ANSWERS ON ESSAY QUESTIONS REGARDING HISTORY
FURTHER LOOK AT HISTORY
Religious Diversity in the Indian Society
C.N. Venugopal, Religion and Indian Society (New Delhi, India: Gyan Publishing House, 1998), p. 30.
G.S. Ramesh, Philosophy of Indian Society (New Delhi, India: Global Vision Publishing House, 2005), p. 14.
India is considered to be of many religious belief systems around the world. Besides, most of the major religions throughout human history originated from Indian culture. Nevertheless, as with the case of other religious beliefs, these diverse religions are based on either the political, cultural, or social perspectives of their founder(s).
According to Weber’s view, India has a great potentiality of becoming an industrial economy1. Unfortunately, the Indian social structure led to a caste system – which also has part with its religious systems. Jainism, for instance, was able – at some point in history – to compel its followers to urban pursuits2 that for sure promised wealth. Its belief that one’s self-effort can put him to liberation led to the pursuit of prosperity – which has relation to India’s caste system.
Buddhism, on the other hand, primarily suggests that suffering caused by human craving is the main problems of each soul and that the way to liberation is abstaining from craving and the way of the Eightfold Path – was founded by Gautama Siddharta. This was considered to be the one with which the caste system is compatible. Buddhism often recruited from the Brahmans and the caste took prominence among the monks3. It is mainly of the people of the high class.
Hinduism, on one hand, is the greatest among other religions in India; about 85 percent of Indians belong to it4. Rather than having a specific set of beliefs, Hinduism is primarily a conglomeration of many other beliefs. In that way, the caste system is addressed accordingly. For instance, Shaivism5 promises salvation to all worshippers from any caste6. Thus, with the aforementioned relations of Indian religious beliefs with its caste system, it is evident that religion can be based on the context of its place of origin along with other aspects of its society.
Strict Military Controls of Sparta
William Duiker and Jackson Spielvogel, Cengage Advantage Books: World History (Boston, MA: Cengage, 2012), p. 119.
Jackson Spielvogel, Western Civilization (Boston, MA: Cengage, 2011), p. 63.
Until today, military plays a great role in each country’s economical, political and social structure. It even provides way for prosperity, unity, diplomacy, etc. among countries. Nevertheless, certain core values of a culture/society might make up a certain type of military.
During the 730 B.C.E, Spartans decided to build a military state in order to ensure control over their colonies. And the outcome was a manifestation of strict military controls among the Spartan soldiers. The result of this took prominence in 500 B.C.E. when the Spartans had maintained absolute order and stability among the Peloponnesian states7.
Their military structure is constituted by a series of core values within their society. They hold that absolute loyalty to Sparta is the sole reason for existence8. Thus, Spartans are characterized of extensive self-discipline that led them to significant military strength. At birth, children are examined by the rulers to see whether they are fit to live or not, and those who fail are left to die9. Children are sent to schools that observe authority, military values and training. Men and young men remain in military barracks until the age of 30 and in military service until 60. Even Spartan women embrace that all Spartan men should grow in strength and courage.
Sparta used this military strength in dealing with other neighboring states and countries. And their belief that loyalty must be to their state also implied that their strength and courage should be of service to it. Thus, these led them to constitute a strict [type] of military.
The Role of Monasticism in Christianity
Isaac Padinjarekutt, Christianity Through the Centuries (Mumbai, IND: St. Pauls, 2005), p. 26.
Christianity is one of the oldest religious beliefs throughout history. But there is a point of time that the spread of this religion became significantly extensive and prompt. And there are certain events and other things that made impact on this historical widespread of Christianity.
Monasticism is a doctrine as a form of religious life, wherein the individual forsakes the other worldly things and pursuits that common people have in order to be put further into spiritual service. It is not merely solitude, but it should be for the sake of spiritual service. For example, monks and priests are characterized by celibacy. They restrain from having family for the sake of having more time in their service. Missionaries, on one hand, dwell in remote areas in order to reach out to poor and uncivilized communities.
This was initiated by St. Anthony of Egypt10 who remained as a hermit in a desert land near the Red Sea11. Near the end of 3rd century, Christianity flourished in significant parts of the world: Rome, Persia, India, etc. Although serious persecutions happened throughout history, peoples kept on embracing Christianity. Even until today, it just keeps on spreading to all peoples. And these people who engage in monasticism play a big role in such spread. Instead of observing religious practices and traditions merely in churches and temples – which mainly causes people to believe in a particular religion – it became available to every people of every tribe and nation. Everyone can now hear about Christianity.
The truthfulness of Christianity made a call to many Christians to consider and engage in monasticism. In turn, this brought drastic spread of Christianity across the world. Besides, it is evident today that Christianity is the most embraced religion in America, Europe, and Asia.
The Influence of Humanism to Religious Reform
Jens Zimmermann, Humanism and Religion (England, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012), p. 106.
The religious reformations which began in Europe in the 16th century made a great impact in human history. The principles and values that constitute these religious reformations also made impact on society and more particularly on Christianity and other religions.
Humanism, in particular, took prominence during the religious reformation in the renaissance period12. It suggests that realization can be attained by human reason. However, it somehow brought an adverse effect upon the philosophical state of religion. Dependence on mere human reason was found to be destructive for one’s own religious belief.
Renaissance humanism led to significant paganism. John Caroll suggests that humanism led to the secularism of human culture. If man will embrace this doctrine, one will have to eliminate the divine13. And this is what happened to religion. Looking from their own standpoint, religious reformers – to some degree – was led away from the essential truths of Christianity – which was established beforehand. Nevertheless, some of the humanists established such doctrine while maintaining their religious concern. Through humanistic intellectual disciplines, humanists brought important contributions14 to the thoughts about Christianity and other religions. By their serious pursuits for deeper knowledge and realization of religious truths that makes up man’s life humanism can still be considered somehow, as beneficial.
Duiker, William and Jackson Spielvogel, Cengage Advantage Books: World History. Boston,
MA: Cengage, 2012.
Padinjarekutt, Isaac. Christianity Through the Centuries. Mumbai, IND: St. Pauls, 2005.
Ramesh, G.S. Philosophy of Indian Society. New Delhi, IND: Global Vision Publishing House,
Spielvogel, Jackson. Western Civilization. Boston, MA: Cengage, 2011.
Venugopal, C.N. Religion and Indian Society. New Delhi, IND: Gyan Publishing House, 1998.
Zimmermann, Jens. Humanism and Religion. England, UK: Oxford University Press, 2012.