Religion and Behavior
In terms of religion, Christianity is a relatively new one. It is about 2000 years old. Its religious guide has been recorded as a collection since 170 A.D.. The work is known as the New Testament. Various apocrypha were weeded out before 340 A.D. and became more or less the Bible that we are familiar with today.
The complete Bible also contains the Old Testament, which is followed as the unquestioned guide in Judaism. The old testament can be dated back to 650 B.C.. Judaism can be dated back to 2000 B.C. so its historical record is about 4000 years old. People who believe in Judaism are known as Jewish. It should be noted some people who doesn't practice Judaism might consider themselves as Jewish. The word has come to be associated as a word of national identity and blood line. A person with Judaism parents would often consider him or herself as Jewish.
Jews don't believe in the teachings of the New Testament and thinks of Jesus Christ as another prophet rather than as the savior sent by God. On the other hand, it is possible to be a Christian without following the Old Testament. For example, not many Christians follow the diet regiment imposed by Old Testament. Yet, all Christians still follow and believe in the 10 commandments.
In my humble and limited opinion, Judaism seems to be the most prosecuted religion that is still in existence. Of course, I base that largely on the result of World War II and the fact that I know very little about the history of world religion.
Many Christians believe the son of god, Jesus Christ, is fair skinned with blue eyes. Yet the book of revelation stated Jesus has hair like wool, feet the color of burnt brass, and resembled jasper and sardine stones: both of which were brown in color. Jesus would be African-Arabic with a face Asian and Arab can be comfortable judging by the era and location he was born under. I suppose as a race we humans can only accept what is familiar to us; therefore, Jesus became white for the benefit of the public. Religion is not big on constituency, but I suppose science is not either if you jump from Newton to Einstein.
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam together form one major branch of religion known as Abrahmic religion. It is also known as desert monotheism. These 3 religion composes of about half of world population. Christianity has about 2 billion, Islam about 1.2 billion, and Hindu about 0.8 billion. The current world population is about 6.5 billion. It should be noted that Christianity is a very vague and broad term that includes more than 34,000 different kinds of branches. Some of these branches do not recognize other branches. Further more, it should be noted that although Islam is short from Christianity by 0.8 billion, there is a strong indication that there are more "practicing" Islam than Christians. Because of the flexibility of the term Christians being used, some people who has never been to church for decades might still claim to be of the faith. From research (aka browsing the internet for information) actual practicing Christians that pray during a meal, go to church on Sunday, is at best half of the people who claim to be Christians. My personal observation from college tends to agree with the result, but I would place the number at 1/3 of the total claimed at best.
Dharma is the other branch of the major religion. This is a very general term for eastern religion. It means The Way of the Higher Truths. Hinduism (828 million) , Buddhism (364 million), Jainism (4.3 million), and Sikhism(23.3 million) are the major religions that fall under the category. Dharma is composed of about 1.2 billion of the world population. This branch of religion is a bit harder to distinguish, since it is of polytheism. It should be noted Taiwan is a mostly Buddhist country since that is where I am born - although I belong to 1 of the 775 million people who doesn't have a religion. Also it should be noted the talling of Buddhism is done by western christians, which placed only 8% of Chinese population with Buddhism. That stastic is taken by Temple who either employee staff or keep tally on believers, which is not a practice done by Buddhism. Buddhism doesn't force religion on other people nor keep track of the numbers. A more realistic claim would be 70% of chinese are Buddhist. A more conservative claim would be 50%. Which would place the number of Buddhist at 850 million.
it is difficult to talk about eastern religion because it is so board and convoluted. It tends to tie into every day life like water seep into the ground, vaporize into the air, and liquefy to rain down upon the land. Yet here is a very brief note on Buddhism.
Buddhism follows The Middle Way. It is generally believed strong desire brings about ones own misfortune. The desire for love is the cause for jealousy for example; the desire for money is the cause for corruption; the desire for tasteful food leads to over-eating. The teaching stresses simplicity which is in direct opposition of western believe of trying your best, giving your all, leaving your heart and sweat on the floor kind of mentality.
Religion and the way we think are certainly connected. Western religion is mostly monotheism. It should be noted the way western population tend to operate is also more singular. The tendency to focus on one task with a deadline and complete it before moving on to the second task is hard to ignore. Easterners tend to focus on task at once - which means polychornic. Westerners tend to be monochronic. Monochronic culture treats time as linear and interruption during work is usually considered rude. Polychornic treats time as circular, who tend to joggle two or three jobs at once and focus each in level by individual's own priority. For example, while on a phone and a friend walked by, a polychornic would say hi to the friend walking in, while a monochronic would not break from the conversation.
here are some lists on eastern and western differences:
- Live in time
- Value rest
- Accept what is
- Live in nature
- Want to know meaning
- Freedom of silence
- Lapse into meditation
- Marry first, then love
- Love is mute
- Focus on self-abnegation
- Learn to do with less
- Ideal - love of life
- Honor austerity
- Wealth & Poverty - results of fortune
- Cherish wisdom of years
- Retire to enjoy the gift of your family
- Live in space
- Value activity
- Seek change
- Live with nature
- Want to know how it works
- Freedom of speech
- Strive for articulation
- Love first, then marry
- Love is vocal
- Focus on self-assuredness
- Attempt to get some more
- Ideal - being successful
- Honor achievement
- Wealth/Poverty - results of enterprise
- Cherish vitality of youth
- Retire to enjoy the rewards of your work
Sigh. In the end, I did not get to what I want to write - which is to compare Christianity to the older religions of Hinduism and maybe Buddhism. The research is simply enormous. By noting down the interesting readings along the way I have this giant post that no one can follow. It is 4:51 , I will try to do that comparison some other time.