History of Religion
His 103 World Civilizations I
Instructor: Debbie Cassetta
December 10, 2012
Religion comes from the Latin word religio. Religion is generally the beliefs, rules, and ceremonies to worship a god or a group of. It is also considered a spiritual practice based on faith of supernatural powers of the universe. How man should live and provide explanation of things he does not understand is a concerned issue of religion. The first forms of religion may have developed from hunter gatherer societies. This was a way of explaining natural forces of the world which provided security of the way man felt about the world. There are many types of religion and with each comes I different set of beliefs and rituals. In these different religions, there are beliefs of different gods, different ceremonial rituals, and different beliefs due to the cultural background of the region in which the religion formed. The main religions of the world are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism. From the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, came Christianity. In Roman occupied Palestine, Jesus was born circa 4 B.C.E. This was a Jewish province of the Roman Empire. Insurgency, political instability, and suffering were all a part of the Common Era first century. The Roman authorities had an armed uprising by crucifying around 2,000 people with in the first year of Jesus’ birth. Making life intolerable during this period were disease epidemics, poverty, and famine. Believing to be living in the end of times, or trial and tribulation, many Jews thought it would end with God’s intervention. They believed God would institute the Kingdom of God, which would be full of righteousness and justice after he destroyed the enemies of the Jews.
Beginning as a Jewish messianic movement, Christianity began in Jerusalem in the 1st century of what was known as the Common Era. During the relative calm of the Pax Romana, missionaries sent out the word of salvation an resurrection all through the Eastern Mediterranean. This included Italy and Rome which was the seat of the Empire. The Roman law regarded this Christian movement during the first few decades as a Jewish sect. This exempted the Christians from worshiping the Roman emperor, a god-like figure, which was legally required. A pinch of incense was offered on an alter by a participant to acknowledge the holiness of the emperor. This was a symbolic act to appease the gods responsible for the peace and prosperity of the emperor. Christians and Jews saw this as idolatry. (Davies-Stofka, 2012) Gentiles rapidly filled early Christian communities. As a group, the Christians lost legal status as Jews. Refusing to offer the incense to the emperor, they began to be accused of being unpatriotic and atheists. Fear arose in the Christians, and they began wondering if Rome would be punished by the gods. Anyone practicing Christianity in the start of the 2nd century was punished to death due to waves of persecution and suspicion. Regardless, Christianity attracted new converts and still spread. They were known for their philanthropy and their hospitality. The Christians began sharing their possessions and caring for the poor, the widowed, and orphans. This was rare in Rome, therefore drew attention to the movement. (Davies-Stofka, 2012) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). This was written by Paul to the Romans. It summarizes the reconciliation of humanities sins with God which he accomplished by sacrificing his only son, Jesus Christ. This was done with the crucifixion. Christians teach that God hates sin and will punish those who do it. All people sin. This puts them at risk of separation from God. Without him, people will suffer an insignificant and unhappy life along with despair and anxiety. The will hate others and inflict pain on them as well as the rest of...
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