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Main article: Religious fundamentalism
First self-applied as a term to the conservative doctrine outlined by anti-modernist Protestants in the United States of America,fundamentalism as a religious belief is associated with a strict adherence to an interpretation of scriptures that are generally associated with theologically conservative positions or traditional understandings of the text and are distrustful of innovative readings, new revelation, or alternate interpretations. Religious fundamentalism has been identified in the media as being associated with fanaticalor zealous political movements around the world that have used a strict adherence to a particular religious doctrine as a means to establish political identity and enforce societal norms.
Main article: Orthodoxy (disambiguation)
First used in the context of Early Christianity, orthodoxy is a religious belief that closely follows the edicts, apologies, and hermeneutics of a prevailing religious authority. In the case of Early Christianity, this authority was the communion of bishops, and is often referred to by the term [Magisterium]. The term orthodox was applied almost as an epithet to a group of Jewish believers who held to pre-Enlightenment understanding of Judaism and now known as Orthodox Judaism. The Eastern Orthodox Church of Christianity, as well as the Catholic Church, consider themselves to be the true heir to the Early Christian belief and practice. The antonym of orthodox is heterodox and those adhering to orthodoxy often accuse the heterodox of apostasy, schism, or heresy.
The Renaissance and later the Enlightenment in Europe were associated with varying degrees of religious tolerance and intolerance towards new religious ideas. ThePhilosophes took particular exception to many of the more fantastical claims of religions and directly challenged religious authority and the prevailing beliefs associated with the established churches. In response to the liberalizing political and social movements, some religious groups attempted to integrate Enlightenment ideals of rationality, equality, and individual liberty into their belief systems, especially into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Reform Judaism and Liberal Christianity are two examples of such religious associations.
Main article: Superstition
A term signifying derogation that is used by the religious and non-religious alike, superstition is the deprecated belief in supernatural causation. Those who deny the existence of the supernatural generally attribute all beliefs associated with it to be superstitious while a typical religious critique of superstition holds that it either encompasses beliefs in non-existent supernatural activity or that the supernatural activity is inappropriately feared or held in improper regard (see idolatry). Occultism, animism, paganism, and other folk religions were strongly condemned by Christian Churches as mean forms of superstition, though such condemnation did not necessarily eliminate the beliefs among the common people and many such religious beliefs persist to today.
In Buddhism, practice and progress along the spiritual path happens when one follows the system of Buddhist practice. Any religion which follows (parts of) the fundamentals of this system has, according to the teachings of Buddha, good aspects to the extent it accords with this system. Any religion which goes against (parts of) the fundamentals of this system, includes bad aspects too. Any religion which does not teach certain parts of this system, is not because of this a 'bad' religion; it just lacks those teachings and is to that extent incomplete.
A question by the monk Subhadda to the Buddha:
"O Gotama, there are Samanas (wandering monks) and Brahmanas (religious leaders) who are leaders of their sects, who are well-esteemed by many people, such as Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sancaya Belatthaputta and Nigantha Nataputta. Do all of them have knowledge and understanding as they themselves have declared? Or do all of them have no knowledge and understanding?"
The reply by Buddha was:
"Subhadda, in whatever teaching is not found the Noble Eightfold Path, neither in it is there found a Samana of the first stage, nor a Samana of the second stage, nor a Samana of the third stage, nor a Samana of the fourth stage."
As a religious tradition, Hinduism has experienced many attempts at systemization. In medieval times, Shankara advocated for the Advaita system of philosophy. In recent times,Tamala Krishna Gosvami has researched the systemization of Krishna theology as expounded by Srila Prabhupada. (See Krishnology)
Some believe that religion cannot be separated from other aspects of life, or believe that certain cultures did not or do not separate their religious activities from other activities in the same way that some people in modern Western cultures do.
Some anthropologistsreport cultures in which gods are involved in every aspect of life - if a cow goes dry, a god has caused this, and must be propitiated, when the sun rises in the morning, a god has caused this, and must be thanked. Even in modern Western cultures, many people see supernatural forces behind every event, as described byCarl Sagan in his book The Demon-Haunted World.
People with this worldview often consider the influence of Western culture to be inimical. Others with this world view resist the influence of science, and believe that science, or "so-called science", should be guided by religion. Still others with this worldview believe that all political decisions and laws should be guided by religion. This last belief is written into the constitution of many Islamic nations, and is shared by some fundamentalist Christians.
In addition, beliefs about the supernatural or metaphysical may not presuppose a difference between any such thing as nature and non-nature, nor between science and what the most educated people believe. In the view of some historians, the pre-Socratic Athenians saw science, political tradition, culture and religion as not easily distinguishable, but all part of the same body of knowledge and wisdom available to a community.
Approaches to the beliefs of others
Adherents of particular religions deal with the differing doctrines and practices espoused by other religions in a variety of ways. All strains of thought appear in different segments of all major world religions.
See also: Exclusivism
People with exclusivist beliefs typically explain other religions as either in error, or as corruptions or counterfeits of the true faith. This approach is a fairly consistent feature among smaller new religious movements that often rely on doctrine that claims a unique revelation by the founder or leaders, and consider it a matter of faith that the religion has a monopoly on truth. All three major Abrahamic monotheistic religions have passages in their holy scriptures that attest to the primacy of the scriptural testimony and indeed monotheism itself is often couched as an innovation characterized specifically by its explicit rejection of earlier polytheistic faiths.
Some exclusivist faiths incorporate a specific element of proselytization. This is a strongly held belief in the Christian tradition which follows the doctrine of the Great Commission, and is less emphasized by the Islamic faith where the Quranic edict "There shall be no compulsion in religion" (2:256) is often quoted as a justification for toleration of alternative beliefs, while the Jewish tradition is one that does not actively seek out converts.
Exclusivism correlates with conservative, fundamentalist, and orthodox approaches of many religions while pluralistic and syncretist approaches either explicitly downplay or reject the exclusivist tendencies of the religion.
People with inclusivist beliefs recognize some truth in all faith systems, highlighting agreements and minimizing differences. The attitude is sometimes associated with Interfaith dialogue or the Christian Ecumenical movement, though in principle such attempts at pluralism are not necessarily inclusivist and many actors in such interactions (for example, the Roman Catholic Church) still hold to exclusivist dogma while participating in inter-religious organizations.
Explicitly inclusivist religions include many that are associated with the New Age movement as well as modern reinterpretations of Hinduism and Buddhism. The Bahá'í Faithconsiders it doctrine that there is truth in all faith systems.
Main article: Religious pluralism
People with pluralist beliefs make no distinction between faith systems, viewing each one as valid within a particular culture. Examples include:
- Extracts from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (Sikh Holy Scriptures), "There is only the One Supreme Lord God; there is no other at all" (Pannaa 45). "By His Power the Vedasand the Puranas exist, and the Holy Scriptures of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions. By His Power all deliberations exist." (Pannaa 464). "Some call Him, 'Ram, Ram', and some call Him, 'Khudaa-i'. Some serve Him as 'Gusain', others as 'Allaah'. ||1|| He is the Cause of causes, the Generous Lord. He showers His Grace and Mercy upon us amen." (Pannaa 885).
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