Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
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21-05-2011, 11:46 PM (This post was last modified: 22-05-2011 12:09 AM by Buddy Christ.)
Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
So, most of us chose to be atheists with respect to the dominant religion of our demographics. The fact that we are atheist to the religions of the rest of the world is just due to having never been exposed. Meaning most of us are likely undereducated when it comes to the other "major" religions. And if you think you aren't, what are the five pillars of Islam... right off the top of your head?

Welcome to class. I've been reading up on the different religions and decided that we all should know the major foundations of them. We will transcend beyond quoting contradicting scripture to a bible thumper. We will also be able to reference Buddha and Shiva and Brahma. We will be masters of our religious rejections.

I'm going to take a break from dissecting the Bible and act out my secret desires to teach collegiate level Theology. Join me.

First up:

JUDAISM

[Image: 260px-star_of_david_svg.png]



Judaism is the first and oldest of the 3 monotheistic faiths stemming from the patriarch Abraham.



The holy text that THIS religion is based around is the Torah.

[Image: torah-1.gif]

The Torah (also known as The Law) is simply the Five Books of Moses that also start the Christian Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), that tell of the tale of the Hebrews and Moses leading them away from the oppressive Pharaohs, Moses getting the 10 Commandments from Mt Sinai, God's Covenant, etc.



The Covenant God made with Abraham stated that Abraham's descendants were to be the "chosen people" in return for their complete obedience.



A rabbi is simply a leader of worship, usually connected to a particular synagogue, which is the house of prayer.

[Image: rabbi_weiss.jpg]



Jewish religious law was originally only allowed to be transmitted orally, until it was finally all written down (called the Mishna) in the spirit of preservation. The Mishna combined with a collection of studies, commentary, anecdote, and elaboration makes up the Talmud.



Many different sects of Judaism have formed over the years:

-The Orthodox Jews still observe and practice the original traditions and teachings. They disregard any "social influences" from the outside world and stick to the basics. They could also be described as Fundamentalists. They are the "obey every word that God commanded" group, which puts religion's true colors on display... which is why they are the most ridiculous looking and still have gender segregated prayer. This is literally what a follower of the God of Abraham should look like:

[Image: orthodox-jews.jpg]

Anyone who doesn't look like this is ignoring the word of God out of modern convenience. (Orthodox Jews have a long list of things that are required. Blowing a ram's horn, literally avoiding a menstruating woman and everything she touches, don't wear mixed cloth fibers, grow beards without "trimming the corners," yarmulkes so the head is always covered, specific prayers to be said throughout the day and after daily events; like waking up and eating... the rituals are like a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder where it becomes second nature to do these things without thinking about them, etc)

-The Conservative Jews still honor and practice the old ways of Judaism, but also allow for changes to be made to accommodate modern society and not alienate people so much. Basically analogous to the Mennonites of the Amish community.

-The Reform Jews are the "contemporary Jews." They believe that the Torah was simply "inspired" by God and can be translated differently per individual. They try to practice the overall teachings of Judaism, but without limiting themselves to the strict laws of their ancestors.

(And a bunch of other smaller sects; Reconstructionist, Sephardic, Hasidic, etc)




Kosher

Refers to specific foods and their preparations. Kosher animals must have cloven hoofs AND chew cud, and be killed in a special way and have all traces of blood removed. They also aren't allowed to eat meat and dairy at the same time, pork, or shellfish.


Shabbat

The day of rest following six days of work, as God did at the creation. Observed on Saturday. "Work" is a subjective term, with some Jews not even able to answer the phone or cook dinner for themselves.


Rosh Hashanah

The Jewish New Year, following the Hebrew calendar. Occurs in the middle of September.


Yom Kippur

The Day of Atonement. No food, no drink, no work from sunrise to sunset. The same type of day that all monotheistic religions celebrate.


Chanukah (Hanukkah, Festival of Lights)

Celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrians. Pisses Jews off when referred to as "The Jewish Christmas" ...since this holiday was established 150 years before Jesus was born.

During Hanukkah, a Menorah is lit, which is a 9 branched candelabrum (8 candles for each day of Hanukkah, and the 9th is used to light the other candles).

[Image: menorah-brass.jpg]


Pesach (Passover)

We all know this one. Where we celebrate the day when Israelites smeared goat's blood on their door frames so that God, in his genocidal bloodlust, wouldn't kill their firstborn babies.



A Jewish child has his foreskin removed when he is 8 days old, then when he reaches 13, he has his Bar Mitzvah, marking his entry into the community.



A Jewish marriage takes place under a canopy known as a huppah, and incorporates the ritual of breaking the glass underfoot, commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.



-------
Shorter post than I thought it'd be.

I'll leave it up for a day or so for any additional Jewish traditions or facts that you all want to add before moving on (perhaps something about Zionism, which I've never fully understood). Or maybe I could include some historic facts, like the Hebrew Exile under Roman rule or the Holocaust?

[Image: jewish_orthodox_r_1.jpg]

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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22-05-2011, 02:11 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
Short enough for people that are too lazy to do the research themselves Big Grin

Well done!

"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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22-05-2011, 02:21 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
Keep them coming. I'm curios about Islam (how it diverges from Christianity and Judaism) and Buddhism.
I may actually have a laugh when you reach Scientology or Mormonism (if you keep it up that is)

Atheism is a religion like OFF is a TV channel !!!

Proud of my genetic relatives Big Grin
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22-05-2011, 03:42 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
"what are the five pillars of Islam... right off the top of your head?"

Jihad, Jihad, Jihad, Jihad and Jihad?

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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22-05-2011, 04:51 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
You should add the delightful tradition of peri'ah metsistsah : it's a kind of circumcision , that is now only practiced by the Hasidic community:

The procedure is performed by a mohel, who cuts around the foreskin of the infant's penis, and completes the procedure by putting the penis in his mouth, sucking off the foreskin, and spitting it out.

..."we can be truly free - not because we can rebel against the the tyranny of the selfish replicators but because we know that there is no one to rebel."
Susan Blackmore : The Meme Machine
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22-05-2011, 09:02 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
This is a great idea ^.^ I'm looking forward to reading the upcoming posts.

Also, to add to the facts on Judaism: Reform Judaism is one of the few religions that will marry a homosexual couple (in countries where this is legal). Pretty interesting considering the Torah's/OT's stance on homosexuality.

"Remember, my friend, that knowledge is stronger than memory, and we should not trust the weaker." - Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula
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23-05-2011, 10:34 PM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
I love this too! I know some history, but would love recaps on the chance I learn something new. Thanks PBC!
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24-05-2011, 01:15 AM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
Aargh! You mentioned circumcision. Now I'm going to be pissed off all day again! Sad

Nice initiative though. Looking forward to seeing more. Smile

I want to rip off your superstitions and make passionate sense to you
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24-05-2011, 11:47 AM
 
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
Good post Buddy.

I'd make a post about Islam and Christianity with the stuff I learned from my religion class last quarter but I'm too lazy Smile
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24-05-2011, 03:57 PM
RE: Religions of the World 101 with Professor Buddy Christ
Now we move on to:

Islam


[Image: islam-peace-poster1.jpg]


...er, I mean


[Image: islamic_jihad_w_koran_and_rifle.jpg]


...wait wait, where's that damn symbol again?


[Image: crescent-200.gif]


There we go.



"Islam actually translates as "submission" (to God) and "Muslim" means "one who submits."



Islam accepts both the Old and New Testament as divine scriptures, but holds the Qu'ran to be the final word of God. Likewise, Muhammad is considered the final prophet in a long line of prophets, including Jesus and Moses.




Muhammad (please don't kill me!) was born in Mecca and spent his life as a merchant. It wasn't until age 40 that he began to perceive a powerful force in his life. He started advocating monotheism in a land dominated by polytheism and was persecuted, so he fled to Yathrib (aka Medina).

He build an army of followers in Medina and warred with the people of Mecca until finally capturing it.

Muhammad had his "divine encounters" and "visions" (which usually took place in a cave... convenient) recorded by his "secretary" Zaid. And 20 years after Muhammad's death, a caliph (caliph is the title given to the successors of Muhammad, bestowed with leading the Islamic faith) named Uthman declared that Zaid's collection was the "true version" (which, along with other teachings, became the Qu'ran) and had all other versions destroyed.

[Image: Qrn_26020.jpg]



The Qu'ran outlines five obligations, or pillars, as essential to the lives of Muslims.

Five Pillars:

1. Confession of one's faith in God and in his prophet Muhammad.

"There is no God but God; Muhammad is the Prophet of God"

2. Ritual worship.

Formal periods of worship are observed five times every day: before sunrise, after midday, at mid-afternoon, shortly after sunset, and in the middle of the night.

3. Almsgiving.

The Zakat, or "purification" tax on property, is paid by all Muslims to go towards benefiting the poor. But then, so is the donation plate at church and those multi-million dollar preacher houses didn't pay for themselves.

4. Fasting.

Observed during Ramadan.

5. Pilgrimage.

Every Muslim is expected to make the journey (Hajj) to the holy city of Mecca at least once in their lifetime.



Muslims consider the Arabic version of the Qu'ran to be the only inspired version, which translated versions being considered mere descriptions, and lacking the direct quotes from God.



Soon after Muhammad's death, disagreements broke out (as will happen when the vague wishes of the supernatural is involved) and when it was all over, two sects survived.

The Sunnis and the Shiites.

The Sunni sect is the orthodox school of Islam. It is now the dominant sect, with about 90% of Muslims worshiping within some version of the Sunni tradition. The Sunnis preach the original teachings and traditions that were put forth by Muhammad and emphasize the individual's direct relationship with Allah.

Whereas the Shiite sect is the more liberal of the Muslims. They are the "followers of Ali" in that they disagree with the Sunni lineage of caliphs (leaders of Islam) and say that Ali (Muhammad's cousin) was the first caliph. Shiites reject the authority of Islamic central government (since in the eyes of Shiites, they have been electing the wrong people to lead the Islamic faith since the beginning) and emphasize individual leaders.

There are other differences between the sects, but it's about as stimulating and exciting as the differences between Catholics and Protestants.



Shiites follow religious leaders known as Imams, who are regarded as "sinless" and hold a direct lineage to Ali.



Prayer

For the five prayers a day, a Muslim first removes his shoes and cleans his hands, face, mouth, and feet as a symbolic spiritual purification.

(One of our interrogators in Iraq was a female who used to wipe "period blood" (it was fake) on a captured Iraqi's hands and refuse him water so that he couldn't pray (this is double the sin since women and their menstruations are also sinful). Though I'm not sure I should be telling anyone that story... screw it, using their crazy superstitions against them isn't a violation of rights.)

Prayees then face Mecca and begin a series of bowing, prostration, and recitation of prayers.



Mosques are buildings of worship and have one wall, called a qibla, that always faces Mecca.

[Image: 080505Mosque.jpg]



Islam has birth ceremonies, manhood initiation ceremonies, and marriage ceremonies. And from my experience, marriage reception appears to be lots and lots of gunfire. "Are we under attack?" "No, wedding." "Oh."



Ramadan is the holy festival during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Between sunrise and sunset, Muslims refrain from smoking, eating, drinking, or sex. They are also encouraged to read the Qu'ran throughout the entire month.

Lailat ul-Qadr is the final ten days of Ramadan where Muslims celebrate Muhammad's first divine revelation.

Id al-Fitr is the feast at the conclusion of Ramadan, usually banquets that last 3 days.

Id ul-Adha is the sacrificial slaughter of animals that takes place 2 to 3 months after Ramadan to celebrate the obedience of Abraham.



There's a lot I'm not covering right now, cause I've gotta leave for brewskies with a friend, so this section as well as Judaism is still very much open for additions.

One facet of Islam I find fascinating is the concept of the Jinn, a creature "born from flame" that coexist with angels and humans in the Qu'ran that can be good or evil. There is confusion as to whether Satan was actually a fallen angel or a fallen Jinn. If anyone else knows about this, feel free to post, I gotta go get blasted in the face by Jose Cuervo (yes I meant that to sound gay).



*This is all taken from wikipedia and Idiot's Guide To books so feel free to add your own perception of Islam (Muhammad was a pedophile) that may have been omitted in the spirit of unbiased learning.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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