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World History Argumentative Paper Religion’s Effect On Society

1370 words - 6 pages

From the start of civilization, religion has played a crucial role in the development of most societies. The proof of its influence is evident in the way daily life was carried out. Religion had the power to affect everything from social status to common law, thus dominating a large portion of the culture. In ancient Egyptian, Islamic, and Indian society, religion had the capacity to establish how the average person would conduct their daily life.
In the area surrounding the Nile River, there lay a civilization bursting with religious influence. Egypt was a polytheistic society consisting of over 200 gods and goddesses. According to Emily Teeter and Douglas Brewer, authors of Egypt and the Egyptian, “In Egypt, religion and life were so interwoven that it would have been impossible to be agnostic”. Even discoveries in the fields of astronomy, medicine, geography, and art were all drawn from religious beliefs. They used their beliefs to construct explanations for everyday events beyond their understanding, such as the rising and setting of the sun and the notion of death which was represented by, “the sun flying over the sky in the form of a scarab beetle and cessation of life into a mirror image of life wherein the deceased had the same material requirements and desire” (Teeter and Brewer). An ideology that was central to Egyptian religion was the concept of Ma’at, a goddess that exemplified universal harmony through correct daily behavior. Each individual was responsible for the balance of the universe, and if a person failed to act with the correct daily behavior, balance would be disrupted. According to myth, the sun would not rise, crops would not grow, and children would leave their elderly parents if worldly harmony was disrupted. The nation of Egypt consisted of many smaller villages that each had their own deity. The village deity, which was either an animal or an object, fell into one of two categories- friendly and helpful, like cattle, or powerful and fear-inspiring, like bulls. Usually, a temple was built in the name of the village god, and that would require the assistance of the entire community. The building would need a full-time staff to ensure that the correct rituals and offerings were being completed in order to guarantee the deity’s blessing over his people. In return for the community’s efforts to build the temple and maintain it, their god would provide things like fertility, safety, and prosperity to the people. However, if the god’s dwelling place was not maintained or the people refused to offer sacrifices, punishment would be brought down upon the people, in the form of a plague or famine. Merciful or not, that did not keep the Egyptian people from turning to their gods daily for help in every facet of their lives.
In India, during the late Vedic Period which lasted from 1000 to 500 B.C, an ancient form of Hinduism flourished. As it possessed no official superior work of literature, such as the Bible or...

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