Throughout history the many cultures of the world have carried certain aspects of their lives with them since their origin. There is a variety of different languages, art forms, music, etc. that characterize a certain people. The aspect that has managed to stay alive throughout the ages is religion. From its origin to the present it has also sparked the most controversy.
On one hand the religion characterizes a culture and having the same religion is a symbol of spiritual unity. On the other hand there is a controversy because a person’s religion revolves around his individual beliefs and sometimes may not reflect the beliefs of the people as a whole. This essay will analyze a single religion, its origin and how it has split up into various sects, all having the same underlying faith but emphasizing different aspects of it. The aim of this paper is to prove whether Christianity religion has unified or divided the people in the past or present. First of all we will start with Monotheism, which means the belief in only one god.
Monotheism originated with the Hebrews, who started in Sumer and migrated under the leadership of Abraham, whom God made a covenant with as described in the Bible. The Bible also tells of how God created heaven, Earth and all life in a process that took six days. The seventh day was blessed as a holy day and it was the day in which God rested. Of all God created his most prized possession was man whom was to have dominion over all creatures of the Earth (Genesis 1-2). Along with that it is believed that the Hebrew’s God made a covenant, or promise to the people that he will protect and guide them as long as they serve Him.
Now the Bible still exists and is the basis for modern day Christianity and Judaism for many years. Also Monotheism has had an influence on the lives of those exposed to it. The Hebrews have accepted the belief in one God and use the ten commandments, which are a set of ten laws that defined how those faithful to Him should act in their own communities. On one hand monotheism has unified the Hebrew people and on the other it caused turmoil in the ranks of the Egyptian Empire, which believed in polytheism. The Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV made many changes that went against tradition.
The most controversial was converting the Egyptian Empire from Polytheism to Monotheism. Amenhotep wanted to worship the Sun God, Aten, so he had any reference to all other gods removed from the temples of Egypt. He also changed his name to Akenaten to show that Aten was whom he worshipped. Akenaten’s reign was short and his religion did not last. It has been said that Akenaten was poisoned.
This is a prime example of how an individual’s beliefs contradict with that of the people and a possible result of the conflict. Another religion that has affected its members is Christianity, which is an offspring of Monotheism. Christianity is a world-renowned religion that originated in Hebrew times, when the stories of the Bible actually took place. Christianity has its rivalry from the Jewish people, who in early days believed that “all nations of the world hate Israel ” as said by Jonathan Sarna in his portion of the book, Uncivil Religion: Interreligious Hostility in America. There is no precise definition of Christianity because people who call themselves Christians worship under a denomination, or religious sects. The one idea that is common among all denominations is that there is one central God and he has a son named Jesus Christ who was nailed to the cross to die for the sins of the world. Then three days after his death he was resurrected and ascended into the Promise Land, or heaven as it is commonly known.
Also all Christians use the Bible as a guide for life and living. Their main goal as Christians is to live the way that Christ did during his lifetime and to receive Salvation, which will insure them a safe journey to the Promise land. Christianity was a powerful world religion until individual beliefs split it into various factions. This religious separation is especially in the United States. Initially there are the Baptists.
Their name originates from their belief in “baptism”. Baptism is the ceremony in which a person is dipped in water as a sign of washing away one’s sins. Baptist churches are usually under the wings of a pastor. This man is like a shepherd who guides his people in the path towards Salvation. The pastor is a minister who is called by God to preach and teach “His Word’, or the Bible scriptures.
The Baptists ascended English roots with the vision of ” freedom of religion, freedom of choice, and freedom to change the world” (Marty 43). Even though the Baptists may have thought that becoming an individual denomination would be the solution to their problems, in America they are separated into even smaller factions. In the US there are several types of Baptist churches. The most common of these being the Southern Baptists and the First Baptists. Another denomination of Christianity are the Methodists.
They believe in experiencing “a ‘warmed heart,’ to become holy, and then to spread holiness” ( Marty 60). A man named John Wesley, who preached to rouse the emotions of his followers, founded the Methodists. He felt that the Church of England was “too staid and its members were passive and relaxed” (Marty 61). It was Bishop Francis Asbury who implemented the idea of spreading the Methodist religion to others. Now, venturing out and witnessing their faith to others is an important part of being a Methodist. This act of spreading the Word of God and their governmental skills has allotted for the success of the Methodist religion in the US. Today Methodism is America’s third largest church.
The actions of John Wesley reflect the underlying theme of the affects of an individual’s belief on the church as a whole. Next there are the Pentecostals. This denomination of Christianity believe in ” the baptism of the Spirit, an onrush of grace apart from the baptism with water” (Marty 105). The Pentecostal church also believes in speaking in “tongues”, which is the language of God. It is said that speaking in tongues allows a person to speak directly to God.
Healing is also a major part of the Pentecostal faith. Pentecostalism is a religion characterized the middle and lower class people, meaning if all the different Christian churches were placed in a single city, the Pentecostal church would be in or near the run-down part of the city. From the years of its origin to the present Pentecostals have split up themselves into different …