Ethnic religion

From Conservapedia

Jump to: navigation, search

In the study of human geography, an ethnic religion is one that appeals primarily to a specific group of people from a specific place, compared to a universalizing religion which attempts to appeal to a wide number of people throughout the world.[1] Some ethnic religions have different denominations, but most don't. By far the most practiced ethnic religions in terms of the sheer number of adherents is Hinduism, but the most geographically widespread ethnic religion is Judaism.[2] About 24% of the world's population adheres to an ethnic religion, while about 62% belong to a universalizing religion and 14% belong to no particular religion at all.[3]

Contents

Characteristics

Foundation and Age

All ethnic religions are several thousand years old, which most being of an unknown age because they stem from indigenous religions practiced in prehistory. The notable exceptions to this are Confucianism and Daoism (or Taoism), which both have specific founders (Confucius and Lao Tzu, respectively) yet are still considered to be ethnic religions because they are practiced by a very small number of people primarily located in China (where they are actually illegal but still practiced) and Taiwan and are based on the traditional values and philosophies of that region. The ages of prehistoric religions like Hinduism, Shintoism, and Judaism cannot be accurately measured because their histories are not as well documented as those established within the scope of recorded history.

Ceremonies

As opposed to the ceremonies in universalizing religions, which are primarily based around the lives of the founders, the ceremonies in ethnic religions tend to be based on the cycle of the harvest.[4] For example, the Jewish holidays of Purim and Hanukkah, even though they have elaborate origin stories, can be traced back to being celebrations of the stages of a harvest in the same vain as Celtic celebrations like Samhain (today better known and celebrated as Halloween). Because of this, the calendars of most ethnic religions are lunar (as opposed to the common Gregorian Solar calendar) and begin in the autumn with harvest celebrations akin to the American tradition of Thanksgiving, which itself can partly be traced to a Native American harvest feast.

Conversion

While it is relatively easy to convert to a universalizing religion, it is often very difficult to convert to an ethnic religion. For example, Jewish Rabbis are traditionally supposed to reject a potential convert unless he or she comes back three times as a sign of their dedication, after which the convert usually must endure rigorous training in Hebrew scripture akin to what a young Jewish person might go through in preparation for a Bar Mitzvah.

Pantheon

A vast majority of ethnic religions are polytheistic or animistic, including Hinduism, Shintoism, indigenous Celtic religions, indigenous Native American religions, and indigenous African religions. The most notable exception to this is Judaism, which is not only monotheistic but is also one of the three Abrahamic religions. It is the only Abrahamic religion to be considered an ethnic religion, with the other two (Christianity and Islam) being considered universalizing.

List of Ethnic Religions

Because every indigenous religion is considered to be an ethnic religion, it is impossible to list them all; after all, there may yet be indigenous religions that have yet to be discovered and are practiced by the few remaining members of an ancient culture living isolated from the rest of the world. There are literally thousands of ethnic religions, but here are a few of the major ones.[5]

It should also be noted that some modern religions like Wicca and Neopaganism root their beliefs in ethnic religions, but are more properly classified as universalizing religions because they don't have a specific, ethnically linked group of people that they appeal to, rather appealing to a diverse group of people throughout the world.

See also

References

  1. Rubenstein, James M. (2008). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-134681-4. 
  2. Rubenstein, James M. (2008). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-134681-4. 
  3. Rubenstein, James M. (2008). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-134681-4. 
  4. Rubenstein, James M. (2008). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-134681-4. 
  5. Rubenstein, James M. (2008). The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Pearson Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-134681-4. 
Personal tools