Religion Questions, Questionnaire Example

  • Discuss the ways in which BUDDHISM was both an outgrowth of, and a reaction against Hinduism.

Hinduism is one of the, if not THE oldest of all the religions still practiced today. Buddhism, just like Hinduism originated in India. It could be said that, just like Christianity sprouts from its Judaic roots, so does Buddhism sprout from the Hindu tradition. It is well recorded that the Buddha was born a Hindu. When Buddha was 29 years old he felt incredibly disappointed by the suffering he saw around him, thus he decided to leave everything behind him and became a nomad. Before finding his own path, he went to Hindu gurus to find an answer to the problem of suffering. It is suggested that Buddhism gained popularity in India because it released the people from Hindu’s oppression and orthodoxy.

  • What are the elements in Hinduism which Buddhism was both an outgrowth of and a reaction against Hinduism?

Buddhism and Hinduism have their similarities but they also have their differences. The teachings of the Buddha created hope and an alternate way of life for the people who had no hope of salvation and freedom of choice in a society dominated by the caste system, the rigid rituals and the unchanging status only the elite could hope to enjoy. The Vedic religion was very much a rigid mold in which Buddhism took shape and outgrew to encompass everyone, regardless of their caste or origin. In Hindu traditions, Buddha is regarded as one of the avatars of Vishnu. Strong rivalry existed between the Hindus and the Buddhist.

  • What are the main elements of the Hinduism that the Buddha rejected?

The main elements of Hinduism that the Buddha rejected included the rigidity of the traditions and the caste system that dominated the Hindu religion. Other elements the Buddha rejected include the efficacy and supremacy of the Vedic texts, the four stages of life cycle, and the importance of the Hindu gods and goddesses. The Buddhists consider the world as suffering and regard ending suffering as the chief aim of human life. The Hindus consider that there are four chief aims (arthas) in life which every being should pursue.

  • 4 . What were his reasons for rejecting those elements?

The reasons the Buddha rejected such elements of Hinduism because he believed that all of mankind was born equal- no one was superior or inferior to anyone. Hinduism believes in a caste-system which gives certain classes of people more importance, while other sections of people are treated like animals. He rejected the animal sacrifices of vedic brahmins for food and rituals. Buddha understood that Hinduism had no valid answers to many philosophical questions and was just a backward religion full of myths and lies created by stronger people to dominate the weaker. Buddha generally did not like the caste system, the animal sacrifices, and overall hypocrisy of the Hindu religion and hence created Buddhism.

  • Discuss the way in which the religion of Islam was a reaction against the popular religion practice in Muhammad’s day by the majority of the people in the Arabian Peninsula. That is, what were the main elements of the native Arab religion AND the lifestyle his people lived that Muhammad wanted to change or eliminate. BE SPECIFIC.

Islam was a reaction against the popular religion in Muhammad’s day because followers of Muhammad saw the immoral and unethical ways of the polytheistic faiths at that time and took a radical approach of becoming a monotheistic religion. Muhammad and his followers had to undergo relentless persecution because of their beliefs in order to maintain their faith, uniting the bond of the Islamic people.

In addition. Briefly answer all of the following question:

  • What were some of the main religious influences in Arabia before Muhammad’s

revelations of the Qur’an that brought Muhammad to an understanding of monotheism?

The main religious influences in Arabia before Muhammad’s revelations of the Qur’an include polytheistic faiths and the Meccans, who persecuted Muhammad and his followers for believing in only one god. Many Ansar and Muhajrin followers ultimately gave up their monotheistic ways to follow Muhammad.

  • What is the one central belief and main focus in Islam?

The central, core belief of Islam is to love and serve God above all other things.

  • Name and define each of the 5 Pillars and briefly discuss the purpose that each one of them serves.

The five pillars of Islam include testimony, prayer, almsgiving, fasting and a pilgrimage to Mecca. The Pillars of Islam are five basic acts in Islam, considered obligatory for all believers. The Shadah, or testimony, is the first pillar and is a basic creed that must be cited under oath, testifying one’s allegiance to Muhammad. Salah is the second pillar and refers to the Islamic daily prayer routine- Islamic followers pray five times a day. Zakat refers to almsgiving, the third pillar of Islam. Zakat involves giving a fixed portion of accumulated wealth by those who can afford it to help the poor or needy. Sawn, the fourth pillar of Islam, refers to fasting from food and drink during Rahmadan- the fast’s purpose is to increase one’s closeness with Allah. The last pillar of Islam is the Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca- which symbolizes the trek Abraham’s wife had to make while she was looking for water in the desert.

  • Describe and compare the central mystical experience of Muhammad and moses, and include a discussion of what the significance of their experience was to their respective religion.

The central mystical experience of Muhammad occurred during his practice of praying alone for several weeks every year in a cave on Mount Hira near Mecca. Islamic tradition holds that during one of his visits to Mount Hira, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and began to recite the verses that would soon become the Qu’ran. Moses’ central mystical experience occurred when a bush lit up in flames in front of him and then he heard the word of God come from the bush. These occurrences were both highly significant for their own respective religions.

  • Judaism is a religion for which a general definition that is, a definition that is inclusive of all Jewish people, is virtually impossible to determine. That being said, there a few elements of the religion that comprise what is considered to be a generally ACCEPTABLE definition of Judaism. What are those elements?

Elements that comprise an acceptable definition of Judaism include the fact that Judaism is a religion developed among the ancient Hebrews and characterized by a belief in one transcendent God. This God has revealed himself to Abraham, Moses, and the Hebrew prophets and by a religious life in accordance with Scriptures and rabbinic traditions.

Also answers all of the following:

  • What were the 2 most significant events in ANCIENT Jewish story history, and why are they considered as such?

The two most significant events in ancient history include Moses’ parting of the Red Sea because it freed the Jewish people from religious persecution in Egypt, as well as the holocaust, the mass persecution of the Jewish people by the Nazis. The holocaust is considered one of the most significant events in Jewish history because it led to the death of 6 million followers and shook the core of the Jewish faith.

  • Who were the 2 most important figures in ANCIENT Jewish history?

What is each of their significance?

The two most significant figures in ancient Jewish history are Moses and Abraham. Abraham is who God made the covenant with and he is the father of the Jewish faith. Moses had the biggest impact on the history of the Jewish people however by parting the Red Sea and saving the jewish people from torment in Egypt by leading them to the ‘Promised Land.’

  • What effect did the holocaust have on the theology of many Jewish people?

The holocaust had a huge impact on the Jewish people theologically. The persecution the Jewish people suffered through may have tested the faith of many, but in the end, the Jewish people were ultimately united and unified stronger than ever after World War II ended.

  • Define and discuss the general concept of mysticism. In what ways is Sufism the mystical branch of Islam, similar of the religion of Buddhism and in what ways is it different?

Mysticism is the pursuit of communion with, identity with, or conscious awareness of an ultimate reality, divinity, spiritual truth, or God through direct experience, intuition, instinct or insight. Mysticism usually centers on practices intended to nurture those experiences. Mysticism may be dualistic, maintaining a distinction between the self and the divine, or may be nondualistic. Sufism is the mystical branch of Islam in that Sufis believe that it is possible to draw closer to God and to more fully embrace the Divine Presence in this life.

  • Jesus Christ had one overwhelming mystical experience, which marked the beginning of his teaching career and is one the miracles mentioned in the Gospel. That’s experience brought him to an understanding of his true mission in the world and thus provided the impetus for all of his teaching. Name and describe that experience, in detail ( it was discussed in the Christianity chapter of the film THE HISTORY OF GOD SHOWN IN CLASS).

Jesus Christ’s most overwhelming mystical experience that lead to his teaching of Christianity was the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist. John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River of Jordan which marked the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry and promotion of the Christian faith. Most modern scholars view the fact that Jesus was baptized by John as an historical event to which a high degree of certainty can be assigned, making it a reliable account in Jesus’ past. The baptismal scene includes the heavens opening, a dove-like descent of the Holy Spirit, and a voice from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased”.