Introduction to World Religions
14 April 2016
Final Exam #1
Two major world religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, are both widely practiced
polytheistic religions that have origins in ancient India. Despite these similarities,
Gender and Scripture in Islam: Some Thorny Issues
o Why do sacred texts on gender become troublesome?
Orientalist criticism of Islam, particularly role of women
Secular modernists and feminists adopt radical critique of religious
patriarchy (Nawal Saad
o Examples from the Abbasid, Umayyad, Ottoman and Mughal Empires
o Elements of Islamic Style
Islamic architecture may be identified with the following design elements,
which were inherited from the first mosque built by Muhammad in
o The Arabic meaning of Islam is submission to God/Allah; the creator of the
o Islam provides a comprehensive concept to humanitys eternal question:
who are we?
o Islam is a comprehensive and balanced system of life encompassing the
Why did Islam spread so easily?
o Muslims surrendered to God
o During a turbulent time Islam brought unity.
o Islam created social justice for all people.
o 9.3 Quran and Sunnah
o What is the Quran?
Quran is Islams sacred book and is considered the word
Islam submission & peace
Similar to Christianity and Judaism
Muhammad ibn Abdallah
Born 570 AD in Mecca and died June 8, 632 in Medina
First vision from the Angel Gabriel about Allah in 610 AD
Most recent and greatest prophet of Go
o By 600, Byzantium and the Sasanids had been fighting for four centuries
Their power broken by Arabs in the seventh century
Nomadic Bedouin population
Small kingdoms some client to Byzantines
Some pagan, Christian, Jewish
o Mecca ce
The Abbasid Era
o From Arab to Islamic Empire: The Early Abbasid Era
Abbasids slowly eliminate all enemies, become more righteous about
their defense of Sunni Islam, and less tolerant of Shia sects. This leads to
the building of a centralized, absolutis
o The concepts of
Sharia (the divine will as law)
and fiqh (jurisprudence),
the bases and practice of these;
Sunni and Shii versions.
o Islam is often called a religion of law
Islam means submission/obedience to God
That is, knowing Go
Sunni Vs. Shi'a
Religion: < Latin religio ("fidelity"); religare ("to bind fast, adhere to");
thus, "faithfulness and adherence to someone (a god) or something (a
Islam: submission, self-surrender; monotheistic world religion clo
o Islam Today: Demographics
There are an estimated 1.2 billion Muslims worldwide
Approximately 1/5th of the world's population
Growth without missionary efforts
Where Do Muslims Live?
Only 18% of Muslims live in the Arab world
o 1. Definition and the problem of essentially contested terms
Examples: Liberal; justice; freedom (see George Lakoff, Whose
Freedom? The Battle over America's Most Important Idea)
Different perspectives on Sufism: foreign & non-Islamic, or the
Periodization of the Prophets Life
o Preparation for Prophecy:
Childhood: preparation for prophecy
Merchant career and marriage:
o Meccan Revelations and Persecution:
Early revelations in Mecca
Building up early network of followers
Persecution by M
How Does the Islamic Calendar Really Work in Different Parts of the World?
Challenges when talking about calendars
Most historians of science are not interested in calendars
Many Western scholars dont realize how important non-Western
Science, technology and design in Medieval Islam
o What is Islam?
A religion that began with the prophet Muhammad in the 7th century
Muhammad believed he was a messenger sent by God
Muslims follow the teachings of the holy book, the Quran
What is Islamic Art?
o Introduction to Islamic Civilization
o What is Islamic Art?
Problems of Definition
The case of calligraphy
o 1. Problems of Definition
Where does the term Islamic art come from?
Possible meanings based on use and interpretation
Buddhism: An Introduction
o The Buddha
o Buddha and 6th-Century Brahmanism
o The Three Jewels
o Four Noble Truths
o Eightfold Path
o Two (Main) Vehicles
o The Bodhisattva
o Tibetan Buddhism
o Two Buddhist Creeds
o Buddhism in America
o The Buddha
Formal, High, Universal Religion:
Universal cosmic truth
Describe the nature of reality
Concern for the purpose and destiny of the universe, society and
Authoritative written texts
Introduction to Hinduism
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, with approximately 900
It is also the oldest known religion in the world today
The origins cannot be ascribed to any single founder or a s
Re plus ligare
again combined with to bind meaning to tie fast
Latin obligation or bond
o Gary Comstock
that part of some peoples lives which involves rituals, beliefs,
o REASON FOR THIS COURSE
This course seeks to raise awareness of the religious diversity within our
This course will encourage you to engage in a lifelong process of openminded discovery of religious truths.
Identify the fu
o A 4000 year old tradition with ideas about what it means to be human and how
to make the world a holy place
o (Rabbi Harold Kushner, To Life)
o A covenant relationship between God and the Hebrew people
o A celebration and sanctification of l
Tradition in the Orthodox Church
o What is Tradition?
Sacred Tradition is the source of all doctrine and practice in the
Church. It is not a stagnant collection of historical customs, but an
organic community guided by the Holy Spirit in the world. Acco
The History of Sikhism
o Guru Nanak
Sikhisms origins are traced to one manGuru Nanak.
Nanak was born into a Hindu warrior-caste family in Punjab, India, in
Punjab was home to Hindus and Muslims.
At about 30, Guru Nanak left his family to explor
The Forty Writers of the Bible
o THE BIBLE
The Old Testament 46 books
All written before Jesus came.
Symbol for the Islamic Faith
o On flags of Islamic countries
Waning moon & morning star (Venus)
5 pillars of Islam
Al-Shahadah: one god
Az-Zakah: tithe % of income
As-Siam: fasting (Ramadan)
Al-Hadj: pilgrimage to Mecca
o Basic Si
The Protestant Reformation
o Key Concepts
End of Religious Unity and Universality in the West
Attack on the medieval churchits institutions, doctrine, practices and
Not the first attempt at reform, but very unique
o The Traditional Japanese Religion
o The Name
Shinto is interpreted The Way of the Gods
The name came from the Chinese words shin tao in the 8th century AD.
Started about 500 BC
It was originally a mixture of ancient practices:
What Is Christianity?
Christianity is a major world religion,
AWestern religion (w/ Judaism & Islam)
The largest world religion today (ca. 2 billion)
It is based on belief that Jesus of Nazareth is
the Christ ( Messiah) & the Son of G