Q#1: Regarding science and religion, what historically has changed? Explain.
It is a fact that in history, science and religion are always having conflict with each other. This should not be the scenario since the history had proved that in the Western culture, there were two books entitled The Book of Nature and the Book of Scripture that was believed to be bought created by God.
The history of science had been associated with many religious works. During the Middle Ages, there was a time that the Islamic countries had embraced the science of mathematics, and astronomy that was being turned away by the Christian Europe. The scientific teachings were based from the ancient Greek discoveries. The Islamic people consisting of Muslim scholars had done additional developments in the field of scientific teachings. However, in the thirteenth century the Christian Europe again had decided to embrace the scientific heritage. They were commonly called the Christian monks and Christian theologians.
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In the entire duration of the late Middle Ages and even in the Renaissance period, almost all the scientist was also the people who leads the church. As the history continued in the eighteenth century, more and more men of science were also deep believers of different religions. The church had also begun to take part in influencing the universities and all institutes that promote higher form of teachings. Schools for the trainings to become clergy and other church functionaries were also being established.
An essential breakthrough in the seventeenth century which is called the “scientific revolution” had again involved men from the religious groups who were the great pioneers and founders of the renewed science. Almost all the science founders aimed that they could put harmony in their works in science and their obligations in their religion.
Not until the start of the nineteenth century, this was the common thought of the scientist. The start of the nineteenth century up to these days had marked a notable change in the history of science and religion. The warfare for science and religion had started with the revolutionary book Charles Darwin entitled “On the Evolution of Species by Means of Natural Selection”. Many scientists had several views that pertain to the thought that religion is a great threat to science which was carried until these days (Faith and Reasons, 2007).
Q#2: Discuss the importance of the circle as a symbol for indigenous religions.
Circle as a symbol for the indigenous religions refers to the sacred space. The sacred space describes a magical ritual. The magical ritual is a practice that is being utilized in the Ritual Magic and In Wicca. The magical ritual came from the practices of the medieval magic and witchcraft. This symbol was shared by most of the folk magicians in many countries.
The temple of initiation which is circular simply means that it is a representation of the universe is the main point of the Zoroasteric mysteries of Persia. In the circular temple there is a sun located in the east which is also represented as a circle that symbolizes the universe. A celebration in Athens termed as the great mysteries of Eleusis indeed given points that the circle is the symbolism for the universe. According to one of the officers from St. Chrysostom, the circular figure represented the sun.
Moreover, in the Egyptian mysteries of Osiris also contains the sun as referred to the representation of the universe. They have this so called Sun-god who appeared into the Earth in the sun’s settings.
The temple of initiation of the Celtic mysteries of Druids is also an oval or a circle. It is an oval because the circular temple of initiation represents the routinary egg which symbolizes the earth. Some temples of initiation of the Celtic mysteries is also circular aside from being oval because for them, the circular figure was the symbol of the universe. The temple of initiation sometimes is also built following the cruciform. The reason of the cruciform is that it represents the reference to the four elements. The four elements are commonly termed as the components of the universe.
The use of the circle as an important symbol for the indigenous religions had only proven the many uses of the circle in the ancient times. Moreover, the many uses of the circle had also proven its universality as an important symbol in the ancient times (Emick, 2007).
Q#3: What is the foundational core of Buddhist teachings? Explain.
Buddhism is known to be a dharmic religion. It is also regarded as a philosophy. It is commonly known as the Buddha Dharma or the Dhamma. Buddha Dharma signifies the “teachings of the awakened one”. It was founded by Siddharta Gautama around the fifth century BCE. Siddharta Gautama was referred to as “The Buddha”.
Siddharta Gautama had introduced the Four Noble Truth that was considered to be the fundamental core of the Buddhist teachings. The Four Noble Truth was a way for them to attain the bodhi and the termination of pain and suffering or what is commonly called the Nirvana.
The first noble truth of the Buddhist teaching is the Dukkha. Dukkha is called the noble truth of suffering. The noble truth of suffering is a part of all the stages in the life of a person. Since birth until the death of a Buddhist, he experience suffering. Moreover, Buddhism principles are also centered with suffering. Sufferings in the life of a Buddhist include sufferings during his birth and aging. Having a disease or illness is also part of the Buddhist sufferings.
The second noble truth is called the Samudaya which means that the sufferings in the first noble truth are solely caused by desire. The result of the sufferings is simply explained by the Samudaya. Expectations that are linked to the desires of a believer and most especially the attachment of the believer to the desires are the ones that explain the Samudaya (Boddhi, 2000).
Nirodha is the third noble truth. It symbolizes the termination of suffering. As the sufferings had ended and were being forgotten by the Buddhist, these means that the understanding of the right meaning of the Nirodha had been inculcated in him. And in order for the believer to entirely forget and free himself from a suffering, he must be able give up and surrender the pains he had gone through.
The forth and the final noble truth is the termination of the desires or what is called as the Magga. In order for the believer to get rid of his desires he must follow the Eightfold Path. The Noble Eightfold Path consists of the right view, right intention, right speech and right action. Right livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration are also included in the Noble Eightfold Path (Yamamoto, 2000).
Q#4: What was the role of the Temple for ancient Judaism?
According to the book of Chronicles, the First Temple was built in the 10th century BCE. This was built by King Solomon for seven years to replace the Tabernacle of Moses and the Tabernacles of Shiloh, Nov and Givon. These Tabernacles were also once the center point for the Jewish faith. The First Temple had symbolized the center of ancient Judaism. For the entire millennium, the First Temple had continued to be the central point for all the services done by the Jewish. As time had passed, the First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586. After seventy years, it was again built by Cyrus the Great in 516 BCE. The temple had been the Second Temple.
There are many roles of the in the ancient Judaism. During the time when the course of the bible of Hebrews was being carried out, the temple serves to be the place for offerings. The offerings include the daily and the morning ones. Offerings done on Shabbat and Jewish holidays which are considered special for the Hebrews were also celebrated in the Temple. During the course of the offerings, there will be a certain time when the Levites recite psalms. Psalms such as the Psalm of the Day and special psalms for the new month are the ones recited by the Jewish.
The temple for the ancient Judaism is meant to be the model and recreation of the Garden of Eve. That is the reason while the courtyards of the Temple contained plenty of trees, flowers and fountains (Stager, 2000).
For the Jewish, the temple is viewed as central or the focal point wherein rituals are done. It was then considered to be the only place wherein the creation of contact between men, women and the higher spheres were done. It is the place considered to be the eternal dwelling place for the Jewish in order for them to do contact with the powers above them. Moreover, it was also a place which they believed the place where their gods have crossed in order to surpass their celestial environment to be able to descend on earth (Nibley, 1992).
Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000). "The Collected Discourses of the Buddha: A new translation of the Samyutta Nikaya". Somerville: Wisdom Publications. Retrieved July 27, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#_ref-1
Emick, Jennifer. (2007). Your Guide to Alternative Religion. The New York Times Company.
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Faith and Reasons. (2007). History of Science and Religion. Retrieved July 27, 2007 from
Mackey, Albert. (2007). The Symbolisms of Free Masonry. The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 27, 2007 from http://altreligion.about.com/library/texts/bl_symbolismfreemasonry17.htm
Nibley, Hugh W. (1992). The meaning and functions of Temples. Encyclopedia of Mormonism,
Vol. 4. Macmillan Publishing Company. Retrieved July 26, 2007 from http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/temples/purpose.html
Stager, Lawrence. (2006). Garden of Eve. Biblical Archaeology Review. Retrieved July 26, 2007
Yamamoto, Kosho. (2000) The Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra in 12 Volumes (Nirvana Publications. Retrieved July 27, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Noble_Truths#_ref-1
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