Issues and Traditions in Western Religions

Essay by mrbudziszUniversity, Bachelor'sA, May 2007

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Religion can be defined with many different meanings. "The English word "religion" is derived from the Middle English "religioun" which came from the Old French "religion." It may have been originally derived from the Latin word "religo" which means "good faith," "ritual," and other similar meanings. Or it may have come from the Latin "religãre" which means "to tie fast." (Religious Tolerance 2006). This essay will use a very common and broad definition of religion: "Religion is any specific system of belief about deity, often involving rituals, a code of ethics, a philosophy of life, and a worldview." (Religious Tolerance 2006). This essay will discuss three very popular religions; Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A brief summary of the top two current issues facing each of these religions will be provided. This essay will also identify two sacred traditions for each of the previous stated religions as well as the significance and major characteristics for each tradition.

JudaismJews follow the religion of Judaism. Judaism is a way of life among believers and consists of a basic system of beliefs and values. The religion of Judaism focuses on current life rather than the idea of the afterlife. One of the current concerns and issues that Jews are facing is anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is nothing new and has existed for thousands of years. Anti-Semitism is "discrimination, hostility or prejudice directed at Jewish persons as a religious, racial, or ethnic group. Instances of anti-Semitism range from individual hatred to institutionalized, violent persecution. Extreme instances of persecution include the Spanish Inquisition, eviction from Spain, various pogroms, and, above all, Adolf Hitler's Holocaust." (Wikipedia, Encyclopedia 2007). The recent Palestinian attacks against Israel and the continuous threats against Jewish places of worship are recent examples of anti-Semitism (Anti-Defamation League 2007). Another current issue the Jews are facing today...