Who is my Neighbor?. A study of world religions. October 31, 2012. First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh. Week 2: What is a Cult? OCT. 10 - Megan Scholarly vs. Popular Definition Common Traits Examples
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Who is my Neighbor? A study of world religions October 31, 2012 First Baptist Church of Pittsburgh
Week 2: What is a Cult? OCT. 10 - Megan • Scholarly vs. Popular Definition • Common Traits • Examples • Week 3: Hinduism Brief History OCT. 17 – Megan (Kittie will contribute TM materials) • Vedas • Shaivas, Vaishnavas, Goddess followers • Beliefs & Practice • Week 4: Buddhism OCT 24 – Megan • Brief History • Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana • 4 Truths, Eight-fold Path • Mahayana Sects (Zen/Chan, Pure Land, etc.) • Beliefs & Practice • Week 5: "Minor" Religions OCT. 31 - Megan • Zoroastrianism • Sikhism • Jainism • Taoism • Shinto
Week 6: Judaism NOV. 7 – Kittie • Brief history • Ancient vs. Modern • Orthodox vs. Reformed • Beliefs and Practices • Week 7: Christianity NOV. 14 - Kittie • Brief History • Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Other • Beliefs & Practice • NOV 21 – NO CLASS, BREAK FOR THANKSGIVING • Week 8: Islam NOV. 28 - Kittie • Brief History • Four pillars • Shiite vs. Sunni • Sufism • Week 9: New Religions (post 1800) DEC. 5 - Kittie • Mormonism • Jehovah's Witnesses • Scientology • Neo-Paganism/Wicca • Various New Asian Religions • Week 10: Overview/Summary: What Does All This Mean for Christians?
“Minor” Religions Jainism, Taoism, Confucianism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism
Minor Religions in Pittsburgh • Hindu Jain Temple • Zoroastrian Association of Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh • Pittsburgh Sikh Gudwara – Monroeville (below)
Jainism • Began in India between the 9th and 6th centuries BCE. • Has about 6 million followers in India alone. • Mahavrata (“Great Vows”): 5 principles by which Jains live. • Ahimsa – non-violence; applies to animals as well as people, even insects and microorganisms • Satya – truthfulness; second to ahimsa. In a situation where telling the truth would lead to violence, one should remain silent. • Asteya – non-stealing; one should always give a fair wage to laborers and a fair price for products, in addition to not taking something belonging to another. • Brahmacharya – celibacy; monks and nuns are completely celibate, lay people are prohibited from being in sensual contact with anyone besides their spouse. • Aparigraha – non-possession; one should not seek after possessions, and should not possess more than one needs.
Jainism • 24 Tirthankaras – lit. ‘ford-builder’; 24 people who became ‘pure souls’ who can help others achieve liberation. Only the last two are considered to have been historical by scholars. • Karma – in Jainism, karma is conceived of as a sort of soot-like substance which clings to the soul and keeps it from rising out of samsara.
Jain Practices • Monks carry small brooms and sweep the ground ahead of them so that they do not accidentally step on any insects. • Vegetarianism – Jains are strictly vegetarian; they also do not eat root vegetables. • Fasting, prayer, offerings, and meditation • Sallekhana – when a Jain is close to death, they may willingly chose to abstain from food and drink. This is seen as a way to remove a lot of karma.
Taoism (Daoism) • Approximately 400 million adherents in China • Part philosophy, part religion • Main texts: the Daodejing and the Zhuangzi • Dates back to the Han Dynasty in China (c. 200 BCE – 200 CE) • Not a single, coherent, organized religion
Taoist Beliefs • Tao – ‘the way’; both ‘path’ and ‘doctrine’ • Te – the expression of Tao; ‘power’ or ‘virtue’ • Wu-wei – ‘nonaction’; one must be like water, in harmony with their surroundings/the universe • Ziran – ‘naturalness’; the original state of all things • Sanbao – ‘Three Treasures’; compassion, moderation, and humility • Qi – ‘life force’ • Yin and Yang – the two main components of all things; nothing can be reduced to pure yang or pure yin • Yin – cold, wet, dark, feminine • Yang – hot, dry, bright, masculine
Taoist Beliefs and Practices • Pantheon – differs between sects, but generally mirrors the traditional Chinese bureaucracy, with deities being promoted/demoted based on their actions; headed by the Jade Emperor. • Exorcisms • Alchemy – goal of prolonging one’s life • Astrology/Divination
Confucianism • Confucius (Kong Fuxi) lived from 551-479 BCE, during a period of political disunification. • Non-theistic • Six books • Classic of Poetry – prophecy • Book of Documents – history • Book of Rites – laws • Book of Music – rituals • Classic of Change – divination • Spring and Autumn Annals – chronicle of the state of Lu
Confucian Ethics • Five virtues • Ren - humaneness • Yi – righteousness/justice • Li - etiquette • Zhi – knowledge • Xin – integrity • Sizi (four virtues) • Loyalty • Filial piety • Continency • Righteousness
Confucian Ethics • Five Relationships • Ruler to Ruled • Father to Son • Husband to Wife • Elder Brother to Younger Brother • Friend to Friend • The gentleman – typically described as a scholar/literate person, is supposed to cultivate morality, filial piety, and ren • Rectification of Names – the need for things to be properly recognized as they are
Confucian Controversy • Ancestor Worship • Argument between the Pope and Jesuits as to whether Confucianism was a philosophy or a religion • Were ancestor veneration rituals worship or just to respect the dead? • Women and Confucianism • Traditionally constrained by gender roles • 'three subordinations': be subordinate to her father before marriage, to her husband after marriage, and to her son after her husband died. • Considered virtuous to die as a widow
Sikhism • 30 million Sikhs worldwide • Follow the ten gurus, first was Nanak Sahib • Born in the 15th cent., CE • Main scripture: Gurū Granth Sāhib Ji • monotheistic
Sikh Beliefs • God is not fully knowable • Can only be seen through the heart, by meditation • God is genderless, formless • Final destination is spiritual union with God • Maya – ‘unreality’ • Results in separation from God • Five evils: ego, anger, greed, attachment, lust • All are equal in God’s eyes • Women can lead in prayers
Sikh Practices • Langar – community meal • Served at the Gudwara (Sikh place of worship) to the entire community • Naming ceremony • All boys are given the last name Singh (‘lion’) and girls the last name Kaur (‘lioness’) • Guru Granth Sahib is opened randomly and the child is given a name with the first letter on the top left hand corner of the left page. • Sikhs are required to marry when they reach a certain age; divorce is prohibited
Sikh Practices • The Five K’s • kēs(uncut hair) • kaṅghā(small wooden comb) • kaṛā(circular steel or iron bracelet) • kirpān(sword/dagger) • kacchera(special undergarment) • Prohibitions: • Cutting hair • Intoxication • Adultery • Blind spirituality • Material obsession • Sacrifice of creatures • Non-family-oriented living • Worthless talk • Priestly class • Eating meat killed in a ritualistic manner • Having premarital or extramarital sexual relations
Zoroastrianism • Originated in Persia c. 6th-18thcent. BCE • Founded by the prophet Zoroaster • Monotheistic – God is called ‘Ahura Mazda’ (means ‘Lord of light and wisdom’)
Zoroastrian Beliefs • Asha – truth/order • Druj – falsehood/disorder • Agra Manyu – lit. ‘evil spirit’; the antithesis of Ahura Mazda • Saoshyant – a messiah-figure who will appear at the end of time to resurrect the dead. • The universe is egg-shaped, created to stop Agra Manyu • The dead must cross the Bride of Judgement to paradise or hell • Hell is unpleasant but not eternal; punishment fits crimes
Zoroastrian Practices • Dead are exposed in ‘towers of silence’ • After some corpses poisoned birds of prey, some communities have switched to cremation or burial. • Do not want corpses to pollute creation • Free will is embraced, predestination is not accepted • Water and fire are seen as bringing about ritual purity • Fire Temple – a Zoroastrian place of worship • Worship through fire, do not worship fire • Do not accept any form of monasticism • Men, women, and children must all keep their heads covered.