ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 7 : The name of this chapter is Religion. We’ll find answer some of important key questions including-
- What is religion, and what role does it play in culture?
- Where did the world’s major religions originate, and how do religions diffuse?
- How is religion seen in the cultural landscape?
- What role does religion play in political conflicts?
ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 7
When I made my first trip to the Soviet Union in 1964, the world was divided into West and East in the Cold War. I was cataloging the unique cultural landscape in my mind as my group drove along a road from Leningrad to Moscow: I was looking for evidence of communism on the landscape.
The rural areas were filled with state and collective farms. To me, the most interesting aspect of the landscape was the multitude of churches in ruins.
What is religion, and what role does it play in culture?
Religion and language lie at the foundation of culture: both confer and reflect identity. Like languages, religions are constantly changing. Altl1ough religious leaders and bureaucracies sometimes attempt to slow the pace of change, religions nevertheless change over time.
Religions diffuse thorough expansion diffusion, including both contagious and hierarchical, and religions also diffuse through relocation diffusion. In any of these cases, leaders or followers of a religion interact with people who do not espouse the religion, and the interactions sometimes lead to conversion. Spatial interaction occurs because of migration, missionary efforts, and even conquest. Along these paths, major religions of the world have diffused.
The cultural landscape is marked by religion most obviously by church, synagogues, temples, and mosques, cemeteries and shrines, statues and symbols (Fig. 7 .2). Other mo re subtle markers of religion dot the landscape as well.
The presence or absence of stores selling alcohol or of signs depicting the human form in particular ways reflect prevailing religious views. Religion is also proclaimed in modes of dress (veils, turbans) and personal habits (beards, ritual scars).
The outward display of religious beliefs often reveals the inward structure of a religion. For example, in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, in 1991, the government proclaimed that possessing a beard would be a condition for the appointment of judges. The beard requirement is an outward display of religion, and it also shows the inward structure of lslam in Pakistan, where women are not in a place of judicial power.
Where did the world’s major religions originate, and how do religions diffuse?
Despite the wide variety of religions found around the world, they are commonly classified into three categories based on their approaches to the concept of divinity. Adherents of monotheistic religions worship a single deity, a God or Allah.
Believers in polytheistic religions worship mo re than one deity, even thousands. Animistic religions are centered on the belief that inanimate objects, such as mountains, boulders, rivers, and trees, possess spirits and should therefore be revered.
Throughout much of human history, virtually all religions we re either animistic, polytheistic, or both. Somewhere around 3500 years ago, however, a monotheistic religion developed in Southwest Asia called Zoroastrianism. (The Parsi we talked about at the beginning of Chapter 4 are Zoroastrian s who moved to India.)
Some believe that the monotheism of late Judaism, Christianity, and Islam can be traced to Zoroastrian influences. Others believe that Judaism itself was the first monotheistic religion. Whichever the case, the eventual
diffusion of Christianity and Islam spread monotheistic ideas throughout much of the world and marked a major theological shift from the long dominance of polytheistic and animist beliefs in most places.
The transformation from polytheistic to monotheistic religions happened quite rapidly in Subsaharan Africa. In 1900, neither religion had many followers in Subsaharan Africa, though Islam had many followers in North Africa by 1900.
By 2010, the number of Muslims in Subsaharan Africa had grown from 11 million to 234 million, and the number of Christians had grown from 7 million to 470 million.
How is religion seen in the cultural landscape?
Religion marks cultural landscapes with houses of worship such as churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples; with cemeteries dotted with religious symbols and icons; with stores designated to sales of religious goods; and even with services provided to religious adherents who travel to sacred sites.
Then adherents voluntarily travel to a religious site to pay respects or participate in a ritual at the site, the act of travel is called a pilgrimage. Geographers who study religion are interested in the act of pilgrimage and its impacts on place, people, religion, culture, and environment.
Sacred sites are places or spaces people infuse with religious meaning. Members of a religious group may define a space or place as sacred out of either reverence or fear.
ap human geography textbook pdf chapter 7
If a sacred site is held with reverence, adherents may be encouraged to make a pilgrimage to the sacred site for rejuvenation, reflection, healing, or fulfillment of a religious commitment.
In ancient human history, sacred spaces were typically features in the physical geographic landscape, such as buttes, mountain peaks, or rivers. In more recent history, as universalizing religions diffused across the world, sacred sites were abandoned, usurped, or altered.
Geographer Mary Lee Nolan studied Irish sacred sites and observed that many of the remote physical geographic features of the Irish landscape were sacred to the Celtic people (Fig. 7 .19).
What role does religion play in political conflicts?
Religious beliefs and histories can bitterly divide peoples who speak the same language, have the same ethnic background, and make their living in similar ways. Such divisions arise not only between people adhering to different major religions (as with Muslims and Christians in the former Yugoslavia) but also among adherents of the same religion. Some of me most destructive conflicts have pitted Christian against Christian and Muslim against Muslim.
Religious conflicts usually involve more d1an differences in spiritual practices and beliefs. Religion often functions as a symbol of a wider set of cultural and political differences.
The “religious” conflict in Northern Ireland is not just about different views of Christianity, and the conflict between Hindus and Muslims in India has a strong political as well as religious dimension. Nevertheless, in these and other cases religion serves as the principal symbol around which conflict is organized.
Earlier in this chapter, we discussed the history of the conflict over the sacred space of Jerusalem. The region of Israel and Palestine is home to one of the most contentious religious conflicts in the world today. In the aftermath of World War I, European colonialism came to a region that had previously been controlled and fought over by Jews, Romans, Christians, Muslims, and Ottomans.
A newly formed League of Nations (a precursor to the United Nations) recognized British control of the land, calling the territorial mandate Palestine. At that point, the vast majority of people living in the land were Muslim Palestinians.
The goal of the British government was to meet Zionist goals and to create, in Palestine, a national homeland for the Jewish people. The British explicitly assured the world that the religious and civil rights of existing non-Jewish peoples in Pales tine would be protected. The British policy did not produce a peaceful result, however. Civil disturbances erupted almost immediately, and, by 1947-1948,Jews and Palestinians engaged in open warfare.
Religion is a major force in shaping and changing culture. The major world religions today all stem from an area of Eurasia stretching from the eastern Mediterranean to China.
Major world religions are distributed regionally, with Hinduism in India; Buddhism, ‘Taoism, Shintoism, and Chinese philosophies in East and Southeast Asia; Islam reaching across North Africa, through the Middle East and into Southeast Asia; Shamanist religions mainly in Subsaharan Africa; and Christia nity in Europe, Western Asia, the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Judaism, another major world religion, is not as concentrated .
Today, Judaism has a base in Israel and has adherents scattered throughout Europe and the Americas. As the September 11, 2001 , attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. made clear, religious beliefs can drive people to extremist behaviors.
On a day-to-day basis, however, religion more typically drives cultures-shaping how people behave, how people perceive the behaviors of others, and how people across place, scale, and time interact with each other.
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