Christianity Originated Approximately Two-Thousand Years Questionnaire
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Subsequently, other Daoist sages who were influential include Yu, Shun, and Yao. The principle early Daoist text was written by unknown individuals in the 3rd century BC and based on the earlier teachings of Lao Zi. Unlike most other religions Daoism does not emphasize any specific doctrines or beliefs, instead focusing mainly on the mechanisms for teaching and sharing communal values. The most popular deity accepted by Daoists is Guan Di, a 3rd century BC military leader who was executed.
Confucius lived in the 5th and 6th centuries BC, exactly at the same time as Buddha. It is believed that Confucius encountered Lao Zi and that Lao Zi tried to convince Confucius that he was excessively concerned with logical ethics instead of appreciating the natural ways of the world. Confucius authored many texts but they were not compiled into sacred works until the 3rd century, when his followers authored the Yi Jing and Shu Jing. The other most important literary sources of Confucianism are the Ssu Shu set of four books. Like Daoism, Confucianism does not prescribe specific religious principles but sets forth that the Emperor is the primary intermediary between God and man and that the Emperor provides the correct interpretation of God's wishes for man to follow.
Shamanism is a religious tradition that likely predated recorded history. In principle, it is a system whereby certain individuals within a society are believed to be empowered with supernatural abilities to influence human affairs, natural circumstances, and to heal and also cause illness and bad luck. Today, it is associated mainly with the most primitive peoples in the least developed parts of the world in parts of Africa, Asia, and South America.
Polytheism is a religious system that is based on multiple gods. The most famous polytheist tradition was that of the Ancient Greek Gods that dominated Greece from approximately the 9th century BC to 4th century AD. Typically, Polytheist cultures believe that different gods are responsible for different issues and human affairs.
Legalism is a Chinese religious
tradition that dates back 5th century BC and lasted into the 3rd century AD. Legalism is not as much a religion as a social philosophy because it does not espouse a belief in a higher power or address spiritual issues. Rather, it is a system that emphasized objective principles of ethics and morality (fa) and that also provided means of securing the ruling position of rulers (shu), and that promoted the concept that the source of authority was the position held by ruler rather than the personal identity of the ruler (shi).
There are several major trends evident in human religious. First, those that espouse specific individuals or deities reflect a profound reverence for them that transcends all aspects of their religious values. Second, most religions provide a set of values or a system of rules that promote essential beliefs about human morality and that differentiate appropriate from inappropriate behavior in the community.
In my opinion, many religions do provide valuable guidance in the sense that many of their rules, regardless of their actual origin, do promote human relations and values that are beneficial to the community. On the other hand, many of them are inseparable from arbitrary doctrine and superfluous ideas that probably do not actually contribute much except to the extent that they may facilitate the transfer of traditions from one generation to the next and the strength of communal identity that arises from shared traditions in general. In my opinion, modern human societies should be based on logical principles and not on religious traditions based on any principles or values that cannot be supported through objective rationale. The most surprising thing that I learned is that the Eastern religions believe in reincarnation and the influence of prior lives in subsequent lives. While that may be easy to imagine in the case of human lives, it is difficult for me to imagine how animal life forms can be judged for their behavior in any way that would make sense to determine the life they might deserve…
Sources Used in Documents:
Renard, J. (2002). The Handy Religion Answer Book. Visible Ink Press: Canton, MI.
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