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Modern Challenges of Christianity

  • What are common characteristics, including ethics, the Christianity religion shares with the Judaism and Islam?
  • How is this religion responding to challenges in the modern world?
  • What has changed about the roles of women in the religion over time

Cite at least five references in addition to Experiencing the World's Religion.


attached is the chapters related for this paper. along with some helpful readings

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5/27/2018 INTERFAITH RELATIONS | The New Encyclopedia of Judaism - Credo Reference Search Credo ☰ English INTERFAITH RELATIONS from The New Encyclopedia of Judaism For Jews, interfaith activity has been conducted primarily with Christians. Dialogue with Islam—or trialogue among the three—has been very limited, partly because of the nature of ISLAM, which does not encourage such relations, and partly because of the issue of the State of Israel, which is basic to both sides and on which compromise has not been reached. On the other hand, the dialogue between Judaism and CHRISTIANITY has become a significant feature of Jewish and Christian life in the Western world since World War II. Prior to that war, there was virtually no interfaith activity. Western Jewish thinkers from the time of the EMANCIPATION, starting with Moses MENDELSSOHN, had shown an openness to Christianity, culminating in the teachings of Franz ROSENZWEIG and Martin BUBER, who saw both Judaism and Christianity as valid roads to God. There was no parallel movement on the Christian side, where the churches continued to maintain their anti-Jewish teachings and prayers. Christian thinking changed only as a result of the impact of the HOLOCAUST. It was realized that centuries of Christian anti-Jewish indoctrination had contributed to an atmosphere in which the Holocaust became possible. This led, over the following decades, to basic revisions in Christian thinking on the subject, especially in the Catholic and mainline Protestant churches (the Eastern Orthodox churches ignored the subject, set in their traditional ways). For the Catholic Church, the turning point began with the adoption of the Nostra Aetate (Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions) by the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Abandoning the long-held Church doctrine of the continuing responsibility of the entire Jewish people for the death of Jesus, it inaugurated a process in which it removed anti-Jewish teachings from Catholic prayers and textbooks, ceased its missions to convert Jews, condemned ANTI-SEMITISM, and fostered Christian-Jewish relations throughout the world. The Protestant Churches moved in a similar direction, although due to lack of the monolithic structure of the Catholic Church, there have been variations among them. Thus, for example, not all have abandoned missions to the Jews, and certain Protestant circles continue to ascribe the dispersion of the Jews and the supposed termination of the Jewish role in the Divine scheme to the rejection of the messiahship of Jesus. The new Christian thinking has evoked various Jewish responses. In general, Jews have welcomed the new openness and have entered into dialogue and interfaith activities. Abraham Joshua HESCHEL pointed out that common concern for the world has replaced the mutual isolation of the respective faith communities. Heschel stressed the interdependence of all men of faith in view of the challenges of atheism and nihilism. Reservations about interfaith activities have been expressed in Orthodox circles, notably by Joseph Dov SOLOVEICHIK, who opposed any faith dialogue on the grounds that the inner life of faith must not be exposed to interreligious encounters. However, he approved dialogue directed to humanitarian and common cultural concerns. An extreme viewpoint has been put forth by Eliezer Berkovits, who finds dialogue futile in the light of the Christian historical record, culminating in the Holocaust. Other Jews have expressed their suspicions of dialogue for what they believe is the hidden agenda of Christians who continue—by the nature of Christianity—to hope for the eventual conversion of the Jews. https://search-credoreference-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/content/entry/nyupencyjud/interfaith_relations/0 1/3 5/27/2018 INTERFAITH RELATIONS | The New Encyclopedia of Judaism - Credo Reference A frequently recurring obstacle in the Jewish-Christian dialogue is the State of Israel. Jews believe an appreciation of the position of Israel in Jewish self-determination to be paramount. The Catholic attitude (including the continuing refusal of the Holy See to establish diplomatic relations with Israel) is officially based on political and pragmatic considerations, but Jewish suspicions of the residues of the theological objection to the Jews' return to Zion have not been fully allayed. Many of the Protestant Churches tend to be highly critical of Israeli policies, while traces of the doctrine of dispersion also affect their attitudes. Evangelical churches have been highly supportive of Israel because the return of the Jews to the Promised Land accords with their own eschatological expectations, which also include great hopes of Jewish conversion to Christianity. While theological issues prevail in the dialogue of elites, the main progress of interfaith relations is to be seen at the grassroots level. Rabbi, priest, and minister frequently work together on social issues and in promoting mutual understanding, with joint Christian-Jewish activities, visits to one another's houses of worship, etc. An important role in breaking stereotypes has been played by the media, which have brought Jews, Jewish history, and Jewish religious life into the homes of millions who would otherwise never have encountered a Jew and whose concept of Judaism had been fashioned by anti-Jewish teaching, especially of a religious nature. Theologically, one of the most encouraging developments is that the two sides no longer look upon each other as objects. There is an awareness that the dialogue has limits with ultimate barriers on either side that cannot be overcome. There is also an asymmetry between the Jewish and the Christian approach. For Christians, the relationship to Judaism has elements of dependency and causality absent from the Jewish relationship to Christianity. Jews for their part have special expectations, often motivated more by history than by theology. A basic premise for Jewish participants in the dialogue is that the new understanding be founded on the selfdefinition of the other, which each side seeks to comprehend but not to change, and that the dialogue is entered into with the acceptance of the principle of equality. Copyright © 1989, 2002 by G.G. The Jerusalem Publishing APA Chicago Harvard MLA Interfaith relations. (2002). In G. Wigoder, F. Skolnik, & S. Himelstein (Eds.), The new encyclopedia of Judaism (2nd ed.). New York, NY: New York University Press. Retrieved from https://search-credoreferencecom.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/content/entry/nyupencyjud/interfaith_relations/0 The New Encyclopedia of Judaism Search... Previous Article Browse Next Article Includes hundreds of special articles covering subjects in analytical depth, as well as short biographies of the major figures in the story of Judaism. Editor(s): Geoffrey Wigoder , Fred Skolnik , Shmuel Himelstein Edition: 2nd Articles: 1,644 Images: 7 https://search-credoreference-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/content/entry/nyupencyjud/interfaith_relations/0 2/3 5/27/2018 INTERFAITH RELATIONS | The New Encyclopedia of Judaism - Credo Reference People: 167 Terms of use Privacy policy Contact About Credo Reference Librarian Admin ©2018 Copyright Credo Reference. All rights reserved. https://search-credoreference-com.contentproxy.phoenix.edu/content/entry/nyupencyjud/interfaith_relations/0 3/3 Building Interfaith Peace Sprusansky, Dale . The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs ; Washington Vol. 31, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 2012): 50. ProQuest document link ABSTRACT Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu Akel, executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students (AMIS), and pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, began by lamenting the fact that many Americans fail to recognize the Holy Land's religious diversity, mistakenly believing that all Arabs are Muslims. FULL TEXT Featuring representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Oct. 29 "Peace Building/Interfaith Voices of Peace" panel at the HCEF conference addressed the need for building peace and understanding among the Abrahamic faiths. Claudette Habesch, secretary-general of CARITAS Jerusalem, moderated the discussion. Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu Akel, executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students (AMIS), and pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, began by lamenting the fact that many Americans fail to recognize the Holy Land's religious diversity, mistakenly believing that all Arabs are Muslims. "Palestinian Christians do not exist in the minds of the American people," said Abu-Akel, who served as Moderator of the 2.5-member Presbyterian Church USA in 2002-2003, the first Palestinian to lead a major American denomination. Akel concluded his remarks by urging the U.S. to exercise tough love with its Israeli ally, pointing out that "if you have a brother who is a drunk, you do not give him money and alcohol." Rabbi Arthur Blecher of Beth Chai, The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation, emphasized that global acceptance and universal peace are the two preconditions necessary to achieve world peace. Furthermore, the rabbi stated, it is everyone's responsibility to make choices that advance universal cooperation. "We are called the children of Abraham because we have yet to grow up," quipped Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the first U.S. university to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain. Criticizing the Abrahamic faiths for their inability to achieve interfaith peace, Imam Hendi said that all faiths must embrace "the spirit of bridge building" and "reclaim the spirit of love." In order to achieve greater peace, he stressed, it is essential for all people to "master the art of listening to one another." Emphasizing that engaging in conversation is not simply enough, Hendi stated that individuals "need not only to speak, but to act." -Dale Sprusansky DETAILS Subject: Presbyterian churches; Spirituality Ethnicity: Arab, Middle Eastern PDF GENERATED BY SEARCH.PROQUEST.COM Page 1 of 2 Publication title: The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; Washington Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Pages: 50 Number of pages: 1 Publication year: 2012 Publication date: Jan/Feb 2012 Section: Waging Peace Publisher: American Educational Trust Place of publication: Washington Country of publication: United States, Washington Publication subject: Business And Economics, Political Science--International Relations, Arab/Middle Eastern, Chemistry ISSN: 87554917 Source type: Scholarly Journals Language of publication: English Document type: Feature ProQuest document ID: 925642042 Document URL: https://search.proquest.com/docview/925642042?accountid=35812 Copyright: Copyright American Educational Trust Jan/Feb 2012 Last updated: 2017-11-19 Database: Ethnic NewsWatch,ProQuest Central Database copyright  2018 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Contact ProQuest PDF GENERATED BY SEARCH.PROQUEST.COM Page 2 of 2 Feminists born, feminists bred: WL WL Dahbany-Miraglia, Dina Women and Language; Spring 2003; 26, 1; ProQuest Central pg. 83 Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. Building Interfaith Peace Sprusansky, Dale . The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs ; Washington Vol. 31, Iss. 1, (Jan/Feb 2012): 50. ProQuest document link ABSTRACT Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu Akel, executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students (AMIS), and pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, began by lamenting the fact that many Americans fail to recognize the Holy Land's religious diversity, mistakenly believing that all Arabs are Muslims. FULL TEXT Featuring representatives of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Oct. 29 "Peace Building/Interfaith Voices of Peace" panel at the HCEF conference addressed the need for building peace and understanding among the Abrahamic faiths. Claudette Habesch, secretary-general of CARITAS Jerusalem, moderated the discussion. Rev. Dr. Fahed Abu Akel, executive director of Atlanta Ministry with International Students (AMIS), and pastor of Peachtree Presbyterian Church, began by lamenting the fact that many Americans fail to recognize the Holy Land's religious diversity, mistakenly believing that all Arabs are Muslims. "Palestinian Christians do not exist in the minds of the American people," said Abu-Akel, who served as Moderator of the 2.5-member Presbyterian Church USA in 2002-2003, the first Palestinian to lead a major American denomination. Akel concluded his remarks by urging the U.S. to exercise tough love with its Israeli ally, pointing out that "if you have a brother who is a drunk, you do not give him money and alcohol." Rabbi Arthur Blecher of Beth Chai, The Greater Washington Jewish Humanist Congregation, emphasized that global acceptance and universal peace are the two preconditions necessary to achieve world peace. Furthermore, the rabbi stated, it is everyone's responsibility to make choices that advance universal cooperation. "We are called the children of Abraham because we have yet to grow up," quipped Imam Yahya Hendi, the Muslim chaplain at Georgetown University, the first U.S. university to hire a full-time Muslim chaplain. Criticizing the Abrahamic faiths for their inability to achieve interfaith peace, Imam Hendi said that all faiths must embrace "the spirit of bridge building" and "reclaim the spirit of love." In order to achieve greater peace, he stressed, it is essential for all people to "master the art of listening to one another." Emphasizing that engaging in conversation is not simply enough, Hendi stated that individuals "need not only to speak, but to act." -Dale Sprusansky DETAILS Subject: Presbyterian churches; Spirituality Ethnicity: Arab, Middle Eastern PDF GENERATED BY SEARCH.PROQUEST.COM Page 1 of 2 Publication title: The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs; Washington Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Pages: 50 Number of pages: 1 Publication year: 2012 Publication date: Jan/Feb 2012 Section: Waging Peace Publisher: American Educational Trust Place of publication: Washington Country of publication: United States, Washington Publication subject: Business And Economics, Political Science--International Relations, Arab/Middle Eastern, Chemistry ISSN: 87554917 Source type: Scholarly Journals Language of publication: English Document type: Feature ProQuest document ID: 925642042 Document URL: https://search.proquest.com/docview/925642042?accountid=35812 Copyright: Copyright American Educational Trust Jan/Feb 2012 Last updated: 2017-11-19 Database: Ethnic NewsWatch,ProQuest Central Database copyright  2018 ProQuest LLC. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions Contact ProQuest PDF GENERATED BY SEARCH.PROQUEST.COM Page 2 of 2 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Page 471 https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 1/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions F I R S T E N C O U N T E R https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 2/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions After years of thinking about traveling to Asia, you finally take the plunge. Following a tour of the major cities of China, you are now in Vietnam on your own. During your first days there, you explore Hanoi, a beautiful city of two-story pink and yellow buildings, red-pillared temples, lakes, and large old trees. You visit its Confucian Temple of Literature, where a genial statue of Confucius seems to focus its glass eyes directly on you. Afterward, you fly south to Hué, a former royal city that sits beside the Song Huong River, whose slow-moving water is so thick with brown silt that it looks like chocolate pudding. When you visit Hué's square of old palaces, you are amazed by the extent to which its royal enclosure was patterned after the Forbidden City of Beijing. Clearly, you think, China has had a profound influence on Vietnam. Eventually you arrive in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon. In your hotel lobby, you see a poster advertising tours to the underground tunnels at Cu Chi that were used by the North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. You walk over to talk with the agent at the tour desk, and she tries to interest you in additional tours. “Have you heard of Cao Dai?” she asks. You hadn't till now. “It is a big religion here in Vietnam,” she explains. “Its cathedral is not far from the tunnels, and there is a Mass every day at noon. Why don't you go there, too?” https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 3/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. At 11:30 the next morning, you arrive at Tay Ninh, a quiet town of yellow stucco buildings, gravel roads, and people dressed in white. You can't miss the cathedral; it is an immense yellow building Page 472 with two tall towers that face the main road. Upon entering the building, you are directed up a long flight of stairs to a narrow visitors' gallery that runs along three sides of the interior. Looking down from the observation gallery to the front of the church's interior, you see a huge eye painted on a large blue globe that seems to hover in the sanctuary. Around you, decorative green dragons climb tall pillars to the sky-blue ceiling. Just before noon, people dressed in robes of red, blue, yellow, and white take their places in groups on the shining marble floor below. Chanting starts. The service begins. What, you wonder, does the large eye represent? What are the people chanting, and what is the significance of the variously colored robes? Why are there Chinese dragons on the pillars inside a building that looks like a Christian cathedral? Why do they call their service a “Mass”? ORIGINS OF NEW RELIGIONS One of the most fascinating things about religions is that, like all forms of life and culture, they are constantly changing. Change occurs for many reasons. Sometimes followers of one religion move to another culture, and their religion mixes with a locally established religion, thereby producing a hybrid faith. Sometimes social problems lead to the emergence of a new religion, one that helps people cope with the new social issues they face. Sometimes followers of an older religion argue with each other and then separate, creating a new branch or, occasionally, an entirely new religion. And sometimes individuals have life-changing insights, attract followers, and create a new religion around themselves. We should recognize that many of the major religions and denominations began in similar ways—as new, small, and sometimes persecuted religious movements. In this chapter, we will look at some of the vital new religious movements that are currently small but that might someday become venerable old religions, after growing and changing for one or two thousand years. (The vitality of these new religious movements is apparent from their many Web sites.) In the religions that we examined in previous chapters, we sometimes saw the emergence of a religious variant that was close enough to its origin to be considered a modern interpretation of an older religion. As we learned, from Shinto emerged the New Religions of Tenrikyo and Omoto; from Christianity, Mormonism and Christian Science; and from Buddhism, Soka Gakkai. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 4/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Contemporary Issues Page 473 “CULTS,” “SECTS,” AND “NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS” B ecause they are small and unfamiliar, new religious movements are often looked at suspiciously. Critics may accuse them of hurting society or endangering their followers. The words sect and cult are sometimes applied to these movements. The word sect (Latin: “to cut”) usually has no negative meaning. But the word cult (Latin: “to cultivate”) brings to mind a charismatic, overly powerful leader, docile followers, and separation from society. We might recall that early Christianity was once viewed as a dangerous import into Roman society and that Buddhism was once viewed as a dangerous import from India into China. Because of the emotional overtones of some words that are used to describe small and new religious groups, scholars now try to use emotionally neutral terms. One of the most common is “new religious movement,” often referred to by its abbreviation NRM. There are, however, some movements that emerge from one religion and take on such independent forms that they ultimately constitute new, even if small, religions: Baha'i, which in the nineteenth century grew out of Shiite Islam, is a good example. And then there are other movements that emerge independently of established religions and eventually are recognized as distinct religions; Scientology is an example of such a religion. Quite often, a new religious movement is syncretic—a blend of religions. The Vietnamese religion of Cao Dai, for example, blends Christianity with Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism. Santería and other related religions, prominent in the Caribbean, mix Christianity with elements from West African religions. We also see syncretism in religious movements that have grown out of Shinto, Buddhism, and Hinduism. In this chapter we will consider some of the most significant new religious movements, along with a few older alternatives that are generating new interest. We will begin with religious movements that share features with indigenous religions (Contemporary Paganism and the Yoruba-tradition religions) and then proceed to religions that appear to have elements of Indian spirituality (such as Theosophy and Scientology). Next, we will take a look at religions that are close to traditional Chinese religions (Falun Gong and Cao Dai) and then end with religions that have some roots in Christianity and Islam (Rastafarianism and Baha'i). CONTEMPORARY PAGANISM: WICCA AND DRUIDISM https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 5/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions The past hundred years have seen both a great growth in world population and a depletion of natural resources. As a result, many people sense an urgent need to reestablish harmonious relationships with the global environment. At the same time, developments in genetics, anthropology, and psychology have brought human beings to a clearer understanding of their closeness to the animal world. Perhaps for these reasons, new religious movements that reclaim ancient nature-based religions or that promote new environmental sensitivity are attracting many followers. Some of these followers are reacting against the insensitivity to native cultures and values that some mainstream religions exhibit. Others find the philosophies of these old-yet-new religious movements to be more compatible with their views on various social issues, including gender equality and environmentalism. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 6/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Contemporary Paganism is a general name for religious movements that attempt to return to earlier, nature-based religions, primarily religions associated with early cultures of Europe. Page 474 Followers point out that the term pagan, although often used in a demeaning way to mean “uncivilized” and “debased,” more properly refers to early, nature-based religions; they note that the term pagan actually comes from a Latin term for “countryside” (pagus) and that the term was used simply because nature religions lived on longer in rural areas than they did in cities. Followers of Contemporary Paganism claim that when Christianity spread throughout western Europe, older pagan practices did not entirely die out. At least some of the practices went underground or took on a Christian appearance in order to survive. Although small movements exist that attempt to re-create early Scandinavian and Germanic religions, the most common forms of Contemporary Paganism look back to Celtic mythology as their foundation. The bestknown manifestation of the Contemporary Pagan movement is Wicca. Wicca is an Old English word that suggests association with magic, separation, and holiness. Its modern practitioners focus on Wicca's practical uses by calling it the Craft. Sometimes they also call their path simply the Old Religion. Several strands or traditions of Wicca exist, but they agree on many points. Like many of the world's religions, Wiccans worship both goddesses and gods whose sacred imagery is rooted in nature. Some Wiccans speak of multiple deities, while others prefer to speak of a single divine reality that has male and female aspects and images. Some groups personify the female aspect of the divine as “the Goddess” and the male aspect as “the God.” Wicca teaches that the divine manifests itself in opposites that are reminiscent of yin and yang—dark and light, female and male, and so on. Yet, as in Daoism, some traditions of Wicca give special emphasis to the female aspect of the cosmos—perhaps because it has been underemphasized by some other religious traditions. In Wicca, women play a prominent role as bearers of knowledge and as leaders of ritual. For Wiccans both the moon and the sun are sacred symbols, and the Wiccan yearly calendar receives its structure from their movement. Each year Wiccans celebrate the solar cycle by keeping as many as eight seasonal turning points, called Sabbats, which include the solstices and equinoxes. Wiccans celebrate the lunar cycle at the new and full moons. The times of the full moon, called Esbats, are often marked by gatherings and ceremony. The seasonal festivals and holidays indicate both turning points in the world of nature and changes in the inner world of the practitioners. Regarding initiation and entry into higher levels of knowledge, Wiccan groups tend to recognize three stages. The first stage is initiation, and at the second or third stage the practitioner is considered competent to start an independent coven (worship group). Contemporary Wiccans call themselves Witches, and they use this term for both females and males. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 7/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Rituals and Celebrations Page 475 THE CONTEMPORARY PAGAN YEAR The contemporary pagan year is a cycle of eight celebrations. Wicca has an ethical dimension. The primary commandment, called the Wiccan Rede (Middle English: “advice,” “counsel”), is a gentle form of the Golden Rule. The Wiccan Rede is a rule of tolerance: “An [if] it harm none, do what you will.” In other words, the individual is free to do anything except what harms others. This command, though, includes not harming animals, and many Wiccans are therefore vegetarians. It also prohibits harming the earth; thus Wicca has a strong moral interest in protecting the natural environment. Another Wiccan moral belief is expressed as the Law of the Triple Return. It states, “Whatever you do, good or bad, will return to you threefold.” Wiccans believe that the energy that an individual sends out will return triply to the sender—that deeds bring their own punishment or reward. It is possible that some of the beliefs and practices of contemporary Wicca are genuinely old, such as the rituals of Halloween and May Day. The anthropologist Margaret Murray (1863–1963) provided strong evidence for the view that earlier forms of Witchcraft existed in Europe up to modern times. Her book The Witch-Cult in Western Europe quotes extensively from early sources in Latin, French, and English, written during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, that testify to the presence of earlier forms of a nature religion akin to Wicca. Her later book, The God of the Witches, establishes the same points in more approachable style. In the United States, the Wiccan writer and political activist Leo Martello (1931–2000), whose work helped open the way for the practice of Wicca in North America, traced his own knowledge back to ancient practices of his Sicilian ancestors.1 https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 8/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions The midsummer sunrise at Stonehenge attracts Druids, Wiccans, and other followers of pagan beliefs. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 9/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Some scholars, however, argue that Wicca is an artificial, quite new creation, a “mythic reconstruction.” They point to the work of three people who did a great deal to establish Page 476 contemporary Wicca: Gerald Gardner (1884–1964), Alex Sanders (1926–1988), and Doreen Valiente (1922– 1999; see Timeline 11.1). In writings and practice, these three recommended—and often created—rituals, phrases, and other elements that are now part of modern Wicca. Yet other commentators see these people as adapters of an older religious tradition who attempted to bridge the gap between a rural culture and a modern, urban one. Timeline of significant events of alternative paths. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 10/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Although Wicca is the best-known form of Contemporary Paganism, there are others. Particularly popular in England is the Druid movement, which began in the eighteenth century as an attempt to reintroduce the religion practiced in France and England by the Celts about two thousand years ago. Early information on Druidic practice came from classical Roman literature, mainly from the writings of the emperor-general Julius Caesar and the historian Tacitus. Although Roman description of the Druids was undoubtedly colored by prejudice, its details certainly portray some actual practices and events. In fact, archeological finds have confirmed the truth of much early description. Druids were an elite group of professionals who acted as judges, teachers, counselors, doctors, and priests. Their preparation lasted up to twenty years before full initiation. They were polytheists who worshiped about thirty major deities of nature and many lesser deities (about three hundred names of deities are found in the remaining literature). The sun and fire were important symbols of the divine. Druids conducted their services in groves of sacred oak trees; in fact, although the exact origin of their name is uncertain, Druid is commonly thought to mean “oak-tree wisdom.” Because so little is known of the ancient Druids, the modern Druid movement has not only had to borrow from the data of literature and archeology, it has also had to rely on imaginative re-creations of organization and ritual. The Druids recognize three paths of practice, which may also be seen by some as stages of knowledge: bards, ovates, and druids. Modern Druids generally follow the same eight-part seasonal calendar as the Wiccans; they also celebrate the period of the full moon. Although Stonehenge in England predates the Druids, it is commonly associated with the modern Druids, who use the ancient circular stone complex for celebrations of the summer solstice.2 https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 11/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. RELIGIONS OF THE YORUBA TRADITION: SANTERÍA, VOODOO, AND CANDOMBLÉ Page 478 When people from one culture enter another culture, they bring their religion with them. It sustains them and provides a bridge into their new lives. Sometimes elements of the two cultures mix in interesting ways. This is the case with the new religions that have their roots in the indigenous Yoruba tradition of Africa. As the Americas were being colonized, a large slave trade arose. Enslaved Africans, largely from West Africa, were subsequently carried to South America, the Caribbean, and North America. Among the descendants of these slaves, new syncretic religions emerged that blended elements from indigenous African religions and the colonizers' Christianity. Of the West African religions that were brought to the New World, those of the Yoruba people, who live in what is today Nigeria and Benin, were the most influential. (Other peoples whose religions were influential during the colonization of the Americas included the Fon, Nago, Kongo, and Igbo.) While Santería is perhaps the bestknown religious movement to result from the mixture of Yoruba religions and Christianity, Voodoo (Voudun) and Candomblé are also prominent. These three related religions are sometimes referred to as religions of the Yoruba tradition. These Yoruba-based religions are now several hundred years old, but for a variety of reasons they are today the focus of renewed interest. One reason is that an influx of Cuban and Haitian immigrants over the past thirty years has introduced these religious traditions to the United States. Another reason is that many African Americans today are interested in exploring their cultural and religious heritage. We should note, however, that there are significant historical differences among the three religions. Santería was influenced by Spanish colonial Catholicism and grew up in Cuba; Voodoo, influenced by French Catholicism, developed in Haiti; and Candomblé, influenced by Portuguese Catholicism, developed in Brazil. There is some disagreement about the names given to two of these religions. Although the term Santería (“saint-thing” or “saint-way”) was originally a negative way of identifying the movement, it is used here because most of the religion's practitioners accept it and use it themselves. However, the alternate name Lukumí or Lucumí (from the Yoruba language) is gaining some acceptance. The word Voodoo comes from the Fon word vodun (“mysterious power”), but because the word voodoo has taken on so many negative connotations, some authorities prefer to use the word Voudun instead. In all three religions we find variations in spellings of terms and of the names of gods. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 12/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions A Cuban worshiper weeps over an image of Babalú-Ayé on the feast of Saint Lazarus. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 13/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Although the three religions are a mixture of native African religions with Roman Catholicism, describing how elements have mingled is far from easy. Sometimes the terms syncretism, Page 479 synthesis, and symbiosis are used to describe the mixture, suggesting a happy blend of complements; the environment within which these religions emerged, however, was one of coercion and fear. Slaves were often forcibly baptized into Roman Catholic Christianity, and African religious practice was suppressed—sometimes harshly. Among the slaves, however, were many committed practitioners and even priests of the Yoruba religions; as a consequence, their religious beliefs did not die out. In order to survive, the African religions took on an appearance of conformity to Catholic belief and practice. On the surface, devotees were venerating Catholic saints, but in reality they were using the images of the saints as representations of their native gods. Raúl Canizares, a priest of Santería, describes the result not as syncretism but rather as dissimulation, a term he uses to emphasize that the practitioners often deliberately hid their beliefs and practices behind “masks”— especially behind the veneration of saints.3 We should not, however, overstress the aspect of dissimulation. It is possible that apparent similarities in belief and approach between the Yoruba religion and Roman Catholicism permitted syncretism. Both systems believed in a single High God, in supernatural beings who mediate between God and human beings, and in the existence of spirits of the dead. Both systems trusted in the power of ritual and made frequent use of ritual elements. Moreover, it was easy to adapt the Catholic calendar of saints' days to the worship of native African deities. Women close their eyes and pray during a ceremony on Fet Ghédé, a Voodoo holiday commemorating dead ancestors. Fet Ghédé is a national holiday in Haiti, where Voodoo, or Voudun, has been actively practiced since French colonial rule. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 14/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Although the new religions of the Yoruba tradition do believe in a single High God, they differ from Catholicism in that the Yoruba God (as in many African religions) is in essence a neutral energy Page 480 that does not show personal interest in individual human affairs. Human beings must approach the High God and can gain power only by contacting invisible supernatural beings, called orishas. (In Santería, they are often called ochas; in Voodoo, they are called loa or lwa; and in Candomblé they are called orixas.) The orishas are sometimes called gods. They are appropriately likened to the gods of the Greeks and the Romans because the orishas have individual humanlike characteristics. They may be gentle, capricious, playful, or wise, and they like particular foods and colors. They are in charge of certain aspects of nature (for example, oceans, plants, lightning), and they know specialized crafts (such as metalworking). In order to make the orishas strong, to keep them happy, and to extract favors from them, human beings have to keep them fed—and the orishas are not vegetarian. When the orishas are interested in human contact, they may temporarily “mount” a believer, who goes into a trance and magically “becomes” the god, often displaying his or her personal characteristics. While there are hundreds of these gods in the Yoruba religion of Africa, only about twenty are prominent in the Caribbean religions of the Yoruba tradition, and about a dozen are particularly popular. We should also note the difference between orishas and Catholic saints. Although both orishas and saints are prayed to in order to receive assistance with the problems of life, it is clear that orishas are considered divine, whereas saints in traditional Catholic piety are not. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 15/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Deeper Insights Page 481 MAJOR ORISHAS OF SANTERíA S antería worships deities called orishas (orixás, ochas). The most important orishas and the dates on which they are celebrated follow: Elegguá (Elegbara, Eshu)—god of beginnings, a messenger god; his colors are black and red; his parallel saint is Saint Anthony (June 13). Oshún—goddess of love and marriage; her colors are yellow and white; her parallel saint is Our Lady of Charity (September 8). Shangó (Changó)—god of lightning and storms; his colors are red and white; his parallel saint is Saint Barbara (December 4). Babalú-Ayé—compassionate god of healing; his colors are white and blue; his parallel saint is Saint Lazarus (December 17). Obatalá—god of intelligence; his color is white; his parallel saint is Our Lady of Mercy (September 24). Ochosí—god of the forest, who knows plants and animals; his color is purple; his parallel saint is Saint Norbert (June 6). Oggún—god of metalworking, patron of barbers and butchers, associated with war and accidents; his colors are black and green; his parallel saint is Saint Peter (June 29). Yemayá—goddess of the sea and protector of women, associated with coral and seashells; her colors are blue and white; her parallel saint is Our Lady of Regla (September 7). Oyá—goddess associated with high winds, who gives help to the dying; her colors are burgundy and white; her parallel saint is Our Lady of Candelaria (February 2). An individual is initiated under the protection of one of the orishas, who becomes the person's guardian deity. Priests perform initiations (a male priest is called a santero and a female priest a santera). Above them are the high priests (in Santería called babalawos). Only men may become high priests, although this tradition may be changing. Services involve prayer, drumming, dance, offering of foods, and the descent of orishas. The sacrifice of animals—mainly chickens, doves, and goats—is a part of some rituals. Although many groups oppose Santería's sacrificial practice, its legality has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court (1993). In https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 16/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions deference to the controversy, some Santería practitioners have begun using alternative offerings (such as drink and dishes of food) as substitutes for animals. In Brazil, Candomblé has been recognized as an official religion, with its headquarters in Bahía, in northeastern Brazil. And because of widespread emigration from the Caribbean, Santería and Voodoo are becoming known in some large cities of the United States, including Miami, New York, and Los Angeles. Voodoo has long been a part of the history of New Orleans, and several Voodoo museums exist in Louisiana. In addition to these three religions, related movements have developed in Jamaica (Obeayisne) and in Trinidad (the cult of Shangó). https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 17/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. THEOSOPHY Page 482 We turn now from movements rooted in indigenous religions to movements that draw upon the traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism. The first new religious movement of this type that we will consider is Theosophy. The term Theosophy means “divine wisdom” in Greek. In general, Theosophy refers to mystical movements of all types, but it also refers specifically to a movement, beginning in the nineteenth century, that attempts a synthesis of esoteric (hidden) religious knowledge. The movement of Theosophy is eclectic. It shows particularly strong interest in mystically oriented teachings from all sources—among them, Hindu Vedanta, the Jewish Kabbalah, and Gnosticism. The principal founder of Theosophy was the Russian writer Madame Helena Blavatsky (1831–1891), who with several associates began the Theosophical Society in 1875. Two of her books, Isis Unveiled (1877) and The Secret Doctrine (1888), were among the first works to popularize among westerners significant elements from Indian thought, such as karma, reincarnation, yoga, and meditation. Blavatsky learned of these topics from her reading and travel, but she also claimed that she was taught by “ascended masters”—highly evolved teachers. After time spent in the United States, Blavatsky moved to southern India in 1878, where at Adyar, on the outskirts of Madras (Chennai), she established her world center of Theosophy. She was ably assisted by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott (1832–1907). Olcott was one of the earliest westerners to formally adopt Buddhism, which he did in 1880. He wrote a Buddhist Catechism and worked in Sri Lanka to revive and purify Buddhism there. Olcott stayed on in India while Blavatsky guided European Theosophy from her center in London. After Blavatsky's death in 1891, her work was continued by Annie Besant (1847–1933) and Charles Leadbeater (1854–1934). Madame Helena Blavatsky was assisted in her work by Colonel Henry Steel Olcott. Together they established the Theosophical Society in India. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 18/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Theosophists have a wide range of interests but generally share a similar view of reality. One Page 483 premise, similar to Vedantist thought, is that all reality is basically spiritual in nature—that visible matter is “condensed spirit.” Theosophists hold that the spiritual nature of reality can be experienced and that training—especially in meditation techniques and in achieving trance states—can make possible and can deepen that experience. Sometimes Theosophists say that there are several increasingly spiritual levels of the human being (such as the astral body) and spiritual aspects of all physical realities (such as auras) that can be seen at times. Theosophists are interested in exploring what they believe are the little-known powers that lie hidden both in the nonhuman world and in human beings, such as levitation and clairvoyance. Blavatsky had prophesied that a “world teacher” would arise to lead the world to a new stage of evolution. Leadbeater and Besant identified this person as a young man, Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895–1986), whom they discovered in Madras. At first Krishnamurti accepted the role imposed on him by the Theosophical Society and was trained to take over as its leader. However, he eventually abandoned that role and began to teach that each person must be his or her own guru. Despite his disavowals of spiritual leadership, Krishnamurti attracted a large following of disciples. He created a center on a hilltop in Ojai, California, north of Los Angeles, where he wrote and taught for many years. Today, the Krishnamurti Foundation runs a retreat center there and continues his teachings through videos, books, and seminars. Theosophy has undergone a series of splits. There has long been a rift between American groups and the international society headquartered in India. Consequently, there are several branches of Theosophy. The type of Theosophy that has been centered in India is naturally closer to Hindu and Buddhist sources and interests. In contrast, Western Theosophy has a greater interest in European and American thinkers and in scientific experimentation into claims of telepathy, clairvoyance, and similar special powers. In a photo from early in his career, philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti lectures to a crowd. One influential branch of Theosophy is Anthroposophy (“human wisdom”). Its founder, Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), was a thinker who was born and trained in central Europe. Steiner began as a Theosophist but broke away in 1909 and founded Anthroposophy in 1913. Influenced by the works of German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, English naturalist Charles Darwin, and German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, Steiner https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 19/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions developed his own theories of spiritual evolution. Desiring to focus on practical means to achieve human wholeness and spirituality, he began the first Waldorf school for the training of young people. Its curriculum encompassed not only traditional academic matters but also agriculture, art, and interpretive dance, called eurhythmy. Waldorf schools around the world still promote Steiner's interest in the complete development of the individual. Among Steiner's many books are Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, The Course of My Life, and The New Art of Education.5 https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 20/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Contemporary Issues Page 484 ECOLOGY AND THE NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS P rinciples of ecology include restraint, recycling, respect for nature, ending pollution, protection of species, and forestation. We find many of the same principles in some religious movements that have emerged in modern times. Among the most obviously connected with nature are Wicca and Druidism. They envision the divine as the energy of the universe and see that everything has a right to existence. These religions follow a calendar that respects the seasons. Primary to them are the seasonal turning points that include Yule, May Day, and Samhain. Theosophy emphasizes the interdependence of everything in the universe and holds that all things share a divine nature. The religions that came from Africa pray to gods of nature, such as Shangó, who is associated with storms and lightning, Ochosí, god of the forest, and Yemayá, goddess of the sea. Baha'i (discussed later in this chapter) teaches ideals that fit well with environmentalism. Among them are a love of biodiversity; the belief that science and technology https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 21/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions should bring harmony between human beings and nature; a sense of nature as an expression of God; sustainability; and a recognition that all is interconnected. Shades of blue appear during moments of devotion. —Rudolf Steiner, speaking about human auras4 A more recent offshoot of Theosophy is the Church Universal and Triumphant, begun by Elizabeth Clare Prophet (1939–2009). Followers believe that the Church gains assistance from the spirits of great people who help human beings from a realm beyond the earth. The Church Universal and Triumphant blends elements from Catholic Christianity with Asian beliefs. For example, it encourages the use of the Bible and the rosary, as well as devotion to the saints. But it also teaches reincarnation and includes the Buddha, Jesus, and his mother Mary among its saints. Theosophy has had much greater influence than its small numbers might attest. Blavatsky's books have influenced other movements, such as New Thought, the Unity Church, and Christian Science. Blavatsky's openness to phenomena of many types has led to reputable investigations by others into automatic writing (writing done in trance states), hypnotism, and the paranormal. Modern Western interest in Hinduism and the whole New Age movement can be traced back, at least to some extent, to the influence of Blavatsky and Theosophy. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 22/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. SCIENTOLOGY Page 485 Like Theosophy, Scientology has roots in Indian spirituality. L. Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), who had initially made his name as an author of science-fiction books, founded Scientology as a religion in 1954. Beginning as a human-potential movement in the early 1950s, Scientology evolved quickly into the religion that is now called the Church of Scientology. Hubbard created a system that he thought would help people clarify their understanding of the human process of knowing. He created a hybrid name for this system, from scientia (Latin: “knowledge”) and logos (Greek: “reason,” “understanding”). Scientologists think that if we can come to understand the human process of perceiving and reacting to the world, we will be able to see reality more clearly and respond to the world more rationally. The underlying belief system of Scientology has parallels with many religions, but particularly with Gnosticism and some schools of Hinduism. The Church believes that there is a spiritual purpose to life, and it holds that the core of the human being is a soul or spiritual reality, which it calls the thetan. According to Scientology, the thetan is in a state of imprisonment in the material world, which is called MEST—an acronym for matter, energy, space, and time. (MEST recalls the notion of samsara, found in both Hinduism and Buddhism.) The thetan, the immortal spiritual being that is the core of each human being, longs for liberation. Although belief in rebirth was at first a minor teaching of Scientology, it soon began to assert itself. People undergoing Scientology training spoke repeatedly of their need to overcome difficulties that had harmed them in previous lives and whose injurious results continued on into their present lives. This notion is clearly similar to Indian teachings about karma and reincarnation. As mentioned earlier, another similarity with Hindu and Buddhist worldviews is the notion that the goal of each individual human being is some type of psychological liberation that can be brought about by insight. Although Scientologists do not use the terms moksha, nirvana, or enlightenment, those ideas are strongly suggested. Scientology has accomplished the goal of religion expressed in all man's written history, the freeing of the soul by wisdom. —L. Ron Hubbard6 https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 23/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Scientology has made an effort to attract celebrities, as is evident in the name of the Scientology Celebrity Centre in Los Angeles. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 24/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Scientology presents a grand scheme of stages toward which the individual can aspire, each Page 486 representing a step upward toward increased understanding and liberation. The steps are shown on an illustrated chart called the Bridge to Total Freedom—or simply, the Bridge. Scientology offers techniques and books (such as Hubbard's text Dianetics) to lead the individual upward. The person at the beginning of the Bridge is called a pre-clear, and the person who has reached a state of mental liberation (called clear) is known as an operating thetan (or OT). Individuals may proceed along the path of mental liberation by themselves, using the books provided by Scientology. Individuals are encouraged, however, to undertake the path of mental liberation with the help of another person, a spiritual counselor called an auditor. The auditor guides the less-experienced person by means of exercises, called processes, which make use of a series of questions and mental images. The processes help the pre-clear learn new ways of mental focusing. Together the auditor and pre-clear work to find blockages to the individual's growth. (These blockages, caused by earlier painful experiences, are called engrams.) Sometimes the auditor makes use of an e-meter, an electronic machine that reads the galvanic skin response of the pre-clear. The responses of the e-meter help detect blockages that can then be resolved. Fees are charged for the auditing sessions and for advancing through the stages of the processes, although service to the organization is sometimes accepted as a substitute for payment. Processing can also be done for groups. Scientologists insist that their religion can be practiced along with other religions and that it does not displace them. Scientology centers, in fact, do not look like churches or temples; they are usually office buildings located in urban areas. Nonetheless, the amount of time that followers must devote to Scientology makes it difficult for them to practice another religion simultaneously. Scientologists meet on Sundays for a service that includes a reading from Hubbard's writings (or watching a videotape of one of his speeches), a sermon by a minister on some point of Scientology, a sharing of viewpoints, announcements, and a closing prayer written by Hubbard. Ministers conduct naming ceremonies, weddings, and funerals. Scientologists keep some religious festivals (such as Christmas) that appear in their surrounding society. They also keep March 13 as a festival in honor of Hubbard's birthday. FALUN GONG We now move to new religious movements closely related to traditional Chinese religions. One of the youngest new religious movements was founded by Li Hongzhi (b. 1951), who was born in China but currently lives in the United States. As a young man he began to practice and then teach Qigong (“energy force”). Qigong (pronounced chee'-gong) is a system of exercises based on Chinese martial arts that are thought to bring about increased health and strength. The movement called Falun Gong grew out of Li's interests in Qigong and in meditative practices; and although it was not publicly initiated in China until 1992, it has begun to grow into a worldwide movement. It is reminiscent of several strands of Chinese religious practice that we have already studied, such as Buddhist meditation, Daoist physical exercise, and Confucian self-cultivation. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 25/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Sydney's Bondi Beach is the site for this dawn Falun Gong ritual. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 26/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. The name Falun Gong literally means “law-wheel energy.” (We might recall that the eight-spoked Page 487 wheel is a Buddhist symbol and note that law is a synonym for Buddhist teaching.) The falun is believed to be an invisible spiritual wheel located in the lower abdomen that can be activated by a master. The falun, once it has begun to turn in one direction, is believed to draw energy from the universe. Then, when the wheel turns in the opposite direction, it sends that energy out in purified form through the body of the practitioner, bringing benefits to the practitioner and to others. Followers practice five series of physical exercises, done while standing and sitting. The exercises are closely related to Daoist exercises and exercises associated with Chinese Buddhist monasticism, and the names of the exercises borrow from Daoist and Buddhist terminology. (Readers interested in knowing the names and details of these exercises can check Web sites for Falun Gong or Falun Dafa, another name for the movement.) People who perform the Falun Gong exercises believe that they gain not only health and strength but also paranormal powers, such as physical invulnerability and the power to see and hear things at a great distance. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 27/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. The practice of Falun Gong is currently banned in China (though not in Hong Kong). Some see behind this prohibition a fear of repeating history, since Chinese history offers several examples of Page 488 religious groups that have destabilized governments. In response to the ban on their religion, Falun Gong followers have attempted to bring attention to their religious position through a variety of public demonstrations. Many of these demonstrators in China have been jailed. It is hard to gauge the number of Falun Gong followers. Leaders of the movement claim that there are as many as thirty million practitioners in China and in Chinese-immigrant communities throughout the world. Critics, however, argue that the numbers are far lower. CAO DAI Cao Dai (pronounced kao'-dai), another strongly Chinese religious movement, is one of the world's most unusual religions. It blends elements of Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Chinese belief in spirits with Christian monotheism; it has a pope and an organizational structure that is reminiscent of Catholicism; and it venerates among its many saints the English statesman Winston Churchill, the Chinese leader Sun Yat-sen, and the French novelist Victor Hugo. The name Cao Dai is a title for God. Literally, it means “high palace” and is used as a title of respect. According to followers of the religion, God revealed himself, beginning in 1921, to Ngo Van Chieu (1878–1926?), who was the government prefect of a rural Vietnamese island. This revelation occurred while Chieu was practicing spiritism (a ritualistic calling on spirits). After praying for the ability to worship God in some visible form, Chieu repeatedly saw in the air the image of a large eye. Chieu realized that this was God's way of presenting an appropriate visual symbol to represent himself. (This symbol is very common in European Catholic churches, particularly in France. The eye is often enclosed in a triangle, a symbol of the Trinity. The same symbol is also used by the Masons, a fraternal organization; through their influence it found its way onto the back of the United States dollar bill.) In 1924 Chieu went to Saigon, where followers who also practiced spiritism gathered around him. Some of his followers repeatedly contacted what they believed to be the spirits of their parents and ancestors. Increasingly, one spirit continued to manifest itself. That spirit revealed itself as the Supreme Being. Chieu and the others, convinced that they were all the recipients of some new divine revelation, joined forces and developed an organizational structure. In 1928 Chieu's followers announced the new religion. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 28/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. A primary teaching of Cao Dai is that all religions are based on revelations of God but that earlier revelations have suffered from human misunderstanding. Cao Dai holds that God inspired all the Page 489 great religious founders and teachers and that God's revelation, which has gotten progressively clearer, has occurred in three great phases, or alliances. The first period of revelation, called the First Alliance, came in the distant past, when mythic figures (such as an early incarnation of Laozi and a legendary early Buddha called Dipankara) brought divine revelation to the world. The Second Alliance occurred in that thousand-year period of religious ferment that gave birth to Laozi, Confucius, Siddhartha Gautama, Jesus, and Muhammad. The Third Alliance began in the nineteenth century, with the works of Victor Hugo, Sun Yat-sen, and the Vietnamese scholar Trang Trinh Nguyen Binh Khiem, all of whom pursued the ideals of justice and human liberation. The Third Alliance continued in the revelations to Ngo Van Chieu and his followers, to whom God seemed to be speaking in the clearest way possible. In Cao Dai belief, however, revelation has not ended. Cao Dai followers believe that the divine realm continues to contact human beings through revelations both from God and from heavenly spirits. Cao Dai tenets include belief in God the Father (Cao Dai), a celestial Universal Mother, heavenly spirits, and souls of the living and the dead. Buddhist influence is apparent in a belief in karma, reincarnation, and a state of liberation called nirvana. Buddhist influence is also evident in much Cao Dai practice. For example, Cao Dai promotes the avoidance of alcohol and drugs, of luxury, and of lies and hurtful speech. It also prohibits the killing of living beings, which is expressed in the Cao Dai practice of a vegetarian ideal: regular believers are expected to abstain from eating meat for ten days a month, and higher spiritual authorities are expected to maintain a completely vegetarian diet. The influence of Confucianism is also apparent in many Cao Dai virtues: selfcultivation, family responsibility, social harmony, and attention to duty. The deliberate blend of religions is symbolized by the four colors of robes used at major services: yellow for Buddhism (the original color of monks' robes, symbolizing renunciation), red for Confucianism (the color represents yang), and blue for Daoism (the color represents yin). The pope, legislators, and ordinary laypeople dress in white. Adherents of Cao Dai may follow a communal path of practice by attending services at Cao Dai churches (services are held four times a day, every six hours, beginning at dawn), or they may pray at individual home altars. Special services are held during a new moon and a full moon. Believers of Cao Dai may also follow an individual path of self-perfection, which involves meditation and breathing exercises. Cao Dai is governed by a hierarchical structure reminiscent of Catholicism: it is led by a pope and cardinals, and its headquarters, like the Vatican, is called the Holy See (the word comes from the Latin sedes, “seat”). The center of the religion, along with its large cathedral, is located in southern Vietnam in the town of Tay Ninh, just outside Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). A center of the Cao Dai religion outside Vietnam is in Garden Grove, California, in the Los Angeles area. A new temple also exists in Sydney, Australia. There are about five million followers worldwide, although most live in Vietnam or abroad in Vietnamese-immigrant communities. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 29/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Believers offer incense before the all-seeing Eye in the Cao Dai Cathedral of Tay Ninh, Vietnam. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 30/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. RASTAFARIANISM Page 491 Rastafarianism, a religion strongly influenced by Christianity, arose in Jamaica in the 1930s. The history of the island—held by the Spanish until 1655 and then by the British until 1962—is a history of antagonism toward colonial power. Anticolonial feeling expressed itself in the development of a distinctly local culture and a deliberately antiestablishment form of Jamaican English; it also prompted the formation of communities of runaway slaves (and their descendants), who left urban society to lead communal lives in Jamaica's mountains. Ironically, Protestant revivalism and Bible reading, derived from British Christianity, contributed to the anticolonial feelings. Out of this milieu Rastafarianism emerged. The most important early figure of Rastafarianism was Marcus Garvey (1887–1940). Garvey was born in Jamaica and in 1914 organized there the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which taught a pioneering form of black pride. After a brief stay in the United States, Garvey returned to Jamaica in the early 1920s to preach in Kingston, Jamaica's capital. Garvey taught that people of African descent were in a state of psychological and political servitude in Jamaica; he preached that his followers in Jamaica—and others like them elsewhere—should take pride in their African origins, rid themselves of their oppression, and unite in a world federation. He longed for the day when African culture would be taught in schools. To illustrate his ideas he wrote several plays, of which one was especially influential, The Coronation of the King and Queen of Africa. According to the accounts of followers, Garvey taught them to look to Africa for the crowning of a native king who would be their redeemer. In a fateful twist of history, in 1930 a nobleman named Ras Tafari (1891–1975) was crowned emperor of Ethiopia. (The name Ras is a title akin to duke, and Tafari means “worthy of respect.”) The coronation ceremony in Addis Ababa was a major event, attended by diplomats from many countries and widely covered in newsreels. Ras Tafari took a new name when he became ruler of Ethiopia: Emperor Haile Selassie (“Power of the Trinity”). Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God. —Psalm 68:317 Ethiopia was already widely esteemed by Jamaicans as a great example of an ancient black African kingdom that had remained independent. Many Jamaicans also accepted the belief of Ethiopians that their emperor was descended from the biblical King Solomon and Queen of Sheba. In addition, some Jamaicans began to believe that Haile Selassie was a new appearance of Jesus—and that he was therefore divine (Haile Selassie, a devout Coptic Christian, did not share these last beliefs). https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 31/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Hope began to build in Jamaica that Haile Selassie would send ships to return black Jamaicans to Page 492 Africa. This hope grew stronger after 1938, when Haile Selassie founded the Ethiopian World Federation and granted it five hundred acres of land in Ethiopia, intended for any people of African descent who wished to resettle there. The great symbolic importance of Haile Selassie was obvious when the emperor came to visit Jamaica in 1966: he had trouble leaving his plane because of the enormous crowds that came to greet him. Haile Selassie died in 1975, yet Rastafarians believe that he is still alive in his spiritual body. Prayed to under the name Ras Tafari, he remains a symbol of liberation. His importance for many Jamaicans both explains the name of the Rastafarians and makes understandable their focus on him as a center of their religious belief. Dry up your tears and come to meet Ras Tafari. —Rastafarian hymn8 Rastafarianism is not a single, organized church; rather, it is a diffuse movement that continues to produce new branches. Among its many offshoots are the Rastafarian Movement Association, the Ethiopian National Congress, and a more recent branch called the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Despite differences among the various groups, several beliefs and practices have emerged that are shared by most Rastafarians. The first shared belief is that there is one God, who is referred to by the biblical name Jah (the name is related to Yahweh and Jehovah). A second common belief is that Haile Selassie, called King of Kings and Lion of Judah, was (and is) divine. Third, all Rastafarians believe that the Bible not only is the word of God but that it also has hidden meanings that are important for people of African descent. These passages can particularly be found in the Psalms and the prophetic Books of Daniel and Revelation, which speak of a Messiah and a “golden age” in the future. Fourth, Rastafarians hold that people of African descent—like the Israelites who were held in captivity for fifty years in Babylon—must seek liberation from any society that oppresses them. Some Rastafarians have made connections with Ethiopian Christianity, as in this baptism at an Ethiopian Orthodox church in Kingston, Jamaica. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 32/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Although no longer living, reggae singer Bob Marley remains something of a Rastafarian missionary. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 33/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Rastafarianism at first was sharply racial, condemning white society (called Babylon) and seeking Page 493 emancipation from it. These sharp edges, however, have been softened over recent decades as Rastafarians have sought to change society by entering government in Jamaica and elsewhere; moreover, many whites have converted to Rastafarianism. Increasingly, Rastafarians have begun to focus on the ideals of human unity and on harmony with the environment. Representative practices have grown up over time, although their origins are debated. One of these is the sacramental use of ganja (marijuana). The practice may have come from its use by immigrants from India to the Caribbean. Rastafarians call ganja the “holy herb,” and they point to several passages in the Christian Bible that they say refer to it. One favorite passage is taken from the story of creation: “And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed’” (Gen. 1:11).9 Another describes a future “golden age,” when a river flows from the New Jerusalem. On each side of the river God has planted trees with medicinal leaves, for “the leaves of the tree were for the healing of nations” (Rev. 22:2).10 Another Rastafarian practice involves allowing one's hair to grow into long coils, called dreadlocks. (In Jamaican English, dread has often been used as an adjective to mean “strict,” “upright,” “righteous.”) Although this custom probably began as a symbolic rejection of oppressive social norms, it has also been interpreted as adherence to scripture. The Torah prohibits males from cutting their beards and side-whiskers (see Lev. 19:27), and it prescribes a special vow that keeps a male from drinking wine and cutting any hair of the head whatsoever (Num. 6:5). Biblical examples of people subject to this vow were Samson (Judg. 13:5), known for his bodily strength, and John the Baptist (Luke 1:15), known for his strength of character. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 34/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Rastafarians, partially influenced by the dietary laws of the Hebrew scriptures, usually avoid pork Page 494 and shellfish (Lev. 11:7–12). They prefer food with no preservatives, additives, pesticides, or herbicides. For health reasons, many Rastafarians are vegetarian—such as Ziggy Marley, Bob Marley's son, who has demonstrated on television how to make his recipe for “Rasta Pasta.” Rastafarians have adopted the symbolic use of four colors: black, to represent people of African origin; green, to represent the hills of Jamaica and hope for the future; red, to represent the blood that was shed by martyrs for the cause; and gold, to represent Ethiopia, a focus of African pride. This color scheme can often be seen in hats, shirts, and flags. Elements of Rastafarianism have entered mainstream culture, particularly through music. Following African practice, Rastafarians from the beginning used drumming for religious purposes, but it was the development of reggae music and songs after 1960 that particularly spread Rasta ideas and vocabulary. Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, and Bob's son Ziggy Marley are perhaps the best-known reggae musicians. (Bob Marley's house, since his death in 1981, has become a shrine.) The influence of this music has created a “reggae culture” (for example, in the world of surfing) that is far wider than Rastafarianism itself. Rastafarianism and its influence have spread throughout the Caribbean and to England, Canada, and the United States. BAHA'I We end our examination of specific new religious movements with a look at a movement descended from Islam. The origins of the Baha'i faith, another monotheistic religion, can be traced to the Shiite Islam of Persia (Iran). We might recall that Shiite Islam sees divine authority as residing in the line of Imams, the hereditary successors of Ali, who was the son-in-law of Muhammad. Many Shiite Muslims believe that the last Imam did not die, but lives in another realm beyond the earth, and that he will return. Many also expect that a messianic figure (sometimes identified with Jesus) will appear on earth in the future. This Shiite sense of expectation was the context for a nineteenth-century religious movement in Persia. It grew up around a man named Siyyid Ali Muhammad (1819–1850), who declared in 1844 that he was the longawaited Mahdi—the last Imam, returned to earth. He took a religious name, Bab, meaning “gate” or “door,” and preached that there would soon arrive another divinely sent messenger who would be of even greater stature and would bring full revelation from Allah. That figure, he prophesied, would begin a golden age of unity and peace. Because of conflict with orthodox Muslims, the Bab was thrown into prison and executed in 1850. One of the Bab's followers and a leader of the Babist movement was a young Persian aristocrat, Mirza Husayn Ali (1817–1892), who later became known as Baha'u'llah (“glory of Allah”). After the death of the Bab, Baha'u'llah was himself nearly killed by government authorities. Instead of being executed, however, he was jailed in Tehran, in the notorious “Black Pit”—an underground reservoir used as a prison. There he experienced several months of divine revelations. After release, he was banished from Iran and began a life of exile, wandering in many places, including Baghdad and cities in Turkey, Egypt, and Palestine. He continued to be the focus of the Babist movement, and in 1863 he at last declared that he was indeed the messianic figure whom the Bab had prophesied. He lived the last years of his life in Acre, near Haifa, in what is today the west coast of Israel. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 35/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Baha'u'llah wrote innumerable letters to his followers and public letters to world leaders, such as Page 495 Pope Pius IX and Queen Victoria, outlining his practical ideas for a future of human harmony. In his books, such as the Kitab-i-Iqan (“book of certainty”) and the Kitab-i-Aqdas (“book of holiness”), he proposed the establishment of a world government. His ethical teachings are summarized in a short work called The Hidden Words. After the death of Baha'u'llah in 1892, his son, Abdul Baha (1844–1921), carried his message to Europe and North America. His grandson, Shoghi Effendi (1897–1957), continued to lead the religion and translated its scriptures into English. The term Baha'i, which means “follower of Baha'u'llah,” was widely used during the lifetime of Baha'u'llah. Muslims consider the Baha'i faith to be a heretical sect. Orthodox Muslims call Muhammad the “seal of the prophets,” meaning that Muhammad was not only the greatest of the prophets but also the last. They therefore do not accept that Baha'u'llah was a prophet, and followers of the Baha'i faith in Iran—of whom about 350,000 still remain—have been severely persecuted. The Baha'i movement, however, is now a separate religion, fully independent of Islam, and has followers all around the world. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving. Nation building has come to an end. The anarchy inherent in state sovereignty is moving towards a climax. A world, growing to maturity, must abandon this fetish, recognize the oneness and wholeness of human relationships, and establish once for all the machinery that can best incarnate this fundamental principle of its life. —Shoghi Effendi11 The Baha'i faith is among the most universalistic of religions. While it retains its monotheistic origins, the religion defines God and other religious realities in broad terms that are appealing to a wide range of people. A major expression of Baha'i universalism is that Baha'is see all religions as partially true, but also as separate elements of a great mosaic of divine revelation that is still being shaped by God. Baha'is argue that all religious founders have offered some revelation from God, but that earlier revelations have been tempered by the cultures and times in which they appeared. For Baha'is, revelation is necessarily progressive, because human beings continue to evolve in understanding. Baha'is believe that the revelations of Baha'u'llah, while being the most advanced, nonetheless continue the revelations given to earlier prophets, including Abraham, Moses, Zarathustra (Zoroaster), Krishna, the Buddha, Jesus, Muhammad, and the Bab. Baha'is teach that all religions, in some fundamental sense, are one, and Baha'is therefore look forward to the day when divisions between religions will disappear. Although the writings of Baha'u'llah are considered scriptural, Baha'is also read selections from the scriptures of many world religions at their services. Baha'is not only strive for harmony among people of different religious faiths, they also try to overcome the differences between religious and scientific endeavors, which often seem to be at odds with each other. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 36/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Visitors line up to enter the Baha'i Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, the “Lotus Temple” in New Delhi. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 37/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Baha'i belief about the afterlife is reminiscent of other monotheistic religions, yet it is deliberately Page 496 left somewhat undefined—a fact that gives Baha'i wide appeal. Baha'is believe that each individual has an immortal soul and that after death the soul can go on developing in realms beyond the earth. They also speak of places of reward and punishment in an afterlife. When Baha'is speak of “heaven” and “hell,” however, they explain that these are metaphors for closeness to or distance from God. Rather than focusing on an afterlife, Baha'is emphasize improving human life in this world. Baha'is seek complete equality between men and women, an end to poverty, and education for all. They work to end prejudice, and to accomplish this they not only allow intermarriage but also encourage it. Baha'is have a strongly international focus. They want to see the establishment of an auxiliary world language—to augment rather than replace regional languages—for use in international communication. On a very practical level, Baha'is are active supporters of the United Nations and other organizations that, in their opinion, foster world harmony. Their ultimate hope is that a single world government will supersede independent nations and thus make war impossible. And although Baha'is do not become politicians themselves, they work in many other practical ways to achieve their goals. One unusual aspect of the Baha'i faith is its religious calendar, created by the Bab. It is made up of nineteen months, each being nineteen days long (with four extra days added before the final month). The last month of the year is a period of fasting, reminiscent of Ramadan in Islam, when no food or drink may be consumed during the daytime. This period of purification lasts from March 2 through March 20; the new year begins on March 21. The first day of each Baha'i month is a time of meeting, prayer, and celebration. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 38/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Contemporary Issues Page 497 HUMANISM: A NEW RELIGION? D uring the Renaissance (c. 1350–1600) an important movement emerged. Because it was inspired by classical scholarship, contemporary science, and the quest for human betterment, it came to be called humanism. The movement represented a sharp departure from the other philosophical movements of its time, because it focused exclusively on the earthly concerns of human beings and disregarded the supernatural. Drawing upon this earlier Renaissance tradition, the modern movement of Humanism (also called Ethical Humanism) has been developing over the last hundred years. The main principles of modern Humanism are simple. The most recent Humanist Manifesto describes the movement as a philosophy of life that, while rejecting supernaturalism, insists on the ability of human beings to lead lives that are moral, personally fulfilling, and helpful to others. Because Humanism gives special emphasis to social welfare, it has similarities with socialism and secularism. Yet it is not a political ideology, and it openly considers various means to achieve its objectives. Because of its focus on practical issues and its disregard for the supernatural, some people debate whether the movement should be called a religion. Humanism, however, does share certain characteristics with religion. For example, some of its chapters perform weddings, funerals, and other rituals common to religions. Also, like many religions, Humanism places great emphasis on ethical standards, particularly those associated with the pursuit of social welfare. Baha'is are not allowed to drink alcohol, and they are discouraged from smoking. In conjunction with a belief in gender equality, Baha'i does not allow polygamy, but it does allow divorce. Baha'i has no priesthood; it is governed by assemblies that operate on the local, national, and international level. Followers often meet in each other's homes. Each continent, however, has one large templelike house of prayer, open to all, and more are planned. (The exotic, filigreed North American house of prayer is in Wilmette, https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 39/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions Illinois, in the suburbs of Chicago. It has fine gardens and ponds. The Baha'i house of prayer in New Delhi, a totally unique building, is shaped like a water lily.) All houses of prayer have nine sides; for Baha'is the number nine, being the highest single-digit number, symbolizes completeness and perfection. The Baha'i world headquarters and its governing body, the Universal House of Justice, are in Haifa, Israel. There are about six million Baha'is worldwide. NEW RELIGIOUS MOVEMENTS: A SPECIAL ROLE In reflecting on the new religious movements that we have studied, questions naturally come to mind. What traits make these movements attractive to people? What do they say about where religion is heading in the twenty-first century? https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 40/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. One notable trait of these new religious movements is that they are still relatively small and their Page 498 members usually meet in small groups. Thus there is a strong sense of intimacy among members, giving them a feeling that they have a function, that “everyone counts.” Members are also attracted to belonging to a group with a unique identity and purpose. A second notable trait is the role that women play in several of the new religious movements—a role that many mainstream religions have blocked. Theosophy was cofounded by Madame Helena Blavatsky, a selfconfident, well-traveled woman who was a writer as well as an organizer, and it was continued by Annie Besant, also a writer and organizer. Moreover, women are the main practitioners of Wicca, and through it they worship the divine that is manifested as the female and mother. In the Yoruba-based religions, female deities play a major role, and worship of them is a significant part of the ceremonial life. Women play an important role, too, in the organizations of several other new religious movements. A third trait is the importance of an active devotional life. We especially find an emphasis on the mystical element—the sense of union with something greater than oneself. This mystical element is often assisted by music and dance that lead to trance states, or by meditations on a divine spirit that everyone shares. The mystical orientation is strong in Wicca, in the Yoruba-based religions, in Theosophy, and in Rastafarianism, and it is a significant part of Baha'i and Cao Dai. Lastly, many of the religions present clear programs for self-development, which often involve the body as well as the mind. In Cao Dai, self-cultivation is a major goal, and virtues are clearly described. Anthroposophy has worked out a system of self-development that is meant to complete the entire human person—physical, intellectual, and artistic. Followers of Falun Gong use exercises in meditation and bodily motion to increase inner harmony and strength. And Wicca encourages participants to imagine and work for practical goals that will enrich their lives. The new religious movements fulfill human needs that may be unmet in the older mainstream religions. They also tell us about larger trends in the future of world religions. They are, consequently, a bridge to our discussion, in the final chapter, of the modern religious search. P E R S O N A L E X P E R I E N C E Celebrating the Goddess “Do you want to talk about your future?” a young woman asked me from the roots of a large banyan tree. I hadn't seen her sitting there at a small table at the base of the tree. It was about two weeks before Christmas, and I was walking quickly through one of the few leafy places left in Waikiki, looking for some last-minute presents at the nearby booths that sold coral jewelry, sarongs, aloha shirts, and carvings. “Would you like me to do a reading for you?” https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 41/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions A Tarot card reader in New Orleans helps a client understand his future. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 42/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. I sat down, and she quoted me a price for my reading. She also told me her name—Diana—and Page 499 then asked me my name and the date and time of my birth. She laid down her bright Tarot cards— first in intersecting lines, then a straight line on the side—and told me what she saw. She interpreted the colorful images on the cards: a tower with a bolt of lightning, a knight on horseback, an angel with two chalices, a hermit, two lovers, and a wheel of fortune.12 “Now you might like to ask some questions,” she said. As I asked specific questions about my work and my future, she turned over one additional card for each question and gave me her interpretation of the cards. I liked her careful choice of words and her feeling for the symbolic nature of the images on the cards. She clearly believed in what she was doing. One of my last questions was about an aging relative who was terminally ill. “He is beginning to feel terribly sick,” I said. “How long will he live?” Diana looked at her cards. “Actually,” she answered after a long pause, “he is very strong inside. He will die when he wants to.” It was an ambiguous answer, but a good one. Diana made me think of a priestess at the oracle of Delphi, who was known to be equally adept at such answers. At last we had gone through all my questions and all her cards. “Now I have a question myself,” she said. “Would you like to come to a Yuletide celebration here in Waikiki next week?” I answered that I would and asked if there was anything I could bring. “Oh, just some food,” she replied, “but wear red or green for the celebration.” A week later I was taking my shoes off (as we do in Hawai`i) outside the door of a ground-floor apartment in a small building from the 1930s. Somehow the low-rise building had survived in the middle of bustling, high-rise Waikiki. I'd brought sushi, wine, and a piece of mistletoe that I'd seen for sale at the grocery store. As I lined my shoes up next to twenty other pairs of shoes and sandals, I noticed that only a few were men's. https://phoenix.vitalsource.com/#/books/1259764575/cfi/6/42!/4/66/2/44/4@0:100 43/52 5/27/2018 University of Phoenix: Experiencing the World's Religions PRINTED BY: avetaylor1991@email.phoenix.edu. Printing is for personal, private use only. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted without publisher's prior permission. Violators will be prosecuted. Lady Diana welcomed me. (She had told me that this was her name as a high priestess of Wicca. Page 500 Her given name was Lorraine.) She wore a floor-length gold dress with long sleeves. She held a child in her arms. Diana introduced me to her friends Isis, Aurora, Bridget, and at least a dozen others. Most of them wore elaborate necklaces and dangling earrings. A few even wore tiaras. The men, except for one named Thor, had less exotic names, but all wore red shirts. I looked around. A five-pointed star, made of Christmas lights, hung on the wall near the Christmas tree. A low square altar, covered in gold cloth, stood in the middle of the room, and on it were a statue of a woman with a deer and another of a horned Pan figure, a small cauldron, tall candles, and what looked like a fancy letter opener. A smaller round table next to the larger altar was covered with about twenty vigil candles. About two dozen silver goblets stood on a side table, and I added my bottle of wine to the other bottles, some already open. People were eating and talking. Diana handed me a goblet of wine. “Circulate,” she said. After half an hour of socializing, Diana a...
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