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Human Geography and Religion

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Presentation on theme: "Human Geography and Religion"— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Geography and Religion

2 Where Are Religions Distributed?
As a cultural trait, religion helps to define people and how they understand the world around them. There are essentially two major types of religions, universalizing and ethnic.

3 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Universalizing religions appeal to people of many cultures, regardless of where they live in the world. Nearly 60% of the world’s population adheres to a universalizing religion. Ethnic religions appeal primarily to one group of people living in one place. About 25% of the world’s population follows an ethnic religion. Some religions are monotheistic, believing in one god, whereas other religions are polytheistic, believing in many gods.

4 Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam are the three major universalizing or global religions.
Each is divided into branches, denominations, and sects. A branch is a fundamental division within a religion. A denomination is a division of a branch; this term is most commonly used to describe the Protestant denominations of Christianity. A sect is a group that is smaller than a denomination.

5 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Universalizing religions Buddhism About 400 million adherents (difficult to quantify) Significant clusters in China, Southeast Asia The Four Noble Truths Three branches Mahayana (China, Japan, Korea) Theravada (Southeast Asia) Tantrayana (Tibet, Mongolia)

6 Buddhism is the oldest of the world’s universalizing religions, with million adherents, mostly in China and Southeast Asia. Founded by Siddhartha Gautama in the sixth century B.C., Buddhism teaches that suffering originates from our attachment to the material world. Buddhism split into two main branches, Theravada and Mahayana, as followers disagreed on interpreting statements by Siddhartha Gautama. Theravadists cite Buddha’s wisdom, Mahayanists cite Buddha’s compassion. Unlike Christians and Muslims, most Buddhists also follow an ethnic religion, too.

7 Holy places in Buddhism
Holy places in Buddhism. Note how most are located in northeastern India and southern Nepal because they were sites of important events in Buddha’s life.

8 Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia. Angkor Wat

9 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Universalizing religions Christianity The largest world religion (about 2 billion adherents) Many adherents in Europe, the Americas Three major branches Roman Catholicism (51 percent) Protestant Christianity (24 percent) Eastern Orthodox (11 percent) Other, smaller branches of Christianity comprise 14 percent of all Christians

10 Christianity has about 2 billion adherents and is the world’s most geographically widespread religion. Christians believe in one God and his son, Jesus, was the Messiah. The Roman Catholic Church, with its hearth at Vatican City in Rome, is the most important religion in large parts of Europe and North America, and is dominant in Latin America. Catholicism also exists on other continents. The Protestantism began in the 1500s with Martin Luther’s protests against the abuses of the Catholic Church. It is the most important religion in large parts of northern Europe as well as the regions of North America to which many people from northern Europe migrated. The Eastern Orthodox branch of Christianity is only dominant in Eastern Europe and Russia, but also has adherents in smaller populations throughout the world.

11 Distribution of Christians in the United States

12 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Universalizing religions Islam The second-largest world religion (about 1.3 billion adherents) Significant clusters in the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia Core of Islamic belief = the five pillars Two significant branches Sunnis (83 percent) Shias or Shiites (16 percent)

13 Islam, with more than one billion followers, is the dominant religion in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as Bangladesh and Indonesia. Islam is a monotheistic religion, based on the belief that there is one God, Allah, and that Mohammed was Allah’s prophet. The word Islam in Arabic means submission to the will of God, and an adherent is a Muslim or one who surrenders to God. Islam is divided into two branches: Sunni and Shiite. In recent years there has been a rise in radical fundamentalism that has caused more division and conflict in the Muslim world. Most fundamentalists accept the holy book of Islam, the Koran, as the unquestioned guide on both religious and secular matters. Generally Islamic fundamentalism avoids Western influence and can contribute to intense conflict.



16 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Ethnic religions Hinduism The third-largest religion in the world 97 percent of Hindus are found in India Many paths to spirituality. Caste System (based on reincarnation principle) Many followers tend to worship Vishnu or Shiva or Krishna. Hindus believe that it is up to the individual to decide the best way to worship God. Vedas, the Bhaghavad Gita

17 Ethnic religions have much more clustered distributions than universalizing religions; the vast majority of Hindus live on the Indian subcontinent. For thousands of years Hindus in India have developed a unique society that integrates spiritual practices with daily life. Hindus believe that there is more than one path to reach God; there are thousands of deities in the Hindu belief system and thus the religion is polytheistic.

18 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Ethnic religions Other ethnic religions Confucianism (China) Daoism (China) Shinto (Japan) Judaism (today: the United States, Israel) Considered first monotheistic religion Ethnic African religions Animism

19 The other major ethnic religion is Judaism, which was the first major monotheistic religion.
Both Christianity and Islam have some of their roots in Judaism; Jesus was born a Jew, and Mohammed traced his ancestry to Abraham. Judaism is based on a sense of ethnic identity in the lands bordering the eastern Mediterranean. Jewish people have been returning to this land since the end of the 19th century, and in 1948 the Jewish state of Israel was created. Today most Jews live in Israel and the United States.

20 Where Are Religions Distributed?
Animist Religions Native American System based upon belief of in a supreme or Great Spirit that oversees the universe. It is interpreted by shamans. Diffusion by migration diffusion north to south through the Americas. Voodoun (Voodoo) West African, Afro-Brazilian, Afro Caribbean descendents Multiple deities that control different parts of the lived world. Diffusion by relocation diffusion as West Africans were forced to migrate under European directed slavery. The European slave trade sent Voodoo followers to the Caribbean and coastal American mainland areas as northern Brazilm Belize and Louisiana.

21 Buddhism Hinduism Figure 6-5 Hindus bathe in the Ganges River
They believe that the Ganges springs from the hair of Siva, one of the main deities. Hindus achieve purification by bathing in the Ganges and bodies of the dead are washed with water from it before being creamated. Figure 6-5 Hindus bathe in the Ganges River Locals meet with Monks and present them with food. Figure 6-4

22 Religions of the United States
How would having approx. 30 million citizens who are atheist or nonreligious affect the nation? How could you explain why such a strong number exists in the United States?

23 Buddhism. Later relocation across the Bay of Bengal to Southeast Asia, consider the historical Hindu Temple complex at Ankor Wat in Cambodia, and to Indonesia where a remnant population is found today on the island of Bali. 7,500 years ago.


25 Why do religions have different distributions?
Origin of religions Universalizing: precise origins, tied to a specific founder Christianity Founder: Jesus Islam Prophet of Islam: Muhammad Buddhism Founder: Siddhartha Gautama

26 Why do religions have different distributions?
Origin of religions Ethnic: unclear or unknown origins, not tied to a specific founder Hinduism No clear founder Earliest use of Hinduism = sixth century B.C. Archaeological evidence dating from 2500 B.C.

27 Why do religions have different distributions?
Diffusion of religions Universalizing religions Christianity Diffuses via relocation and expansion diffusion Islam Diffuses to North Africa, South and Southeast Asia Buddhism Slow diffusion from the core

28 Christianity diffused through relocation diffusion, with missionaries carrying the teachings of Jesus around the Mediterranean world. Expansion diffusion was also important as pagans, followers of ancient polytheistic religions, were converted to Christianity. It diffused beyond the European realm during the age of colonialism beginning in the early 1500s. Islam diffused from its hearth at Mecca through military conquest across North Africa, Southern Europe, and other parts of Southwest Asia. Arab traders brought the religion to Sub-Saharan Africa and later Indonesia. Buddhism diffused from its hearth in northern India to the island of Ceylon (present day Sri Lanka) and eastward into East and Southeast Asia as a result of missionary activity and trade.

29 Diffusion of Universalizing Religions
Church of the Holy Selpuchre, Jerusalem

30 Why do religions have different distributions?
Limited diffusion of ethnic religions Universal religions usually compete with ethnic religions Examples of mingling: Christianity with African ethnic religions Buddhism with Confucianism in China and with Shinto in Japan Ethnic religions can diffuse with migration Judaism = exception

31 Why do religions have different distributions?
Holy places In universalizing religions Buddhist shrines Holy places in Islam = associated with the life of Muhammad In ethnic religions Holy places in Hinduism = closely tied to the physical geography of India

32 Read the key at the bottom
Read the key at the bottom. Take a sampling of the sites and note the main deity or form of worship.

33 Why do religions have different distributions?
The calendar In ethnic religions = celebration of the seasons The Jewish calendar The solstice In universalizing religions = celebration of the founder’s life

34 Why Do Religions Organize Space in Distinctive Ways?
Places of worship Many types: Christian churches, Muslim mosques, Hindu temples, Buddhist and Shinto pagodas, Bahá’í houses of worship Figure 6-19

35 Why Do Religions Organize Space in Distinctive Ways?
Sacred space Disposing of the dead Burial Other ways of disposing of the dead Religious settlements Religious place names

36 Why Do Religions Organize Space in Distinctive Ways?
Administration of space Hierarchical religions Latter-day Saints Roman Catholics Locally autonomous religions Islam Protestant denominations

37 Religion Vs. Religion Religious conflict continues in many parts of the world, especially at the boundaries between different religions, branches, and denominations. These conflicts have complex historical, social, and ethnic roots and must be also understood in the context of political geography. For example, there has been longstanding conflict in the Middle East. The city of Jerusalem contains sites that are sacred to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. There have been religious wars in Ireland between Catholics and Protestants that have their origins in the English conquest of Ireland centuries ago.

38 Why Do Territorial Conflicts Arise?
Religions versus government policies Religion versus social change Religion versus communism

39 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
1- Afghanistan

40 Religions versus government policies
Religion versus social change Taliban Afghanistan 1996 Taliban government takes over with support within the country and from abroad.

41 1979 The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan
1979 The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan. Mujahedeen — Islamic fighters — from across the globe, including Osama bin Laden, come to fight Soviet forces. 1989 Last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan. 1996 The Taliban take control of Afghanistan, imposing fundamentalist Islamic law. Osama bin Laden takes refuge in the country.

42 Religions versus government policies
Religion versus social change Once the Taliban is in power things change Banning of western “non-Islamic” activities Watching tv Going on the internet Flying kites Listening to music

43 Religions versus government policies
Religion versus social change Soccer stadiums were converted Executions and floggings Physical Violence Men could be stoned for adultery Homosexuals were sometimes buried alive Prostitutes were hanged in front of large audiences Thieves had their hands cut off

44 Religions versus government policies
Taliban Islamic Scholars Believed they were called upon by Allah to cleanse Afghanistan, purge it of sins and make it pure. Taliban are poorly educated in Islamic law and history Misinterpret the Quran

45 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
2- India

46 Religions versus government policies
Hinduism and Social Equality Mid 20th Century discrimination against the Dalits (untouchables) is made illegal. Narayanan became India’s first Dalit president Indian government considering quota system to ensure there is no discrimination against Dalits

47 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
3- Ireland

48 Distribution of Protestants in Ireland
Ireland was a colony of England for a long time. Figure 6-23

49 Distribution of Protestants in Ireland
Northern Ireland Protestant Majority Ireland was a colony of England for a long time. Republic of Ireland Roman Catholic Majority Figure 6-23

50 Distribution of Protestants in Ireland
Northern Ireland Protestant Majority How could problems arise from this arrangement? Republic of Ireland Roman Catholic Majority Figure 6-23

51 Discrimination in Northern Ireland
Roman Catholics are denied employment at high paying jobs Roman Catholics are denied admission to certain schools Formation of the IRA (Irish Republican Army) Formation of the Ulster Defense Force (UDF)

52 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
4- Southeast Asia

53 Diffusion of Universalizing Religions
Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia. Originally a Hindu Temple Complex in Cambodia, now a Buddhist location of pilgrimage

54 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
5- Soviet Union

55 Soviet Union and Communism
Marxism became official doctrine of the Soviet Union in 1917 Karl Marx said “religion is the opium of the people” Religion was believed to threaten the revolution. Religious artifacts were seized from both religious groups. Places of worship were closed.

56 Field Study: Soviet Union
Harm de Blijs trip the Russia in the 1960s he sees many churches that are abandoned and he asks the simple question. Why let them collapse why not tear they down? To which a local responds that there were many religions in the Soviet Union and they put Soviet against Soviet. Remember, when the Soviet Union came into being in the 1920s the government sought to knit together vast and diverse lands. From Eastern Europe to the Pacific Ocean. These people already lived on the land, had their own, language, customs, and religion. The Soviet Union included 15 different Republics and 100 different ethnically distinct territories. To diminish religious authority, the Soviet Union adopted an official policy of atheism. The state seized crosses, bells and other religious paraphernalia. In the Muslim republics and territories Soviets tolerated Islamic practice among the older population but discouraged it in the youth population. They believed that as the new generation grew up the imprints of both Christianity and Islam would be erased. Why let them collapse? Why not tear them down?

57 Divide and diminish plan
Soviet policies did have an impact on religion but no also in the way that they intended. Some religions and tradition thrived in the environment. Their practices went underground and unnoticed. Some religions faded in the environment. The example of Armenia and Azerbaijan highlights this fact. Along the border between Christianity and Islam in the area between the Black and Caspian Sea lies two republics infused with religion Christian Armenia and Shi’ite Muslim Armenia. They instituted the Divide and diminish plan with two separate areas Nagorno Karabakh for the Christian Armenians within Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan for the Muslim Azerbaijanis in Amermenian area. Muslims and Christians were locked in combat and Armenian refugees were streaming from Nagorno-Karabah westward, even fleeing across the Caspian SeaMore than 70 years of Soviet domination had done little to soften Armenian Christian memories of Islamic oppression or to lessen the intensity of Azerbaijani-Muslim disdain for Christian unbelievers.

58 Religion and Conflict Case Studies
6- Israeli/ Palestinian Conflict

59 Why Do Territorial Conflicts Arise?
Religion versus religion Fundamentalism Religious wars in the Middle East Crusades (Christians in Muslim lands) Jews and Muslims in Palestine

60 Israel’s “Separation Fence”
Figure 6-27

61 Voodoo Shrine in New Oreleans




65 Vatican City

66 Religious Toponyms Compare religious toponyms within Quebec’s boundaries with that of Ontario’s, New York’s, and Vermont’s. Quebec has a predominantly Roman Catholic population and a large number of settlements are named after saints. Figure 6-21

67 Mughal gardens are a group of gardens built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. This style was influenced by Persian gardens and Timurid gardens. Significant use of rectilinear layouts are made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens. Mughal gardens at Taj Mahal

68 Shalimar Gardens, Lahore, Pakistan

69 The Emperor Shah Jahan Standing on a Globe Flower Detail from Shahdara Garden

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