Thursday, December 01, 2011

Religions of the East

Religions of the East covers some of the more popular Eastern "religions". The definition of religion is important here, for some would argue that they are just philosophies and not religions. (While others that appear to be philosophies would argue that they are religions.) In these lectures they are somewhat glommed together. Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism and Sikhism are all covered.

The relationship between a religion and a community are also important. While a religion may be very mainstream in one area, it may be symbol of counter-cultural rebellion in another. Many of the eastern religions are much less dogmatic than western or middle-eastern religions. They often more closely resemble schools of philosophy than belief sets. (They sometimes use these characteristics to help gain inroads in the west, leading to "popular" western versions that differed significantly from the eastern versions.)

These lectures lacked some substance. There was not enough history and analysis of the belief sets and the roll that the religions have played in the society as a whole. This may be a function of trying to cram too much in to a short time period. However, there also seemed to be a little too much "fluff" in the lectures that could have been cleaned out to provide more "meat".

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