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                     Key Issues
1.   Where are religions distributed?
2.   Why do religions have different distributions?
3.   Why do religions organize space in distinctive
4.   Why do territorial conflicts arise among
     religious groups?
• “There has been more evil done in the
  name of god then ever good”- Coach Mike
  Blackman; Baptist Preacher
The Roots of Religion
Animism (Shamanism) - the belief
that all objects, animals, and beings
are “animated” or possess a spirit and
                                         Nigerian Shaman
a conscious life. Also called
shamanism because of the prominence
of a Shaman.
• Such beliefs are common among
hunter-gatherers. These were the first
• 10% of Africans follow such
traditional ethnic religions.
• These beliefs are losing ground to
Key Issue 1: Where are religions
• There are 2 types of religions:
  – Universalizing- religions that attempt to be
    global and appeal to all people.
    • The 3 main universalizing religions are:
    • The other two main universalizing religions
      other than the above three are:
       – Sikhism 24 million followers, 21 of which are
         clustered in the Punjab region of India.
       – Bahá’í 7 million followers dispersed across the globe.
• CHRISTIANITY- 2 billion followers in N. and
  S. America, Europe, Australia, and some
  Asian and African countries.
     •   50%   Roman Catholic,
     •   25%   Protestant,
     •   10%   Eastern Orthodox
     •   15%   miscellaneous.
  – About 90% of the Western Hemisphere is
  – 95% Roman Catholic in Latin American
  – 50% Protestant in the U.S.
• 2 billion adherents     Christianity
make it most
practiced in the world.
•Originated in
Bethlehem (8-4 BC)
and Jerusalem (AD 30)
with Jesus Christ.
• Spread by
missionaries and the
Roman Empire
(Constantine A.D.
(Apostle Paul)
Christianity in the U.S.
• ISLAM- 1.3 billion followers in Middle East,
  Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh.
  – Core of beliefs is based on the 5 pillars of faith:
     • There is no god worthy of worship other than the one
       God, and Muhammad is the messenger of God.
     • A Muslim must pray 5 times daily facing the city of
     • A Muslim gives generously to charity, as an act of
       purification and growth.
     • A Muslim fasts during the month of Ramadan, as an act
       of self-purification.
     • If physically and financially able, a Muslim makes a
       pilgrimage to Mecca.
  – The two main branches of Islam are Sunni (83%)
    and Shiite (16%).
• 1 billion +
adherents             Islam
• Originated in
Saudi Arabia
(Mecca and
Medina) around AD
• Spread originally
by Muslim armies
to N. Africa, and
the Near East.
• Sunni (83%) -
throughout the
Muslim world.
• Shiite - Iran
(40%), Pakistan
Prophet: Muhammad

Holy Text: Koran

                      Reading the Koran,

          Islamic Calender
          •Begins in AD 622 when Muhammad
          was commanded to Mecca from
          Medina (Hijra).
          •Lunar calendar makes Ramadan
          move through the seasons (30 year
          cycle - 19 years with 354 days and
          11 with 355).
The 14x46 displays are located on
I-26 at mile-marker 125 and US
301N in Orangeburg
• BUDDHISM- 365 million followers in China
  and S.E. Asia mainly.
  – Based on the 4 Noble Truths:
    • All living beings must endure suffering.
    • Suffering, which is caused by a desire to live, leads to
    • The goal of all existence is to escape from suffering and
      the endless cycle of reincarnation into Nirvana (a state of
      complete redemption), which is achieved through mental
      and moral self-purification.
    • Nirvana is attained through an Eightfold Path that
      stresses rightness of belief, resolve, speech, action,
      livelihood, effort, thought, and meditation.
  – The branches of Buddhism are Mahayana (56%),
    Theravada (38%), and Tantrayana (6%).
• 300 million + adherents
primarily in China and S.E.
Asia                               Buddhism
• Originated near modern
Nepal around 530 BC by
prince Siddhartha Guatama.
   •Cool story on how this
• Spread originally in India
and Sri Lanka by Magadhan
Empire (250 BC).
   •Widely accepted because
   of the Caste System
   practiced in India
• Indian traders brought it to
China in 1st century AD.
• By 6th century it had lost its
hold on India, but was now in
Korea and Japan.
Karma - your past bad or
good actions determine your
progress toward Nirvana
through reincarnation. You
are your own God.
 Theravada - the older,
 more severe form which
 requires the renouncing of
 all worldly goods and
       Buddha is a teacher
 Mahayana - focuses on
 Buddha’s teachings and
       Buddha is a god
• The second type religion
  – Ethnic- religion that primarily appeals to
    one group of people living in one place.
    More closely tied to the physical
    geography of a particular region,
    especially with agriculture.
•ANIMISM- traditional African religions that focus on
the animate qualities of normally considered
inanimate objects, like stones, water, etc.
• Animism is a sort of all-encompassing term rather
than a specific religion

 Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one
 thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to
 ourselves. All things are bound together. All things
 ~ Chief Seattle

                                    Bear Dance
•HINDU- the world’s 3rd
largest religion with 820
million adherents. 97% live
in India
• 900 million + adherents, primarily in India (4th
• Hinduism is an ancient term for the complex
and diverse set of religious beliefs practiced
around the Indus River.
• The four sacred texts are
ancient hymns called the
Vedas, but few Hindus
historically could read.
• Coastlines and river banks
most sacred sites.
• Many, many festivals, often
surrounding harvest or
spring or the birth of Gods.
Ganges River, Varanasi, India
Brahman                      In the Hindu religion, Brahman is the
                             eternal, unchanging, infinite, immanent, and
• Brahman is the             transcendent reality which is the Divine
divine creator but
is manifested in             Ground of all matter, energy, time, space,
literally hundreds           and being.
of gods, of which
Brahma, Shiva, and
Vishnu are most          The first principle of Indian thought, therefore, is that the
                         ultimate reality is beyond description. It is something that
                         can be experienced only by bringing the mind to a stop;
                         and once experienced, it cannot be described to anyone in
                         terms of the forms of this world.                           -
                         Joseph Campbell

 Another important concept is that Hinduism believes in the omnipresence of
 the Supreme God in every individual. There is no "fall." Man is not cut off
 from the divine. He requires only to bring the spontaneous activity of his
 mind to a state of stillness and he will experience that divine principle within
 him.                                           - Joseph Campbell
Hindu Beliefs and Practice
Reincarnation – the soul is immortal but the body
endlessly cycles to higher or lower levels of
Yoga – the practices or tools used to break from
habits of past lives. Includes various meditations and
physical practices. or The Four
 The Purusharthas
    Aims of Human Life:
 1. Dharma (righteousness)
 2. Artha (wealth)
 3. Kama (desire)
 4. Moksha (salvation or liberation)
    – release from the endless
       The Trinity of
         Brahman (The Creator)
                   - depicted with four
                     faces each
               continually reciting one of
               the Vedas. The force of
                     creation and birth.
               Shiva (The Destroyer)
               -        Shakti or power; the
                       dissolving force in
               life;   centrifugal force;
A hint of              entropy.
-              Vishnu (The Preserver)
How does
               -       peace; balance;
stack up?              Sustainer of life.
• JUDAISM- 6 million followers in
  U.S., 4 million in Israel, 2 million in
  Russia, 2 million elsewhere. First
  religion to support monotheism- the
  belief in only 1 god, as opposed to
  polytheism- the belief in many gods.
• 14 million adherents

• Monotheistic

• Pentateuch
   – First five books of the Old Testament
• Sects
   – Orthodox, Conservative, Reform
• Israel
   – Homeland for Jewish people
   – Created 1948
   – Conflict between Israel and Palestine
              The Geography of

* Ethnic Religions versus Universalizing Religions (proselytic)
* Polytheism versus Monotheism
                                               •   Eastern Religions
                                                    – Confucianism (China)
                                                    – Taoism (China)
                                                    – Shinto (Japan)
                                               •   CONFUCIANISM- mainly in China,
                                                   stresses ethical lifestyles; More of
                                                   a philosophy then a religion

                                               •   TAOISM- mainly in China also,
                                                   followers seek the dao (tao)
                                                   meaning the way or path.

                                               •   SHINTO- mainly in Japan, before
                                                   WWII was the state religion and
                                                   emperor was regarded as divine.

14th Century Chinese painting depicting Lao-
tze and Confucius protecting Sakayumi, the
future Buddha.
• Branch- a large fundamental division
  within a religion.
• Denomination- a division of a branch
  that unites a number of local
  congregations in a single legal and
  administrative body.
• Sect- a relatively small group that has
  broken away from an established
• Pilgrimage- a sacred religious journey.
      How do Universalizing
        and Ethnic Religions
                    Differ? Ethnic
•Appeal to people           •Has meaning in particular
everywhere                  place only.

•Individual founder         •Unknown source.
(prophet)                   •Content focused on place and
•Message diffused widely    landscape of origin.
(missionaries)              •Followers highly clustered.
•Followers distributed      •Holidays based on local
widely.                     climate and agricultural
•Holidays based on events   practice.
in founder’s life.
• Which type religion   • Give three examples
  has more bearing on     of positive
  the global              influences and three
  landscape?              negative
• How does ethnic       • How is this either
  religions try and       unsuccessful or
  hold their identity     successful in today’s
    Key Issue 2: Why do religions
     have different distributions?
• As a general rule, universalizing religions have
  origins based on a specific individual’s life in the
  past, ethnic religions typically have either no origin
  or an unclear one at best.
• Some religious origins:
    – Christianity- based on the life of Jesus
    – Islam-trace lineage back through Abraham’s other son
      Ishmael; based on the life of Muhammad, the Prophet of
    – Buddhism- based on the life of Siddhartha Gautama, who
      later became Buddha (the enlightened one)
    – Sikhism- founded by Guru Nanak about 500 years ago.
•    Hindu- did not originate with a specific founder.
    Beginnings of Hindu date back to before recorded
    history. It is the oldest living religion
• Missionaries- individuals who help to
  transmit a universalizing religion through
  relocation diffusion.
• Pagan- followers of polytheistic religions in
  ancient times.
• Ghetto- city slum designated for Jew
• Cosmogony- creation story.
• Solstice- day when sun is at highest or
  lowest point in the sky.
• Diffusion of Religions
   – Christianity spread mainly through the work of missionaries, and
     also by some conquest and colonization.
   – Islam spread mainly through conquest.
   – Buddhism spread mainly through missionaries and trade
• Buddhism and Islam are the universalizing religions that place
  the most emphasis on identifying shrines/holy places.
   –    In universalizing religions, the holy places are generally locations
       at which memorable events happened in the founder’s life
        • Mecca is in Islam because it is Muhammad’s birthplace.
• Holy places in ethnic religions are often physical features that
  are closely tied to the religion.
   – Hindu one of the most important rituals is the bathing of oneself
     in the Ganges River.
Diffusion of Christianity
             Diffusion of Islam

Islam is considered the fastest growing religion in America.
Only a small part of this growth is from black Muslims and
the Nation of Islam.
Diffusion of Buddhism
• Ethnic religions rarely diffuse, and when
  they do, it is to a small extent.
• universalizing religions diffuse mainly at the
  expense of the smaller ethnic religions, and
  often a semi-hybrid religion will result with
  concepts from both the ethnic religion and
  the universalizing religion intertwined.
  – Judaism is an exception in that it has diffused
    widely throughout the years, mainly because its
    people have had to flee persecution from many
    areas in the world.
• Cosmogony and calendars also differ betwixt
  universalizing religions and ethnic religions.
  – Ethnic religious creation stories tend to deal with
    the physical environment and natural events
  – Ethnic religions typically organize their calendars
    around the seasons, other natural events, or the
    physical geography.

  – universalizing religion stories often attempt to
    explain the mystical.
  – Universalizing religions’ main purpose in
    calendars is to commemorate events in the
    founder’s life, thus the seasons or weather are
    not central to the structure.
Syncretism - the mixing of
two or more religions that
creates unique rituals, artwork,
and beliefs.
Examples include syncretism
of Christianity and indigenous          Voodoo Dolls, Haiti
beliefs in the Americas, Africa,
and Asia.
• Caribbean Voodoo (Haiti,
• Christianity in Indigenous
Latin American

                                   Shrine, Bangalore, India
Syncretism - the mixing of
two or more religions that
creates unique rituals, artwork,
and beliefs.
     Key Issue 3: Why do religions
      organize space in distinctive
• The distribution of religious elements on the landscape
  reflects the importance of religion in people’s values.
   – In Christianity, the landscape is dominated by a high density of
     churches. They are critical because of the emphasis placed on
     regularly attending worship.
   – In Islam, mosques are the places for general assembly. They are
     not viewed as a sanctified place but rather a convening point for
     the community. A mosque normally has a central courtyard
     surrounded by classrooms.
   – In Hinduism, temples are built within the home or individual
     community. They have a central room to house a spirit, with
     rooms for rituals, and outer purifying pools. In both Buddhism and
     Shinto, pagodas are the common architecture. They are typically
     built to enshrine sacred religious artifacts.
   – In Bahá’í, the church officials decided to open seven Houses of
     Worship on multiple continents to stress the universality of their
    Religion and Environment
• Burial practices
  – Judeo-Christians
  – Hindus and
    Buddhists cremate.

• Relationship with
  – Sacred Spaces
  – Sacred
  – Role of religion in
    domination of
• The disposing of the dead differs from religion to religion.
  Some prefer to bury while others choose to cremate.
• Religion often influences the place-names of certain regions.
   –   Ex. The vast amount of places named for saints in predominantly
       Roman Catholic Quebec.
• Hierarchical religion- well-defined geographic structure with
  a high degree of organization.
       Ex. The Roman Catholic Church
        • Diocese- the basic geographic unit of the R.C.C.
• Autonomous religions- self-sufficient religions with little
      Ex. Islam prefers to unify by faith rather than specific

• Most ethnic religions are autonomous. Protestant faiths vary.
    Key Issue 4: Why do territorial
    conflicts arise among religious
• Fundamentalism- the literal interpretation and strict
  intense adherence to one’s religious principles.
   – Fundamentalists try to return society to its religious ways.
     The most obvious example is the Taliban in Afghanistan.
• Caste- the class or distinct hereditary order into
  which a Hindu was assigned according to religious
• Religion is nearly always suppressed in communist
   – Leaders believe that religion has a tendency to upset
     stability and therefore ban it altogether, though often they
     just concrete the people’s religious adherence instead of
     destroying it.
• Other times, when people of different religions live
  in close proximity to one another, engage in contact
  often, or share interests in a particular location,
  especially violent interaction will occur.
   – Ex. The Middle East. Jews, Christians, and Muslims have
     fought for over 2,000 years to control the same small strip
     of land in the East Mediterranean.
   – Historically the Crusades between Christians and Muslims
     played out as each fought to control the Holy Lands.
   – Hostilities continue in the modern era over these same
    Social Impact of Religion
• Gender
  – Women’s     World Distribution of Hogs
• Diet
  – Vegetaria
  – Pork,
  – Alcohol
• Ethics and
• Schools
• Banking and lending
                             Economic Impact
  - Biblical prohibition against usury (lending at interest). Still
  followed in Muslim world (only fees are charged).

• Protestantism and capitalism
  – Max Weber and the Protestant Ethic; argues that
  individualism of Protestantism leads to acquisitiveness.

• Catholic Church and capitalism
  – Pope John Paul II praised free markets but with the
  caution that they cannot meet all needs and salaries must
  be “just.”

• Confucianism versus individualism
  - Confucius elevated the status of noble bureaucrats and
  commitment to societal good. This allows Asian nations to
  attract top talent to government jobs. Also, diligence with
  regard to savings and spending may be a consequence of
  Confucian ideas.
• The controversy in Ireland occurred when
  predominantly Catholic South Ireland wished to
  secede from predominantly Protestant Great Britain.
   – However, the northernmost six counties of Ireland are
     overwhelmingly Protestant and wished to remain part of
     the U.K.
   – When the split occurred a small number of Roman Catholics
     in both N. Ireland and the Republic of Ireland joined the
     Irish Republican Army (IRA), a militant organization
     devoted to achieving Irish unity by whatever means
   – A Protestant organization has formed in return.
      •   Violence continues as extremists from both sides disrupt the
        lives of peaceful civilians.
      • “Bloody Sunday” – U2
Secularization - a process Fundamentalism - a
that is leading to increasingly   process that is leading to
large groups of people who        increasingly large groups of
claim no allegiance to any        people who claim there is
church.                           only one way to interpret
 Some of these people are         worship.
atheists. Others simply do not     Fundamentalists generally
practice. Still others call       envision a return to a more
themselves spiritual, but not     perfect religion and ethics
religious.                        they imagine existed in the
•Common in Europe and the
cities of the U.S.                •Common in the U.S. and in
•Common in former Soviet          some Islamic nations.
Union and China.
             Religious Conflict
The Big Question: Can secular society exist
alongside traditional and fundamentalist religious
sects and states?
• We are quick to notice fundamentalism abroad (i.e.
Salman Rushdie’s death sentence by Shia clerics) and not
so quick to recognize it at home (abortion clinic bombings;
Southern Baptist Convention’s calls for women to submit
to their husbands’ authority).
• American evangelical Christianity and Islamic
fundamentalism are the two most influential fundamentalist
movements in the world.
• Fewer and fewer states are governed by an official
• Rubenstein, James- Cultural Landscape;
  An Introduction to Human Geography
• Google

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