworthy the holy book of the Jewish people is Torah.
Above all, some of the festivals that Jewish celebrate are Passover, Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year, Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement, Hanukkah, etc.
Get the huge list of more than 500 Essay Topics and Ideas
Polytheistic religions are those that believe in the worship of many gods. One of the most believed polytheistic religion is:
Hinduism: Hinduism has the most popularity in India and South-east Asian sub-continent. Moreover, Hindus believe that our rewards in the present life are the result of our deeds in previous lives. This signifies their belief in Karma. Above all the holy book of Hindus is ‘Geeta’. Also, Hindus celebrate many festivals. Some of the important ones are Holi-The festival of colors and Diwali- the festival of lights.
Last, there is one religion that is neither monotheistic nor polytheistic.
Buddhism: Buddhism religion followers do not believe in the existence of God. However, that does not mean that they are an atheist. Moreover, Buddhism believes that God is not at all the one who controls the masses. Also, Buddhism is much different from many other religions. Above all, Gautam Buddha founded Buddhism.
Some FAQs for You
Q1. How many types of religions are there in the entire world?
A1. There are two types of religion in the entire world. And they are Monotheistic religions and Polytheistic religions.
Q2. What is a Polytheistic religion? Give an example
A2. Polytheistic religion area those that follow and worship any Gods. Hinduism is one of the examples of polytheistic religion. Hindus believe in almost 330 million Gods. Furthermore, they have great faith in all and perform many rituals to please them.
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Essays About Religion: Top 5 Examples and 7 Writing Prompts
Essays about religion include delicate issues and tricky subtopics. See our top essay examples and prompts to guide you in your essay writing.
With over 4,000 religions worldwide, it’s no wonder religion influences everything. It involves faith, lessons on humanity, spirituality, and moral values that span thousands of years. For some, it’s both a belief and a cultural system. As it often clashes with science, laws, and modern philosophies, it’s also a hot debate topic. Religion is a broad subject encompassing various elements of life, so you may find it a challenging topic to write an essay about it.
1. Wisdom and Longing in Islam’s Religion by Anonymous on Ivypanda.com
2. consequences of following religion blindly essay by anonymous on ivypanda.com, 3. religion: christians’ belief in god by anonymous on ivypanda.com, 4. mecca’s influence on today’s religion essay by anonymous on ivypanda.com, 5. religion: how buddhism views the world by anonymous on ivypanda.com , 1. the importance of religion, 2. pros and cons of having a religion, 3. religions across the world, 4. religion and its influence on laws, 5. religion: then and now, 6. religion vs. science, 7. my religion.
“Portraying Muslims as radical religious fanatics who deny other religions and violently fight dissent has nothing to do with true Islamic ideology. The knowledge that is presented in Islam and used by Muslims to build their worldview system is exploited in a misinterpreted form. This is transforming the perception of Islam around the world as a radical religious system that supports intolerance and conflicts.”
The author discusses their opinion on how Islam becomes involved with violence or terrorism in the Islamic states. Throughout the essay, the writer mentions the massive difference between Islam’s central teachings and the terrorist groups’ dogma. The piece also includes a list of groups, their disobediences, and punishments.
This essay looks at how these brutalities have nothing to do with Islam’s fundamental ideologies. However, the context of Islam’s creeds is distorted by rebel groups like The Afghan mujahideen, Jihadis, and Al-Qa’ida. Furthermore, their activities push dangerous narratives that others use to make generalized assumptions about the entire religion. These misleading generalizations lead to misunderstandings amongst other communities, particularly in the western world. However, the truth is that these terrorist groups are violating Islamic doctrine.
“Following religion blindly can hinder one’s self-actualization and interfere with self-development due to numerous constraints and restrictions… Blind adherence to religion is a factor that does not allow receiving flexible education and adapting knowledge to different areas.”
The author discusses the effects of blindly following a religion and mentions that it can lead to difficulties in self-development and the inability to live independently. These limitations affect a person’s opportunity to grow and discover oneself. Movies like “ The Da Vinci Code ” show how fanatical devotion influences perception and creates constant doubt.
“…there are many religions through which various cultures attain their spiritual and moral bearings to bring themselves closer to a higher power (deity). Different religions are differentiated in terms of beliefs, customs, and purpose and are similar in one way or the other.”
The author discusses how religion affects its followers’ spiritual and moral values and mentions how deities work in mysterious ways. The essay includes situations that show how these supreme beings test their followers’ faith through various life challenges. Overall, the writer believes that when people fully believe in God, they can be stronger and more capable of coping with the difficulties they may encounter.
“Mecca represents a holy ground that the majority of the Muslims visit; and is only supposed to be visited by Muslims. The popularity of Mecca has increased the scope of its effects, showing that it has an influence on tourism, the financial aspects of the region and lastly religion today.”
The essay delves into Mecca’s contributions to Saudi Arabia’s tourism and religion. It mentions tourism rates peaking during Hajj, a 5-day Muslim pilgrimage, and visitors’ sense of spiritual relief and peace after the voyage. Aside from its tremendous touristic benefits, it also brings people together to worship Allah. You can also check out these essays about values and articles about beliefs .
“Buddhism is seen as one of the most popular and widespread religions on the earth the reason of its pragmatic and attractive philosophies which are so appealing for people of the most diversified backgrounds and ways of thinking .”
To help readers understand the topic, the author explains Buddhism’s worldviews and how Siddhatta Gotama established the religion that’s now one of the most recognized on Earth. It includes teachings about the gift of life, novel thinking, and philosophies based on his observations. Conclusively, the author believes that Buddhism deals with the world as Gotama sees it.
Check out our guide packed full of transition words for essays .
7 Prompts on Essays About Religion
Religion’s importance is embedded in an individual or group’s interpretation of it. They hold on to their faith for various reasons, such as having an idea of the real meaning of life and offering them a purpose to exist. Use this prompt to identify and explain what makes religion a necessity. Make your essay interesting by adding real-life stories of how faith changed someone’s life.
Although religion offers benefits such as positivity and a sense of structure, there are also disadvantages that come with it. Discuss what’s considered healthy and destructive when people follow their religion’s gospels and why. You can also connect it to current issues. Include any personal experience you have.
Religion’s prevalence exhibits how it can significantly affect one’s daily living. Use this prompt to discuss how religions across the world differ from one another when it comes to beliefs and if traditions or customs influence them. It’s essential to use relevant statistical data or surveys in this prompt to support your claims and encourage your readers to trust your piece.
There are various ways religion affects countries’ laws as they adhere to moral and often humanitarian values. Identify each and discuss how faith takes part in a nation’s decision-making regarding pressing matters. You can focus on one religion in a specific location to let the readers concentrate on the case. A good example is the latest abortion issue in the US, the overturning of “Wade vs. Roe.” Include people’s mixed reactions to this subject and their justifications.
In this essay, talk about how the most widespread religions’ principles or rituals changed over time. Then, expound on what inspired these changes. Add the religion’s history, its current situation in the country, and its old and new beliefs. Elaborate on how its members clash over these old and new principles. Conclude by sharing your opinion on whether the changes are beneficial or not.
There’s a never-ending debate between religion and science. List the most controversial arguments in your essay and add which side you support and why. Then, open discourse about how these groups can avoid quarreling. You can also discuss instances when religion and science agreed or worked together to achieve great results.
Use this prompt if you’re a part of a particular religion. Even if you don’t believe in faith, you can still take this prompt and pick a church you’ll consider joining. Share your personal experiences about your religion. Add how you became a follower, the beliefs that helped you through tough times, and why you’re staying as an active member in it. You can also speak about miraculous events that strengthen your faith. Or you can include teachings that you disagree with and think needs to be changed or updated.
For help with your essay, check out our top essay writing tips !
Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.
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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, religion - free essay examples and topic ideas, the difference between a cult and religion.
Images of strange symbols, massacres, and dark woods may come to mind when you hear the word “cult” - a term that has grown to have a lot of negative connotations in our society. It would be strange to even try to compare what we know as a cult to mainstream religions, a conventional part of our everyday lives. But in reality, the two terms are polysemous, there are many possible meanings and depending on the way they are being […]
Role of Religion in Marco Polo’s Travels
"The state and foundations of western civilization were breaking at the seams during the 13th century. The primary indicator of this was the destruction of Constantinople by crusaders because of its orthodox roots in 1204. In addition, western culture was facing its own obstacles since the Great Schism wreaked havoc on the power struggle between church and state. Through his travel memoir, Marco Polo highlighted the Mongol’s model of religious unity that was lacking in affluent western societies, and gave […]
Superstition’s Effect on People’s Behavior
Superstition has an effect on people's behavior and way of thinking. Superstitions are what people's ancestors conveyed to them, the same way their native language, norms and values are passed on to them. Knocking on wood, not walking under ladders, no whistling indoors are some examples of common superstitions. "Superstitions come from traditions and your upbringing – people teach you superstitions; you're not born believing in Friday the 13th or that if you step on a crack, you'll break your […]
Religion in the Scarlet Letter
Everyone has sinned at some point in their lives and it has ruined relationships. Sinning however can be redeemable but it takes hard work and dedication in order to achieve that goal. In the novel, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne we follow Hester Prynne our female protagonist and her journey along the aftermath of sin and the change it brings in each character along the way. In seventeenth century Boston, the protagonist Hester Prynne does a horrible thing and […]
Christianity in the Byzantine Empire
History has shown us that many factors can come together to spark great civilizations. Of these factors, one of the most important is religion, the belief in and worship of a higher power or lifestyle. The Byzantine Empire, known as the surviving eastern half of the Roman Empire, can be taken as example. After the Roman Empire began declining and the two sides split in 395 C.E., the Byzantine Empire still kept the Christian faith. Maintaining Christian practices led to […]
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A Research on Religion
On the surface, the book of Ruth appears to be the story of a young girl who thought she had it all, and then one day, had nothing, but then once again, is saved by Prince Charming. Every girl's dream right? But when we dig a little deeper, it becomes evident that this book is more than just a love story between a man and a woman, but a picture of redemption. Ruth the Moabite marries, loses her husband, and […]
My Personal Attitude to Religion
Growing up in a family who saw religion as not only priority, but a way of life is something I will always cherish. Ever since I can remember, my family and I had the same routine Sunday, after Sunday, after Sunday. Even though my parents were constantly busy with their jobs, I was always running around to attend my different sporting events while my brother and sister were vigorously training to improve their sound on the instruments they played in […]
Nero’s Persecution of Christianity
Nero's horrible persecution of Christians during the first century shaped Christianity into what is now and he helped it spread whether he intended to or not. In his first five years of his rule, he was known to be a generous politician for sharing powers with the Senate and making political trials more open. It has been claimed throughout the very early middle East that persecution of Christians started because they refused to worship the emperor, which most likely gave […]
Introduction Christianity is one of the widely practised religion in the world, and one of the oldest religious practices. The religious groups that practice Christianity under strict guidelines from the bible are known as Christians. Coming in at number one as the current world statistics show is Islam. Another world-renowned religion is Islam and is considered the most widely practised religion in the world. These old practices were considered part of humanity because they gave guidelines on morals on how […]
The Relationship between Religion and Politics in the United States
The relationship between religion and politics continues to be an important topic in modern American society. In a radical act, the Constitution not only guaranteed religious freedom; it also stated that the United States would not have a national church and would not have religious tests for national office. However, in American political life, some factors enhance the role of religion in a way that is not observed in other developed countries. In the article "How Politics Affects Religion: Partisanship, […]
The Different Types of Punishments that were Used in the Bible
The death penalty has been, and continues to be an ongoing, controversial debate in today's society. In fact, capital punishment was extremely prevalent, especially during the time of Christ. In the Bible, mainly the Old Testament, capital punishment was ultimately the primary consequence to any crime that was committed. This may come as a surprise for some when in today's world, God is commonly known to be all powerful and forgiving. "For if you forgive other people when they sin […]
Religion Impact on Many Civilizations
Throughout the course of human history, many civilizations have risen to prominence as well as having collapsed into nothingness. One commonality that each civilization has had, regardless of the respective outcome, was the impact that religion had on them. Democracies such as Greece, empires and kingdoms like Rome and Egypt, and even the many great dynasties of China all had religious beliefs in some form or another that greatly impacted their ways of life. Religion played an essential role in […]
Homosexuality in Religion
When considering religion, you'd never come to assume that any faith is okay with homosexuality. homosexuality is something that is not a preferred topic that is talked about in church. Some churches can perhaps come upon that topic very briefly however can never have a full series like they do with a series concerning family, your walk with Christ, prayer,etc.. homosexuality is a great topic because the percentage of the LGBQT population rises within the U.S. in this essay you […]
Religion’s Role in Gender Equality
In today’s society and looking back, gender equality is something that the human race, in general, has struggled with since the beginning of our existence. Modern society likes to blame certain groups more for the gender inequalities we are facing than others. More often than not the finger pointing ends up turning to religion. In the Western World individuals often accuse Muslims of oppressing women, when Christianity, historically speaking has not been leading the way in gender equality. That being […]
The Bible and the Power of the Mind
The Bible often talks about the power of the mind and the thoughts that come from it. Moses, Paul and Samuel talk about the powerfulness of the mind; Solomon, Matthew and Moses talk about how it can be deceived really easily; and David, Luke and Paul talk about God's blessings that come with opening your minds to Christ. Minds and thoughts are powerful and worthy of protection; one's thoughts are able to change their reality and the circumstances they live […]
Religion and the Renaissance
Religion is not easy to define. Many people have their own definitions of religion based on how they perform their religious beliefs. Religion can be a specific underlying set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or faith community. In the dictionaries religion is defined as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.” The Florence Cathedral depicts religion through the artifacts inside that have a religious […]
Religion as a Means to Bring People Together
Throughout the book, we see various religions, working for the good and bad of several empires and peoples. While often serving as a means of unification or an arm of government, it also has a tendency to marginalize other people groups living within a region. When state mandated, religion can cause social and political unrest from the hierarchy of certain religious positions such as bishops. Religion can often cause divisions even within itself, resulting in all the more fragmentation. In […]
Sexuality and Gender Within the Religions of Judaism and Christianity
In my term paper, I will be writing about sexuality and gender within the religions of Judaism and Christianity. I chose this topic because in recent years, it has become a topic of controversy. Christianity is largest religion; therefore, many people believe they know what Christians advocate on such topics. As for Judaism, I never really had knowledge of gender/sexuality in this religion because of ignorance. There was never really an interest for other religions on my part, but after […]
Religion in Renaissance and Elizabethan Age
"The Renaissance also known as the age of “Rebirth” began in the 14th century. As the Renaissance occurred so did the Elizabethan era, also known as the Golden Age in English history, which began in the 16th century. The highly advanced drama during the time lead to dramas inspiring other and proposing several different readings such as the Holy Scriptures, pamphlets, and literary criticism to some of the first English novels. The sudden darkening change of literature connected to the […]
Beowulf Christianity Vs Paganism
Fate and allusions play big role in the telling of the epic poem “Beowulf”, translation by Seamus Heaney. But the most prevalent, and most important is the Christian allusions. Unlike books, and poems today “Beowulf” contains many Biblical references, for example that any success, power, wealth is a gift from Gods grace or that Gods protection must be earned, that shapes the way the epic poem is told by instilling Christian beliefs into the characters un-Christian behaviors. Throughout the story, […]
The Love/Hate Relationship between Religion and the LBGTQIA Community
Abstract This research will analyze the ever complicated relationship between members who identify as Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transsexual, Queer, Intersex and Asexual and various religious groups. The LGBTQIA acceptance movement is quite new to say the least, and there are still many barriers keeping them from reaching total acceptance. It is highly doubtable that any demographic will ever be completely accepted by another, however the lengths that many religious groups go to shun those who identify as anything other than […]
Mexican Culture – Religion, Family, Language, and Mexican Arts
"In this article, everything is important to the Mexican culture such as religion, family, language, and Mexican arts. Most of Mexico is dependent on church. About 82% of Mexicans consider themselves as catholic. Unlike other countries, parents are treated with respect. The largest event that a Mexican family celebrate is the quinceanera. A quinceanera is the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday and is followed by a party. Mexican arts usually consist of clay pottery and colorful baskets. The style […]
Representation of Religion in Asian Buddha Statues
Artistic concepts are broad. Art may be interpreted either literally or symbolically depending on a person's insights. It goes a long way in the depiction of reality or imaginary insinuation, be it a person or a place. However, the study of artistic features gives more profound meaning and relates each work of art to the subjects under study for example religion. Eliade Mircea once said that the Buddha's iconography had been changed to spiritual existence from human nature. Considering the […]
Feminism and Islam Religion
Throughout the Muslim world, a popular front of feminist belief is growing among women who are looking forward to reclaim Islam and the Quran for themselves. For ten years, many women trusted that they had to choose between their Muslim personality, their identity, and also their belief in gender egalitarianism. It was beyond the bounds of possibility of their choice that, the person that involved betraying either their faith or their feminist knowledge. About few years ago, a global movement […]
Superstitions in the Theatre
Today, theatre has been around for many decades and continues to thrive and excel performance after performance. Although, when we attend these plays within the theatre there is much more behind those luxurious curtains. Superstitions in theatre has been around dating back to the Elizabethan Era for as long as many could remember. These superstitions helped the theatre during the past, currently the present, and even in the future to maintain its greatness for further success. Many of these superstitions […]
All Religion View LGBTQ Life Styles Negatively
The Relationship between religion and LGBTQ community is different from time and place, and different religions. Countless religions in the world view LGBTQ negatively. This Negativity can range from explicitly forbidding to discouraging same sex sexual practices, and sexual reassignment, but liberals and progressive voices actively push social acceptance of the LGBTQ Identities. Most of the LGBTQ have been raised in many different organized religions many cherish their community’s faith but many are being forced to leave those communities’ behind […]
Comparative Religion Life of Buddha
Buddha which means enlightened one or the awakened is the titled conferred to Siddhartha Gautama. It is believed that he lived in Nepal between the sixth and fourth centuries. During that time, he tried different teachings but could not find any that was acceptable to him. One night while in meditation, he found the answers he was seeking thereby achieving awareness. This is what made him become Buddha. His life serves as the foundation of the Buddhist religion. Enlightenment, personal […]
Biblical Character Analysis
Abstract The Bible serves as a spiritual guide for us to live by. It tells the story of the creation of the world and shares God’s plan for our lives. Over time there were individuals that God chose for leadership and those individuals rose to the challenge of leading nations through both victory and failure. This literary analysis will tell the story of one of the most fearless leaders in the Old Testament, King David. We will look at […]
Compare the Four Major Europeans Nations
"Compare the four major Europeans nations that engaged in exploration and colonization during the 15 and 16 centauries. Identify and discuss the factor leading to the age of Europeans explorations and conquest during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and discuss how any two of the following nations the Portuguese, Spanish, English or French deferred in term of their motivations for exploration and their settlement patterns. During the 15 and 16 Centuries many good things happened as well as bad. In […]
Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez
Martin Luther King Jr. and Cesar E. Chavez, are two historic figures who are an inspiration for today’s civic education. They both wanted to fix segregation, and believed in equal rights amongst all. Both activist chose non-violent protest route to end segregation. Cesar Chavez in “the Mexican American and the church” aimed to raise awareness and question about the best use of charity and the role of religion in bringing about social change. Martin Luther king jrs “Letter from a […]
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Essay Samples on Religion
Composing your student essay about religion, it’s essential to research your subject first and avoid controversial subjects. The trick is to provide a clear structure that will focus on theological aspects of things. When you strive to compare different religions, do not write in a biased tone and work on your compare-and-contrast essay. The body parts of your religion essay must start with a good topic sentence as you address a particular concept or the roots of some religious notions. It’s always good if you can find reliable sources to support the facts. If you are not sure about some source or an idea that must be explored, you can either talk to an academic advisor or focus on a good religion essay example that we have prepared for you. These will help you get a basic idea of how such essays must be written. See the introduction part in every essay sample provided and don’t forget to stay respectful as you work on the differences and similarities. Check your grading rubric requirements twice. Regarding a good thesis statement, religious essays should only pose assumptions or compose specific claims that are supported with another sentence to avoid misreading or confusion.
Why Is Freedom of Religion Important
Freedom of religion stands as one of the fundamental pillars of a democratic and pluralistic society. It safeguards an individual's right to practice their chosen faith without fear of discrimination or persecution. This essay delves into the resons why freedom of religion is important, exploring...
- Religious Tolerance
Who is God in Your Life: Personal Beliefs and Spiritual Connections
The concept of God holds profound significance across cultures and belief systems, shaping individuals' values, perspectives, and sense of purpose. So who is God in your life? This essay delves into the diverse ways people perceive God in their lives, whether through religious traditions, personal...
- Religious Beliefs
Should Religion Be Taught in Schools
Should religion be taught in schools? This question is a topic that evokes discussions about cultural diversity, freedom of religion, and the role of education in shaping students' worldviews. Advocates argue that including religion in the curriculum can foster understanding, promote tolerance, and provide students...
How Does Religion Affect Your Life
How does religion affect your life? Religion is a deeply personal and influential aspect of human experience, shaping beliefs, values, behaviors, and perspectives. The impact of religion extends beyond mere rituals; it permeates various dimensions of life. This essay explores the intricate ways in which...
How Are Religion and Culture Connected in Various Ways
The intricate relationship between religion and culture is a subject of immense significance, shaping the values, behaviors, and traditions of societies worldwide. While religion and culture are distinct concepts, they are profoundly interconnected, often influencing and informing one another. This essay delves into how religion...
- Culture and Communication
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Buddhism and Hinduism: Exploring Similarities and Differences
Buddhism and Hinduism, two of the world's most ancient and complex religions, share both commonalities and distinctions that have shaped the spiritual and cultural landscapes of Asia. This essay delves into Buddhism and Hinduism and the core similarities and differences between these two belief systems,...
Death is a Passage Beyond Life
Introduction In virtually every culture and religion around the world, death is not regarded as an end, but as a passage to a different form of existence. This belief, deeply rooted in human history and psyche, has shaped rituals, philosophies, and the way we perceive...
Why Should We Respect Our Parents: Exploring Islamic Arguments
What islam says about why should we respect our parents? In this essay I want to emphasize that Allah is telling us to treat our parents kindly and to make effort in pleasing them. He says that our mother most deserves our respect and service,...
- Parent-Child Relationship
Respect Your Parents and Take Care of Your Children: Ephesians 6:1-9
I chose the following passage Ephesians 6:1-9. The main reason that I chose this passage was because the other passages had already been taken. Now after researching this passage I discovered that there was more than meets the eye and I want to learn how...
The Importance of Respect and Obedience to Our Parents in Islam
DedicationI dedicate this research to God Almighty my creator, my strong pillar, my source of inspiration, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He has been the source of my strength throughout this research and on His wings only have I soared. I also dedicate this work to...
Respect for Life: the Issue of Death Penalty in Catholic Teachings
An essential principle of a human rights is that each and every human being has an innate dignity that must be respected. Respect for one's human dignity is the original human right from which other human being had as a gift from our almighty God....
- Catholic Church
- Death Penalty
What Does Respect Mean to You: Christian Explanation
A few days ago a friend of mine asked 'what does respect mean to you?' Later this question inspired me to write this essay about the meaning of respect from christian believer's point of view. Paradise is something that many people think they can...
- Biblical Worldview
- Christian Worldview
Implementing the Four Noble Truths in Everyday Life
Introduction One of the fundamental doctrines of Buddhism set forth by Buddha himself are the Four Noble Truths. These contain the very essence of the Buddha's pragmatic teachings. The Buddha is known to attain enlightenment only after the realization of these four truths during his...
Euthanasia and the Catholic Church in Australia
An ethical issue is a problem or dilemma that involves a person having to decide whether or not it is morally right or wrong. Euthanasia is a clear example of an ethical issue currently present in Australia. Euthanasia is a process whereby a person who...
- Assisted Suicide
Islamic Traditions and Practices: A Focus on Asian Muslims
Asia is home to one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Muslim population accounts for approximately 62% of the total population of Asia. Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Bangladesh are Muslim-majority countries of Asia. As Muslims have different cultures, values, and histories, their...
The Divine Love: Understanding God's Love for Humanity
There is a multitude of attributes of God, what He is and that any human being can also become. Among these countless attributes or characteristics, we have love. A 'simple' characteristic present in some way in the life of all humanity, from the rich to...
- Image of God
Comparison of Islamic Religious Texts: the Quran and Hadith
The Quran is the most important text in the Islamic faith, believed to be the word of God communicated to the prophet Muhammad who spoke to his followers, and what he said was written down in the Quran years after his death. The Hadith is...
- Religious texts
The Virtue and Significance of the Quran: Exploring its Divine Revelation, Recitation, and Impact on the Muslim Community
The Quran is defined as the miraculous word of God, devoted to its recitation, the house of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) by revelation by Jibril, peace be upon him, and transmitted to us in frequency. It should be noted that the Quran came down in...
Human Experience of Illness and the Key Role of the Environment
The key goal of the healthcare facility is to offer a environment where the sick will be at ease and to enable their body to regenerate. There are three principles for a healthy environment: seen, unseen, and storied environments. These ideas give us a deeper...
The Trustworthiness of the Bible: Exploration of Its Foundations
The Bible, a collection of sacred texts revered by millions around the world, has endured for centuries as a source of moral guidance, spiritual enlightenment, and historical insight. Its trustworthiness stems from a multifaceted examination of its historical, literary, and spiritual foundations, which collectively affirm...
- Personal Experience
Exploring of the Five Meanings of Science of the Quran
Sciences of the Quran are each science that is intended to serve the Holy Quran and attempt to investigate its privileged insights and uncover its puzzles, for example, the exploration in the Quranic disclosure and Quranic contents, the gathering and grouping of the Quran, the...
Exploring Invaluable Role of Jesus Christ for the World
Jesus Christ is one of the most well known historical figures that could be considered heroic and relatively important to the development of Western Civilization. The existence of Jesus and the eternal legacy he left after he sacrificed himself was one that dramatically influenced the...
- Historical Figures
- Influence of Christianity
- Jesus Christ
Is Jesus a Myth: One of the World’s Most Controversial Figures
It would be hard to find a person in history that has been met with so much controversy than Jesus of Nazareth. According to those who wrote the New Testament, Jesus is God, who was born of a virgin, who lived a sinless life, was...
- World History
Why Jesus Is a Hero: an Example of Love and Forgiveness
Is Jesus a hero or not? The meaning of a hero is someone who shows bravery, courage, determination, justice and more. A hero doesn’t need to save the world for people to say that is what a hero is, like Jesus, he reached out to...
- Influential Person
The Life and Achievemnts of Muhammad - a Founder of Islam
I chose Muhammad because he did a lot from the day he was born till the day he died. One of the many things that Muhammad did was when Muhammad founded Islam and made it the way it is now. Muhammad was born in Mecca,...
Unveiling Jesus as the Heroic Figure of True Faith and Love
A hero is someone who gives themselves, often putting their own life at great risk, for the greater good of others . A hero shows courage and is determined and dedicated to helping others in need by showing selflessness and sacrifice for the good of...
Jesus as the Greatest Hero: Being Gifted With Godlike DNA
A hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. Jesus shown these quality’s in different bible readings. Jesus was not only a hero that did miracles to heal people, he was a hero that sacrificed his own life...
Personal Reflections: Three Lessons I Have Learnt From Hosea's Story
David was chosen to be king at a young age when he was only a shepherd, but wasn’t the king until he was 30 years old, David had been working for king Saul and throughout that time he had been taken to court by king...
The Menace of Terrorism Around the World: Emerging Threats and Issues
The menace of terrorism has been increasing over the years though there have been several efforts to counter it. The evils of terrorism have become widespread, and the world has become too familiar to them. There has been a lot of debate on the definition...
- Religious Conflict
- Social Problems
Understanding Islam: Beliefs, Practices, and History
What is Islam? What do they believe in? Who are they? Well continue reading and you will find out a lot about this religion. Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God and that Muhammad is the messenger of God....
- Five Pillars of Islam
The Unique World of Buddhism: Its Origins, Beliefs, and Practices
The World is today is unique, religion being a huge part of that uniqueness. The religions shaped many of the well- known religions today. There are a lot of well-known religions today adapted some of practices of many older religions that today depending on the...
Submission to Allah: The Core Concept of Islam
The concept at the core of Islam is the intention that a Muslim follows the will of Allah as closely as possible in hopes that each moment of each day is to be lived in an attitude of complete submission to Him. Allah’s greatest revelation,...
The Increased Violence in New Terrorism: What Is Going On
The 1990s recalls a series of extremist acts that ushered a new and more violent form of terrorism. Propelled by religious motivations, decentralized organization, and technological advancement, the new terrorism distinguished itself from old terrorism with its inclination to indiscriminate killing and mass casualties. Rapoport’s...
The Sacred Mystery of Plants in Eastern Religion Cultures
Sacred plants are specific plants those are usually devoted to gods and goddess. The human relation with sacred plant stands basically on religion which is considered with Hindu, Buddhist and Jain culture. During the ancient period, the worship of sacred plants is most of the...
Understanding Islam: The Complete Submission to the Will of God
Religion is often a fundamental part of one’s identity. The word religion originates from a Latin word meaning “to tie or bind together.” As new and modern religions continue to develop, religion defines as “an organized system of beliefs and rituals centring on a spiritual...
Difference Between Islam and Christianity: Perspectives on Racism
Islam and Christianity are two of the largest religions in the world, with billions of followers combined. While there are significant difference between islam and christianity in this essay we will also analyse similarities between islam and christianity. For this paper we have interviewed several...
Postulates and Principles of Islamic Moral Economic System
In this paper we will take a short review of main principles and postulates, its subsequent objectives of the Islamic moral economic system. Tawhid or the Unity of God is the fundamental principle of IME. It refers to the human beings being equal before the...
- Economic systems
Muhammad and the Birth of Islam: Unraveling the History and Teachings
Chapter 10 of Islam of “Living Religions” by Mary Fisher talks about how Islam is viewed by society and how Islam came about. Reading this chapter from the point of view of the author who is not Muslim made me feel like she was with...
- History of Islam
The Journey to Nirvana: The Teachings and Beliefs of Buddhism
Buddhism is among the world's biggest religions, with origins in India dating back 2,500 years. Buddhists think that human existence is full of misery, believing the way to obtain happiness, or nirvana, is via meditation, spiritual and physical effort, and moral behavior. Buddhists believe life...
Gautama and the Middle Way: The Birth of Buddhism
Although we think of Buddhism as being created by Buddha, Gautama a young prince, was the creator and he is now referred to as Buddha, also known as the enlightened one. Since Gautama was a prince that meant that his father was a king and...
The Intersection of Religion and Abortion: A Comparative Analysis
Abortion has been a hot topic for several years. People are very opinionated about the case and there's an ethical side to the subject. The abortion debate asks whether it may be morally right to terminate a pregnancy before normal childbirth. Some people believe that...
- Abortion Debate
Buddhism in Asia: A Cultural and Historical Perspective
The story of the life of Gautama Buddha According to the legend the person now commonly known as the Buddha was a prince named Siddhartha Gautama. His father, Suddhodana Gautama, was the ruler of the Shakya clan. Siddhartha’s birth was attended by many unusual events....
- Zen Buddhism
From India to China: The Spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road
Introduction The silk road spread religions, philosophies, education, goods, and people. The people who embarked for a journey on the silk road were monks from India. India, during the iron age, between the fourth and sixth centuries, began urbanization and in this process, the influence...
Exploring Buddhism at a Traditional Mon Buddhist Dharma Session
Introduction Sunday, February 16th at two-thirty, I visited the Mon Buddhist Monastery Community in Akron Ohio. This was a traditional Mon Buddhist Dharma session. I was very pleased by the turnout of the session and was able to grasp a better understanding of the Buddhism...
The Rise and Spread of Islam: History and Impact
Introduction Islam is probably the most youthful religion and has the biggest followers in the world and is predominant in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia (Hopfe and Woodward 330). Islam is a significant religion in the world and has in excess of billion followers...
The Dichotomy of Annihilationism and Non-Annihilationism in Buddhism
Introduction Buddhism can be split into two distinct schools of thought: annihilationism and eternal rebirth. The argument that the state of nirvana is achieved through the blowing out of what fuels one’s self is the one generally accepted by most Buddhists and scholars. The minority...
Islam: The Role of Gender, Storytelling, and Conflict
Introduction: The emergence of the Muslim minority in Western nations has spurred discussion over which Muslim behaviors should be accepted, with many people considering certain customs a rejection. In Western countries, societies based on the Islamic belief system have wrestled with gender roles, the importance...
The Ethical Code of Islam: A Comprehensive Overview
Introduction: In Islam, there is a strict ethical code that must be followed in order to abide by Allah. This code is highlighted in the Koran and is practiced through traditions, actions, clothing, and food consumption. Furthermore, every Muslim is expected to adhere to the...
Religion and Abortion: Understanding the Pro-Life Movement
Introduction Death sentences, guns, religion, and abortion are among the top debated subjects in conversations. These topics are discussed frequently, especially if it’s a hot topic for a political debate. There are supporters and opponents on these subjects due to their strong points of view....
Organ Donation and Brain Death from Buddhist's Perspectives
Modern scientific and technological developments have contributed to mass production. There have arisen many issues which affect human health both physical and mental are related, regarding to ethical criteria in physical medicine. This paper will discuss brain death and organ transplantation from Buddhists perspectives. There...
- Organ Donation
- Organ Transplant
Hinduism and Buddhism as Most Popular Religions in India
Located in northern India that flows from the Himalayan Mountains to the Bay of Bengal lies the Ganges River. Known as a sacred entity, many Hindus bathe in its waters to cleanse past sins and to facilitate Moksha, liberation of reincarnation; thus, many faithful customs,...
Faith and Reason Are Compatible: Suspension of Disbelief
Art is a platform that dares reality. It stretches the limits of reality and tends to over step these boundaries all to serve the purpose of the piece of art. This is where the suspension of disbelief comes in. One must set aside their typical...
The Baptism Experience: Passing God's Love Through Baptism
One simple act creates an endless ripple where people passes it on and pays it forward. This is due to the interconnected nature of human beings – when we are happy, we influence the people around us to have a positive outlook in life. And...
The Idea That Faith and Reason Are Compatible in Religious Texts
There are four fundamental claims of the Catholic intellectual tradition and the one I choose is, the dignity of the human being inviolable and the commitment to justice for the common good is necessary. These four fundamental claims are very important in the catholic religion...
The Baptism Experience in the Life of Children in the Medieval Ages
Of all the misconceptions of the Medieval Ages, some of the most prevalent include the life of a child during this era. During this time it is believed that many children were shown no recognition and they were treated as though they were adults as...
- Middle Ages
Hinduism and Buddhism: The Values and Purposes of Both Religions
Today there are many different religions in the world. In Asia, Buddhism and Hinduism are popular beliefs in general. Hinduism is the religion of Antigua known and very rich in literally hundreds of divinities, rituals and symbolic beliefs. Believes is that was founded around 1500...
Nacirema Culture and Buddhism Religious Practices
Religion is a topic that provokes or brings about different thoughts and ideas between people. We all have our own beliefs and traditions that make each one of our religions stand out. It is what makes us who we are. Myths and rituals are a...
The Freedom Of Religion And Why Is The First Amendment Important
First Amendment “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of...
- American Constitution
- First Amendment
Belief In God: Relationships Between Science and Religion
The conflict between science and spirituality (religion) usually refers to an assumed conflict between science and belief in God. For the purpose of this talk “religion” refers to the monotheistic religion which is the belief in the existence of a good, personal and transcendent creator....
- Science Vs. Religion
Why Do You Believe In God
Well, God can do all of these and even more. Sometimes, situations can make anyone forget or doubt God's abilities irrespective of how strong you have been in faith. Remember, no one is ever ready for hard situations to hit them, it just happens, but...
- Kingdom of God
Peter`s The Great Reforms: A Knot Between Church And State
Christians all over the world have been persecuted for their religious beliefs. Although the situation became better with time, it was still not ideal in the 18th century. Peter the Great, the first emperor of Russia, introduced the Most Holy Synod, and it changed the...
- Russian Empire
The Nature Of Confucianism and Daoism, And The Gender Roles
The story of Cui Ying Ying was composed during the late Tang dynasty and is regarded as famous romantic prose. The story explores cultural dynamics during the Tang period and displays the contrasting views of Chinese philosophy in the era. To truly comprehend the symbolism...
- Gender Roles
"Paradise Lost" By John Milton: Book Review
In this review, I hope to put forward two different approaches to interpreting Milton’s Paradise Lost. I will be exploring Archie Burnett’s article ‘Sense Variously Drawn Own’ published in 2003 which examines the relation between Lineation, syntax, and meaning in Milton’s Paradise Lost. I will...
- Adam and Eve
- Paradise Lost
"Does Science Threaten Religion?" By Gerber and Macionis: A Review
The article “Controversy and Debate: Does Science Threaten Religion?” has demonstrated the changing relationship between science and religion, from apparent contradictions in the past to recognizing and accepting each other in the present (Gerber & Macionis, 2018, pp. 553). The author has incorporated a structural-functional...
The History Of The Emergence And Spread Of Christianity And Islam
Christianity is one of the most spread religions in the world. It centers its belief in the public life of Jesus Christ. The term Christianity is a derivation of the followers of Christ. Therefore, Jesus is the pioneer of this faith. Christians base their teaching...
- Spread of Christianity
The Second Coming By Yeats: Powerful Warning To Society
In a world full of hostility and loss of faith surrounded by war and technological developments, the modernist era of literature developments, the modernists era of literature arose. The sinking of the Titanic symbolized the falling of the Great Britain empire and newly invented standardized...
- The Second Coming
- William Butler Yeats
Acceptance Concepts Through the Bible Topics
I believe that God creates all of us to be good genuinely and kindhearted. God believes that we are most beautiful & unique the way he created us. So, bullies should stop their intimidating behaviors towards others, they don’t need to be so, they should...
Humble, Mainwairing and Pompous Pride
This is probably something that none of you know about me and that is I am a massive Dads Army fan, I have all the available episodes and movies on DVD. It’s been great to watch the lost episodes on Gold this week, now I...
Apuleius’ Metamorphoses and Picture of Human Nature
This essay will explore Apuleius’ Metamorphoses with special regard to what picture of human nature and society it presents and whether or not the gods offer the prospect of salvation. Dealing with the tale of Lucius whose overly curious nature results in him being turned...
- Human Nature
The Shinto Religion and the Root of Japanese Culture
Shintōism is frequently portrayed in art from all over the world, especially in Japan. The Shintō religion is at the root of Japanese culture and history and therefore has a profound impact on its popular culture today, from manga and anime to film to video...
- Personal Beliefs
Biblical Archaeology: How the Study of God Is Look Like
Archaeology is defined as the scientific study of historic or prehistoric peoples and their cultures by analysis of their artifacts, inscriptions, monuments, and other such remains, especially those that have been excavated. (Dictionary, Archaeology) Archaeology is used throughout history and in many ways. Biblical Archaeology...
The Development of Islamic Art
Islamic art is created not only for the Muslim faith, but it consists of artworks such as textiles, architecture, paintings and drawings that were produced in the regions that were once ruled by Muslim empires. Artists from various disciplines take part in collaborative projects and...
- Islamic Art
Unforgiveness Steals Away Your Joy, Peace, and Happiness
Forgiveness is one of the topics most Christians don't like to talk about especially if they were truly hurt by someone close to their heart. Sometimes, we feel it is better to carry the burden of hatred rather than forgive those that have wronged us....
Role of Cultural and Religious Pluralism
Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their own unique cultural identities. Migration is a key process that makes significant contribution to the growth of urbanism. Often immigrants belonging to particular region, language, religion ,tribe etc tend to...
- Art and Religion
- Religious Pluralism
Political Correctness and Occidental International Law
The uniformity of European political thought canon as asserted by postcolonialists has created a ‘residual sense that the Christian faith is an expression of white Western privilege ’. This deficit in postcolonial theory, to account for Grotius and theorists who argued for the separation of...
- Political Correctness
The Portrayal of the Culture of Death and Afterlife in Art
Throughout history, different cultures dealt with the concept of death and afterlife according to their beliefs, and developed different perspectives about what happens after the body dies. These ideas were often reflected in their art, literature, and their lifestyle as well. Most cultures produce art...
The Tattoo of Cherry Blossom Bracelets in China
The armband tattoos were a popular excitement 10 to 15 years ago. Today, however, it is gradually becoming a hot trend again. These types of tattoos are appealing because they are easy to show and can be quickly hidden in the sleeve. What do bracelet...
- Chinese Culture
Amazon's Upload is All About the Digital Afterlife
Take Black Mirror's dystopian tech analysis, The Good Place's thoughtful investigation of the afterlife, and the workplace pranks of The Office, squeeze them together, and you have Amazon’s Upload. It takes place in a world that could simply be 10 years from now. You can...
Hagia Sophia and Eastern Roman Empire
Hagia Sophia is the great rich remain and an important monument for the Eastern Roman Empire commonly known as the Byzantine Empire. It remain the Centre for Orthodox Church for nearly a thousand years. The current version was built in the year 532. This iconic...
- Ancient Rome
- Byzantine Empire
- Hagia Sophia
Life After Death for the One Whose Heart Is Light
Built in the 27th century BC for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser by his vizier; architect and later known as the God of Medicine, Imhotep. Pyramids were built for religious purposes and the Egyptian civilization were one of the first to believe in an afterlife....
Insurance Regarding the Existence of an Individual’s Afterlife
Under the rational choice model, decisions individuals make are based on perfect information. This implies that people do not undergo any risks or uncertainties when making a choice. However, religious choices of individuals cannot be based on perfect information, for there are no verified sources...
Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Christology
Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-1880) was a Lutheran pastor in Württemberg. He was known among the Lutheran Pietists who built the relation between Southwest Germany [then] with the Basel University of Switzerland mission Society. Certain authors consider this relationship as fostering the trans-Atlantic faith healing movement....
- Martin Luther King
Finding What Is The Biblical Purpose Of Govenrment
One day a man was walking down the streets of his city, headed to the capitol, and then he saw a car wreck right in front of him. His first instinct is to go help, so he rushes over and sees the scene. Now with...
- Role of Government
The Creation Myth And Human Evolution: The Everlasting Debate
Every generation of people, young and old as well, come to ask questions about the origin of the universe: Where did it come from? When did it start? or How did it come into existence? Scientists, philosophers or religious believers have all tried to explain...
- Creation Myth
- Human Evolution
Considering Religious Beliefs And Freedom Of Expression
Whether you believe in something or not, the idea of religion has probably crossed your mind. Some people see it as a way to make sense of the world around us and some see it as way of life. the idea that a higher power,...
The Foundational Beliefs Of The Biblical Worldview
To build a biblical framework, or foundational beliefs about God, His character, His world, and His plan one must go to Scripture, for these are His words. Here answers are found to life’s questions; why are we here, good and evil, our purpose, and where...
The Truths About Real Life In The Biblical Worldview
Introduction Every person has a worldview that is either biblical or secular (humanistic). A person’s worldview is the lens through which they view the world. It dictates the decisions they make, the way they treat themselves and others, and their ideas of life after death....
The Perception Of The World In The Christian Worldview
A worldview, this is easy to say its self-explanatory, but it’s much more than that. A worldview can be defined as, “a particular philosophy of life or conception of the world” (Google Dictionary). Another idea is, how a Christian worldview is defined. A Christian Worldview...
The Correlation Between Christian Worldview And Criminal Justice System
Abstract This criminal justice research paper will discuss how people in law enforcement have demonstrated and or expressed their integration of Christen Worldviews into the field of criminal justice. It will show how their Christian beliefs are the driving force behind their ethical and moral...
The Age Of The Earth: Creation Vs. Evolution
There are four great questions of life that everyone asks. The questions are; Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? And where am I going when I die? These questions are answered completely different depending on if you are an...
The Impact Of Religion On Defining What Is Value Of Life
What might most people on this earth value? You guessed it right, it’s Life! Life brings a lot of meaning and purpose that is I feel is an ideal answer to the society and lets just face it, what could someone value other than life?...
- Meaning of Life
Exploration Of Buddhism And Hinduism: Similarities And Differences
Nearly, all people chose at least one religion which is suitable for their thoughts and believes. Due to that fact, people of the same religion come together usually. For instance, there are islamic countries in one community which is called Muslim countries or Ummah. Moreover,...
Buddhism And Hinduism: The Similarities And Differences Of Views
There are three ways to achieve moksha which is when a person’s atman (individual soul) is released from the eternal cycle of reincarnation. Reincarnation is a core idea of Hinduism as according to Upanishad (the third and final Vedic scripture) literature the atman would go...
The Similarities And Differences Between Worldviews Of Hinduism And Buddhism
I will start with the greeting of each religion since it gives a good first impression about you if you greet them in their own way. “Namaste” is the common greeting or salutation in Hinduism, it is usually said with body gestures where they bend...
A Biblical Worldview: The Values Of A Devoted Christian
There comes a point in everyone's life that they must start making decisions on their own, it is at this point they choose what lenses they will use to drive their decisions. For Christians that lense is the Bible and the Holy Spirit is the...
Christian Worldview: Faith And Forgiveness As A Basis
Throughout history, different point of views arose and changed the way people looked at the past of the world. One specific viewpoint is the Christian’s worldview. Christians sin just like everyone else and they recognize that, just like how they recognize the faith of God....
The Biblical Worldview On The Human Trafficking
Choices to commit a crime, fight against crime, or generate justice for criminal acts are all motivated by our worldview. Incorporating a Christian worldview into the Criminal Justice approach allows you to view behavior and response through the lens of God's expectations. This perspective creates...
- Human Trafficking
The Christian Worldview: Philosophy And Values
Today's culture has multiple worldviews. Many individuals prefer to select various religions views but mostly keep to one central worldview. A worldview is the gathering of values that form our everyday work and define our overall vision of existence. Looking seriously at my beliefs, my...
The Effect Of Prophet Muhammad On The Quick Spread Of Islam
This paper will deeply investigate the following interesting question on Islam and it’s spread. What effect did the spread of Islam by Prophet Muhammad in Mecca have on the already religious Saudi Arabian society? In order to compose this paper with reliable facts, mostly primary...
Understanding the Power of a Biblical Worldview in Psychology
A biblical worldview is a transformative lens through which we view the world, based on the teachings of the Bible. It impacts our perspectives on various situations, facts, and aspects of life. This worldview has profound implications for psychology, influencing even the smallest details, such...
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Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology
World Religions Overview Essay
The Movement of Religion and Ecology: Emerging Field and Dynamic Force
Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, Yale University
Originally published in the Routledge Handbook of Religion and Ecology
As many United Nations reports attest, we humans are destroying the life-support systems of the Earth at an alarming rate. Ecosystems are being degraded by rapid industrialization and relentless development. The data keeps pouring in that we are altering the climate and toxifying the air, water, and soil of the planet so that the health of humans and other species is at risk. Indeed, the Swedish scientist, Johan Rockstrom, and his colleagues, are examining which planetary boundaries are being exceeded. (Rockstrom and Klum, 2015)
The explosion of population from 3 billion in 1960 to more then 7 billion currently and the subsequent demands on the natural world seem to be on an unsustainable course. The demands include meeting basic human needs of a majority of the world’s people, but also feeding the insatiable desire for goods and comfort spread by the allure of materialism. The first is often called sustainable development; the second is unsustainable consumption. The challenge of rapid economic growth and consumption has brought on destabilizing climate change. This is coming into full focus in alarming ways including increased floods and hurricanes, droughts and famine, rising seas and warming oceans.
Can we turn our course to avert disaster? There are several indications that this may still be possible. On September 25, 2015 after the Pope addressed the UN General Assembly, 195 member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). On December 12, 2015 these same members states endorsed the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Both of these are important indications of potential reversal. The Climate Agreement emerged from the dedicated work of governments and civil society along with business partners. The leadership of UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres, and many others was indispensable.
One of the inspirations for the Climate Agreement and for the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals was the release of the Papal Encyclical, Laudato Si’ in June 2015. The encyclical encouraged the moral forces of concern for both the environment and people to be joined in “integral ecology”. “The cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” are now linked as was not fully visible before. (Boff, 1997 and in the encyclical) Many religious and environmental communities are embracing this integrated perspective and will, no doubt, foster it going forward. The question is how can the world religions contribute more effectively to this renewed ethical momentum for change. For example, what will be their long-term response to population growth? As this is addressed in the article by Robert Wyman and Guigui Yao, we will not take it up here. Instead, we will consider some of the challenges and possibilities amid the dream of progress and the lure of consumption.
Challenges: The Dream of Progress and the Religion of Consumption
Consumption appears to have become an ideology or quasi-religion, not only in the West but also around the world. Faith in economic growth drives both producers and consumers. The dream of progress is becoming a distorted one. This convergence of our unlimited demands with an unquestioned faith in economic progress raises questions about the roles of religions in encouraging, discouraging, or ignoring our dominant drive toward appropriately satisfying material needs or inappropriately indulging material desires. Integral ecology supports the former and critiques the latter.
Moreover, a consumerist ideology depends upon and simultaneously contributes to a worldview based on the instrumental rationality of the human. That is, the assumption for decision-making is that all choices are equally clear and measurable. Market based metrics such as price, utility, or efficiency are dominant. This can result in utilitarian views of a forest as so much board feet or simply as a mechanistic complex of ecosystems that provide services to the human.
One long-term effect of this is that the individual human decision-maker is further distanced from nature because nature is reduced to measurable entities for profit or use. From this perspective we humans may be isolated in our perceived uniqueness as something apart from the biological web of life. In this context, humans do not seek identity and meaning in the numinous beauty of the world, nor do they experience themselves as dependent on a complex of life-supporting interactions of air, water, and soil. Rather, this logic sees humans as independent, rational decision-makers who find their meaning and identity in systems of management that now attempt to co-opt the language of conservation and environmental concern. Happiness is derived from simply creating and having more material goods. This perspective reflects a reading of our current geological period as human induced by our growth as a species that is now controlling the planet. This current era is being called the “Anthropocene” because of our effect on the planet in contrast to the prior 12,000 year epoch known as the Holocene.
This human capacity to imagine and implement a utilitarian-based worldview regarding nature has undermined many of the ancient insights of the world’s religious and spiritual traditions. For example, some religions, attracted by the individualistic orientations of market rationalism and short-term benefits of social improvement, seized upon material accumulation as containing divine sanction. Thus, Max Weber identified the rise of Protestantism with an ethos of inspirited work and accumulated capital.
Weber also identified the growing disenchantment from the world of nature with the rise of global capitalism. Karl Marx recognized the “metabolic rift” in which human labor and nature become alienated from cycles of renewal. The earlier mystique of creation was lost. Wonder, beauty, and imagination as ways of knowing were gradually superseded by the analytical reductionism of modernity such that technological and economic entrancement have become key inspirations of progress.
Challenges: Religions Fostering Anthropocentrism
This modern, instrumental view of matter as primarily for human use arises in part from a dualistic Western philosophical view of mind and matter. Adapted into Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious perspectives, this dualism associates mind with the soul as a transcendent spiritual entity given sovereignty and dominion over matter. Mind is often valued primarily for its rationality in contrast to a lifeless world. At the same time we ensure our radical discontinuity from it.
Interestingly, views of the uniqueness of the human bring many traditional religious perspectives into sync with modern instrumental rationalism. In Western religious traditions, for example, the human is seen as an exclusively gifted creature with a transcendent soul that manifests the divine image and likeness. Consequently, this soul should be liberated from the material world. In many contemporary reductionist perspectives (philosophical and scientific) the human with rational mind and technical prowess stands as the pinnacle of evolution. Ironically, religions emphasizing the uniqueness of the human as the image of God meet market-driven applied science and technology precisely at this point of the special nature of the human to justify exploitation of the natural world. Anthropocentrism in various forms, religious, philosophical, scientific, and economic, has led, perhaps inadvertently, to the dominance of humans in this modern period, now called the Anthropocene. (It can be said that certain strands of the South Asian religions have emphasized the importance of humans escaping from nature into transcendent liberation. However, such forms of radical dualism are not central to the East Asian traditions or indigenous traditions.)
From the standpoint of rational analysis, many values embedded in religions, such as a sense of the sacred, the intrinsic value of place, the spiritual dimension of the human, moral concern for nature, and care for future generations, are incommensurate with an objectified monetized worldview as they not quantifiable. Thus, they are often ignored as externalities, or overridden by more pragmatic profit-driven considerations. Contemporary nation-states in league with transnational corporations have seized upon this individualistic, property-based, use-analysis to promote national sovereignty, security, and development exclusively for humans.
Possibilities: Systems Science
Yet, even within the realm of so-called scientific, rational thought, there is not a uniform approach. Resistance to the easy marriage of reductionist science and instrumental rationality comes from what is called systems science and new ecoogy. By this we refer to a movement within empirical, experimental science of exploring the interaction of nature and society as complex dynamic systems. This approach stresses both analysis and synthesis – the empirical act of observation, as well as placement of the focus of study within the context of a larger whole. Systems science resists the temptation to take the micro, empirical, reductive act as the complete description of a thing, but opens analysis to the large interactive web of life to which we belong, from ecosystems to the biosphere. There are numerous examples of this holistic perspective in various branches of ecology. And this includes overcoming the nature-human divide. (Schmitz 2016) Aldo Leopold understood this holistic interconnection well when he wrote: “We abuse land because we see it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.” (Leopold, 1966)
Collaboration of Science and Religion
Within this inclusive framework, scientists have been moving for some time beyond simply distanced observations to engaged concern. The Pope’s encyclical, Laudato Si , has elevated the level of visibility and efficacy of this conversation between science and religion as perhaps never before on a global level. Similarly, many other statements from the world religions are linking the wellbeing of people and the planet for a flourishing future. For example, the World Council of Churches has been working for four decades to join humans and nature in their program on Justice, Peace, and the Integrity of Creation.
Many scientists such as Thomas Lovejoy, E.O. Wilson, Jane Lubchenco, Peter Raven, and Ursula Goodenough recognize the importance of religious and cultural values when discussing solutions to environmental challenges. Other scientists such as Paul Ehrlich and Donald Kennedy have called for major studies of human behavior and values in relation to environmental issues. ( Science , July 2005) This has morphed into the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere. (mahb.standford.edu). Since 2009 the Ecological Society of America has established an Earth Stewardship Initiative with yearly panels and publications. Many environmental studies programs are now seeking to incorporate these broader ethical and behavioral approaches into the curriculum.
Possibilities: Extinction and Religious Response
The stakes are high, however, and the path toward limiting ourselves within planetary boundaries is not smooth. Scientists are now reporting that because of the population explosion, our consuming habits, and our market drive for resources, we are living in the midst of a mass extinction period. This period represents the largest loss of species since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago when the Cenozoic period began. In other words, we are shutting down life systems on the planet and causing the end of this large-scale geological era with little awareness of what we are doing or its consequences.
As the cultural historian Thomas Berry observed some years ago, we are making macrophase changes on the planet with microphase wisdom. Indeed, some people worry that these rapid changes have outstripped the capacity of our religions, ethics, and spiritualities to meet the complex challenges we are facing.
The question arises whether the wisdom traditions of the human community, embedded in institutional religions and beyond, can embrace integral ecology at the level needed? Can the religions provide leadership into a synergistic era of human-Earth relations characterized by empathy, regeneration, and resilience? Or are religions themselves the wellspring of those exclusivist perspectives in which human societies disconnect themselves from other groups and from the natural world? Are religions caught in their own meditative promises of transcendent peace and redemptive bliss in paradisal abandon? Or does their drive for exclusive salvation or truth claims cause them to try to overcome or convert the Other?
Authors in this volume are exploring these issues within religious and spiritual communities regarding the appropriate responses of the human to our multiple environmental and social challenges. What forms of symbolic visioning and ethical imagining can call forth a transformation of consciousness and conscience for our Earth community? Can religions and spiritualites provide vision and inspiration for grounding and guiding mutually enhancing human-Earth relations? Have we arrived at a point where we realize that more scientific statistics on environmental problems, more legislation, policy or regulation, and more economic analysis, while necessary, are no longer sufficient for the large-scale social transformations needed? This is where the world religions, despite their limitations, surely have something to contribute.
Such a perspective includes ethics, practices, and spiritualities from the world’s cultures that may or may not be connected with institutional forms of religion. Thus spiritual ecology and nature religions are an important part of the discussions and are represented in this volume. Our own efforts have focused on the world religions and indigenous traditions. Our decade long training in graduate school and our years of living and traveling throughout Asia and the West gave us an early appreciation for religions as dynamic, diverse, living traditions. We are keenly aware of the multiple forms of syncretism and hybridization in the world religions and spiritualties. We have witnessed how they are far from monolithic or impervious to change in our travels to more than 60 countries.
Problems and Promise of Religions
Several qualifications regarding the various roles of religion should thus be noted. First, we do not wish to suggest here that any one religious tradition has a privileged ecological perspective. Rather, multiple interreligious perspectives may be the most helpful in identifying the contributions of the world religions to the flourishing of life.
We also acknowledge that there is frequently a disjunction between principles and practices: ecologically sensitive ideas in religions are not always evident in environmental practices in particular civilizations. Many civilizations have overused their environments, with or without religious sanction.
Finally, we are keenly aware that religions have all too frequently contributed to tensions and conflict among various groups, both historically and at present. Dogmatic rigidity, inflexible claims of truth, and misuse of institutional and communal power by religions have led to tragic consequences in many parts of the globe.
Nonetheless, while religions have often preserved traditional ways, they have also provoked social change. They can be limiting but also liberating in their outlooks. In the twentieth century, for example, religious leaders and theologians helped to give birth to progressive movements such as civil rights for minorities, social justice for the poor, and liberation for women. Although the world religions have been slow to respond to our current environmental crises, their moral authority and their institutional power may help effect a change in attitudes, practices, and public policies. Now the challenge is a broadening of their ethical perspectives.
Traditionally the religions developed ethics for homicide, suicide, and genocide. Currently they need to respond to biocide, ecocide, and geocide. (Berry, 2009)
Retrieval, Reevaluation, Reconstruction
There is an inevitable disjunction between the examination of historical religious traditions in all of their diversity and complexity and the application of teachings, ethics, or practices to contemporary situations. While religions have always been involved in meeting contemporary challenges over the centuries, it is clear that the global environmental crisis is larger and more complex than anything in recorded human history. Thus, a simple application of traditional ideas to contemporary problems is unlikely to be either possible or adequate. In order to address ecological problems properly, religious and spiritual leaders, laypersons and academics have to be in dialogue with scientists, environmentalists, economists, businesspeople, politicians, and educators. Hence the articles in this volume are from various key sectors.
With these qualifications in mind we can then identify three methodological approaches that appear in the still emerging study of religion and ecology. These are retrieval, reevaluation, and reconstruction. Retrieval involves the scholarly investigation of scriptural and commentarial sources in order to clarify religious perspectives regarding human-Earth relations. This requires that historical and textual studies uncover resources latent within the tradition. In addition, retrieval can identify ethical codes and ritual customs of the tradition in order to discover how these teachings were put into practice. Traditional environmental knowledge (TEK) is an important part of this for all the world religions, especially indigenous traditions.
With reevaluation, traditional teachings are evaluated with regard to their relevance to contemporary circumstances. Are the ideas, teachings, or ethics present in these traditions appropriate for shaping more ecologically sensitive attitudes and sustainable practices? Reevaluation also questions ideas that may lead to inappropriate environmental practices. For example, are certain religious tendencies reflective of otherworldly or world-denying orientations that are not helpful in relation to pressing ecological issues? It asks as well whether the material world of nature has been devalued by a particular religion and whether a model of ethics focusing solely on human interactions is adequate to address environmental problems.
Finally, reconstruction suggests ways that religious traditions might adapt their teachings to current circumstances in new and creative ways. These may result in new syntheses or in creative modifications of traditional ideas and practices to suit modern modes of expression. This is the most challenging aspect of the emerging field of religion and ecology and requires sensitivity to who is speaking about a tradition in the process of reevaluation and reconstruction. Postcolonial critics have appropriately highlighted the complex issues surrounding the problem of who is representing or interpreting a religious tradition or even what constitutes that tradition. Nonetheless, practitioners and leaders of particular religions are finding grounds for creative dialogue with scholars of religions in these various phases of interpretation.
Religious Ecologies and Religious Cosmologies
As part of the retrieval, reevaluation, and reconstruction of religions we would identify “religious ecologies” and “religious cosmologies” as ways that religions have functioned in the past and can still function at present. Religious ecologies are ways of orienting and grounding whereby humans undertake specific practices of nurturing and transforming self and community in a particular cosmological context that regards nature as inherently valuable. Through cosmological stories humans narrate and experience the larger matrix of mystery in which life arises, unfolds, and flourishes. These are what we call religious cosmologies. These two, namely religious ecologies and religious cosmologies, can be distinguished but not separated. Together they provide a context for navigating life’s challenges and affirming the rich spiritual value of human-Earth relations.
Human communities until the modern period sensed themselves as grounded in and dependent on the natural world. Thus, even when the forces of nature were overwhelming, the regenerative capacity of the natural world opened a way forward. Humans experienced the processes of the natural world as interrelated, both practically and symbolically. These understandings were expressed in traditional environmental knowledge, namely, in hunting and agricultural practices such as the appropriate use of plants, animals, and land. Such knowledge was integrated in symbolic language and practical norms, such as prohibitions, taboos, and limitations on ecosystems’ usage. All this was based in an understanding of nature as the source of nurturance and kinship. The Lakota people still speak of “all my relations” as an expression of this kinship. Such perspectives will need to be incorporated into strategies to solve environmental problems. Humans are part of nature and their cultural and religious values are critical dimensions of the discussion.
Multidisciplinary approaches: Environmental Humanities
We are recognizing, then, that the environmental crisis is multifaceted and requires multidisciplinary approaches. As this book indicates, the insights of scientific modes of analytical and synthetic knowing are indispensable for understanding and responding to our contemporary environmental crisis. So also, we need new technologies such as industrial ecology, green chemistry, and renewable energy. Clearly ecological economics is critical along with green governance and legal policies as articles in this volume illustrate.
In this context it is important to recognize different ways of knowing that are manifest in the humanities, such as artistic expressions, historical perspectives, philosophical inquiry, and religious understandings. These honor emotional intelligence, affective insight, ethical valuing, and spiritual awakening.
Environmental humanities is a growing and diverse area of study within humanistic disciplines. In the last several decades, new academic courses and programs, research journals and monographs, have blossomed. This broad-based inquiry has sparked creative investigation into multiple ways, historically and at present, of understanding and interacting with nature, constructing cultures, developing communities, raising food, and exchanging goods.
It is helpful to see the field of religion and ecology as part of this larger emergence of environmental humanities. While it can be said that environmental history, literature, and philosophy are some four decades old, the field of religions and ecology began some two decades ago. It was preceded, however, by work among various scholars, particularly Christian theologians. Some eco-feminists theologians, such as Rosemary Ruether and Sallie McFague, Mary Daly, and Ivone Gebara led the way.
The Emerging Field of Religion and Ecology
An effort to identify and to map religiously diverse attitudes and practices toward nature was the focus of a three-year international conference series on world religions and ecology. Organized by Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim, ten conferences were held at the Harvard Center for the Study of World Religions from 1996-1998 that resulted in a ten volume book series (1997-2004). Over 800 scholars of religion and environmentalists participated. The director of the Center, Larry Sullivan, gave space and staff for the conferences. He chose to limit their scope to the world religions and indigenous religions rather than “nature religions”, such as wicca or paganism, which the organizers had hoped to include.
Culminating conferences were held in fall 1998 at Harvard and in New York at the United Nations and the American Museum of Natural History where 1000 people attended and Bill Moyers presided. At the UN conference Tucker and Grim founded the Forum on Religion and Ecology, which is now located at Yale. They organized a dozen more conferences and created an electronic newsletter that is now sent to over 12,000 people around the world. In addition, they developed a major website for research, education, and outreach in this area (fore.yale.edu). The conferences, books, website, and newsletter have assisted in the emergence of a new field of study in religion and ecology. Many people have helped in this process including Whitney Bauman and Sam Mickey who are now moving the field toward discussing the need for planetary ethics. A Canadian Forum on Religion and Ecology was established in 2002, a European Forum for the Study of Religion and the Environment was formed in 2005, and a Forum on Religion and Ecology @ Monash in Australia in 2011.
Courses on this topic are now offered in numerous colleges and universities across North America and in other parts of the world. A Green Seminary Initiative has arisen to help educate seminarians. Within the American Academy of Religion there is a vibrant group focused on scholarship and teaching in this area. A peer-reviewed journal, Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology , is celebrating its 25 th year of publication. Another journal has been publishing since 2007, the Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature, and Culture . A two volume Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature edited by Bron Taylor has helped shape the discussions, as has the International Society for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture he founded. Clearly this broad field of study will continue to expand as the environmental crisis grows in complexity and requires increasingly creative interdisciplinary responses.
The work in religion and ecology rests in an intersection between the academic field within education and the dynamic force within society. This is why we see our work not so much as activist, but rather as “engaged scholarship” for the flourishing of our shared planetary life. This is part of a broader integration taking place to link concerns for both people and the planet. This has been fostered in part by the twenty-volume Ecology and Justice Series from Orbis Books and with the work of John Cobb, Larry Rasmussen, Dieter Hessel, Heather Eaton, Cynthia Moe-Loebeda, and others. The Papal Encyclical is now highlighting this linkage of eco-justice as indispensable for an integral ecology.
The Dynamic Force of Religious Environmentalism
All of these religious traditions, then, are groping to find the languages, symbols, rituals, and ethics for sustaining both ecosystems and humans. Clearly there are obstacles to religions moving into their ecological, eco-justice, and planetary phases. The religions are themselves challenged by their own bilingual languages, namely, their languages of transcendence, enlightenment, and salvation; and their languages of immanence, sacredness of Earth, and respect for nature. Yet, as the field of religion and ecology has developed within academia, so has the force of religious environmentalism emerged around the planet. Roger Gottlieb documents this in his book A Greener Faith . (Gottlieb 2006) The Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew held international symposia on “Religion, Science and the Environment” focused on water issues (1995-2009) that we attended. He has made influential statements on this issue for 20 years. The Parliament of World Religions has included panels on this topic since 1998 and most expansively in 2015. Since 1995 the UK based Alliance of Religion and Conservation (ARC), led by Martin Palmer, has been doing significant work with religious communities around under the patronage of Prince Philip.
These efforts are recovering a sense of place, which is especially clear in the environmental resilience and regeneration practices of indigenous peoples. It is also evident in valuing the sacred pilgrimage places in the Abrahamic traditions (Jerusalem, Rome, and Mecca) both historically and now ecologically. So also East Asia and South Asia attention to sacred mountains, caves, and other pilgrimage sites stands in marked contrast to massive pollution.
In many settings around the world religious practitioners are drawing together religious ways of respecting place, land, and life with understanding of environmental science and the needs of local communities. There have been official letters by Catholic Bishops in the Philippines and in Alberta, Canada alarmed by the oppressive social conditions and ecological disasters caused by extractive industries. Catholic nuns and laity in North America, Australia, England, and Ireland sponsor educational programs and conservation plans drawing on the eco-spiritual vision of Thomas Berry and Brian Swimme. Also inspired by Berry and Swimme, Paul Winter’s Solstice celebrations and Earth Mass at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York Winter have been taking place for three decades.
Even in the industrial growth that grips China, there are calls from many in politics, academia, and NGOs to draw on Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist perspectives for environmental change. In 2008 we met with Pan Yue, the Deputy Minister of the Environment, who has studied these traditions and sees them as critical to Chinese environmental ethics. In India, Hinduism is faced with the challenge of clean up of sacred rivers, such as the Ganges and the Yamuna. To this end in 2010 with Hindu scholars, David Haberman and Christopher Chapple, we organized a conference of scientists and religious leaders in Delhi and Vrindavan to address the pollution of the Yamuna.
Many religious groups are focused on climate change and energy issues. For example, InterFaith Power and Light and GreenFaith are encouraging religious communities to reduce their carbon footprint. Earth Ministry in Seattle is leading protests against oil pipelines and terminals. The Evangelical Environmental Network and other denominations are emphasizing climate change as a moral issue that is disproportionately affecting the poor. In Canada and the US the Indigenous Environmental Network is speaking out regarding damage caused by resource extraction, pipelines, and dumping on First Peoples’ Reserves and beyond. All of the religions now have statements on climate change as a moral issue and they were strongly represented in the People’s Climate March in September 2015. Daedalus, the journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, published the first collection of articles on religion and climate change from two conferences we organized there. (Tucker & Grim, 2001)
Striking examples of religion and ecology have occurred in the Islamic world. In June 2001 and May 2005 the Islamic Republic of Iran led by President Khatami and the United Nations Environment Programme sponsored conferences in Tehran that we attended. They were focused on Islamic principles and practices for environmental protection. The Iranian Constitution identifies Islamic values for ecology and threatens legal sanctions. One of the earliest spokespersons for religion and ecology is the Iranian scholar, Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Fazlun Khalid in the UK founded the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science. In Indonesia in 2014 a fatwa was issued declaring that killing an endangered species is prohibited.
These examples illustrate ways in which an emerging alliance of religion and ecology is occurring around the planet. These traditional values within the religions now cause them to awaken to environmental crises in ways that are strikingly different from science or policy. But they may find interdisciplinary ground for dialogue in concerns for eco-justice, sustainability, and cultural motivations for transformation. The difficulty, of course, is that the religions are often preoccupied with narrow sectarian interests. However, many people, including the Pope, are calling on the religions to go beyond these interests and become a moral leaven for change.
Renewal Through Laudato Si’
Pope Francis is highlighting an integral ecology that brings together concern for humans and the Earth. He makes it clear that the environment can no longer be seen as only an issue for scientific experts, or environmental groups, or government agencies alone. Rather, he invites all people, programs and institutions to realize these are complicated environmental and social problems that require integrated solutions beyond a “technocratic paradigm” that values an easy fix. Within this integrated framework, he urges bold new solutions.
In this context Francis suggests that ecology, economics, and equity are intertwined. Healthy ecosystems depend on a just economy that results in equity. Endangering ecosystems with an exploitative economic system is causing immense human suffering and inequity. In particular, the poor and most vulnerable are threatened by climate change, although they are not the major cause of the climate problem. He acknowledges the need for believers and non-believers alike to help renew the vitality of Earth’s ecosystems and expand systemic efforts for equity.
In short, he is calling for “ecological conversion” from within all the world religions. He is making visible an emerging worldwide phenomenon of the force of religious environmentalism on the ground, as well as the field of religion and ecology in academia developing new ecotheologies and ecojustice ethics. This diverse movement is evoking a change of mind and heart, consciousness and conscience. Its expression will be seen more fully in the years to come.
The challenge of the contemporary call for ecological renewal cannot be ignored by the religions. Nor can it be answered simply from out of doctrine, dogma, scripture, devotion, ritual, belief, or prayer. It cannot be addressed by any of these well-trod paths of religious expression alone. Yet, like so much of our human cultures and institutions the religions are necessary for our way forward yet not sufficient in themselves for the transformation needed. The roles of the religions cannot be exported from outside their horizons. Thus, the individual religions must explain and transform themselves if they are willing to enter into this period of environmental engagement that is upon us. If the religions can participate in this creativity they may again empower humans to embrace values that sustain life and contribute to a vibrant Earth community.
Berry, Thomas. 2009. The Sacred Universe: Earth Spirituality and Religion in the 21st Century (New York: Columbia University Press).
Boff, Leonardo. 1997. Cry of the Earth, Cry of the Poor (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books).
Gottlieb, Roger. 2006. A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planetary Future . (Oxford: Oxford University Press).
Grim, John and Mary Evelyn Tucker, eds. 2014. Ecology and Religion. (Washington, DC: Island Press).
Leopold, Aldo. 1966. A Sand County Almanac . (Oxford University Press).
Rockstrom, Johan and Mattias Klum. 2015. Big World, Small Planet: Abundance Within Planetary Boundaries . (New Haven: Yale University Press)
Schmitz, Oswald. 2016. The New Ecology: Science for a Sustainable World. (Princeton: Princeton University Press).
Taylor, Bron, ed. 2008. Encyclopedia of Religion, Nature, and Culture. (London: Bloomsbury).
Tucker, Mary Evelyn. 2004. Worldly Wonder: Religions Enter their Ecological Phase . (Chicago: Open Court).
Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Grim, eds. 2001 Religion and Ecology: Can the Climate Change? Daedalus Vol. 130, No.4.
Header photo: ARC procession to UN Faith in Future Meeting, Bristol, UK
Short Essay on Religion in Our Daily Life
Religion has been a part and parcel of human life since time immemorial. Religion represents a great system of human thought. Religion is the predominant influence over the conduct of our lives.
Religion attempts to search for a deeper meaning to life, to find facts about the universe, about the laws of nature; Religion has been in our flesh and blood since antiquity. Though science has flourished today, and science is directly opposed to religion, even so religion has not lost its significance, because science is beyond the comprehension of many, and religious trends are easy to convince, to be comprehended.
Humans are fundamentally religious even in the industrialized West, religion moulds human nature. Religion has been institutionalized. Constitutional zed and politicized today. It has been channeled into violent conflict, barbaric cruelty.
The bloodstained history of religious conflict provide us a clue detest the traditional religions that are morally bankrupt, corrupt. Religion has hindered the philosophy of universal fraternity. Religion has caused many classes, races, wars. One group of a religion opposes another. Therefore, there is Catholicism and Protestantism. Religion has lost its drive today. It kills the decent behavior of humans today.
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Where Does Religion Come From?
By Ross Douthat
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim critic of Islamic fundamentalism and longtime champion of Enlightenment liberalism, has announced that she now calls herself a Christian — a conversion that she attributes to a twofold realization.
First, that atheistic materialism is too weak a base upon which to ground Western liberalism in a world where it’s increasingly beset and the biblical tradition from which the liberal West emerged offers a surer foundation for her values. Second, that despite the sense of liberation from punitive religion that atheism once offered her, in the longer run she found “life without any spiritual solace unendurable.”
Her essay, not surprisingly, attracted a lot of criticism. Some of it came from Christians disappointed in the ideological and instrumental way that Hirsi Ali framed her conversion, the absence of a clear statement that Christian claims are not merely useful or necessary but true. The rest came from atheists baffled that Hirsi Ali had failed to internalize all the supposedly brilliant atheistic rebuttals to her stated reasons for belief.
I have no criticism to offer. Some sort of religious attitude is essentially demanded , in my view, by what we know about the universe and the human place within it, but every sincere searcher is likely to follow his or her idiosyncratic path. And to set out to practice Christianity because you love the civilization that sprang from it and feel some kind of spiritual response to its teachings seems much more reasonable than hovering forever in agnosticism while you wait to achieve perfect theological certainty about the divinity of Christ.
But as I read some of the criticism, it struck me that the Hirsi Ali path as she described it is actually unusually legible to atheists, in the sense that it matches well with how a lot of smart secular analysts assume that religions take shape and sustain themselves.
In these assumptions, the personal need for religion reflects the fear of death or the desire for cosmic meaning (illustrated by Hirsi Ali’s yearning for “solace”), while the rise of organized religion mostly reflects the societal need for a unifying moral-metaphysical structure, a shared narrative, a glue to bind a complex society together (illustrated by her desire for a religious system to undergird her political worldview).
For instance, in Ara Norenzayan’s 2015 book “Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict,” the great world religions are portrayed as technologies of social trust, encouraging prosocial behavior (“Watched people are nice people” is one of Norenzayan’s formulations, with moralistic gods as the ultimate guarantor of good behavior) as societies scale up from hunter-gatherer bands to urbanized states. At a certain point, the social and governmental order becomes sufficiently trustworthy itself that people begin to kick away the ladder of supernatural belief; hence secularization in the developed world. But it would make sense, on Norenzayan’s premises, that when a developed society seems to be destabilizing, threatened by enemies outside and increasingly divided within, the need for a “big god” would return — and so people would reach back, like Hirsi Ali, to the traditions that gave rise to the social order in the first place.
What’s missing from this account, though, is an explanation of how you get from the desire for meaning or the fear of death to the specific content of religious belief — the content that’s obviously quite important to a lot of people, insofar as its absence in Hirsi Ali’s account frustrated many of her readers.
Even if belief in invisible watchers has its social uses, if such beings don’t exist, it’s a pretty odd thing that societies the world over have converged on the belief that we share the cosmos with them. To say nothing of the specific doctrines and miraculous claims associated with that belief: For instance, if Christianity disappeared from everyone’s memory tomorrow, it would be odd indeed for a modern Western thinker seeking meaning amid disillusionment to declare, “What we need here is the doctrine of the Trinity and a resurrected messiah with some angels at the tomb.”
One of the strongest attempts to explain the substance and content of supernatural belief comes from psychological theorists like Pascal Boyer and Paul Bloom, who argue that humans naturally believe in invisible minds and impossible beings because of the same cognitive features that let us understand other human minds and their intentions. Such understanding is essential to human socialization, but as Bloom puts it , our theory of mind also “overshoots”: Because “we perceive the world of objects as essentially separate from the world of minds,” it’s easy for us “to envision soulless bodies and bodiless souls. This helps explain why we believe in gods and an afterlife.” And because we look for intentionality in human beings and human systems, we slide easily into “inferring goals and desires where none exist. This makes us animists and creationists.”
Boyer, for his part, argues that our theories about these imagined invisible beings tend to fall into their own cognitively convenient categories. We love supernatural beings and scenarios that combine something familiar and something alien, from ghosts (what if there were a mind — but without a body?) to angels (what if there were a person — but with wings and powers of flight?) to the Virgin birth (what if there were a pregnancy — without sex?).
With these arguments, you can close the circle. People want meaning, societies need order, our minds naturally invent invisible beings, and that’s why the intelligent, rational, liberal Ayaan Hirsi Ali is suddenly and strangely joining a religion that asks her to accept the miraculous conception of a first-century Jewish holy man.
But here’s what this closed circle leaves out: the nature of actual religious experience, which is just much weirder, unexpected and destabilizing than psychological and evolutionary arguments for its utility would suggest while clearly being a generative force behind the religious traditions that these theories are trying to explain.
One way to get at this weirdness is to look at situations where there’s a supernatural experience without an existing tradition that makes sense of people’s experiences and shapes their interpretations. By this, I mean that if you have a mystical experience in the context of, say, a Pentecostalist faith-healing service or a Roman Catholic Mass, you are likely to interpret it in light of existing Christian theology. But if you have a religious experience in the wild, as it were, the sheer strangeness is more likely to come through.
I’ve written about how you can get at this strangeness by reading the Christian Gospels without the structuring expectations of Christian doctrine. Just as first-person reports of the Jesus phenomenon, their mysteries can’t be adequately explained by an overactive theory of mind among Jesus’ disciples and the advantages of Christianity for social control thereafter.
But another path, which I’ve been following lately, is to read about U.F.O. encounters — because clearly the Pentagon wants us to! — and consider them as a form of religious experience, even as the basis for a new half-formed 21st-century religion. This is the line taken by Diana Walsh Pasulka, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, in her two books on the subject, “American Cosmic: UFOs, Religion, Technology” and its recently published sequel, “Encounters: Experiences With Nonhuman Intelligences.” It’s also a subtheme in Matthew Bowman’s “The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill: Alien Encounters, Civil Rights, and the New Age in America," which focuses on one of the more notable early U.F.O. encounters, involving an interracial couple in 1960s New Hampshire.
In both the Hill story and the larger array of narratives discussed by Pasulka, you see people having largely unlooked-for encounters with entities that defy easy categorization and explanation. Some aspects of these encounters fit a Spielbergian science-fiction template, and since this is a secular and scientific age, the wider society embraces that template and argues about whether we could really be visited by extraterrestrials from Alpha Centauri or Vulcan or wherever. But when you go deeper into the narratives, many of their details and consequences resemble not some “Star Trek”-style first contact but the supernatural experiences of early modern and premodern societies, from fairy abductions to saintly and demonic encounters to brushes with the gods.
And what you see in the communities that have grown up around these experiences is not a ratification of existing religious structures (even if some people interpret them in line with Christianity or some other faith) or a set of pat stories that supply meaning and purpose and ratify a moral order. Rather it’s a landscape of destabilized agnosticism, filled with competing theories about what’s actually going on, half-formed theologies and metaphysical pictures blurring together with scientific and pseudoscientific narratives, with would-be gurus rushing to embrace specific visions and skeptics cautioning about the potentially malign intentions of the visitors, whatever or whoever they may be.
Far from being a landscape created by the human desire for sense making, by our tendency to impose purpose and intentionality where none exists, the realm of U.F.O. experiences is a landscape waiting for someone to make sense of it, filled with people who wish they had a simple, cognitively convenient explanation for what’s going on.
In that sense, the U.F.O. phenomenon may be revealing some of the raw material of religion, the real place where all the ladders start — which is with revelation crying out for interpretation, personal encounter awaiting a coherent intellectual response.
And if that is where religion really comes from, all the evolutionary and sociological explanations are likely to remain interesting but insufficient, covering aspects of why particular religions take the shape they do but missing the heart of the matter.
Given the existence and influence of Christianity, it makes sense that some intellectuals in a decadent post-Christian society would be drawn back toward its consolations. But why were we given Christianity in the first place? Why are we being given whatever we’re being given in the U.F.O. phenomenon?
The only definite answer is that the world is much stranger than the secular imagination thinks.
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Religion: short paragraph on religion.
Religion is referred to as a system of beliefs, practices, and values concerned with the sacred. It is related to supernatural entities and powers which are considered as the ultimate concern of all mundane existence among human groups. Sociologists are not concerned with the competing claims of different religions.
They mainly deal with the social effects of religious beliefs and practices. In other words, the sociological analysis of religion is concerned with how religious beliefs and practices are articulated in society, how they affect interaction among persons of different religious faiths, how they lead to conflicts and riots (communalism), and how secularism, can contain interreligious biases.
The following are the kinds of questions addressed by sociologists of religion: How does religion reinforce the collective unity or social solidarity of a group through religious worship and rituals? purkhiem). How does religion block the emotional and intellectual development of people? (Marx). How is a particular type of economic system (say, capitalism) the product of a specific religious ideology (say Protestantism)? (Max Weber).
Is one religion (say Hinduism) more tolerant and accommodative than another religion (say Islam)? What is the effect on a person’s way of life of being religiously described as an untouchable? Is there something in the belief systems of two sects of the same religion (say, Shias and Sunnis in Islam) which makes conflict between them inevitable? Does religion (say Islam) oppose family planning measures? But before analysing some of these aspects, let us understand the demographic dimensions and the geographical distribution of different religions in India.
- Religion: The Meaning and Functions of Religion
- Essay on Religion: It’s Kinds and Impact on Indian Society | Religion
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About the Sociology of Religion Essay
What is the sociology of religion, why is this subject important, what is the rational choice theory, works cited.
Sociology of religion entails the study of cultural beliefs, practices, and forms of organizations. The study is undertaken using the established tools and methods in the field of sociology. Scholars may employ quantitative or qualitative designs to understand how religion affects human behavior.
In particular, polling system, surveying, the use of demography, and census are some of the methods employed under quantitative designs. On the other hand, observation, the use of interviews, comparative analysis, and the application of historical methods are some of the techniques employed in qualitative designs. Emile Durkheim was the first sociologist to utilize religion in understanding human behavior.
He undertook a study among Catholics and Protestants to establish the rates of suicide. The study was a landmark in the academic circles because it distinguished sociology from other disciplines such as psychology. Durkheim undertook a scientific study of religion in society by employing a positivist approach. His main concern was survival in the modern society. In other words, he was interested in identifying the forces that holds individuals together in the modern society.
Durkheim found out that religion was the main unifying factor in society. In one of his works, he established that religion is not imaginary, as many thought. In his study, he noted that religion is real because it affects human behavior in a number of ways. Religion brings out the realities of society. This would imply that each society has its own form of religion. A supernatural power exists in society, which controls human life. The supernatural power is too strong, forcing individuals to come together in order to define it.
In this case, Durkheim noted that religion is the expression of collective consciousness, which is the synthesis of individual awareness. This consciousness translates to a certain form of reality. To Durkheim, simple societies, such as the Australian Aborigines, have simple religious structures, which are simply associated with particular clans and families. However, complex societies have advanced religious structures that tend to embrace universalism.
In the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber offered an alternative explanation of religion. To Weber, religion was a perfect answer to human necessity for theodicy (Weber 39). He noted that human beings are troubled by the fact that some forces cannot be controlled through human efforts.
In this case, human beings try to resolve issues affecting them through the worship of the supernatural. In particular, individuals are troubled with the idea that some people might suffer for long before they succeed in life. Religion is the only consolation for individuals facing various problems in the world.
Through religion, individuals have an opportunity to escape from trouble meaning that they can be relieved from untold sufferings if they worship a supernatural being. In society, people pursue salvation in the same way they pursue wealth. To Weber, religion played a critical role in the rise of capitalism in Europe. In Europe, Protestants believed in predestination implying that the position of each individual in society was already determined.
The relationship between religion and society is very important to sociologists because it helps in explaining the behavior of individuals in a number of ways. Religion shapes human behavior in a number of ways because an individual would definitely behave in a way that his or her religion permits. Religion is understood as a belief system, as well as a social institution.
It is considered a belief system because it configures people’s viewpoints. In other words, it influences an individual’s understanding of the world. Given the fact that the world is full of tribulations and intricacies, religion is construed as a social institution since it sets the patterns of social actions, which are structured based on the values and practices. Individuals evaluate their actions using the values and practices generated by religion.
Since it is considered an institution, it has an organizational structure that influences the behavior of individuals in any given society. Therefore, religion is very important in examining the social and cultural context of any given human action. In other words, it is observed that understanding individual religious beliefs is not of concern to sociologists. Sociologists are interested in examining the collective behavior of individuals in society, as well as how religious beliefs influence behavior.
One of the most important reasons forcing sociologists to study religion is that it is related to other social factors, such as race, age, gender, and education. In complex societies, studies show that some religious beliefs are associated with certain races.
In this regard, religion would define social stratification of a certain society. Members of society with similar religious beliefs would tend to identify themselves with certain behaviors. They would then tend to conduct themselves in a certain way, which would be different from the conduct of other races.
For instance, a majority of members of the Arab society are identified with Islam. Through Islam, they have formed strong cultures that define their behavior in society. In particular, members from the Arabic race are not allowed to intermarry with other races without undergoing certain processes. In this regard, it would demand that a member from another race be converted to Islam for him or her to be accepted as a marriage partner.
Regarding age, religion influences people differently. Furthermore, age groups are affected differently by religion. Durkheim found out that the youths are affected more by religion as compared to the old. This is why the suicide rates are high among the youth and the middle-aged individuals as compared to the old. Equally, religion affects men differently as compared to women (Settimba 230).
Religion is important to sociologists because it determines change in society. A religious society is reluctant to embrace new ways of doing things because change interferes with their established customs and beliefs.
For instance, many people find it hard to utilize family planning methods and the use of protection during sex because their religions do not permit them. Some religious values observe that people were created to multiply. This problem is common in the third world whereby people are still practicing beliefs associated with traditional religion.
Rational Choice theory is a theory in sociology that is utilized in understanding social and economic actions. The theory states that human beings should always strive to do things perfectly. In other words, the individual should always choose the most cost-effective method when accomplishing certain aims and objectives.
In society, people try to achieve their objectives using the available means and techniques. However, the most effective technique is usually chosen because of the constraints in life. In this regard, an individual compares a number of methods before arriving at the most cost-effective method (Allingham 17).
Allingham, Michael. Choice Theory: A Very Short Introduction . Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Settimba, Henry (2009). Testing times: globalization and investing theology in East Africa . Milton Keynes: Author House, 2009. Print.
Weber, Max. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism . Los Angeles: Roxbury Company, 2002. Print.
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