Influence of Christianity Buddhism and Islam
Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism are considered the World universal religions and are undoubtedly the most influential in shaping both the traditional and the modern societies. Since their appearance, the religions have considerably changed the life in the societies where they are practiced. Based on the religious movements the world has been stratified depending on the most predominant religion. Christianity is the most dominant religious practice and is highly practiced in the western countries and a greater part of the African continent (Central and South Africa). Islam is the second largest religion currently threatening to overtake Christianity and is majorly practiced in the Middle East and North Africa. Buddhism is dominant in China and Japan. Over the past five decades, significant research has emerged demonstrating that religion promotes the wellbeing of nations, families, and individuals. Regular involvement in religious services is usually linked to moral uprightness and overall success. Religion is also known to promote political stability and educational excellence. The relationship between culture and religion is however questionable. This paper seeks to analyze the specific influences of the three greater religions to their specific regions of practice. The Influence of Christianity
The institution of Christianity, more specifically the Catholic Church has greatly transformed the western countries. The Catholic faith is not only the oldest but also the most predominant faith in Christianity. The influence that the faith has had on the humankind is perhaps the sole reason why the faith finds more applicability. It is majorly characterized by extraordinary acts of charity, intellectual developments and the promotion of human dignity . These aspects brought forth a shift from the ancient social, political and economic practices.
Education was a major contribution brought forth by Christianity and is perhaps the most transformational . Higher education sprouted explicitly from the major developments made by the Christian missionaries. The creation of the university system began in medieval Europe as a result of scholastics and theologians. The system was greatly promoted by various monarchs and popes. The modern science which is applied in the entire western world was started by the Catholic Church. Contrary to the modern thoughts which claim that Christianity is opposed scientific discoveries, research has proven without doubt that both the elite and common classes excelled more in Europe after the introduction of Christianity than during the era of paganism . This clearly depicts that the religion is not in any way opposed to scientific inventions. Furthermore, various Christian leaders have always taken key roles in discoveries. Both Christianity and education are intertwined and highly dependent on one another.
The opposition gauged by Christians against slavery played a major role in its abolition . The Christian belief in human sacredness and dignity pronounced that slavery was exploitative and unjust practice. Furthermore, the Christian popes were undeniably the greatest force against the dehumanizing practice in the United States of America. They openly condemned enslavement and even wrote against it. The church members who continued holding the slaves were excommunicated. The religion also demanded the release of the slaves in the colonies.
Christianity has had major contributions to the institution of human dignity . The faith led to the abolishment of pagan infanticide by emphasizing on the sacredness of the human life. This was a great contribution in the social arena. All lives were declared equally worth and had to be safeguarded at whichever circumstances. Before the popularization of Christianity, the English law had allowed abortion and the killing of the babies who were born physically deformed. When Christianity emerged, its practitioners would walk in the streets rescuing the abandoned newborns. Applying both the faith and the reality proposed by the Christians, many lives have been saved.
Charity organizations were unheard of until Christianity came into existence . The value added to the social life by charity can hardly be overlooked in a discussion of good social relations. Initially, any charity done was aimed to a favor either social or political. Christianity, on the other hand, had a different view on charity. Christians believed that charity was a social duty and did not require and repayment not only to friends but also to enemies. This is a portrayal of the highest form of love which was a major form of Christianity.
The application of both faith and reason formed the basis of argument in Christianity. Thus, the subscribers did not have to follow the religious teachings blindly without the application logic. Their beliefs were greatly informed by ration. This is perhaps the reason as to why the religion has gained much approval all over the world. Christians are not fully governed by determinism. As much as human beings are predestined to certain events, they always have the capacity to enact some change. This has created a different point of view in the Christianity. What is theologically true is also true when a sound reason is applied. The nations that strongly embrace Christianity are considerably prosperous and stable as there is less collision in decision-making.
Christianity played a major role in the western civilization . However, there are many debates surrounding this issue. Some critics argued that Christianity was a tool to popularize the western culture. This was backed up by the contempt with which the missionaries revealed towards some cultures. Most of the western cultures were in cooperated into Christianity at the expense of the other cultures. For instance, the African cultures were highly despised. The relationship between culture and Christianity remains questionable.
The Influence of Islam
Islam is not only a religion but rather a complete way of life. The religion is grounded on some set laws that every member should abide by. Unlike other religions, Islam does not only dictate on faith but also how an upright life ought to be lived. The true Islamic law should be practiced to the latter in order to experience the blessings attached to Islam. There is no single country which has fully implemented the Islam law as nations always make their state laws. This makes the religious practitioners of Islam disunited. The Islam law is hardly practiced to the latter by the leaders of the Islam nations. The splits in Islam, however, do not make the religion less influential. Islam has substantially influenced the politics, social life, trade and the architecture of the countries in which it is practiced. These influences have also stretched to other continents majorly Africa and Europe.
Islam countries have made various successes in trade since the introduction of the religion . Arabic their predominant language was spread throughout the world through trade and conquests. Islam has the most recognized merchants in the medieval period. The countries founded on Islam up to date are wealthy and continue to dominate trade.
Islam since in history has always taken the lead in the architectural works . Islam countries have the most distinguished buildings all over the world. Mosques are the most recognized buildings in the countries where Islam is practiced. The mosques appear magnificent even from a distance. The buildings are too extroverted and conspicuous. This influenced how the individual Islam practitioners constructed their houses. Although less appealing compared to the mosques, Muslim houses are epitomes of beauty. The architecture attributed to Islam spread all over the World and informed how the other religions built their houses. Islam has also had a great impact on music and art and craft in the Islam countries. The Islam countries manufacture the best and most expensive jewels. Most of their workshops were set up for silver and gold. There are numerous undisputable painters in the Islam. The power of the Islam music cannot be underrated. Their unique musical instruments combined with the singers give the religion a great sense of music.
In the countries where Islam is the predominant religion, crisis in the field of politics have been almost inevitable. Basically, ethics and morality are not a product of religion but rather a social production. Mostly, what the citizens regarded wrong was not necessarily wrong to their leaders. This resulted in constant clashes between the Muslims. The debates over politics and identity have been endless in the religion . Some political claims are culturally sensitive and created a split in the nations. Religion as an institution is not much thought-provoking. The educated and the less educated had varied views on the sensitive matters. While the uneducated chose to follow religion blindly, the educated applied reason. Islam thus proves to have been highly influential in the politics of the nations in which it is the dominant religion.
The Islamic rule has adversely affected the position of women in the countries where it is practiced . The religion has been oppressive to the women according to some modern activists. This seclusion of women raised many controversies in the countries where Islam is practiced. Human rights based organized constantly questioned their practices against women although many women seemed content with the injustices rested upon them. The Influence of Buddhism
Buddhism has had an intense impact especially India where it is predominantly practiced. Although the religion was originally practiced in India, its influx in China and Japan strongly shaped the countries . The Buddhists influenced the political, economic and the social life of the natives. The faith which was majorly perpetrated by the clergy took direct roles in the bureaucratic field. Buddhism is founded on simplicity, compassion, and moral uprightness. Buddhism emphasized good morals more specifically truthfulness and non-violence. These shaped people’s personalities and characters giving rise to fair and just societies. Just like any religion, Buddhism is attached to both positive and negative effects in the areas where it is practiced.
The greatest impact of Buddhism was felt in the economic arena both positively and negatively. The creation of monasteries by the government resulted in a substantial change in the economy. The emperors who held greatly upheld the Buddhist beliefs in the 5th and 6th centuries spent many resources in building monasteries . The extravagant buildings required much time and money to be completed. The excessive spending threatened to destroy the economy as resources were taxed highly to cater for the rising financial demand.
The working class in China for long benefitted from the job opportunities provided by the emperors in the building of the monasteries . In the early centuries of the emergence of Buddhism, there was an intensive economic activity in China. This included acquiring the resources especially the metals and the extraction of other raw material as well as the actual building. The low-income individuals were at least able to cater for their most basic needs. A decline in the economic activity resulted in consequent decline labor markets.
The Buddhist clergy in both Japan and China had a profound role in the government activities . Although the monks did not directly participate in governance, they substantially involved the imperial decisions. The members of the clergy in Japan, at times, exerted direct powers through petitions and protests. This affected the structuring of the government laws and policies. The monks were given various privileges due to their high profiles in the societies. Such included exemption from taxes and funding of constructions.
The Buddhist most intriguing contribution is that on the field of arts. The religion to a great extent informed the architecture, painting and sculpture making in both Japan and China . Stones were used in architecture and in the formation of pillars. The field of art forms a basis of distinction between Buddhism and other religions.
Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism not only shape the countries that practice them but also the world as a whole. The religions combine to form a unified and a just world. Although specific religions may seem to have more followers than others, they are all equally important, and none is superior to the others. Different religions are just alternative paths all aimed to a universal destination. Therefore, any criticisms leveled against a specific religious practice should be for the wellbeing of the society but not to demean a specific faith. All religions aim to make the societies better. Thus coexistence should be upheld, and no clashes should arise.
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