I would like to disagree with the statement that there are differences in the forms of Christianity and Judaism that are dominant in both the East and the West. Religion is a ritualistic institution. The rules, belief systems and also the goals of each specific religion are agreed upon and standardized across the globe. Whatever differences are seen between each are simply variations that come as a result of culture. There are cultural differences inherent between every nation. The difference is not a result of religion changing forms but of people having different ethnic traditions and cultural backgrounds.
These alter religion only in the fringes, in the aspects where the most basic and core functions of the said religion are not applicable. For example, languages used in different Christian churches are different. This can result in a slightly different message but in the end there is only one core message: Jesus Christ is the Lord and Savior. Judaism, a stricter religious form than Christianity, is much the same in the West and in the East.
Again, the difference lies only in the cultural difference and the developmental changes that occur as a result of being in different places.
However, the skeleton, the framework, of the religion still holds true and thus I believe that there are no specific differences between Eastern and Western versions of religion except for cultural factors which cannot be helped and which do not affect the basic essence of religion Comment on James Otis’ response: I agree that the underlying values and traditions of teachings of religions like Christianity are essentially the same across the West and the East. The presentation of Otis’ ideas, however, seems to be confusing in that they try to tie up the different religions with one another.
The problem is not the differences between religions but rather the difference between the practice of these religions in the West and in the East. I also disagree with the fact that slavery, self-preservation, and becoming a free nation are reasons for watered down versions of morality in the West. There are many nations in the East that were colonized by Western powers. Being colonies, most of the natives in these countries were subjected to statuses much like slaves in the East and were also at the receiving end of a strife for self-preservation and freedom.
Following the logic of slavery, self preservation and free nationhood in the West, morals in the East should also have been watered down. This reasoning, therefore, does not hold and there is no reason to believe that these are the reasons for the differences of practice in Western and Eastern versions of Christianity and Judaism. It is a matter of culture and tradition and not of issues of nationhood and the like. QUESTION # 2 Response: I don’t think it’s fair that there should be a comparison of importance of people’s lives. However, in my opinion, Alexander the Great was able to contribute the most to the development of Asia.
Although he was a conqueror and although he subjugated different nations of Asia, he was also what I would consider to be the first instrument of globalization. He did not only encourage the interaction of cultures but he also established a unifying language as well as a unifying currency between the lands he conquered. Alexander the great encouraged the mingling of cultures between the West and the East. Debates still continue today to on whether Alexander wanted to better the world or whether he simply wanted to rule it. Either way, his legacy in Asia is indubitable.
He was able to found at least 70 cities in both Asia and Africa. Alexander also established many trade routes in order to establish better economic flows between East and West which enriched both sides. Of the three men, I also believe that Marco Polo was able to affect the development of Asia the least. This is because all he was really known to have done was to travel and document his travel along the Silk Road to China. I am not undermining the efforts of Marco Polo but in comparison with Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan’s contributions to Asia, he can easily be said to have contributed the least to the history of Asia.
I believe that if it hadn’t been Marco Polo, someone traveling along the Silk Road would have eventually documented it too and it would have been their book that would have increased curiosity and interest in Asia. Marco Polo was by no means the first traveler along the Silk Road. However, he was the author of the most well-known book about travel to China. As a result, he has held a position of esteem in history. However, the efforts of Alexander the Great and of Genghis Khan in developing Asia far outstrip that of Marco Polo’s thus my belief that he has the least important role in the development and progress of Asia.
Comment on Patrick Carter’s response: Genghis Khan was not only a conqueror bent on improving military skills and on expanding the territory of his kingdom. Many negative impressions of Genghis Khan and his Mongolian Horde persist until today. However, it’s also true that he left many positive legacies for Asia. For one, he was responsible for the cohesion of the Silk Road. This allowed for the creation of better lines of communication and trade between the West and the East. Also, he was much like Alexander in that he tolerated different religions. This would explain why the religions of China persisted even after the Mongols ruled there.
Genghis Khan was a strong leader who passed on his belief systems and passion to the Mongol rulers who came after him. Although Carter is right in saying that Marco Polo’s travels and writings increased knowledge about the East, this knowledge was only highly significant to those in the West. Development of Asia was not dependent on having the Western society learn more about Eastern customs and practices. Thus although Genghis Khan was a military man with violent tendencies, I still believe that he was more able to enhance the growth of Asia as opposed to Marco Polo. QUESTION # 3 Response:
The Mughal Dynasty was the ruling power over India around 1526-1720 while the Ming Dynasty ruled China during 1368-1644. The two dynasties overlapped chronologically and in terms of their contributions to both India and China, there have also been many similarities. Some of the major architectural works in both countries were created during these periods. The Taj Mahal and the Forbidden City are two of the most popular, although definitely not the only, structures from the Mughal and Ming Dynasty. Both dynasties showed a flourishing of the arts. Literature, music, and language grew and developed during both dynasties.
Trade and economy also developed during both dynasties. In the Mughal dynasty, but not in the Ming dynasty, religion also flourished as the Mughal emperors were tolerant of different religious systems. With regards to economics, development was also different in form. In the Mughal dynasty, trade flourished thanks to the trade routes established to the Arabic and Turkish lands. In the Ming dynasty, on the other hand, economy flourished as a result of an imposition of higher taxes on richer individuals and redistribution of wealth and land to the poorer citizens.
The Mughal dynasty was also able to adapt a new form of government, one that was centralized. This was not previously practiced in India. The Ming dynasty, on the other hand, simply adopted the form of government taken by the past dynasty, the Yuan Dynasty. In my opinion, both dynasties were able to contribute much to their respective countries. However, I also believe that the Mughal Dynasty contributed more to the present day life of India as opposed to the Ming Dynasty.
Centralized government, tolerance for religion and the architectural works created during the Mughal Dynasty continue to permeate the lifestyle of the citizens of India today. Also, the legacy of the Mughal Dynasty were unique to them. No dynasty before them were able to inspire such radical and important changes in India. The Ming Dynasty, on the other hand, was not the only dynasty to encourage the flourishing of arts in China. Its economic reforms were also not radically astounding that they changed the way of life of the Chinese up to this day. This is not to say that the legacy of the Ming Dynasty is irrelevant.
It is simply an argument that it was not a greater cause of change in China as compared to the Mughal Dynasty’s effects on India. The Forbidden City, one of the greatest architectural works during that time, also had counterparts in past dynasties such as the Great Wall and the Great Canal. Visuals and literary works were also equally distributed across dynasties. It is my belief, therefore, that the Mughal Dynasty was able to contribute more to India. Comment on Shane Coursey’s response: Simply enumerating the different aspects of both dynasties does not serve the purpose the response was supposed to have.
It is not clear from this response in what ways both dynasties are similar and in what ways they are different. Yes, both dynasties are great in their own right but there is still a point of comparison with regards to which was able to contribute more to their respective countries. A dynasty, being a ruling power in a given country, is unique to that country and will therefore have striking differences from other dynasties within the same country and across dynasties of different countries. This should be the main thrust of the response.
An analysis of which of the two dynasties was able to give more to either India or China. It is not a discussion of what these dynasties brought but rather, it is a discussion of how one fared in comparison to the other. In my opinion, India’s Mughal Dynasty fared better than China’s Ming Dynasty. This is seen when one dissects the aspects of both dynasties. There are clear differences both in economy and style of government. In terms of art and literature, both flourished but when placed in the context of the past Chinese dynasties, the Ming dynasty was not unique in this flourishing of the arts.
Thus the Mughal Dynasty was able to contribute more to present-day India and its culture as opposed to the Ming Dynasty and present-day China. QUESTION # 4 Response: China, Korea, and Japan are thre Asian countries that are inextricably linked in terms of cultural roots. There are those that claim that all three nations are derived from an early form of Mongolian ancestry as the Mongols were very much scattered across Asia in the earlier parts of history. However, all three nations would also claim to have religious origins, believing themselves to have descended from gods, thus rejecting what common ancestor they might all have had.
In terms of culture, however, it is very clear that both Japan and Korea have Chinese roots. Japan’s link with China may be explained by the fact that it was once colonized by mainland China during its early history. As a result, Japanese today are seen to utilize Chinese characters in their Japanese alphabet. Some games in Japan have Chinese origins. An example would be the Japanese game called Go which was actually derived from the Chinese board game Wei Ch’i. Korea, on the other hand, may be linked to China due to its proximity. The colonization of Korea by Japan may have also been a bridge for cultural transfer.
There have also been numerous Chinese immigrants to Korea over time which may also explain the Chinese roots that Korea has today. Evidence of Korea’s link to China is the meditative practice of Son which was derived from the Chinese meditation of Chan. On another note, this also has a version in Japan which is called Zen. Despite similarities between the three countries, the differences between them remain clear. Because of Japan’s isolation from the outside world, they were able to develop a unique culture separate from China and Korea. China’s long uninterrupted history has also assured it a unique identity.
Korea, on the other hand presents a unique mixture of Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian culture based on the unique history of Korea, itself. Today, all three countries are on tenuous grounds with regard to their relationships. However, South Korea and China would seem to be more aligned as agreements between the two countries are under discussion. Japan and China, however, are finding it hard to look eye to eye in many issues as they have numerous controversies regarding economics, politics, and even technology. Comment on Nhia Francis’ response: The response failed to address the link between Korea and China.
Although the relationship of China and Japan is clearer, there are links between Korea and China. How did the exchange in cultures occur? What mechanisms brought about the belief that Japan and Korea have Chinese roots? Is it in terms of ancestry or is it simply because of the closeness of the cultures they exhibit? I agree that many of the cultural practices of Japan have derivations from China. However, does this indicate that Japan has Chinese roots? Or does it simply mean that their cultures are similar? Also, the relationship of the three countries today should be analyzed.
Cite this Differences in the Forms of Christianity and Judaism
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