The Impact On Culture Of Islam And Christianity

4066 words - 16 pages

The definition of religion has two parts in the Webster’s dictionary, the first being a simple belief or reverence in a supernatural being, the second being a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief. The common man often sees the large religions in the simplest forms, creating obvious differences between the basic beliefs of major religions. These differences, seen in the comparison of Judeo-Christian and Islam worldviews, have had an immense impact upon each separate culture and interpretation of religion within each culture.

In the current political battles across the world, government regulation determines how large the role that a given religion plays within the societal structure. American culture is a result of a strict Protestant perspective traveling the course of time and an associated governmental deregulation of religion (Burr, Religion in American Life: 16). Originally founded on the Christian religion, the United States of America still has roots in religion but is no longer the cohesive religious unit it was when at its genesis. The lack of institutionalized religion provided by the government has allowed a wide variety of religions to prosper within the borders, creating both more religious tolerance and more variations within each religion. Middle Eastern culture, on the other hand, is still strictly religious because of a continuing regulation of religion by the government in power (Jatava, Religions in Modern Society: 136). Culture and religion seem to go hand in hand, as people’s actions are affected by their spiritual beliefs, and their spiritual beliefs stem from their interpretation of their environment. Religion will always have a basis in culture as long as people continue to project human nature upon society.

Despite the power of religion in culture, there will always be splinter groups of religion within similar cultures because people have different personalities and perspectives. They will choose the religion that reflects their culture, agrees with their personal beliefs, explains their world to them, and provides rationalizations for their actions. The Arab embrace of Islam could be argued from two sides; first the culture is a result of a strong acceptance of Islam as a strong binding blanket that covers a variety of groups. On the other hand, the religion could be seen as a result of a variety of cultures which needs a strong binding blanket to envelop it all. The argument boils down to whether religion, specifically Islam, was created first and happened to unite cultures or rather, was created out of the need to bond numerous cultures. Either way, the fact that Muhammad became a prominent spiritual and political leader is undisputed. He remains one of the few people throughout history who has flourished on both the religious and secular sides, creating a religion almost solely on his own and rising to political power as well...

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