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Culture Regions. Religious Regions Religious Diffusion Religious Ecology Cultural Integration in Religion Religious Landscapes. Religious ecology. A main function of many religions is the maintenance of a harmonious relationship between people and their physical environment

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culture regions
Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes
religious ecology
Religious ecology
  • A main function of many religions is the maintenance of a harmonious relationship between people and their physical environment
    • Religion is at least perceived by its adherents to be part of the adaptive strategy
    • Environmental factors, especially natural hazards and disasters, exert powerful influence on the development of religions
african religion in the new world
African religion in the New World
  • Traditional African religious practices diffused to the New World with slavery where they became syncretized with Roman Catholicism.
  • In North America and the Caribbean these new religions are known as Santeria and Verdoun.
african religion in the new world1
African religion in the New World
  • In South America they are known as Candomble or Umbanda.
  • Animals and plant materials, important for rituals, are sold in public markets and in special stores called botanicas.
appeasing the forces of nature
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Most evident in animistic faiths
  • In many religions ceremonies and rites often intended to bring rain, quiet earthquakes, end plagues, etc.
  • Sometimes a link between religion and natural hazard is visual
    • Pre-Columbian temple pyramid at Cholula in central Mexico, mimics the shape of Popocatepetl—a nearby volcano with a height of nearly 18,000 feet
    • Catholic missionaries erected a church on top of the temple
religious ecology1
Religious ecology
  • Sacred mount Lengai is in Kenya’s crater highlands, a region populated by Maasai pastoralists. Their main god Lengai is benevolent as the black god of rain and evil as the red god of the sun.
religious ecology2
Religious ecology
  • Ol Doinyo Lengai, meaning “Mountain of God,” last erupted with a plume of ash in 1982. Maasi pilgrimage here to pray for rain, cattle, and children.
appeasing the forces of nature1
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Animistic nature-spirits lie behind certain religious practices such as geomancy or feng-shui
    • Chinese and Korean Buddhism
      • Auspicious sites chosen for houses, villages, temples, and graves
      • Homes of living and resting places of the dead must be aligned with the cosmic forces of the world
      • Chinese Buddhists invented the magnetic compass to serve such needs
      • Burial sites should be neither featureless and flat, nor steep and rugged
appeasing the forces of nature2
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Animistic nature-spirits lie behind certain religious practices such as geomancy or feng-shui
    • Chinese and Korean Buddhism
      • Active and passive forces of Chinese cosmology, yin and yang must correctly surround burial site
        • Yang energy expressed as a lofty mountain range called the ‘Azure Dragon’
        • Yin energy is a lower ridge called the ‘White Tiger’
      • Most auspicious model of feng-shui topography is a secluded spot where these two energies converge
appeasing the forces of nature3
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Even in great religions, rivers, mountains, trees, forests, and rocks often achieve status of sacred space
    • The river Ganges and certain lesser streams such as the Bagmati in Nepal are holy to the Hindus
    • Jordan River has special meaning for Christians
    • Most holy rivers are believed to possess soul-cleansing abilities
appeasing the forces of nature4
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Many Mountains and other high places achieve sacred status among animists and adherents of the great religions
    • Mount Fuji is sacred in Japanese Shintoism
    • Many high places are venerated in Christianity including the Mount of Olives
    • Mount Shasta in northern California, serves as the focus of no less than 30 “new age” cults
appeasing the forces of nature5
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Mythical topography is produced when Navajo Indians of the Southwest link tribal legends to certain topographical features
  • Plants often serve a religious role or acquire veneration
    • Evergreens symbolize eternal life for some Christian groups
    • The ceiba (or silk-cotton) tree was to pre-Columbian Maya Indians of Guatemala the sacred tree at the center of the world
    • Today the ceiba, Guatemala’s national tree, often stands beside churches
appeasing the forces of nature6
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Even today environmental stress can evoke religious response similar to animistic cults
    • Some Judeo-Christian traditions feel God uses natural disasters to punish sinners and nature is benevolent to the devout
    • Ministers and priests often attempt to alter unfavorable weather with special services
    • Plagues of crop-eating locusts over the centuries gave rise to “locust cults” in China
      • Almost 900 temples were built for worshiping the locust and locustgods
      • Suitable sacrifices and rituals were developed to avert locust plagues
the environment and monotheism
The environment and monotheism
  • Some geographers sought to explain monotheism’s origins using environmental factors
  • The three major monotheistic faiths have their roots among desert dwellers
  • Lamaism — most nearly monotheistic form of Buddhism flourishes in the deserts of Tibet and Mongolia
  • In all the above cases, the people were once nomadic herders
the environment and monotheism1
The environment and monotheism
  • Ellen Semple, an environmental determinist, suggested desert-dwelling peoples feel unity from the monotony of their environment
    • She believed the unobstructed view of stars and planets allowed herders to see heavenly bodies move across sky the in an orderly repeated progression
    • She concluded desert dwellers gravitate inevitably into monotheism
the environment and monotheism2
The environment and monotheism
  • Other possibilistic rather than deterministic explanations have been proposed
    • We should look at social structure of nomadic herding people
    • Desert nomads are organized into tribes and clans ruled by male chieftains
    • Chieftains have dictatorial powers over members of the group
    • Female deities usually associated with farming societies
      • Women represent fertility
      • Original domesticators of plants
      • Male deities are linked with herding or hunting peoples
the environment and monotheism3
The environment and monotheism
  • Others have noted monotheistic nomads lived on the edges of larger, more established culture regions
    • New ideas, they feel, tend to develop at the borders of regions
    • Core of regions is where older structures and ideas are firmly entrenched
  • We do know some desert dwellers were polytheistic
religion and environmental modification
Religion and environmental modification
  • Religious belief and practice can be influenced by the physical environment
  • Peoples’ religious outlook can also determine the extent to which they modify their environment
religion and environmental modification1
Religion and environmental modification
  • Example of the Maori people of New Zealand
    • Believe humans represent one of six aspects of creation, the others being:
      • Forest/animals
      • Crops
      • Wild food
      • Sea/fish
      • Wind/storms
      • People rule over all of these except wind/storms
religion and environmental modification2
Religion and environmental modification
  • Judeo-Christian view goes further to promote a teleological view
    • Teleology — the doctrine that Earth was created especially for human beings, who are separate from, and superior to, the natural world
    • This view is implicit in God’s message to Noah after the Flood
    • The same theme is repeated in the Psalms
religion and environmental modification3
Religion and environmental modification
  • Early Christian thinkers believed humans were God’s helpers in finishing creation
    • Europe’s medieval period witnesses a huge expansion of agricultural acreage
    • Large-scale destruction of woodlands and drainage of marshes took place
    • Christian monastic orders supervised many forest-clearing projects
religion and environmental modification4
Religion and environmental modification
  • In the view of Lynn White, Christianity destroyed classical antiquity’s feeling for the holiness of natural things
    • He argues scientific advances permitted the Judeo-Christian West to modify the environment at an unprecedented rate on a massive scale
    • The marriage of technology and teleology is the root of our modern ecological crisis
religion and environmental modification5
Religion and environmental modification
  • The great religions of Asia and many animistic faiths believe in protecting nature
  • In Hinduism, the doctrine of ahimsa resulted in the establishment of numerous animal homes, refuges, and hospitals
    • Particularly located in northwest India
    • Closely linked to the Jains
    • View of the world where people are part of, and at harmony with, nature
religion and environmental modification6
Religion and environmental modification
  • Geographer Yi-Fu Than points to a discrepancy between stated ideals and reality
    • China has an old tradition of forest care, but woodlands have been systematically destroyed through the millennia
    • Buddhism, like Hinduism, protects temple trees but demand huge quantities of wood for cremations Animistic shifting cultivators destroy huge acreages of forest
    • Religion cannot overcome civilizations exercise of power over nature
godliness and greenness
Godliness and greenness
  • Other ecologists point out the Judeo-Christian tradition is not lacking in concern for environmental protection — Book of Leviticus
  • Robin Doughty suggest “Western Christian thought is too rich and complex to be characterized as hostile toward nature”
      • He feels Protestantism may be more conducive to “ecological intemperance”
      • Worldly success symbolized individual predestination
godliness and greenness1
Godliness and greenness
  • View of some fundamentalist Protestant sects
    • View ecological crisis and environmental deterioration as a gauge to predict Christ’s return and end of the present age
    • They welcome ecological collapse
  • View of other fundamentalist Protestants — Old Testament story of Noah is viewed as a call to protect endangered species
godliness and greenness2
Godliness and greenness
  • Multidenominational National Religious Partnership for the Environment
    • Includes evangelical Protestant members
    • Hope to mobilize Christian Right against environmental destruction
godliness and greenness3
Godliness and greenness
  • Link of godliness and greenness has now gone worldwide
    • Came after a conference in the middle 1980s
    • Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism came together
    • Some 130,000 projects have arisen
    • “Green” teachings of long-dead saints now receive heightened attention
  • White’s pronouncements now seem simplistic
religion and environmental perception
Religion and environmental perception
  • Religion has a profound affect on the way people perceive environmental hazards such as floods, storms, and droughts
  • In Hinduism and Buddhism followers accept hazards as natural and unavoidable
  • Christians more likely view such hazards as unusual and preventable
    • Will generally take steps to overcome the hazard
    • Some view natural disasters as divine punishment for their sins
religion and environmental perception1
Religion and environmental perception
  • Results of various studies conducted in the United States to discern different religious group’s feelings about God and nature
    • Southwestern Spanish-American Catholics (72 percent) felt humans are subject to nature
    • Most Mormons (55 percent) saw humans in harmony with nature
    • Protestant Anglo-Texans (48 percent) held humans control nature and can overcome environmental hazards
religion and environmental perception2
Religion and environmental perception
  • Results of various studies conducted in the United States to discern different religious group’s feelings about God and nature
    • Intense conservative Protestants in Alabama react to tornados fatalistically, relying on God to see them through
    • lllinoisans, adherents of a liberal, low-intensity Protestantism, felt in control and took more measures to protect themselves
culture regions1
Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes
religion and economy
Religion and economy
  • In the economic sphere, religion can:
    • Guide commerce
    • Determine which crops and livestock are raised by farmers
    • Decide what food and beverages people consume
    • Decide the type of employment a person has
    • Influence in what neighborhood people reside
  • Plants and animals tend to spread with a faith when they are in great demand because of their roles in religious ceremonies and traditions
religion and economy1
Religion and economy
  • Wine grape diffusion associated with religion
    • Some Christian denominations drink wine during communion to symbolize the blood of Christ
    • Diffused to newly Christianized districts beyond the Alps in late Roman and early medieval times
    • Vineyards of the German Rhine were the creation of monks
    • Catholic missionaries introduced cultivated grapes to California
    • Vineyard keeping and wine making spread westward across the Mediterranean in prehistoric times with worship of the god Dionysus
religion and economy2
Religion and economy
  • Religion can also often explain the absence of crops or domestic animals in an area
    • Spain and Morocco show the impact of food taboos
      • On the Spanish, Roman Catholic side pigs are common
      • In Muslim Morocco only about 12,000 swine can be found in the entire country
      • Islamic avoidance of pork underlies this contrast
    • Judaism imposes restrictions against pork and other meats as stated in the Book of Leviticus
religion and economy3
Religion and economy
  • Other explanations for Islamic and Judaic pork taboos
    • Concern with the danger of intestinal parasites (trichinosis)
    • Considered pigs unclean
    • Unlikely relationship between poorly cooked pork and intestinal parasites would have been detected before modern medical technology
    • As some groups lost access to irrigation waters they became nomadic herders
religion and economy4
Religion and economy
  • Other explanations for Islamic and Judaic pork taboos
    • Pigs require shade, plus little food they need is found in the desert
    • Nomads relied on sheep, goats, horses, camels, and in some areas cattle
    • May have declared pork undesirable in a “sour grapes” reaction
    • Ages later, Muslim nomads imposed their religion and pork taboo on farming people in river valleys
religion and food preferences
Religion and food preferences
  • Five Islamic Centers, 82 mosques, and countless halal markets have emerged to serve an estimated 250,000 Muslims in southern California.
  • Halal refers to food not prohibited by the Koran and includes meat from ritually slaughtered animals.
religion and food preferences1
Religion and food preferences
  • As a prayer is spoken, the animal’s throat is slashed with a single cut.
  • Pork and alcohol are both prohibited.
religion and economy5
Religion and economy
  • Muslims also believe alcoholic beverages, games of chance, idols, and divining arrows are an infamy of Satan’s handiwork
  • Some Christian denominations prohibit all consumption of alcohol — Baptists, Mormons, and Seventh-Day Adventists
  • Other Christian denominations tolerate alcohol use — Catholics, Lutherans, and several others
  • The economic imprint of these different attitudes can be seen on a map of “wet” and “dry” areas, especially in Texas
religion and economy6
Religion and economy
  • Food taboos affect on the fishing industry
    • Roman Catholic avoidance of meat on Friday stimulated fishing
    • Christian tradition has always honored fishermen
      • The fish was an early symbol of Christianity
      • Symbol stimulated fishing industry, especially in Catholic countries
    • Most Hindus will not eat fish
    • India suffers food shortages and dietary deficiencies while nearby ocean teems with protein-rich fish
  • Seventh-Day Adventists have a finless fish taboo and will not eat pork
    • When they converted population of Pitcairn Island to their faith, the island economic self-sufficiency collapsed
religious pilgrimage
Religious pilgrimage
  • Defined as journeys to sacred places
  • Typical of both ethnic and proselytic religions
  • Particularly significant to followers of Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism, and Roman Catholicism
religious pilgrimage1
Religious pilgrimage
  • The character of sacred places
    • Some have been setting for miracles
    • A few are source regions of religions
    • Some are areas where founders of the faith lived and worked
    • Others contain holy physical features — rivers, caves, springs, mountain peaks
    • Others believed to house gods or are administrative centers where leaders of the church reside
religious pilgrimage2
Religious pilgrimage
  • Examples of sacred places that are pilgrimage destinations
    • Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina in Islam
    • Rome and Lourdes, France in Roman Catholicism
    • Varanasi on the Ganges River — destination of Hindu pilgrims
    • Ise, Japan — hearth of Shintoism
  • Pilgrimage offers the reward of soul purification or attainment of some desired objective
religious pilgrimage3
Religious pilgrimage
  • Pilgrimages can have an economic impact, as a form of tourism
  • In some favored localities, pilgrim trade provides the only significant source of revenue
    • Lourdes — attracts between 4 and 5 million pilgrims each year
      • Many seek miraculous cures at its famous grotto where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared
      • Ranks second only to Paris in number of hotel, and most are small
    • Mecca — attracts hundreds of thousand of Muslims
      • Come from every corner of the Islamic culture region
      • Closed to all non-Muslims
religion and lifestyle
Religion and lifestyle
  • This man is a Hindu sadhu or holy man. He has elected to remove himself from ordinary society to seek moksha or release from the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. A devotee of Shiva, he hopes to achieve this ultimate state of bliss through a lengthy process of devotion, ritual, meditation and several rebirths.
religion and lifestyle1
Religion and lifestyle
  • The trident symbolizes three aspects of the god as Creator, Protector, and Destroyer. The drum represents original sound, the rhythm and vibrating strength of creation.
  • Sadhus come from all walks of life and vary widely in mode of dress, body décor and behavior. They migrate among holy sites in their quest and are welcomed and fed by other Hindus.
religious pilgrimage4
Religious pilgrimage
  • Mass pilgrimages have a major impact on development of transportation routes
    • Steamships connect Arabian port of Jidda with overseas Muslims areas in Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia
    • Chartered and scheduled airline service is also available to Mecca pilgrims
  • In medieval Europe many roads and bridges were built to accommodate pilgrims
religion and political geography
Religion and political geography
  • Americans are usually unaware of how religion and politics are intertwined in much of the world
  • Religious practices and traits often change abruptly at political boundaries
  • In some nations, religion serves as the rallying point for nationalistic sentiment
religion and political geography1
Religion and political geography
  • In 1947 Britain granted independence to colonial India
    • Area split to form Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan
    • Feeling was the two religious groups could not coexist peacefully in the same state
    • Time has shown Muslims and Hindus have difficulty living together on the same subcontinent, even in separate states
  • Israel and the Republic of Ireland are based largely on religion
religion and political geography2
Religion and political geography
  • Split of former Yugoslavia derived in part from religious division—Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and Muslims
  • Political conflicts in Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Ireland, and the Philippines have part or all their bases in religious difference
  • Where religion provides the basis of nationalism a state church is often created
    • Recognized by law as the only one in the state
    • Government controls both state and church
    • In Norway, pastors and officials are appointed government employees
religion and political geography3
Religion and political geography
  • Theocracy — what government is called where churches are actively involved in governing the country
  • In some nations, political parties are linked to particular church groups
    • Results in voting returns often duplicating the religious map
    • Common in Europe
    • Political parties names reflect religion-Catholic People’s Party or Christian Democrats
    • Churchgoers advised from pulpit on how to vote
    • Even in the United States, voting patterns can reflect denominational patterns
religion and political geography4
Religion and political geography
  • The division of the world is increasingly taking on religious overtones in the division of hostile economic power blocks
    • Prosperous Judeo-Christian World pitted against the less prosperous Islamic World
    • Along Christian/Muslim borders in Eurasia and Africa conflicts erupt
culture regions2
Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes
religious structures
Religious structures
  • Vary greatly in size, function, style of architecture, and degree of ornateness
  • Roman Catholic structures
    • Church building is literally the house of God
    • Typically large, elaborately decorated, and visually imposing
    • In many towns and villages the Catholic church is the focal point
religious structures1
Religious structures
  • Protestant churches
    • For Methodist and Baptists the church building is simply a place to worship
    • Their churches appeal less to the senses and more to the personal faith
    • Their churches appear deliberately humble
    • Amish and Mennonites reject ostentation in any form
      • Some meet in houses or barns
      • Their churches are very modest in appearance
religious structures2
Religious structures
  • In Islam, mosques are normally the most imposing items in the landscape
  • Jewish synagogues vary greatly in visibility
  • Hinduism has produced large numbers of visually striking temples, but many worship in private households
  • Mosques differ widely in style yet their elements are constant. They include consecrated space for ritual prayer; a mihrab, or wall-niche indicating the direction (qiblah) of Mecca; and, to the right of the mihrab, a pulpit (minbar) for the Friday sermon.
  • While mosques in some parts of China resemble Chinese temples, this one in the northwest reveals Turkish influences. Minarets are towers from which the Muezzin gives the call to prayer five times a day although most mosques now use loudspeakers. The design on the front is Uyghur. The color green and the crescent moon are symbols of Islam.
religious structures3
Religious structures
  • Polynesian Maori communities of New Zealand
    • Houses of worship reveal a subtler content and message
    • Marae — structure linked to pagan gods of the past, generally stands alongside the Christian chapel — reflects blending of two faiths
religious structures4
Religious structures
  • Eastern Turkey today
    • Purely an Islamic region
    • Landscape dotted with Christian churches all in ruins
    • Christians were all killed or driven away many decades ago
religious structures5
Religious structures
  • Catholic culture regions abound with shrines, crucifixes, crosses, and other visual reminders of faith
  • Protestant areas are bare of such religious symbols, instead signboards are often used, especially in the southern United States
religious structures6
Religious structures
  • Distinction between sacred and profane is not always easy to discern
  • Example of steps (ghats) leading down to the Ganges River in India
    • Not mainly intended for convenience of fishers, swimmers, and people doing laundry
    • Intended to facilitate ritual bathing — main goal of pilgrims
    • Provide a place for funeral pyres in cremation of the dead
religious structures7
Religious structures
  • Animistic groups regard many commonplace items as sacred and often do not have separate houses of worship
landscapes of the dead
Landscapes of the dead
  • Hindus and Buddhists cremate their dead, leaving no mark on the land
  • Zoroastrians, called Parsees, whose small numbers are now confined to parts of India, leave their dead exposed to be devoured by vultures
  • In Egypt, spectacular pyramids and other tombs were built to house dead leaders
landscapes of the dead1
Landscapes of the dead
  • Muslim cemeteries are usually modest in appearance
    • Spectacular tombs are sometime erected for aristocratic persons
    • Example of the Taj Mahal, one of the architectural wonders of the world
landscapes of the dead2
Landscapes of the dead
  • Confucianist-Buddhist practicing Chinese
    • Bury their dead in land set aside for the purpose
    • Erect monuments to the deceased kin
    • In part of pre-communist China, as much as 10 percent of the land was covered by cemeteries
    • These cemeteries greatly reduced the acreage available for agriculture
landscapes of the dead3
Landscapes of the dead
  • Christian cemeteries vary from modest, to places of color and elaborate decoration depending on the religious denomination
  • Cemeteries often preserve truly ancient cultural traits
  • Example of rural traditional cemeteries of the southern United States
    • Rose bushes planted atop the grave may derive from worship of an ancient, pre-Christian mother goddess of Mediterranean lands
    • Cedars planted on graves is an age-old pagan symbol of death and eternal life
    • Shell decoration derives from an animistic custom in West Africa
landscapes of the dead4
Landscapes of the dead
  • This cemetery is in an area of Italian immigrants and has many Old World characteristics.
  • In the Mediterranean region, shallow soils frequently preclude in-ground burial. While soils here are deep, the practice of above-ground internment has continued.
landscapes of the dead5
Landscapes of the dead
  • Ceramic tiles, pictures of the deceased, and glass-encased roses and shells are also found in many European cemeteries.
  • As funerary objects, both roses and shells symbolize eternal life, eternal spring, and resurrection.
religious names on the land
Religious names on the land
  • The use of saints’ names for settlements is common in Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox areas
  • Common in Quebec
  • In areas of the Old World settled long before the advent of Christianity, saints’ names were often grafted onto pre-Christian names
  • Toponyms in Protestant regions display less religious influence