The Indian caste system places individuals in various occupational groups. It is embedded in religion and it has certain rules and regulations. The caste system dictates the occupations that an individual can pursue. Further, the system limits the social interactions that people can have. The caste system has developed a hierarchy order over the past years of its existence based on personality, birth and occupation. However, this hierarchical order was not part of the religion during its initiation. The hierarchical position of individuals in the caste system dictates their behavior.
The system has four main classifications based on birth, profession and personality. The top class is called the Brahmana. Brahmana consists of those well educated in the scriptural teachings and education. Members of the Brahmana are compelled to enhance the continuation of the scriptural knowledge. The second class is the Kshatriya who takes most part of the public services including defense, maintenance of law and order and administration. Further, there is the Vaishya who are mostly business oriented. Lastly, the Shudra are the lowest class and they work as laborers; semi skilled and unskilled laborers (Hare, 89).
The Khoisan is an African tribe that consists of the Khoikhoi and the San. The san social system treated all members equally whereas the Khoikhoi clan divided members into clans and they shared resources according to clans. However, non-members had to seek permission in order to use resources. The Khoikhoi social system is somehow similar to the Indian caste system. Some members are discriminated from achieving economic progress. However, in the Khoikhoi social system one would seek permission to use resources thus they were not fully discriminated. The San would rarely intermarry with their neighbors the Khoikhoi. This is similar to the Indian caste system where individual from different classes were not allowed to intermarry (Allen, 46).
The caste system is inferior due to discrimination of most members of the social system. This created conflicts and continued discrimination of the lower classes. Unlike the Khoisan social system where one would seek permission to use their neighbor’s resources, the caste completely discriminated the lower classes.
Both Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama have numerous similarities. First, both of them were the initiators of their religions; Christianity and Buddhism respectively. Second, both Jesus and Siddhartha had unique births. Siddhartha Gautama’s mother conceived him through Siddhartha who descended from heaven. Siddhartha entered Siddhartha Gautama’s mother in the form of a white elephant. Similarly, a virgin mother, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, conceived Jesus Christ. Consequently, both Jesus and Siddhartha Gautama discovered their purpose in unique events. For instance, Siddhartha was touched by the suffering in the world on his trip to the city. On the other hand, Jesus began his mission after his baptism in river Jordan where the Holy Spirit came inform of a dove.
Consequently, Siddhartha sat under a tree and meditated until he found the answers to his questions. During his meditation, the evil Maya tried to distract him by appealing to his pride. However, Siddhartha did not fall to the temptations. Similarly, Jesus retreated to the desert for a period of forty years where he fasted and the devil tried to temp him unsuccessfully (Hooper, 56).
However, there are differences among the two. For instance, Siddhartha believed in reincarnation whereas Jesus believed I the last judgment. Further, Siddhartha did not proclaim himself as a God. On the other hand, Jesus proclaimed Himself as the son of God. Buddha did not resurrect after death like Jesus. In addition, Buddha did not perform miracles like those that Jesus did (Hooper, 68).
Historical evidence, though apocryphal, indicates that Jesus’ teachings may be inspired by Buddha’s teachings. This is simple because historically Buddha existed five hundred years before Jesus. Further, historical evidence indicated that Jesus was in Judea the same time when Buddhism was present in Judea. Although the two pioneers of religion have similarities, their similarities do not detract either of their philosophies authentications due to the difference in setting and time of existence.
The Chinese cosmos belief of the origin of the material earth and life seems hard to believe in my opinion. The theory states that the world emerged from nothing and the nature of how things behaved, such as the reoccurrence of seasons and the revolving earth, facilitated the emergence of the material things on earth. The theory explains that the world evolved into a state of complexity from a state of simplicity. The theory states that the cosmos changes are connected to human feelings and thoughts. The Chinese school of thought pertaining life and origin of earth portrays a yin yang nature of the world. This simulates there is a cause of everything in life (Furness, Sheila & Phillip, 74).
The theory appears equally contradicting to me, as the western theory of origin of the world. The western theory of the world explains that there is a supernatural being, which is responsible for creating the world. Both of these theories do not fully explain the origin of the world; however, their explanations are based on sheer assumptions and values. For instance, the Chinese cosmos articulates a yin yang kind of forces that create life and all the occurrences in life. In my opinion, the yin yang theory leaves out the evidence of the origination of the yin yang forces. It assumes that the forces exist somehow just like Christians belief in the presence of God despite lack of evidence towards His existence.
Christianity views God as a trinity comprising of God the father, the son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. The three attributes are viewed as undivided in essence and being by Christians. God the father is viewed as providential and reigning over nature and His creations; the universe, nature and human beings. Christians believe that God the father is true to those who believe in the divine teachings of his son Jesus Christ. On the other hand, God the Son is honored for his salvation of humankind through his suffering on the cross. His suffering redeemed human from sins, which exempted them from the grace of God, and subjected them to God’s wrath. Further, the Holy Spirit is viewed as the Spirit of God. Christians believe that the Holy Spirit exalts the righteous, and convicts sinful people. Further, Christians believe that the Holy Spirit empowers and enlightens the true believers through evangelism, service and church worship.
The Holy Trinity is important in Christian beliefs since it centers the belief of the church. Through the belief of the trinity and the Christian story of origin of humankind, Christians accept the hardships of the world as a punishment for humankind sins. Further, through the core Christian beliefs of the Holy Trinity, Christians believe acquire salvation. In addition, Christians believe that salvation frees them from sins and it enables them achieve sanctification, regeneration, glorification and justification. Christian’s believe that salvation enables believers acquire eternal life and enjoy life after death in heaven.
Consequently, Christians believe that believing in the Holy trinity is acknowledged by baptism, which is a faith covenant between man and God. Further, Christians believe that acceptance of Jesus Christ as their savior gives them God’s grace and it gives them their purpose in life. Christians believe that their faith in God will guarantee them a place in heaven, in the end of the world where Jesus will come again.
Islam denies the existence of the Holy Trinity and it portrays God as one. Muslims view any attempt to consider any other party as God apart from Allah, who is one is the greatest abomination. Muslims view God as one and incomparable. Further, Muslims argue that Jesus was not the son of God because Jews believed in one God and Romans and Greeks believed in many gods. Thus, considering Jesus as the son of God is an abomination created by the church. The idea of death and resurrection of Jesus raises criticism from Muslims who argue that if Jesus was indeed the son of God he would not have died on the cross.
Muslims are taught that Jesus was a prophet of Allah, born of a virgin, performed miracles and he was sinless. However, the Islam doctrine denies the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Muslims further dispute the existence of the Holy Trinity by inquiring Christian scriptures on where Jesus individually said He was God and He should be worshipped (Rafiabadi, 123).
Early Muslim writers opposed the idea of the Holy Trinity relating Christianity as a result of paganism. Their point of view makes use of the Egyptians beliefs where they had a trinity of gods; Isis, Horus and Osiris. Consequently, they relate the idea of the Holy Trinity to the Hindu conviction in a Trimurti who encompasses the trinity of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma. Muslims suppose there is nobody close to God. They consider that everybody is a servant to God. Thus, it is upon God to offer us forgiveness upon his will on judgment day. The differences in the view of God among Christians and Muslims are purely based on religious differences. Thus, either Jesus or Mohamed misled his followers (Rafiabadi, 345).
New or unfamiliar religions are widely viewed as harmful or with a bad cause. Nevertheless, few of these new religions are associated with the atrocities that are inflicted upon them. Apparently, most mainstream religions are responsible for most atrocities related to religion. However, there are various elements present in these new religions that affect the believers negatively. For instance, some new religions exert strong psychological pressure on their members, which alters their behavior. New religions such as cults may cause a negative impact on new members, thus creating a negative image among the public.
For instance, in 1969 the Manson Family group religion created various atrocities in California. Their leader Charles Manson engaged his followers in murders. This altered the image of the religion and what it stands for.
Further, most of the new religions incorporate a pervasive moral ambiguity. Moral ambiguity is achieved when these religions view sacred as transcendent. Thus, they mislead their members in engaging in weird or unusual moral behaviors, which they consider sacred. However, according to research these types of religions only lead to confusion among the congregation and most of those people who eventually fall out of these religions portray a moral dysfunction or psychological problems.
Some of the new religions, mostly cults have audience target motive. For instance, most cults are audience cults, client cults or cult movements. In audience cults, there is no sense of commitment among members. Therefore, they only portray virtual practices aimed at enticing the audiences. Client cults target specific groups of people such as wealthy people through which they exchange valuables. Further, cult movements meet their members’ spiritual needs although it varies with the degree of the members’ commitment and time. These cults continue the flow of their cult beliefs and practices through apprenticeship.
Some of the new religions target radical personal change in order to ensure members commitment, by initiating change in their personality. These religions also involve socio-cultural practices that build the core pillars of these religions. These religions are widely characterized by belief participation and audience arousal. The affiliation of the socio cultural backgrounds of individuals in these religions attracts members with similar interests or backgrounds. Thus, this creates a common area of focus or the religion members.
According to religious researches conducted, most of the new religions seem weak and members easily detach from these religions compared to the old religions. Further, there are numerous cases of manipulation and post religious benefits such as wealth from contributions. Some of these religions have reduced the moral righteousness of their members (Furnace, Sheila & Phillip, 102). In addition, some of these new religions target vulnerable or illiterate members of the society and they exploit them through contributions. Further, some of the leaders of these new religions corrode the ethical standards previously set by religions. For instance, the Manson Family movement engaged in brutal murders, which do not stand for religion.
Although there are multiple differences between Christianity and Islam, we can only agree on the basic ethical standards supported by the two doctrines. Similarly, Hinduism and other well established religions stand for positive ethical considerations such as unity, peace and love. It is clear that we have grown past interreligious fights and there is a growing positive understanding and mutual respect over most religions. This is clear by the participation of various religious leaders in condemning political vices. Further, there is evidence of interreligious understanding, which is evident by the lack of bias on voting for leaders based on their religious stand. The world has accepted the freedom of religion positively. This has seen some religious groups borrow from others. For instance, the Catholic Church has some deviation, which have rose to independent churches such as the Orthodox Church.
Allen, N J. Early Human Kinship: From Sex to Social Reproduction. MA: Blackwell Pub, 2008. Internet resource.
Hare, Alexander P. Analysis of Social Interaction Systems: Symlog Research and Applications. Lanham. [u.a.: Univ. Press of America, 2005. Print.
Hooper, Richard J. Jesus, Buddha, Krishna & Lao Tzu: The Parallel Sayings. VA: Hampton Roads Pub, 2012. Print.
Rafiabadi, H N. Challenges to Religions and Islam: A Study of Muslim Movements, Personalities, Issues and Trends. New Delhi: Sarup & Sons, 2007. Print.
Furness, Sheila, and Philip Gilligan. Religion, Belief and Social Work: Making a Difference. Bristol: Policy, 2010. Print.