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Chapter 6 The Human Mosaic

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1 Chapter 6 The Human Mosaic
Religious Realms Chapter 6 The Human Mosaic

2 Introduction Religion can be defined as a set of beliefs and practices through which people seek mental and physical harmony with the powers of the universe, through which they attempt to influence and accommodate the awesome forces of nature, life, and death

3 Introduction Religion produces variations that can be mapped as culture regions Spatial variations produced by cultural diffusion The spatial pattern of religion is visibly imprinted on the cultural landscape Religion very often lies at the root of conflict between cultural groups

4 Mecca

5 Introduction People are less willing to tolerate or accommodate differences in religious matters than any other aspect of culture Proselytic religions Actively seek new members Their goal is the conversion of all humankind Ethnic religions Identified with some particular ethnic or tribal group Does not seek converts Proselytic religions sometimes grow out of ethnic religions—Christianity from Judaism

6 Culture Regions Religious Regions Religious Diffusion
Religious Ecology Cultural Integration in Religion Religious Landscapes

7 Religious culture regions
Christianity A proselytic faith World’s largest in both area and number of adherents—about 1.9 billion Long fragmented into separate churches Greatest division is between Western and Eastern Christianity


9 Religious culture regions
Eastern church dominated the Greek world from Constantinople (Istanbul) Coptic Church—originally the nationalistic religion of the Egyptians, and today is the dominant church of the highland people of Ethiopia Maronites — Semitic descendants of seventh-century heretics who retreated to a mountain refuge in Lebanon Nestorians — live in the mountains of Kurdistan and India’s Kerala State Eastern Orthodoxy — originally centered in Greek-speaking areas Converted many Slavic groups Later split in a variety of national churches—Russian, Greek, Ukrainian, and Serbian


11 Religious culture regions
Western Christianity initially identified with Rome and Latin-speaking areas Most notable split was the Protestant breakaway of the 1400s and 1500s Tended to divide into a rich array of sects Denominational map of the United States and Canada reflects fragmented nature and complex pattern of religious culture regions


13 Religious culture regions
American frontier a breeding ground for new religious groups Small communities may have churches representing half a dozen religious groups Individual families may split along religious lines

14 Religious culture regions
United States displays less regionalization of faiths “Bible Belt”—lies across the South, Baptist and other conservative fundamentalist denominations dominate Utah is core of Mormon realm

15 Religious culture regions
Lutheran belt — stretches from Wisconsin through Minnesota and the Dakotas Roman Catholicism — dominates southern Louisiana, the southwestern borderland, and heavily industrialized areas of the Northeast The Midwest a thoroughly mixed zone —Methodism generally the largest single faith Some experts believe American culture is becoming homogenized religiously, with weakening regional contrasts

16 Religious culture regions
Geographer Roger Stump points to a twentieth-century trend toward religious regional divergence Baptists in South Lutherans in upper Midwest Catholics in Southwest Mormons in the West Each dominate their respective regions more today than at turn of century Each has long-standing, strong infrastructure

17 Islam Monotheistic, proselytic faith claims 1.1 billion followers
Located mostly in the desert belt of Asia and northern Africa, extends as far east as Indonesia and the Philippines Biblical figures, such as Moses, Abraham, and Jesus are venerated in Islam Most important prophet and founder is Muhammad —lived about 14 centuries ago The Koran — Muslim holy book, contains a code of morals and ethics, and promises an afterlife for the faithful


19 Islam The Five Pillars of Islam
Adherents are expected to pray five times daily at established times Give alms to the poor Fast from dawn to sunset in the holy ninth month Make at least one pilgrimage to the sacred city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia Profess belief in Allah, the one god

20 Islam Two major sects prevail
Shiite Muslims — 11 percent of Islamic total in diverse subgroups Form the majority in Iran and Iraq Major fundamentalist revival now occurring under Iranian leadership to throw off Western influences, and restore the purity of the faith Political tension with the potential for severe disruption is spreading Strongest among Indo-European groups


22 Islam Two major sects prevail
Sunni Muslims — represent Islamic orthodoxy forming the large majority Strength is greatest in the Arabic-speaking lands Non-Arabic Indonesia now contains world’s largest concentration Large clusters occur in western China, Indo-European Bangladesh, and Pakistan

23 Judaism Monotheistic faith
Parent of Christianity, and closely related to Islam Certain Hebrew prophets and leaders are recognized by Christians and Muslims Does not actively seek converts and has remained an ethnic religion Has split into a variety of subgroups, partly as a result of forced dispersal

24 Judaism Forced from Israel in Roman times and lost contact with other colonies Jews who resided in Mediterranean lands were called the Sephardim Those residing in central and Eastern Europe were known as the Ashkenozim Large-scale migration of Ashkenazic from Europe to America during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries During Nazi years, perhaps a third of the entire Jewish population of the world was systematically murdered, mainly Ashkenazim

25 Judaism Europe ceased to be primary homeland and many survivors fled overseas to Israel and America Has about 14 million adherents throughout the world Nearly 7 million live in North America

26 Hinduism Closely tied to India and its ancient culture
Claims about 750 million adherents Polytheistic religion involving the worship of a myriad of deities Linked to the caste system — rigid segregation of people according to ancestry and occupation


28 Hinduism Believe in ahimsa — veneration of all forms of life
Belief in reincarnation No set standard of beliefs prevails, and the faith takes many local forms Includes very diverse peoples The faith straddles a major ethnic/linguistic divide Includes both Indo-Europeans and Dravidians


30 Hinduism Once a proselytic religion, is today a regional, biethnic faith Suggestive of its former missionary activity is an outlier on the distant Indonesian island of Bali

31 Hinduism Hinduism has splintered into diverse religious, some regarded as separate religions Jainism — ancient outgrowth, claiming perhaps 5 million adherents Traces its roots back over twenty-five centuries Reject Hindu scriptures, rituals, and priesthood Share Hindu belief in ahinisa and reincarnation Adhere to a stern asceticism Sikhism — arose in the 1500s, in an attempt to unify Hinduism and Islam Centered in the Punjab state of northwestern India Has about 19 million followers Sikhs practice monotheism and have their own holy book, the Adi Granth

32 Buddhism Derived from Hinduism began 25 centuries ago
Reform movement grounded in the teaching of Prince Siddhartha — the Buddha He promoted the four “noble truths” Life is full of suffering Desire is the cause of this suffering Cessation of suffering comes with the quelling of desire An “eight-fold path” of proper personal conduct and meditation permits the individual to overcome desire Nirvana — reached when one has achieved a state of escape and peace, which is attained by very few

33 Buddhism Today the most widespread religion in Asia
Dominates a culture region from Sri Lanka to Japan and from Mongolia to Vietnam Proselytic religion Formed composite faiths as it fused with ethnic faiths especially in China and Japan Fused with Confucianism, Taoism, and Shintoism Southern Buddhism dominant in Sri Lanka and mainland Southeast Asia retains greatest similarity to original form Special variation known as Lamaism prevails in Tibet and Mongolia

34 Buddhism Difficult to determine number of adherents because of tendency to merge with native religions — estimates range from 334 million to over 500 million people In China, has enmeshed with local faiths to become part of an ethnic religion Outside China, remains one of the great proselytic religions in the world

35 Animism Retained tribal ethnic religion of people around the world
Today, adherents number at least 100 million Animists believe certain inanimate objects possess spirits or souls Spirits live in rocks, rivers, mountain peaks, and heavenly bodies Each tribe has its own characteristic form of animism A Shaman — tribal religious figure usually serves as the intermediary between people and the spirits

36 Animism To some animists, objects do not actually possess spirits, but are valued because they have a potency to serve as a link between people and the omnipresent god Animism can be a very complex belief system Sub-Saharan Africa is the greatest surviving stronghold of animism Along the north edge Islam is rapidly winning converts Christian missionaries are very active throughout the area


38 Animism Animism in the Western Hemisphere
Umbanda — kept alive by descendants of African slaves in Brazil has 30 million followers Santeria — is found mainly in Cuba Survives beneath a facade of nominal Roman Catholicism in Cuba

39 Secularism In much of Europe religion has declined
Today, number of nonreligious and atheistic persons worldwide is about 1 billion Typically displays vivid regionalization on a variety of scales Areas of religious vitality lie alongside secularized districts in a disorderly jumble Causes of retreat from religion A government’s active hostility toward a particular faith or religion Failure of religions oriented toward the need of rural folk to adapt to the urban scene

40 Sacred space Includes areas and sites recognized as worthy of devotion, loyalty, fear, or esteem Notion occurs in many different cultures, past and present the world over B.C. Lane says—”an ordinary place made extraordinary through ritual” May be sought out by pilgrims or barred to members of other religions Often contain the site of supposed supernatural events or viewed as abode of gods

41 Jerusalem

42 Sacred Space Jerusalem is sacred space to Christians, Jews, and Muslims. It contains the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) leading to the site of Christ’s crucifixion. According to Jewish tradition, the sealed Golden Gate (far right) is where the Messiah will enter the city and bring redemption. Ruins of the City of David are at the southwest corner of the wall.

43 Sacred Space Muslims are buried at the foot of the wall; Jews on the Mount of Olives in the foreground; and, Christians in the valley between. The golden Dome of the Rock covers the site where Abraham prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac and Mohammed ascended to heaven. It also occupies the site of the First and Second Temples built by Kings Solomon and Herod. All that remains is the sacred Wailing Wall.

44 Sacred space Conflict can result of two religions venerate the same space Example of conflict in Jerusalem Muslim Dome of the Rock — site of Muhammad’s ascent to heaven Wailing Wall — remnant of greatest Jewish temple Cemeteries also generally regarded as type of sacred space


46 Sacred space Sacred space is receiving increased attention in the world An internationally funded Sacred Land Project began in the middle 1990s Goal — to identify and protect such sites In the United Kingdom alone, 5000 sites have been cataloged Includes — ancient stone circles, pilgrim routes, and holy springs

47 Sacred space Sacred space is receiving increased attention in the world Mystical places — locations unconnected with established religion where some people believe extraordinary, supernatural things can happen “Bermuda Triangle” Some include the expanses of the American Great Plains Some ancient sacred spaces never lose or they regain the functional status of mystical place —example of Stonehenge in England

48 Culture Regions Religious Regions Religious Diffusion
Religious Ecology Cultural Integration in Religion Religious Landscapes

49 The Semitic religious hearth
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam all arose among Semitic-speaking people All three arose from the margins of the southwestern Asian deserts Judaism, the oldest, originated about 4,000 years ago probably along the southern edge of the Fertile Crescent Later, Judaism acquired dominion over lands between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River — territorial base of modern Israel


51 The Semitic religious hearth
About 2,000 years later, Christianity arose as a child of Judaism from this same area Islam arose about seven centuries later in western Arabia, partly from Jewish and Christian roots Religions spread by both relocation and expansion diffusion Expansion diffusion can be divided into hierarchical and contagious subtypes Hierarchical diffusion — ideas are implanted at top of a society, leapfrogging across the map taking root in cities Use of missionaries involves relocation diffusion

52 The Semitic religious hearth
Christianity spread through the Roman Empire using the existing splendid road system Clearly reflected hierarchical expansion diffusion Early congregations were established in cities and towns Temporarily established a pattern of Christianized urban centers and pagan rural areas


54 The Semitic religious hearth
Scattered urban clusters of early Christianity were created by relocation diffusion Missionaries moved from town to town bearing news of the emerging faith Missionaries often used the technique of converting kings or tribal leaders Some expansion was militaristic — reconquest of Iberia, invasion of Latin America Christianity spread farther by contagious diffusion, also called contact conversion

55 Malaysia

56 Diffusion of Christianity
This is St Mary’s Anglican Cathedral in a primarily Muslim nation. Constructed under British rule in 1894, it catered to English residents and missionized among the locals. Services are also in Tamil, a Dravdian language of southern India

57 Diffusion of Christianity
Tamils were brought to Malaya as indentured labor to work in mines and plantations during the colonial era. Many Hindu Tamils were of a low caste or even untouchables in India. Christianity, without proclaimed social divisions, was and remains attractive to downtrodden peoples.

58 The Semitic religious hearth
Islamic faith spread in a militaristic manner Followed the command in the Koran Arabs exploded westward across North Africa in a wave of religious and linguistic conquest Turks, once converted, carried out similar Islamic conquests Muslim missionaries followed trade routes eastward to implant Islam hierarchically in the Philippines, Indonesia, and interior China

59 The Semitic religious hearth
Tropical Africa is the current major area of Islamic expansion Diffusion successes in Sub-Saharan Africa and high birthrates in the older sphere of dominance has made Islam the world’s fastest-growing religion

60 The lndus-Ganges Hearth
Second great religious hearth lies on the plains fringing the northern edge of the Indian subcontinent Lowland, drained by the Ganges and Indus rivers Gave birth to Hinduism and Buddhism

61 The lndus-Ganges Hearth
Hinduism is at least 4,000 years old Originated in the Punjab, from where it diffused to dominate the subcontinent Missionaries later carried the faith in its proselytic phase, to overseas areas Most converted regions were subsequently lost

62 The lndus-Ganges Hearth
Buddhism began in the foothills bordering the Ganges Plain about 500 B.C. For centuries remained confined to the Indian subcontinent Missionaries later carried it to other countries and regions China — between 100 B.C. and A.D. 200 Korea and Japan — between A.D. 300 and 500 Southeast Asia — between A.D. 400 and 600 Tibet — A.D. 700 Mongolia — A.D. 1500 Developed many regional forms and died out in its area of origin

63 California

64 Diffusion of Buddhism Buddhism arrived with Asian migrants in the early 19th century and has become increasingly important with each subsequent immigrant group. This is the Fo Kuang Shan Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights, an emerging Asian Suburban area near Los Angeles.

65 Diffusion of Buddhism Hsi Lai means “coming to the west.” Replicating a Taiwan temple and practicing Pure Land Buddhism, this ten building complex trains both monks and nuns and offers an array of programs for Asians and non-Asians alike. The foreground Field of Merit represents rice paddies, recalling hard work and devotion.

66 Barriers and time-distance decay
Religious ideas weaken with distance from places of origin and time Most religious barriers are permeable, but weaken and retard religious spread Partial acceptance of Christianity by various Indian groups in Latin America and the western United States Served as a camouflage under which many aspects of tribal religions survived Permeable barriers are normally present in expansion diffusion

67 Barriers and time-distance decay
Most religions become modified by older local beliefs as they diffuse spatially Absorbing barriers — example of China Christian missionaries to China expected to find fertile ground for conversion Chinese had long settled the question of what is basic human nature Believed humans were inherently good and evil desires represented merely a deviation from that state

68 Barriers and time-distance decay
Evil desires could be shrugged off and people would return to the basic nature they shared with heaven Christian idea of original sin left the Chinese baffled Chinese could not understand the concept of humankind being flawed or their impossibility to return to godhood Many concepts of Christianity fell on rocky soil in China In the early twentieth century some Chinese became Christians in exchange for the rice missionaries gave them

69 Barriers and time-distance decay
Religion can act as a barrier to the spread of nonreligious innovations Religious taboos can function as absorbing barriers Can prevent diffusion of foods and drinks Mormons are forbidden to consume products containing caffeine Some Pennsylvania Dutch churches prohibit cigarette smoking, but not the raising of tobacco by member farmers for commercial markets

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