In a world plagued by religious conflict, how can the various religious and secular traditions coexist peacefully on the planet? And, what role does sociology play in helping us understand the state of religious life in a globalizing world? In the Fourth Edition of Gods in the Global Village, author Lester Kurtz continues to address these questions. This text is an engaging, thought-provoking examination of the relationships among the major faith traditions that inform the thinking and ethical standards of most people in the emerging global social order. Thoroughly updated to reflect recent events, the book discusses the role of religion in our daily lives and global politics, and the ways in which religion is both an agent of, and barrier to, social change.
Chapter 3: The Tour: Western Religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
The Tour: Western Religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
No major religious tradition lives in isolation. The living world religious traditions spring from the Indian subcontinent, where Hinduism and Buddhism emerged, and the ancient Middle East (or “West Asia” as it is known in Asia), where Judaism originated and gave birth to the other “religions of the book,” Christianity and Islam, both of which became global players in the following centuries. Before exploring those religions of the book, however, we take a brief look at ancient Greek religious traditions that failed to survive, but had a profound impact on Western civilization.
Prolegomena: The Ancient Greeks
Modern Western civilization has two interwoven strands: on the one hand, a spiritual tradition from West Asia ...