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Comparitive culture - Essay Example

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Comparitive culture

Nine in ten have a religious preference, and majorities say that religion is very important in their lives. Nearly six in ten believe that "religion can answer all or most of today's problems" (Judith Stacey, 1990). Clearly the United States is a believing society.
Basically, Islam is at once a religion and a culture. As a religion, it covers three areas; doctrines, rituals, and non-ritual human activities. As a culture, it includes patterns of living its people may forge and assume in their efforts to meet the challenges of life within the framework of the religious teachings. Its religious features are perpetual, but its people's cultural patterns may adjust to the changing needs of time and place.
The Arabian culture pertaining to the belief in the monotheistic attributes of God, in his Angels, in the Sacred Books, in his Messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, as well as those pertaining to the ritual duties -- namely the declaration of the faith (shahda), keeping up the five daily prayers (alt), payment of alms (zakt), fasting during Raman (iym), and pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime by those who can afford it physically and financially (ajj) -- aim at the spiritual elevation of the individual, although they also inspire a sense of unity among the members of the community. On the other hand, Islamic teachings pertaining to the vast area of all types of human interactions and non-ritual activities aim at guiding the individual and society in the struggle to survive and to achieve the optimum degree of satisfaction and happiness on earth consistent with the overall objective of salvation in the Hereafter. http://www.uib.no/jais/v004ht/04-111-131.htm
Where as in American culture religion voluntary support of the faithful to survive. Churches were, and are, the most common means apart from work and family in which ordinary Americans get together collectively. To a great extent religion in America is popular religion -- and churches succeed that connect with this reality. Thus popular religion is often a means by which people discover and express their common hopes and concerns. It can be, therefore, a conservative force, helping to preserve what people cherish. It can also be a radical force, channeling mass discontent and challenging elites with prophetic denunciations of injustice. Whatever its specific directions, however, popular religion often fosters a populist politics -- one focused on mass-based democracy determined that elites be made responsive to the people.
Thus, Saudi Arabia is not America. For the visitor to Riyadh, the first thing that he will see when exiting King Khalid International Airport is the airport mosque. The architecturally magnificent mosque, with its dome, minarets and ornate structure, alongside a modern airport provides a powerful symbolism for Saudi Arabia's fusion of the technology of the modern world with religion. http://www.amirbutler.com/archives/2004/01/07/5
Indeed, mosques are everywhere in the Kingdom. Literally. ...Show more

Summary

Religion is gravely infected with intellectual honesty. In religion it is particularly easy to escape notice, because of the common assumption that all honesty flows from religion and religion is necessarily honest whatever it does" Robinson, pp. 117-18.
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