Religious traditions affect people’s views concerning themselves, society, and nature. They lead to cropping of some characters and fears within people in the society in the past. They not only constrained the behaviors of people towards some specific points but also united people and nature. For instance, the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists had different religious perceptions about themselves, their society, and nature, but related greatly in terms of views.
The Hindus, being worshippers, associated their livelihood with past practices. They believed that their mode of living had a direct connection with their past livelihood. On most occasions, they associated hardship lives with evil acts. This religious belief made the majority of them avoid committing crimes in the society1. It also made most people undergoing suffering consider themselves as sinners and those living happily as holly. To avoid suffering, the Hindus also believed in having a spiritually controlled society2. This point of view let them perceive their society as the only one that permitted mixed and varied versions of leadership. Indeed, Hinduism played a significant role in the emergence of a caste system made up of religious tendencies. Additionally, Hinduism enacted a crucial thought in people concerning their environment. According to it, there was a great relationship between the environment and human beings. The existence of the karma teachings made people perceive the act of misusing the environmental resources as a portrayal of selfishness. This allowed the Hindus to believe in having and maintaining a well natural balance.
The Buddhists, none believers of any gods, thought that human beings had some transformations in life that had a great connection with their livelihood. They believed in the existence of countless rebirths including suffering. Just as the Hindus, they had faith in individual acts contributing significantly to the occurrence of rebirths. This religious belief made Buddhists develop different views about themselves. Some of them associated their suffering with their occasional involvement in sinning3. Buddhism also made Buddhists view themselves as hardworking; their religion did not allow any sort of laziness or lethargy among its people. The teachings of Buddha also presupposed Buddhists to view themselves as kind-hearted and generous people and as the only beings with the potential of solving any kind of problem in life. The inoculation of Buddhism culture also played a significant role in the cropping of good habits and decisions among the Buddhists. This religious view also made Buddhists view their societal practices as the best among all religions that exist in the world4. Accordingly, society easily differentiated good from bad and true from false; the society believed in truth only. In addition, Buddhists viewed nature differently. Consequently, nature consisted of the emptiness of true, shunyata, and everything including the environment originated from nothing and would end in nothing. Finally, Buddhism made Buddhists believe that nature dictated overdependence of living and non-living things upon each other.
Islam is one of the traditional religions that played a significant role in molding individuals’ views about themselves. It made the majority of the people view themselves as servants of God, Allah, and avoid committing evil deeds. Additionally, the occasional involvement of the Muslims in keeping their words as required by their religion presupposed them perceiving themselves as honest. The Islamic teachings from the Quran and Hadith viewed the society as unique and full of goodness as well as an Ummah of moderation. According to the teachings, Muslims should consider their society as the only one that practices the spirit of brotherhood. Additionally, Muslims in the past believed that everything that coexisted on earth was created by God. Thus, they viewed nature as Islamic because it adored God.
Just as Muslims, Christians also believed in one God in the past. Their religious thoughts were based on viewing themselves as servants of God. As the teachings from the Bible stated, they were the only true followers of Christ and all social, cultural beliefs and doctrines evolved from them5.
Confucianism perception of self, the purpose of life, and human relation with nature
Although Confucianism was not a religious entity like Christianity and Islam, it played an immense role in defining self, life, and the importance of nature. Individuals that practiced Confucianism, believed in good examples in the society as it outlined the crucial steps that ought to be observed by the parties involved. For instance, it defined the responsibilities of wife and husband, father and son, and the young to the old. According to it, each person had the responsibility of conveying good conduct in society. Confucianism also had faith in life after death. Consequently, the dead were worshipped after death6. Finally, this teaching advocated observance of nature that dictated what ought to be done in society. It presupposed the young to respect individuals who were superior to them.
Hinduism perception of self, the purpose of life, and human relation with nature
The Hindu religion employed the use of Dharma and Karma theories in defining what life entailed. According to it, all life forms had one goal in common, Moksha. According to Moksha, there existed eternal choice for birth and death. The role of observing the coexistence of life was allocated to Karma; it determined the life-form of an individual. Thus, Karma explained why life existed. As the Hindu religion presented, life could never end; instead, it could move from one stage to another. It argued that death, which was considered by most religions as the end of life, was the end of the form and not being. Hinduism also advocated for the avoidance of evil not to involve oneself in future problems. According to it, misfortunes were the output of the committed evils. Additionally, it portrayed that there was no demarcation between the divine and nature. The Hindus believed that everything that existed on earth was nature. They also had faith in honoring nature as their great lives and expressions.
Buddhism perception of self, the purpose of life, and human relation with nature
Buddhism’s perception of self-played a significant role in advancing the importance of awareness of self on earth. According to it, the feeling of self enhanced an individual to identify and empathize with the problems other individuals underwent in life. Buddhism advocated for the involvement of an individual in the expansion of his or her self. Therefore, the development of self-made individuals contributes immensely towards the development of the environment. Like other religions, Buddhism also defined the importance of life as an end to suffering. According to Buddha teachings, people suffered because they involved themselves in committing wrong things. Thus, Buddhism advocated self-denial to avoid suffering. Furthermore, the involvement in the right activities would also help in doing away with suffering. Playing an essential role in the management of nature, Buddhism believed in a man being the main cause of the moral decay of nature. Thus, it advocated the existence of a good relationship between nature and man to preserve the environment.
Polytheism perception of self, the purpose of life, and human relation with nature
Polytheism had a great relationship with Hinduism. It involved worshipping many gods and had a great relationship with nature. Most of the forces that drove this type of religion were controlled by nature. According to it, life had great relation with the diverse existing bodies on the earth’s surface. It associated heavenly bodies with gods and its forces were greatly driven by the existence of life. Thus, it presupposed the re-creation of life.
Christianity perception of self, the purpose of life, and human relation with nature
Christianity advocated for the existence of a clean self. According to it, all living human beings, who constituted self, were the temples of the Holy Spirit. It also recommended individuals maintain their pure self as per the doctrines of Christ. Christians also believed in the existence of life after death considering that death was a passage of life that allowed a being to rest from the world’s sufferings. They also believed that all that constituted nature were created by God. Thus, they found it crucial to maintain nature to appraise God’s work.
Dignas, Beate. Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Reilly, Kevin. The West and the World: A History of Civilization : From the Ancient World to 1700. New York: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997.
- Beate Diagnas, Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 198-201.
- Kevin, Reilly. The West and the World: A History of Civilization: From the Ancient World to 1700 (New York: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997) 211-232.
- Beate Diagnas, Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 211-227.
- Kevin, Reilly. The West and the World: A History of Civilization: From the Ancient World to 1700 (New York: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997) 255-263.
- Beate Diagnas, Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 231-242.
- Kevin, Reilly. The West and the World: A History of Civilization: From the Ancient World to 1700 (New York: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997) 301-311.