Madia BestmanReligions of the GlobeProfessor De George 12 December 2017 “ReligionsFinal Paper” When philosopherHuston Smith states that, “religions are distinct… But beyond thesedifferences, the same goal beckons.” (Smith, The World’s Religions), hebrings the idea that all religions, no matter the origination or beliefs, allhave the same objective. This outlook on the world’s religions is one Icompletely agree with.
Especially when Smith uses the analogy of hikers climbing a mountain. Each hiker (who each representa religion) takes a unique route to the top. While they are climbing themountain, they cannot necessarily see one another. They may not even be awarethat those in the other climbing parties are also ascending the mountain.They think they are alone as they make their ascent.
Yet when they reach thepeak, the climbers are surprised to find one another. He compares this to thejourney that all religious groups find themselves on. Each group is indeed reachingfor the same mountain top, through their practices they all portray one maingoal they wish to accomplish. To make themselves and the world as pure aspossible to not only make their current life peaceful and happy, but to also leavethe earth on a positive note spiritually. However, history demonstrates thatthe journey to the mountain top isn’t quite easy, many religions if not allfaced times of difficulty that strongly impacted their cultures today. With thepower of faith no matter what religion each “hiker” was able to overcome eachobstacle encountered in order to reach the mountain top. While takingReligions of the Globe this semester I’ve observed the pattern that variousreligions experienced an instance of a split between within ones faith, socialreforms, and the battle to regain independence.
In the seventeenth century, the Britishinvaded India and established the British East India Company. As a result, theHindu religion was stripped from several practices that had been establishedfor centuries and was forced to abide by Hindu reformer’s new polices. Thisincludes using transforming the use and practice of the Caste System that was avital part of the Hindu tradition. (Odyssey).
Another impact the British rulehad on Hindu culture was that women gained a voice to obtain equality betweengenders, however in Islam religion women was considered property, owned by herfather, husband, or elder brother. Lastly, in 1857 the British Empire forcedHindu and Muslim soldiers to use a combination of beef and pork fat to greaserifles, in traditional Hindu culture this was considered to be defiling whichcaused them team up with one another and rebel against the British. Christianitywas exposed to India and were treated as simply another caste, the same wayMuslims were in large parts of India. However, when Christianity wasencountered in conjunction with the political power of the British and modernscientific knowledge, it had to be taken as a more serious challenge. (Religions). Islam developed atthe right time in history for expansion, Muslim armies conquered Egypt, Syria,Palestine, Persia and across North Africa and Spain.
Later Islam spreadthroughout the Middle East, India, China, and Central and Southeast Asian.Islam was successful with its expansion because Islam recognizes no nationalbarriers and doesn’t discriminate among races. Hinduism and Islam may have religiousand cultural differences, but they managed to live side by side for over onethousand years. Hinduism’s basic theology did not change in light of itscontacts with Islam, however Indian society adopted many of the element ofMuslim culture. Art, architecture, sciences, and clothing styles of the Muslimworld influenced Hindu society, also many Muslims adopted the caste system as amode of social organization. This demonstrates that despite the religious andpolitical differences Hinduism and Islam have converged in important ways. Afeature of religion in African countries today is that the majority of thepeople on the continent practice some form of Islam and Christianity, thereremain strong traditions of ancestor vernation, sacrificial rituals, and otheraspects of religious devotion that originate in one or more African religions.
Islam first came to Africa due to a group of Muslims avoiding persecution this occurredduring the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad. As a result, Islam became a majorforce in Africa in the early seventh century and displaced Christianity in manyregions until after the 1950s when the Christianity had its peak of growth onthe continent. However, for centuries its been difficult for African religions,the European colonies worked to break up traditional tribal units and enforceother forms of authority and eventually after World War I Africa was dividedinto over forty nations. African life significantly changed after the pressuresof modernization, urbanization, and the rapid increase in population. (Religions)Buddhism andChristianity are have become major religions throughout history, they bothinfluenced the values and attitudes of people all over the world. Both religionsshare an objective of generosity, forgiveness, personal tolerance, compassion, perseverance,and helping others. In order to achieve social transformation and peaceBuddhists believe that focusing on ones path to enlightenment, practicingkindness towards others, and that in serving yourself you serve other.
However,Christians believe you serve others in order to serve yourself and having arelationship with God the world will be at peace. They also have similar viewsregarding suffering and that everyone will go through it but its how youovercome it. For example, the Buddha came to understand both the plight ofhumankind and the way to move beyond the eternal cycle of birth, karma, deathand rebirth. The Four Noble Truths were founded from the core of Buddhistteaching which are: to live is to experience suffering, suffering comes fromdesire and attachment, the way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate desire,and this is possible if one follows the Eightfold Path (Diffen). Christiansgain knowledge about dealing with suffering through the crucifixion and thelife of Jesus Christ. This demonstrates that suffering is not only inevitable,but it also has a significant meaning to remember that Jesus also suffered,these are trails given by God to grow faith in him in times of hardship.
Stephen Prothero, in God is NotOne argues: “”This sentiment, however well-intentioned, is neitheraccurate nor ethically responsible… we know in our bones that the world’sreligions are different from one another. … We pretend these differencesare trivial because it makes us feel safer, or more moral. But pretending theworld’s religions are the same does not make our world safer. Like all forms ofignorance, it makes our world more dangerous. What we need on this furiouslyreligious planet is a realistic view of where religious rivals clash and wherethey can cooperate.
” I disagree with Prothero, even though many religionsdiffer from each other culturally they all still have the same objective andthis has to do with ethical behavior and moral virtue. I believe that the variousworld religions each hope to get to the same mountaintop because they make certain particular assertions about the soul, theafterlife, the nature of existence, and the purpose of life. Throughout historymany religions have influence each other despite their cultural differences. Essentially all religions say the same thing,the mountaintop represents the path followers of religions take, and if theyare successful of fulfilling their duties as a follower they will reach themountaintop. Work CitedBrennan, Cal. “How British ColonizationAffected Hinduism.
” The Odyssey Online, Odyssey, 28 Aug. 2017,www.theodysseyonline.com/british-colonization-affecting-hinduism. “Buddhism vs Christianity.” Buddhism vs Christianity – Difference and Comparison | Diffen, www.
diffen.com/difference/Buddhism_vs_Christianity. Hopfe, Louis M, and MarkR Woodward.
Religions of the Globe. 13th ed., Pearson, 2014.