29 November 2011
Major Religious Movements
There are numerous religions throughout the world that differ in several ways. Some of these religions we ourselves have never even thought of or heard of, for that matter. Most of the religions we hear about today are major religions rather than minor religions. Although, some of these major religions may seem minor to us because of their origin, or simply because they are not regularly practiced here in the United States. Baha’i, Islam, and Mormonism are among the various major religious movements.
To begin with, the author of AP Human Geography 2009, Kelly Swanson speaks about several different major religious movements. Swanson states that the Baha’i faith is practiced in various parts of Africa and Asia (325). This religion was founded in Iran. In Jeremy Butler’s article, “A Brief History of the Baha’i Faith”, he explains how the Baha’i faith came about. Baha’i started in the 19th century, with a Persian merchant who was apparently a young man named Siyyid Ali-Muhammad. He eventually took the name “Bab”, which means gate or door. In 1844, on May 23, Ali-Muhammad proclaimed he was the carrier of a divine revelation. This divine revelation would change humanities spiritual life. Bab’s primary teaching consisted of there being a second messenger from God that was greater than himself. Butler explains that this second messenger’s mission was to bring about peace and justice, which is, he says “The same mission that major religions of the world are trying to accomplish.” He also mentions that Bab is similar to John the Baptist in the bible. This is because he told about a coming one that would be greater than he himself. In Christianity, the greater one is Jesus, but in Baha’i the greater one is Baha’u’llah, which is the promised second messenger of God according to Butler.
In Butler’s same article he elaborates on Baha’u’llah. In the nineteenth century Baha’u’llah was born into a wealthy, noble, Persian family. Instead of wanting all the wealth, he was interested in helping the poor. While he was in prison in Tehran of the year 1852, he had a vision from God. In this vision God showed Baha’u’llah God’s will for humanity. In 1863, Baha’u’llah shared that he was the promised one that Bab spoke about. Also, Baha’u’llah is viewed as the latest prophet. Other prophets include Moses, Jesus, Abraham, Krishna, Muhammad, Buddha, and many more. The purpose of these prophets was to create the world’s great religions and to show humanity how to worship God. Baha’u’llah was exiled for over forty years. While he was in exile he wrote over one hundred volumes of religious writings. The writings he wrote the Baha’i community still follow today. In 1892, in Palestine, Baha’u’llah died in exile. Also, Jeremy Butler explains many of the teachings of Baha’i in his article, “Basic Teachings of the Baha’i Faith”. The Baha’i people believe that there is one God. He created the world and has complete control over his creation. They also believe that God has a completed, perfect knowledge of his creation. The knowledge Baha’i individuals have are of his qualities and attributes, not his essence. No one can see God because he does not have a body. They learn about God through prayer, meditation, and the study and application of the various sacred scriptures of the prophets of God. In order to show his will to the world, God chose different revelations throughout history. He used prophets to make this happen, and their goal was to bring human kind into full spiritual and moral maturity. Heaven and Hell are seen as being descriptions of an individual’s spiritual journey towards the light of God, rather than viewed as literal places where people go after death. They believe that after the soul makes a journey throughout different world’s that takes the individual towards God, and whatever place the soul goes to is because of one’s efforts....
Cited: Butler, Jeremy. “A Brief History of the Baha’i Faith.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. 1995. 15 November 2011. http://carm.org/a-brief-history-of-the-bahai-faith.
Butler, Jeremy. “Basic Teachings of the Baha’i Faith.” Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry. 1995. 15 November 2011. http://carm.org/basic-teachings-of-the-bahai-faith.
Swanson, Kelly. AP Human Geography. 2009. New York, NY: Kaplan Publishing, 2009.
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