Religions of the world pdf

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The largest religion in the world is Christianity? 2. The country of China is officially an atheist country. 3. Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Muslims in the. Religions of the world / Lewis M. Hopfe ; revised by Mark R. Woodward.—10th ed . p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 1. World religions in the context of the contemporary culture: new perspectives of dialogue and mutual understanding;Christianity and Islam in the context of.

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World Religions – Beliefs and Lifestyles. Beliefs. Lifestyle. Buddhists Buddhists believe in an ultimate reality – not a 'God', and. Buddha is not a prophet, rather. few of the world's major religions to help you engage missionally with people of varied faith Islam is a monotheistic religion founded by their Prophet—. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Book of Religions by John. Hayward .. religious sects or denominations in the world, so far as utility.

Did this show a keen political understanding that professional forecasters lacked, or was it a premonition, as Rev. Press, , Be lovingly devoted to any of the Hindu deities; 2. As a result the proceedings of the Congress give no attention whatsoever to African religions. They believe that Jesus Christ, out of love for us, paid for the sin for all of humanity by dying on a cross.

To help you see how biases can be recognized with a little effort, this chapter provides one example of the way racism has clearly affected modern thinking about the nature of religious studies.

The pervasiveness of biases and their ability to distort our understanding are not something new, discovered by post- modern philosophers in the last fifty years. It has been known for centuries.

The Book of Religions by John Hayward

Recognizing bias has always formed the basis of a good education. The book, The Study of Sociology,1 is a classic that discusses in great detail the numerous ways bias can enter into our thinking. It reminds us that recognizing bias is nothing new.

Yet it is something we must learn. To demonstrate how frequently unrecognized biases Photo 2. This is available for free in electronic form from The Liberty Fund. It may be downloaded from http: The main website of The Liberty Fund is found at http: To show how deep the problem of bias runs in religious studies textbooks, we will survey a number of different works from the late s to the present.

Ninian Smart, in his popular The Religious Experience of Mankind , devoted exactly 5 out of pages to a consideration of African religion, while the British writer Trevor Ling, in A History of Religions East and West , managed to avoid the discussion of African religions alto- gether.

Connecting with the Divine

Robert S. Esposito, Darrell J. In Willard G. More recently, Theodore M. Ludwig, in The Sacred Paths: Not to be outdone, Willard G. Oxtoby and Alan F. Although in terms of space this is an improvement, it is hard to justify in terms of the sheer size and diversity of African religious traditions and clearly shows the insensitivity of scholars to this issue.

For example, Sacred Texts of the World: Hecht, devotes a mere 5 out of pages to things African. But even there the attention is limited and disproportionate to that devoted to other traditions, such as Zoroastrianism, which receives 60 pages. If one surveys academic journals in religious studies, one finds a dearth of articles on African religions and few reviews of books about Africa.

Take a closer look and you will see that the man in the middle is clutching a crosslike symbol. What this shows is that the African religious tradition is far more complex than generally thought. But this is not the case. This is all the more surprising because at the time of their publication the Shembe texts were the only English translation of the scriptures of a major contemporary African religious movement.

Instead of being welcomed as the major breakthrough that they were, they were ignored by journals. Even Religious Studies Review, which is devoted to reviewing books on religion, pays virtually no attention to books on African religion and acts as though many of them do not exist. One could go on providing example after example of the almost total neglect of Afri- can religious traditions in standard religious studies texts, but the examples cited make the point.

Nevertheless, the ethos of religious studies in which they work has blinded them to the importance and complexity of African religious traditions. African Religions in the Context of World Religions Every author of a textbook has to make hard decisions about what to include and what to leave out.

When Louis Henry Jordan published his book Comparative Religion2 in , he provided the following details about the state of religion in the world: World Religions Sikhism 10,, Judaism 10,, Buddhism 50,, African ,, Islam ,, Hinduism ,, Confucian ,, Christianity ,, Figure 2. World Religions Mormons 10,, Jews 14,, Sikhs 23,, African ,, Buddhism ,, Chinese religions ,, Hinduism 9. Louis Henry Jordan, Comparative Religion: Its Genesis and Growth Edinburgh: There- fore, there is no excuse for ignoring African religions in religious studies textbooks.

Yet African religions are ignored, and they are usually treated in a very dismissive way when they are actually included in such texts or mentioned in academic journals. Therefore, his work may be criticized without fear of suggest- ing his approach to African religions was motivated by racism, which it most certainly was not. As a result, if his approach is judged harshly, it ought to provoke us to ask deeper questions about the study of African religion rather than criticize an individual who wrote a particular book.

Here the aim is simply to draw attention to the relative neglect of African religions, not to suggest that anything said about India is, in Photo 2.

Many African Independent ative phenomena. Cambridge Univ.

Understanding World Religions Homepage

Issues, Prospects and Proposals Atlanta, Ga.: But in the African context he dismisses sacrifice: The above picture, from a Hindu temple, is of a small and simplistic. Thus they never bother to investigate what actually goes on or to see African religion as at least on the same level as Indian and other religious systems.

This argument sounds good initially, but it can be questioned by comparing what Smart, or almost any other religious studies textbook writer, says about other religious traditions which lack philosophical refinement. For example, Smart comments favorably on Polynesian religion, whereas in his section on Africa one finds no appreciation at all. Photo 2. In reality many African religious leaders are well-educated men and women. Augustine of Hippo and Tertullian were African, and in all probability Black.

To understand this general neglect and disparagement of African religion in the West, we need to look at the treatment of Africa and Africans in European history and European thought generally. Africa before the Enlightenment Prior to the Enlightenment, Africans were thought to have much in common with Europeans. He had graduated from Halle in Photo 2. Quite tenberg in Yet he stands in and respected in Europe before the Enlightenment. Hans Werner Debrunner, Presence and Prestige: Basler Africa Bibliographien, , Irwin, Africans Abroad: Columbia Univ.

A good case can be made that modern racism origi- nates in the Enlightenment. They are not capable of any great application or association of ideas, and seem formed neither of the advantages nor abuses Photo 2. George L. Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A Contemporary Version, trans. William F. Fleming London: DuMont, , There never was a civilized nation of any other complex- ion than white.

Nature treats all the animals left to her care with a predilection. By becoming domesticate they lose half these advantages. Their children are slowly and with difficulty taught to walk. Such in general is the animal condition, and such, according to travellers, is that of most savage nations.

He is so far from having the knowledge which is needful to make him want more, that he can have neither foresight nor curiosity. He has not understanding enough to wonder at the great miracles; nor is it in his mind that we can expect to find that philosophy man needs.

In Negro life the characteristic point is the fact that David Hume, Essays London: Routledge and Sons, , Dutton, , Bruno Cassirer, The Negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state. We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality. Among Negroes moral sentiments are quite weak, or more strictly speaking, non-existent.

At this point we leave Africa to mention it no more. For it is no historical part of the World. But is this the whole story? Early-Nineteenth-Century Photo 2. Although and Africans, it might be expected that similar attitudes would his work has been largely ignored have inf luenced European scholarly views of India. Popular accounts of ism, postmodernism, and even some Africa and India, written by traders and missionaries, painted forms of fascism. The Hindoo Mythology is therefore only a wild extravagance of Fancy.

Their whole life and ideas are one unbroken superstition, because among them all is revere and consequent enslavement. Willey Book Co.

World the religions pdf of

Oxford Univ. Press, , In fact, if anything, the descriptions of Africa and Africans written by European writers caused Black Africans to sink lower and lower on the scale of humanity. Such an explanation overlooks the fact that American Indians and similar groups did not suffer the same nega- tive reactions by nineteenth-century writers as Africans did.

A quick survey of religious studies texts from an earlier era shows a similar disregard for African traditions long before the growth of modern departments of religious studies. Joachim Deppert, ed. Nineteenth-Century Explorations Westport: Christine Bolt and Seymour Drescher, eds. Curtin, The Image of Africa Madison: Joseph R.

Washington Jr. East African Literature Bureau, Jordan, Comparative Religion; Eric J. Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orm and Brown, Charles A. Hutchinson and Dwler, But it must be remembered that the negroes of whom we have usually heard have been for centuries corrupted by the slave-traders. Travellers who have penetrated the interior. They have, in short, found the rudimentary forms of the kingly and queenly virtues of truth and love, justice and mercy, united in the hearts of these benighted heathens.

Such are the virtues which already appear in primitive man, rudimentary virtues, indeed. As a result the proceedings of the Congress give no attention whatsoever to African religions. Early-twentieth-century descriptions of African religions are equally prejudiced.

Edwin W. Modern textbooks, which almost totally neglect African religion, are simply continuing a two- hundred-year tradition deeply rooted in Euro- pean racism. Consequently, when students read popular textbook accounts of African religion or encounter its almost total neglect, they quickly form the opinion that Photo 2.

Thus Congress of Religions, held in Chicago in existing textbooks confirm old prejudices and lead to It claimed to represent all the religions of the further neglect of Africa by anyone interested in the the world, but totally ignored African religions. The Importance of Sacred Texts Clearly, one reason why an appreciation of African religion did not develop in the nine- teenth century is the unavailability of religious texts containing the scriptures of African religions and the reliance of most scholars on written texts containing the scriptures of various religions for their interpretation of religion.

Although Indian texts, often directly James Gardner, The Faiths of the World: Ful- larton, That Africa could have its own epics that might rival the Mahabharata, and that appar- ently irrational behavior, such as witchcraft, might have a logical basis simply did not occur to nineteenth-century scholars.

But this is not all. The very fact of interpretation led to further refinement and produced schools of apologists who saw in Indian religions an alternative to the spiritual bankruptcy of the West. Isidore Okpewho, The Epic in Africa: Rycroft and A.

Ngcobo, eds. Izibongo zikaDingana Pietermaritzburg: Natal Univ. Campbell, Ancient Wisdom Revived: A History of the Theosophical Movement Berkeley: Chamberlain, Britain and India: Carl T. Jackson, Oriental Religions and American Thought. Edward Conze, Buddhism: Its Essence and Development Oxford: Bruno Cassirer, , One result was the development of what we now know as religious studies, which highly prizes Indian religions while almost totally disregarding African religions.

Conclusion The examples presented in this chapter are so gross that it seems unbelievable that Black Americans are not protesting loud and clear about the prejudice found in religious studies texts. Yet they are not. This is probably because these prejudices are so deep and appear so scholarly that no one really notices them. Yet once the way African religions are treated in textbooks is realized, it becomes possible to look out for similar biases elsewhere, and then it quickly becomes clear that textbooks are full of bias and prejudice.

We all notice these things at a subliminal level, but few of us really trust our own judgment enough to point out the biased nature of textbooks. Yet this is what we all must learn to do if scholarship in religious studies is to advance. So the task is now handed over to you the reader.

What biases can you find in the textbooks you read? Probably the greatest concentration of this type of religion is found in Africa. Here I offer an overview of some common features of many different African religions. These shared beliefs and practices, it should be noted, are often found in other traditional religions throughout the world and are not exclusively African, although they take on a particular form in Africa.

For a variety of reasons this was never done. East African Literature Bureau, n. Although it was written over thirty years ago, little has changed since then in the area of religious studies. Modern-day boundaries shown Ca p e o f Good Hope Map 3.

Looking at this map, one gets an idea of the vastness of Africa in relation to Europe and the rest of the world. Consequently, at present we simply cannot write an introductory section, like the one on the yogic tradi- tion, outlining the history of African religions because at present the material for such a chapter does not exist.

As pointed out earlier, this is a result of the bias against things Afri- can in both scholarly discourse and popular culture. Hopefully, it will change in the future. John V. Taylor, The Primal Vision: SCM Press, The Primal Core African traditional religions, like most grassroots religious movements, are based on the religious experience of their founders and members.

Primal religions include most African traditional religions, African Independent Churches, Native American reli- gions, and many new religious movements in Western society. In primal religions shamans or similar ritual figures communicate between this world and the next, often with the aim of placating the ancestors.

At the core of all primal religions are primal experiences. These are intense experiences which defy rational explanation. Primal experiences are unexpected vivid encounters so unusual that they can be explained only by reference to a religious mythology. Such experi- ences take many forms.

Above all, they shock those who experience them, bringing about a change in their attitude toward the material world. Primal experiences involve such things as dreams, visions, voices, spiritual healings, a sense of presence or awe, notions of destiny, sightings of the dead, and inexplicable spiritual phenomena.

Before a person has a primal experience, he or she may view the traditional mythology, or myths of a particular new religious movement, as unbeliev- able fairy tales which only uneducated traditionalists believe.

As it turns out, primal experiences are remarkably common among humans. In the s David Hay became interested in the phenomenon when some postgraduate students at the University of Nottingham, England, responding to a social survey, admitted that they had had primal experiences that profoundly affected their outlook.

The majority of these students said that they had no adequate explanation for their experience and would welcome one. Fol- lowing this initial survey, Hay and Ann Morisy arranged a statistically valid national survey of the British population. In this more qualified survey they found that Significantly, 45 percent of those who had these experiences had no real contact with churches or organized religions. A much higher figure was obtained by Robert Wuthnow in his survey of the San Francisco Bay area population.

In his studies of hun- dreds of Zulu in South Africa, for example, S. Lee reports that before individuals became diviners, they reported a variety of primal expe- riences, including numerous visual and auditory hallucinations. Fifteen percent reported a history of possession experiences that involved fatigued states, hallucinations, dreaming, and so on. Sev- enteen percent reported diseases that they attrib- uted to sorcery. The difference between those who merely consulted diviners and those who actually became diviners was largely a matter of the severity of their condition.

Chronic or severe sufferers went through rigorous, six-month-long initiations, and converted from client to diviner. The man shown above is in the process of becoming a To understand traditional religions, particularly fully fledged diviner.

We must enter as fully as possible into the perspective of someone living in a traditional society which sees all phenomena as an expression of mysterious power. This exercise will cause us to ref lect on our own society and 4. Robert Wuthnow, Experimentation in American Religion: Secu- larization, Revival and Cult Formation Berkeley: Clarendon, See also S. Government Printer, Note the hard labor of the woman and that the oxen are drawing a sledge, not a wheeled vehicle. In fact, he argued, we rarely think about bacteria unless there is an outbreak of disease that we believe they have caused.

The truth is that if we have to think about bacteria at all, whether we want to know how to kill the malign variety that cause dysentery, or to increase their benign activity in a compost heap, we do so because we see them at work. Normally, however, we simply take the existence of bacteria on trust.

Be dedicated to various religious ceremonies and rites.

New Age Spirituality promotes the development of the person's own power or divinity. When referring to deity, a follower of this type of spirituality is not talking about a transcendent, personal God who created the universe, but is referring to a higher consciousness within themselves.

A person pursuing spiritual development would see themselves as deity, the cosmos, the universe. In fact, everything that the person sees, hears, feels or imagines is to be considered divine.

Highly eclectic, New Age Spirituality is a collection of ancient spiritual traditions, taught by a vast array of speakers, books and seminars. It acknowledges many gods and goddesses, as in Hinduism. The Earth is viewed as the source of all spirituality, and has its own intelligence, emotions and deity.

But superseding all is self. Self is the originator, controller and power over all. There is no reality outside of what the person determines. New Age teaches eastern mysticism and spiritual, metaphysical and psychic techniques, such as breathing exercises, chanting, drumming, meditating Anything negative a person experiences failures, sadness, anger, selfishness, hurt is considered an illusion.

Believing themselves to be completely sovereign over their life, nothing about their life is wrong, negative or painful.

The world of pdf religions

Eventually a person develops spiritually to the degree that there is no objective, external reality. A person, becoming a god, creates their own reality. Buddhists do not worship any gods or God.

People outside of Buddhism often think that Buddhists worship the Buddha. However, the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama never claimed to be divine, but rather he is viewed by Buddhists as having attained what they are also striving to attain, which is spiritual enlightenment and, with it, freedom from the continuous cycle of life and death.

Most Buddhists believe a person has countless rebirths, which inevitably include suffering. A Buddhist seeks to end these rebirths.

Buddhists believe it is a person's cravings, aversion and delusion that cause these rebirths.

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Therefore, the goal of a Buddhist is to purify one's heart and to let go of all yearnings toward sensual desires and the attachment to oneself. Buddhists follow a list of religious principles and adhere to personal restraint, fasting and very dedicated meditation. When a Buddhist meditates it is not the same as praying or focusing on a god, it is more of a self-discipline. Through practiced meditation a person may reach Nirvana -- "the blowing out" of the flame of desire.

Buddhism provides something that is true of most major religions: Muslims believe there is the one almighty God, named Allah, who is infinitely superior to and transcendent from humankind. Allah is viewed as the creator of the universe and the source of all good and all evil. Everything that happens is Allah's will. He is a powerful and strict judge, who will be merciful toward followers depending on the sufficiency of their life's good works and religious devotion.

A follower's relationship with Allah is as a servant to Allah. Though a Muslim honors several prophets, Muhammad is considered the last prophet and his words and lifestyle are that person's authority. To be a Muslim, one must follow five religious duties: Repeat a creed about Allah and Muhammad; 2.

Recite certain prayers in Arabic five times a day; 3. Give to the needy; 4. One month each year, fast from food, drink, sex and smoking from sunrise to sunset; 5.

Pilgrimage once in one's lifetime to worship at a shrine in Mecca. At death -- based on one's faithfulness to these duties -- a Muslim hopes to enter Paradise. If not, they will be eternally punished in hell. For many people, Islam matches their expectations about religion and deity.

The world of pdf religions

Islam teaches that there is one supreme deity, who is worshiped through good deeds and disciplined religious rituals. After death a person is rewarded or punished according to their religious devotion.

Christians believe in one eternal God who is creator of all that is.

He is viewed as a loving God who offers everyone a personal relationship with himself now in this life. To find out why UWR was written click here. To read the introduction and first chapter click here.

You may also like to read some reviews and endorsements. Find out about the interaction between Buddhism and Chinese culture. Read W. Barber's Sinicizing Buddhism. Download a free copy of Edward Conze's Buddhism: Its Essence and Development. It has also received some excellent reviews and endorsements by leading scholars. N, Farquhar and H. Griswold introduces Indian religions to Western readers and remains valuable even today.

Watch a short video where Irving talks about the Zulu prophet Isaiah Shembe. It was written to help students and others gain a basic knowledge of the major world religions and was published by Zondervan The website has three main sections containing opan source books that can be downloaded as free pdf files.