Religious Traditions

June 30, 2018 Religion

Religious Traditions It’s no secret that religion has played a large part in how society as a whole has developed and grown. It has been the cause for wars and has also brought millions of people together. Christianity and Islam are two huge religions even in today’s world. Just how these religions have grown and affected the world can be explained through the origins of the two, through the founder’s lives, and through the religious traditions of both. Christianity is a religion founded by the son of God, Jesus Christ and is based on his teachings.

It is believed that God is but one but operates in three parts; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Christianity does not recognize or accept any other God which is exactly what caused Romans to condemn the religion. The faith drew people in for quite a few reasons. Jesus would perform miracles and exorcisms in public places which was very appealing to many individuals in the ancient world because they believed that evil spirits and demons were possessing people. The message for all was that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female, for all are one in Christ Jesus. (Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) Constantine, the Emperor of God, had a vision prior to a battle in Mulvian Bridge.

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This vision told him to paint a symbol on his soldier’s shields that represented the first two letters of Christ. Constantine and his army were victorious and came to the conclusion that it was because of his vision. Constantine marked one of the most pivotal moments in the history of Christianity by converting to the religion and making Byzantine his New Rome. It was from here that he turned the Empire into a Christian state and continued to bring Christian influence into the Roman world. Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) Romans were attracted to Christianity for many reasons. In ancient Rome, it was believed that people could be possessed by demons.

Christianity made miracles happen and could cast out demons with exorcisms. (Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) After the fall of Rome, people were drawn to Christianity for more specific reasons. Social class was very important in Rome. Many people were slaves or extremely poor and seen as meaning very little even after the fall of the Empire. Christianity saw everyone as an equal in the eyes of God and this appealed to many people. Christianity leveled the playing field.

The Islamic religion is somewhat similar to Christianity with their shared belief in God; however, there are quite a few notable differences between the faiths. First off, the word Muslim is translated as “one who submits to the will of Allah. ” (Ali, Liu, & Humedian, 2004) A Muslim believes that there is but one God whom they refer to as Allah. Allah is but one person, he does not function in the way that the Christian God does. Just as Christianity had Jesus, Islam had Muhammad who was but a messenger for God. The biggest difference between these two individuals was that Jesus was worshipped while Muhammad insisted he not be.

The duty of mankind according to this belief system is to consistently worship Allah. Muslims believed that their faith was greater and more important than other religions. (Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) Islam had a great impact on culture and politics especially between the years 620 and 750 CE. Although women remained unequal to men, some major changes occurred for the gender in early Islam. Their position as wives improved because marriage transformed into more of a partnership between husband and wife rather than a relationship involving ownership of the wife.

Not long after Muhammad’s death in 622, a war of reconversion began. In this war, Muslims conquered more tribes than they thought possible. Muslims were masters of the desert and this played a large part in their successes and victories. Muhammad played a pivotal role in the creation and spread of Islam. The first and most important event was when he had a vision of an archangel. This angel spoke to him and said, “O Muhammad! Thou art the Messenger of God. Recite! ” (Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) This led to Muhammad preaching and spreading the word of God.

Around 622, the people of Medina asked the prophet to help govern the community. This is referred to as the Hijra which was a turning point for Muhammad and Islam. This marked the beginning of the spread of Islam, as well. The people in Mecca did not support Muhammad’s views and messages from God and by going to Medina; he had a chance to turn his words into action. In 629, Muhammad used the Umma, or the super tribe, that he created and attacked Mecca.

He and his people were victorious and conquered the land. The city that once rejected the prophet was turned into the sacred city of the Islamic religion. Kishlansky, Geary, and O’Brien, 2008) Although Islam and Christianity have multiple similarities, the traditions and the way that each has developed and affected the world are completely different. The impact on society and the growth and spread of each religion is astonishing and still continues to this day.

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