Tuesday, June 7, 2011

History of Religion

1.      What is religion?
 It has many definitions but it usually it involves one or more of the following three things:
  1. the worship of a God or gods
  2. guidelines about how to behave
  3. answers to life's biggest questions
Religious Beliefs, in the Issues of Society series (Healey & Australia, 2009), identifies religion as being “...generally regarded as being a set of beliefs or practices, usually involving acknowledgement of a divine or higher being or power, of which people order the conduct of their lives both practically and in a moral sense.”

2.      What are beliefs?
Beliefs are the set of rules or boundaries those living by a religions follow. Or, generally, it is an individual or groups values and opinion they honour in life that they commit to.

Explain the following terms;
3.      Animism
Animists believe that humans and animals (and sometimes even plants and rocks and other natural phenomena) have a soul or spirit. The word animism, animal and animation all come from the same root -- all are related to the idea of a force that makes something move or "come alive". Spirits were assumed to be responsible for things that happened in nature (such as the weather).

4.      Polytheism
Animism became polytheism (belief in many gods). The first human civilizations followed different types of polytheism -- such as the Egyptians or the Babylonians.
5.      Pantheism
This is the belief that everything is part of one god. Many other new religions also developed out of early Hinduism, such as Buddhism. These religions are collectively known as Indian or "Dharmic" religions.
6.      Monotheism

The ancient Jewish people started following monotheism which is the belief in only one God. The part of the Christian Bible known as the Old Testament tells the story of the Jewish people and their beliefs.
7.      Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the uncertainty about God or gods and belief in an undetermined force.
8.      Atheism
Atheism is the belief in no gods.

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