Religion = critical part of culture
• Core values and beliefs come from
• Enmeshed with our cultural and social
Tied to pop growth
Design and structure of cities
Sacred space
Marriage, family, education, laws, health
Commonalities among world relig:
Implied value system (right and wrong)
Notion of sacred texts and space
Idea about place of humans in universe
Most have creation story
Most believe in higher power/force
Most include teachings about many
facets of life – law, politics, fitness, diet,
cleanliness, etc.
Organizational Divisions
Branches: fundamental division
(Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox)
Denominations: division of branch
that unites a # of local congregations
(Methodist, Presbyterian, S. Baptist)
Sects: small group that has broken
away from a denomination
Migration Diffusion
Migrants usually take their religion
with them, but unlike language, they
usually maintain it for several
i.e. places of immigration are usually
very religiously diverse (United
World Religions
World Religions
Largest World Religions
Largest Religious Groups in US
(US = 82% Christian)
1.) Protestant 53% (Baptist, Methodist,
Lutheran, Presbyterian)
2.) Catholic 23% (New England,
3.) Mormon 2% (Utah, Idaho, Arizona,
CO, Southern CA)
4.) Orthodox 1%
US Religious Distribution
CHRISTIANITY – universalizing,
global religion
Christianity - @ 2 billion followers =
world’s largest religion and most
geographically dispersed
• Monotheistic
• Origins in Judaism (Old Testament)
• Christ = son of God, promised Messiah, Savior,
way to salvation
• Sacred Text: Bible (OT and NT)
• Sacred Places: Israel, holy lands
Where Distributed?
Christianity = major religion in all of
Americas, Europe, Australia, New Zealand,
and countries w/ Christian majority exist
in Africa and Asia
3 Major Branches:
• Catholic (50%), SW and E Europe, LA, parts of
N. America)
• Protestantism (25%):N. Europe, Australia, NZ,
N. America
• Eastern Orthodox (10%): 14 self governing
churches in E. Europe (i.e. Russian Orthodox,
Pope Benedict
Martin Luther
Henry VIII
Origins of Christianity
Jesus – virgin birth in Bethlehem, literal
son of God, raised as a Jew, called
disciples, organized church, referred to as
“the Christ, Messiah,” atonement,
• Catholics = Pope = head of church
• E. Orthodox: split from Catholics in 1054 b/c
rivalry betwn Pope in Rome and Patriarch in
• Protestantism: split 1517 – Martin Luther later
Henry VIII
Diffusion of Christianity
Christianity is diffused by relocation,
hierarchical, and contagious diffusion
Hearth = Palestine
1st diffusion by relocation: after Christ’s
death missionary apostles carried his
etchings along Roman empire (i.e. Paul)
Spread within Roman empire by
contagious diffusion – contact between
Christians and Pagans
Diffusion – contd.
Dominance was assured in Roman
empire by hierarchical diffusion –
Emperor Constantine converted
Migration, missionary activity, and
British colonialism (1500-today)
spread Christianity worldwide
Acculturation: conversion and
intermarriage of natives, Africans,
Christian Calendar
EASTER – commemorates Christ’s
resurrection and the pending resurrection
of all men
CHRISTMAS – commemorates
the birth of Christ –
Virgin Mary, literal Son of God
Organization of Space – Places of
Church: comes from Greek word meaning
“Lord” or “Master”
“church” can refer to the building and the
group of people
Traditionally churches placed in town
center - largest, tallest, prettiest buildings.
Church architecture varies from branch to
branch, denomination to denomination
(Protestant churches usually more simple)
Cemeteries – bury dead underground
ISLAM – universalizing relig
about 1 billion followers
#2 behind Christianity
Followers found worldwide, but
especially in:
• Middle East and N. Africa
• Indonesia (most populous Muslim
• Pakistan
• Bangladesh
ISLAM - Doctrines
Also has roots in Judaism (accepts
many OT stories and prophets)
Monotheistic – one God – Allah
Prophet Mohammad = last and
greatest prophet
5 Pillars – Faith, Prayer, Pilgrimage,
Alms, Fasting
ISLAM – Distribution
Two Major branches
• Sunni = 83% of Muslims – in ME and N. Africa
• Shiites= 16% - in Iraq, Iran and Azerbaijan
(caliph must be descended from Muhammad’s
blood line)
• Muslim population in Europe and N. America
has increased in recent yrs. because of
• Arabic = lingua franca of Muslim world (Koran
is in Arabic)
ISLAM - Origins
Abraham: Hagar and Ishmael – ancestors
Muhammad & Arabic line
Muhammad – born @ 570 AD in Mecca
(Saudi Arabia). Received revelations from
God through Angel Gabriel (Koran).
Gained following in Medina, returned to
Mecca & established Islam. From there
diffused to rest of ME, N. Africa, E. Asia,
Diffused by Muslim Empires – Ottoman,
Mogul, Persian
ISLAM – Holy Places
Mecca: holiest city (hajj) contains al-Ka’ba –
thought to be built by Abraham and Ishmael and
contains black stone given to Abraham by Gabriel
as sign of the covenant (in Saudi Arabia –
ISLAM – holy places cont’d
Medina: Muhammad’s tomb here (in Saudi Arabia)
Jerusalem: Muhammad ascended to heaven here (Dome of
the Rock – pictured below)
– i.e. conflict w/ Jews
Places of worship = mosques
call to prayer by the muzzan
from the minaret tower
mosque in Indonesia
BUDDHISM – universalizing
Buddhism = 3rd largest universalizing
religion w/ 300 million followers
Founded by
the Buddha –
Siddhartha Gautama
BUDDHISM - Doctrines
4 Noble Truths: suffering, why it
exists, how to prevent it (change
8 Fold Path – way to achieve
“Nirvana” i.e. complete redemption
(right…understanding, intention,
speech, action, livelihood, effort,
mindfulness, concentration)
BUDDHISM – where distributed
3 main branches
• Mahayanists – 56% China, Japan, Korea
• Theravadists – 38% - Cambodia, Laos,
Thailand, Sri Lanka
• Tantrayanists – 6% - Tibet, Mongolia
Actual # of Buddhists difficult to know
because it doesn’t require exclusive
adherence. Many Buddhists also follow
a local/ethnic religion
Founder – Siddhartha Gautama –
born 1563 BC present day Nepal.
• Son of a lord
• Led privileged life
• 4 trips changed his life
Decrepit old man
Disease ridden man
Corpse…pain, suffering, felt guilty about
own life
Monk – taught him about withdrawal from
At 29 yrs – fled palace, lived in forest 6
yrs meditating. Emerged as “The Buddha”
– the enlightened one. Spent 45 years
preaching views in modern day India
2 main branches
• Theravada – oldest, believe Buddhism is full
time occupation, become monk
• Mahayana – split off 2,000 yrs ago, less
demanding, emphasize Buddha’s self help and
BUDDHISM - Diffusion
Began in NE India – spread east by
traveling monks to Asia
1st Century – AD Merchants brought
Buddhism to China – truly became a
Chinese religion
From China
diffused to
Korea and Japan
BUDDHISM – holy places
Important places are associated w/ life of Buddha
in Nepal and NE India
Pagoda: contains relics believed to be from
Buddha. Pagodas not used for congregational
Temples and monasteries
used for individual
prayer and meditation
SIKHISM – universalizing relig
about 24 million followers almost all
in Punjab region of India
1st guru (religious teacher) in late
1400s in present day Pakistan
God is perfect – people become like
him by continual improvement – take
responsibility for actions, surrender
to God
Men – wear turbans, don’t cut hair
Holy Place = Golden Temple - Punjab
Sikh Golden Temple
in Punjab region –
N. India
JUDAISM – Ethnic relig
about 6 million in US, 4 million in
Israel, 2 million in former USSR, 2
million elsewhere. In U.S. Jews
heavily concentrated in large cities
Jews geographically scattered from
historical captivities and conquering
Jewish Doctrine
1st monotheistic religion – 1 God and
Jews are his covenant people
(through Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 12
God gave land of Canaan to Abraham
and his seed – divided among tribes
Ten Commandments
Torah – Old Testament (do NOT
accept NT or Jesus as the Christ)
Jews dispersed by Romans about 70
AD- Diaspora – scattered throughout
A people without a nation for
hundreds of years. Some in Europe
assimilated. Others persecuted
• Russia and Romania – pogroms in late
1800s and early 1900s
• Nazis – Holocaust – 1930s-1940s
ZIONISM – the return
Zionism – call for Jews to return to their
promised land
Always existed, but not a major
movement until the Holocaust
Holocaust survivors return to land of
Palestine – have historical and spiritual
claim on land (but Palestinians there for
2,000 yrs)
Israel recognized as a nation by UN in
1948 backed by US and GB….conflict ever
Jewish Calendar
Rosh Hashanah – New Year
Yom Kippur – Day of Autumn
Hanukkah – Festival of Lights
Passover – commemorates Israeli
liberation from slavery in Egypt –
destroying angel passed over
Israeli’s first borns. God led Moses
with many miracles to deliver his
people to their land
Jewish Holy Places
Land of Palestine – ZION
Wailing Wall – remnant of original
Jewish temple destroyed by Romans
(Muslim Dome of Rock is located just
in front…significance of shared
sacred space has fueled conflict
HINDUISM – ethnic relig
Hinduism = largest ethnic religion about 820 million
In general the 3rd largest religion
worldwide behind Christianity and
HINDUISM - Doctrines
No single authority
Vedas - collection of sacred writings
Up to individual to decide best way
to worship God
Caste System – reincarnation – you
move up by good karma
Ahisma – do not eat any living being
- vegetarian
Where distributed – INDIA and Nepal
Origins – no specific founder. The term
“Hindusim” originally referred to people
living in India.
Diffusion – very little; not seeking
Holy Places – tied to India
• Ganges River – purifies
• Temples – shrines home to various Gods
Other Ethnic Religions
Most people in China and Japan
practice ethnic religions that co-exist
with Buddhism. Very different from
Western concept of exclusive
religious adherence….i.e. many
Chinese are both Buddhist and
Confucius – 551-479 BC– Chinese
philosopher and teacher
Emphasized ancient Chinese tradition
of “li” – correct behavior…how to
treat others, stresses responsibility,
respect, public service
Ethnic religion because strongly
rooted in traditional Chinese values
DAOISM (Taoism)
Created by Lao-Zi 604-531 BC – a
contemporary of Confucius
Writings emphasized the mystical
and magical to explain events
Stresses introspection – seek dao –
the way or the path
Today in China and Taiwan
Ethnic religion of Japan
Focus on forces of nature – sun,
moon, rivers, etc.
Later regarded emperors as divine
(turned into a political cult i.e. WWII)
Still in Japan today – references
ancestors, pilgrimages to shrines
believed to house deities
Ethnic African Religions
about 10% of African’s follow
animism – inanimate objects (trees,
stones, river) have spirit/conscious
No holy books, passed down by oral
Practitioners of animism have
decreased as Christianity and Islam
have spread (Africa = about 50 %
Christian, 40% Muslim
Concepts of Sacred Space
Sacred Space: geographic
intersection between the divine and
the mortal
Concepts of Sacred Space
Landscape of the dead
• Christians, Muslims, Jews bury dead in
cemetery (dates back to ancient Roman
• Hindus – cremation – wash body in Ganges
River and burn on funeral pyre
• Ancient Zoroastrians – expose dead to
scavenging birds and animals to strip body of
unclean portions. Don’t want body to
contaminate sacred elements of earth, fire,
Sacred Space
Religious Settlements – entire
settlement around religious purposes
• i.e. utopian communities
• Often theocracies – church and political
leaders = the same
• Examples…..
Puritans – Massachusetts, city on a hill,
Moravians – 1700s – Bethlehem, PA and
Salem, NC
Mormons 1800s – Nauvoo, Ill, SLC, UT
Recent resurgence of fundamentalism
(literal interpretation and intense
adherence to principles of
religion)….often causes divide within
the religion and problems with others
- Taliban – Afghanistan
- Hindus – caste system
- Christian fundamentalism – Eric
- 911 suicide bombers
Religion and Communism
Communism countered religion – Marx
says religion is “opium” of the people and
threat to the state
USSR – 1918 – Communist Revolution –
government nationalizes all church
property; religion dwindles
No religious freedom – if you go, go to
Orthodox services controlled by
Fall of Communism in the late 80s early
90s – resurgence of religion in E. Europe
Relig V. Relig – interfaith
Palestine..Jews,, Christians, and
Muslims have fought for over 2,000
yrs for small piece of land
Jews and Palestinians claim historical
and spiritual tie to land (Abraham)
Great Britain opened door for Jewish
return (Balfour Declaration)
1948 Israel recognized by UN – no
nation of Palestine…refugees
Palestine – cont’d
3 subsequent wars….’56, ’67, ’73…each
time Israel wins and expands into more
Israel would not exist without U.S.
backing…..big reason why U.S. hated by
Middle East
Israel = tiny nation surrounded on all
sides by countries that want to destroy it
City of Jerusalem = especially problematic
because it contains religious sites for
Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Religion V. Religion - IRELAND
Ireland = 92% Catholic
N. Ireland = (northern portion of
island…part of UK) 58% Prot, 42% Cath
Ireland got independence in 1937 and
created republic of Ireland in 1949. But 6
N. counties voted to stay with the UK
Catholics in N. Ireland = victims of
discrimination in jobs and education
Religion V. Religion - IRELAND
Continuous cycle of demonstrations and
IRA – Irish Republican Army – Catholics in
Ireland and N. Ireland – militant
organization dedicated to Irish unity – use
terrorism, bombings, etc.
about 3,000 dead over the years in N.
Majority willing to live peacefully –
militants disrupt peace for all – fuel fires,
polarize sides, etc.