Gathas- the first seven meetings were held to bring

Gathas- 17 hymns that Zoroaster wrote; part of the Yasnaswith the Yashts; contained in the Avesta, the holy book of Zoroastrianism;Yasnas- part of the Avesta, the ‘bible’ of Zoroastrianism;contains the Gathas and Yashts;Kabbalah- “the Act of Receiving”; also written as Qabbalah;Jewish mysticism; believer tries to interact with God on a personal level;visions;Hasidism- Jewish mystical tradition in Ukraine; taughtthat legal tradition had become too severe; emphasized rejoicing and dancinginstead;Maimonides- Jewish philosopher; created a legalcommentary on Jewish law; created the ’13 principles of faith’;Yom Kippur- – Jewish ‘Day of Atonement’; holiest day of the year forJewish faith; jews are not allowed to eat or drink, bathe, or have sex; instead,they stay in a synagogue and pray “for forgiveness”Predestination- taught in Christianity as the idea thatGod has already chosen who he wants to “save”; the idea that humans really don’thave free will/the ability to choose their destinies for themselvesEcumenical Councils-general council of leaders within the Christian church that come together tovote/discuss matters of the church as a whole; the first seven meetings wereheld to bring about the orthodoxy of the church;Thomas Aquinas- Christian philosopher & poet; came upwith his own concepts of Latin theology; recognized by the Roman Catholicchurch as its most important Western theologian.

Arianism- by Arius; if you mix something divine withsomething not divine, the result will be less than divine, but more than notdivine; Christ is of a lesser nature than God the FatherTafsir- science of explanation of the Quran; a specific interpretation ofthe Quran;Ummah- concept of Islamic community;Ulama- religious scholars in Islam; considered to be thehighest authority on Islamic doctrine;al-Gazhali- Islamic theologian and philosopher; a’renewer of faith’ (mujaddid in Arabic);Sunnah- “prescribed way” or “habitual practice”; in Islam,how Muslims should act in legal and social settings;Qiblah- direction of the sacred shrine of the Ka’ba in Mecca, toward whichMuslims turn five times each day to pray;Secularism- related to humanism; often seen asanti-Christian; often considered by many religious communities to be the samething as atheism; the concept of looking at things with a non-religious ‘eye’Scientism- scientology; by Ron Hubbard; started out asdianetics, a form of psychotherapy that Hubbard created and then later put intoscientology; the idea of placing more emphasis on scientific facts that can beproven, rather than religious belief;Fundamentalism- Eastern Europe; solely Greek, becausethat was the original language of the bible and the first practitioners; althoughas we’ve seen in the US, many Christians can be called Fundamentalist simply byadhering very closely to the original scripture/interpretation of the bibleChinvat Bridge- the bridge that the dead cross inZoroastrianism Essays (30 points each; total 60 points). Answer all of the followingquestions as thoroughly as possible. Your answers must be in two separateessays.1.      Whatis the relationship of a religion to the political history of its times? Can areligion ever be considered separately from such a political history? What isthe relationship of a religion to the state? Consider Judaism, Christianity, orIslam.The relationship of religion and politics is a difficultthing to explain, because I would consider the answer to be different dependingon what part of the world you’re in. However, what I can speak to is therelationship between Christianity and the United States:The original colonists of what would become the UnitedStates were the Pilgrims, who sought shelter from religious persecution inEurope. So, the original idea behind America was religion-related.

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Since thattime, many different religious groups have come and gone both from within theUS and from without. However, the sole religion that seems to ‘stick around’,is Christianity. It’s constantly referenced in politics, whether it be fromlarge presidential elections, to small towns like the one I grew up in. Thesouthern states in particular tout America to be a ‘wholesome Christian nation’,when in actuality, no-where in the governing documents of the US does it saythat America even has an official religion.

There has been more and morepush-back towards the afore-mentioned idea that the US is entirely a Christiannation, especially from the younger generations, like mine. 2.      Howdo the religions deal with the paradox of human free will versus God’s omnipotence,foreknowledge, and predetermination of all things? Has this ever beensatisfactorily resolved? Is it a crucial defect in the religious ideologies?In Christianity, predestination is taught as the ideathat God “has a plan” for everyone. I’ve found that older Christians tend tojust go with this idea, that they really have no control over their lives.

Ithink perhaps it’s easier for them to think this way, rather than face thereality of not really knowing what to do with themselves. When I became anatheist, I was terrified. I had always been taught to just “listen for God” totell me what to do; I was never really given the “mental freedom” so-to-speak,to consider what would make me personally happy.In Islam, there are a few different groups that eachhave different answers.

Most groups that I’ve read about consider, much likethe Christians, that their God has a ‘predestination’ for everyone, that humanshave no free will and that their God dictates everything they do. Another groupbelieves that their God simply created the universe, and has no say over whathumans do. And finally, the Sunni believe that they do have some sort of freewill, but that their God knows what will happen in the end.In Judaism, Maimonides, one of the most highly respectedJewish philosophers, considered all people to have free will. He says that itis within one’s own person to make themselves good or bad, and thatpredestination from God does not exist.I do not believe this paradoxical idea will ever trulybe resolved, as there are far too many people within each religion with toomany differing ideas. There were wars fought over differing ideas on religion,and I do not doubt that there will be more to come.

I believe it’s up to eachperson to make peace with their individuality/free will within themselves.