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Examining Concepts in World Religions

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1. The doctrine of the "separation of church and state" has been very significant for American political thought. How do politics and government influence religion? How does religion influence politics and government? In your opinion, what should the relationships among them be?

2. Are Taoism and Confucianism truly religions? Argue both sides.

3. Many in the West are familiar with the samurai and his warrior code. Westerners have been especially fascinated with his willingness to commit suicide before facing dishonor. Why does this notion seem so foreign to Westerners? What religious ideals are embodied by the samurai?

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1. How do politics and government influence religion? How does religion influence politics and government?

I will assume that you are referring to the present. In your studies of the "separation of church and state," you would have learned that religion had a great influence on the political and government realms prior to the separation. This is observed on a worldwide level. In many nations you will find that religion strongly influenced the socio-cultural "rules" that citizens lived by whether it was Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism to name a few. In both cases, since religion was influential in constructing and forming the social environment of nations, it would be very difficult for world societies to re-construct and re-form their societies even when laws are passed to modernize society.

Now, there are varying degrees of the separation of religion and politics in many countries. If you are examining the U.S.A. and Canada, they have a history of being Christian. Technically, the church and the state are separate, however, when you examine the socio-cultural functioning of politics and government, you will see that religion has not completely dissociated with politics and government. You can observe this in the passing of laws and/or bills such as in the equal rights for women in the twentieth century and in LGBTQ rights in the twenty-first century.

You can view the progression of influence as follows:

RELIGION/BELIEF SYSTEM ----> SOCIAL ----> CULTURAL ---> ENVIRONMENT ---> POLITICAL ---> GOVERNMENT

The above can also be viewed in terms of a cyclical development because individuals, who are a product of their environments, and are occupying government positions would usually hold to some type of belief system/religion which had influenced the social and cultural make-up of the individual's environment which in turn would have ...

Solution Summary

This solution provides guidelines on religion and political thought. It examines how politics and government influence religion and vice versa, how religion influences politics and government. The solution also provides guidelines on examining whether Taoism and Confucianism are truly religions. Finally, the solution discusses the samurai, the warrior code and its religious ideals, and why the notion of dishonor is foreign to Westerners.

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How do you define sacred? How do religious traditions orient their conception and location of the sacred?

Sacredness in many religious institutions is defined as the act of preparing a ceremony that is geared towards cleanliness, consecration, sanctification, and ultimate holiness. The objective is to repudiate secular outside influences and to follow a higher purpose in God or another deity. In some religions, to be sacred, means to be completely consumed with a specific doctrines philosophy on spirituality, growth, perception, and the afterlife, whereas other religions often found in various countries may make graven images, or animals sacred. To be sacred is a discretionary act of taking an object or position and setting them apart from worldly influence or contamination.
Sacred is not a ceremony per se, it is a method for setting oneself apart from everything and everyone that is of negative influence. For instance, the Amish culture, maintains a form of sacredness that cuts off contact with the outside world in order to live "in" a world without actually being "of" the world.

In the Christian faith, there is a communion ceremony that remembers the Blood of Christ that was shed during the crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross. As an honorary tribute and remembrance for His selfless act, Christians conduct a sacred ceremony that includes eating unleavened bread which is a symbolism of the flesh that was pierced when Jesus was wounded, and beaten severely on behalf of sin. Red wine (or in many churches "grape juice," is a substitute for wine) is symbolic to the blood that was shed. This ceremony or act of adoration for a deep selfless act of love is sacred for the reason that no one is permitted to take communion without first examining oneself to determine if he/she is in fact worthy of taking communion, if an individual takes communion without examining whether or not he/she is eligible and acting in accordance with his/her examination such as; true repentance, the individual may be in danger of facing a verdict of judgment against his/her own soul 1 Corinthians 11:29.
Catholics have a similar sacred ceremony regarding the crucifixion of Jesus, however the difference is that an individual may not take holy communion if he/she is not a member of the Catholic faith.

How do the following concepts about God differ: Monotheism, polytheism, patheism, atheism, agnosticism, and nontheism?

Monotheism- "belief in single God: the belief that there is only one God, as found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." (Encarta, 2005).

How do you define sacred? How do religious traditions orient their conception and location of the sacred?

Sacredness in many religious institutions is defined as the act of preparing a ceremony that is geared towards cleanliness, consecration, sanctification, and ultimate holiness. The objective is to repudiate secular outside influences and to follow a higher purpose in God or another deity. In some religions, to be sacred, means to be completely consumed with a specific doctrines philosophy on spirituality, growth, perception, and the afterlife, whereas other religions often found in various countries may make graven images, or animals sacred. To be sacred is a discretionary act of taking an object or position and setting them apart from worldly influence or contamination.
Sacred is not a ceremony per se, it is a method for setting oneself apart from everything and everyone that is of negative influence. For instance, the Amish culture, maintains a form of sacredness that cuts off contact with the outside world in order to live "in" a world without actually being "of" the world.

In the Christian faith, there is a communion ceremony that remembers the Blood of Christ that was shed during the crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross. As an honorary tribute and remembrance for His selfless act, Christians conduct a sacred ceremony that includes eating unleavened bread which is a symbolism of the flesh that was pierced when Jesus was wounded, and beaten severely on behalf of sin. Red wine (or in many churches "grape juice," is a substitute for wine) is symbolic to the blood that was shed. This ceremony or act of adoration for a deep selfless act of love is sacred for the reason that no one is permitted to take communion without first examining oneself to determine if he/she is in fact worthy of taking communion, if an individual takes communion without examining whether or not he/she is eligible and acting in accordance with his/her examination such as; true repentance, the individual may be in danger of facing a verdict of judgment against his/her own soul 1 Corinthians 11:29.
Catholics have a similar sacred ceremony regarding the crucifixion of Jesus, however the difference is that an individual may not take holy communion if he/she is not a member of the Catholic faith.

How do the following concepts about God differ: Monotheism, polytheism, patheism, atheism, agnosticism, and nontheism?

Monotheism- "belief in single God: the belief that there is only one God, as found in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam." (Encarta, 2005).

Polytheism-"belief in several deities: the worship of or belief in more than one deity, especially several deities."(Encarta, 2005)

Pantheism "is the view that God is everything and everyone and that everyone and everything is God. Pantheism is similar to polytheism (the belief in many gods), but goes beyond polytheism to teach that everything is God. A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc. Pantheism is the supposition behind many cults and false religions (e.g., Hinduism and Buddhism to an extent, the various unity and unification cults, and "mother nature" worshippers)."(GotQuestions.org, 2005).

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