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By Trevor Ling

The spiritual traditions of Asia and Europe, the 'East' and 'West' of the name, are often considered as being in sharp distinction with one another, the only 'mystical', the opposite 'prophetic'. at any time when their religions aren't so contrasted they're frequently taken care of in isolation from one another: the faith of Israel, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. Dr Ling, despite the fact that, stresses that there's significant overlap and interpenetration among the 2 varieties and components, and that it is very important see the ancient inter-relation among those religions and to watch how, in the course of given sessions of background, there are parallel advancements or major divergences. He covers the interval 1500 B.C. to the current time, supplying an overview of the advance of Asian and eu spiritual traditions and associations, and discussing the social and fiscal elements interested in the advance of religous traditions, even supposing he indicates that such elements by myself don't account for the spiritual lifetime of guy. Dr Ling is going directly to interpret the modern value of those religions and their strength for the longer term lifetime of humanity. He means that the current degree of non secular improve is characterized by means of open-endedness in the direction of the long run; now not all religions show this personality, yet none has but exhausted the probabilities of improvement. This ebook is meant to be used an an creation to the learn of faith. even if reference is made within the textual content to resources of additional info, the ebook can be utilized irrespective of them.

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The doctrine of divine production of the land was therefore of less primary importance, as were also the rituals by which the life of the land was yearly maintained, although both these elements did later come to be features of the complex which is known as Hebrew religion. 12), but had the character which Talcott Parsons, in translating the works ofWeber into English, calls 'prophetic breakthrough' (Weber, 1963; xxix). It is because Weber's 'primary interest is in religion as a source of the dynamics of social change, not religion as a reinforcement of the stability of societies' (Weber, 1963; xxx), as it was in Egypt and Babylonia, that he regards the prophetic religion of Israel as a crucial factor in the development of Western society.

The status ofcreation-beliefs among the Hebrews 19 It will be noticed that in neither of these two very ancient formulae setting out the essentials of the faith of Israel is there any introductory statement concerning God as creator of the universe. For Israel, their history began with Jacob, or possibly with Abraham. And this is how the book of Genesis very naturally and easily divides: the historical material begins in chapter 12, with Abraham's sense of a divine call to him to leave Mesopotamia and journey into some new territory; before that now stand the eleven chapters which consist largely of ancient Near Eastern mythology, modified and adapted by later Hebrew thought.

It is not a characteristic of the religious ideas of the invading Aryans, whose gods, as we shall see, were almost exclusively male. 32 The Dravidians and the notion of karma Another thoroughly characteristic feature of Indian religious belief is that of karma. By this is meant a law of moral cause and effect which operates automatically and externally throughout the whole universe. It is in its relation to human beings, however, that the significance of this notion comes out most clearly, and provides one of the major factors in the development oflndian religious ideas.

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