Ccot Essay Religion

 

CCOT ESSAY SAMPLE

Question: Choose TWO of the areas below and analyze the developments of major religious & philosophical ideas between 2000 BCE & 600 CE.Be sure to discuss continuities as well as changes.EuropeSouth AsiaMiddle East

Thesis:

The major developments in religion and philosophy in the period 2000 BCE to 600 CE were that religions moved from concrete, polytheistic and localized to abstract, monotheistic and universal. In both the Middle East and Europe, especially after about 500 BCE, there was anincrease in the use of logic, reason, and science to explain some of life’s most basic questions. Throughout the period, people in both regionsremained religious and continued to seek answers to questions such as their existence, afterlife and natural phenomena, but the more complex thesocieties became and the more dissatisfied they became with the polytheistic religions, the more they moved toward monotheism and rationalism.

Beginning:

Religions at the beginning of the period

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were concrete, local to the culture and polytheistic

3

. Most societies explained natural phenomena andanswered life’s most basic questions through their religion

3

. The development of religion is older in the Middle East than in Europe. The firstsocieties

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such as the Sumerians believed in many gods and goddesses that were super humans

2

, but had the same characteristics as man. Not havingthe scientific knowledge to explain natural occurrences, these early civilizations explained them through the actions of their gods. Because priests hadknowledge of and access to the gods they were powerful religious and political figures

2

. In Europe, the Greeks and early Romans also worshiped a plethora of gods and goddesses, who were thought to control the heavens, the earth and the underworld

2

. These Gods married, had children, andfought just as humans did

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. But these early religions did not set out principles for “right conduct.”

2

These religions became inadequate as thesocieties became more complex and there was greater interaction between them.

Changes:

By 500 BCE changes in religion began to occur in both Europe and the Middle East

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as the first monotheistic religion appeared in the Middle East,and in Europe the Greeks began to develop a philosophy based on rationalism

2. 3

. The Hebrews returned from the Babylonian captivity with a strong belief in a single monotheistic god who was not only the god of the Hebrews, but a single universal god

2

. The Hebrews also were the first to have areligion that set out laws for living one’s life, as in the 10 Commandments

2

. The Persians who were a much larger and more complex empire than theHebrews, also moved toward a religion-Zoroastrianism, which preached about judgment day, free will, and the forces of good and evil

2

. As trade andtravel between civilizations increased there was interaction between different religious groups

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. Nestorian Christians traveled west across the silk roads attempting to convert those of central Asia

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. The development of Manichaeism, a syncretic blend of Buddhism, Zoroastrianism andChristianity, in Persia revealed an increasing interaction between religious ideas from different societies

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. In Greece, Athens was experiencing itsgolden age

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. To the educated, the polytheistic religion of the past was no longer satisfactory for explaining natural phenomena

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. Socrates, Plato, andAristotle encourage the use of logic and reason in the search for truth

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. Early Greek philosophers and Aristotle sought answers to the nature of thingssuch as the elements of the universe. The developments in science continued as Alexander the Greek brought the ideas of the Greeks of Europetogether with the ideas of those in the Middle East. This interaction caused major developments in physics, math and medicine. As the societies became increasingly more complex and there was continued interaction between different cultures further changes in religious ideas and philosophydeveloped.

Continuities:

Although changes in religion and philosophy continued into the Classical Era, the people continued through out the time period to seek answers totheir own existence, proper conduct, and the nature of the universe

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. Religious institutions continue to be closely tied to the state

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. In the period between the first century and sixth century, both regions are brought together by the Roman Empire. Ethical monotheism continued its growth in theregion with the development of Christianity

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. It first developed in the Middle East and then spread into Europe. The spread of Christianity washelped by the extensive roads, general peace and later, imperial support of the Roman Empire

2

. The Greek tradition of humanism—to glorify andhonor man’s accomplishments continued to be popular with the Romans

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. Philosophy also continued to develop with the Roman’s adoption of Stoicism and the work of people like the physician, Galen

2

. Even after the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Byzantines continued the legacy of Christianity and Greco-Roman traditions

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. By the end of the Classical era, two monotheistic religions and a philosophy of humanism and rationalismhad developed in the regions.

Conclusion

:From the earliest of civilizations until 600 CE, religion played an important role in the lives of those in Europe and the Middle East. Religion became more complex as the societies developed and grew. All the major world religions and philosophies except Islam had developed by the end of the period in question. Judaism and Christianity provided their believers with a guide for living life on earth and explanations for the afterlife.Philosophies such as that of the Socratic philosophers pushed men to use reason as well as faith as a path to the truth.

Sub-Saharan Africa CCOT Outline Thesis:  In Sub-Saharan Africa, the religious beliefs and practices experienced many changes and continuities from 1450 to the present.  Changes: ◦ Islam was a major religion during the 18 th and 19 th centuries and was spreading in West Africa. ◦ Christianity was introduced and forced upon by the European explorers during the twentieth century in most of Sub-Saharan Africa. ◦ In 1910, thousands of missionaries were sent to Africa to spread Christianity. ◦ Christianity in Africa became Africanized, and African traditional beliefs and Christianity diffused together.  Continuities: ◦ Animism is still to this day a traditional religion. ◦ In Ethiopia, Christianity remained the main religion. ◦ Throughout the colonial era, Africans attempted to preserve their Animistic beliefs against the Europeans using numerous ways. ◦ Islam was always very popular in East Africa. Set the Stage:  In 1450, animism was the major traditional religion to the Sub-Saharan people.  Animism is the belief that natural objects possess souls.  Since the Europeans have not yet attempted to conquer and convert all the Sub-Saharan people, most of the region was animism and practiced their traditional values and beliefs.  In Ethiopia, Christianity was always the main religion, which is why Ethiopia is considered to be a unique Sub-Saharan nation. Changes:

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