Geography of Religion: Class Notes

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Cultural Geography: Religion
Carroll and Smith

I.Geography of Religion
* What is Religion?
* Major Religions & Divisions
* Religious Landscapes
* Religious Conflict and Interaction

* A set of beliefs
* an explanation of the origins and purpose of humans and their role on earth * existence of a higher power, spirits or god
* Which involves rituals, festivals, rites of passage and space (religious landscapes) III.Key Terms
* Universalizing Religion: attempts to appeal to all people, not just those living in a particular location. * Proselytize: to try to convert people to one’s belief or opinion. * Syncretic: Traditions that borrow from both the past and the present • Secularization - a process that is leading to increasingly large groups of people who claim no allegiance to any church. – Some of these people are atheists. Others simply do not practice. Still others call themselves spiritual, but not religious. – Common in Europe and the cities of the U.S.

– Common in former Soviet Union and China.
• Ethnic Religions: concentrated spatial distribution whose principles are likely based on physical characteristics of a particular location. • Fundamentalism - a process that is leading to increasingly large groups of people who claim there is only one way to interpret worship. – Fundamentalists generally envision a return to a more perfect religion and ethics they imagine existed in the past. * Common in the U.S. and in some Islamic nations.

* Monotheism: existence of only one god.
* Polytheism: existence of many gods.
* Cosmogony: A set of religious beliefs concerning the origin of the universe.

IV.Religious Divisions
* Branch: A large and fundamental division within a religion. * Denomination: A division within a branch of a religion. * Sect: A relatively small denominational group that has broken away from an established church.

V.Non-Ethnic Religions
* Universalizing Religions
* Christianity
* Islam
* Buddhism
* Traced to actions and teaching of a man
* Diffused from specific hearths by followers / missionaries

VI. Ethnic Religions
• Non-Universalizing Religions
– Hinduism
– Judaism
– all Animistic Religions
• No specific founder
• limited diffusion / no missionaries

Origin and Diffusion
Palestine (modern Israel)
Universalizing Religion
What are the 3 branches/divisions?
Roman Catholic
Eastern Orthodox
Origin and Diffusion
Messiah: Jesus
Universalizing Religion
Roman Catholic
Eastern Orthodox
Basic Precepts
Belief in One God
Father, Son & Holy Spirit
Covenant (contract) with God
New Testament - salvation to those who believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings Salvation is by grace or belief not works
Believers to to heaven with everlasting life
Conversion of others (proselytize)

Origin and Diffusion
Mecca, Muhammad
Universalizing Religion
Sunni (majority)
Basic Precepts
Submission to the will of God (Allah)
Lineage - Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, & Mohammed (different lineage) Holy Book - Koran - built on Old Testament
Five (5) pillars of faith
5 Pillars of Faith
Creed “There is no God but Allah”
Prayer 5 times a day facing Mecca
Giving to the poor
Month of Rammadan
Pilgrimage to Mecca

Origin and Diffusion
Founder: Siddhartha Gautama
Universalizing Religion
Basic Precepts
Buddha - the enlightened one
Nirvana - highest degree of consciousness
4 noble truths
Life involves suffering
Cause of suffering is desire
Extinguish desire...
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