Table 2 Subject Category:

  • Christianity
  • Buddhism
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Primitive Religion


    I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me (Galatians 2:20).

    Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24).

    Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

    If you have died with Christ to the elementary principles of the world, why, as if you were living in the world, do you submit yourself to decrees, such as, "Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch!" (which all refer to things destined to perish with the using)--in accordance with the commandments and teachings of men? (Colossians 2:20-21).

    Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God (I Peter 2:16).

    Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:31).

    Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11).

    For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially believers (I Timothy 4:10).

    If then you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

    Do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:13).

    And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23).

    This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world (James I:27).

    And if l give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3).

    But whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected (1 John 2:5).

    For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12).

    Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).

    And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all men, and especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:9-10).

    Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things (Philippians 4:8).

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    Buddhist laity are urged to follow the Five Precepts, which prohibit killing (including animals), stealing, illicit sexual relations, wrong speech (including gossiping), and drugs or alcohol. In addition they are expected to support the community of monks.

    Monks and nuns follow a path of moderate asceticism, including strict celibacy and the repudiation of all personal property. Buddhist religious leaders often are involved in education and charity and even take part in politics; other leaders separate themselves in their monasteries, contacting the public only to gain funds.

    Original and Therevada teaching indicate that a Buddhist can for the most part help his fellow man only by showing him an example of dedication to meditation and self-denial. Mahayana teaching emphasizes "compassion," which involves aiding people in all areas of their lives, even though such aid does not lead directly toward nirvana.

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    Because of the vast number of reincarnations of any given individual, Hinduism recognizes that most people's lack of spiritual development means they must lead normal lives. However, it is thought that as a person matures he can grow closer to the ideal of full renunciation of the personality. Thus, pursuit of wealth and love of the opposite sex are considered proper to certain stages of life, but when people grow old they often leave behind their worldly possessions to pursue the life of a wandering monk.

    Yet no matter what stage of life one is in, "renouncing the fruits of your labors" is the supreme law of morality. Hindus seek to remain conscious of the illusory nature of this world and so progressively deny themselves, at least in thought, all forms of material, emotional, and even spiritual rewards and property.

    For centuries the notions of reincarnation and karma have been used to support the cruelties of the Indian caste system, which relegates the majority of people to poverty and subservience. Probably as a result of Western influence the caste system has been substantially dismantled, although the idea that all human suffering is deserved is still responsible for a great deal of injustice.

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    Islam presents a "straight path" of clear-cut duties and commands. Islamic morals are a combination of genuine acts of love and justice on the one hand and legalistic performances on the other.

    Muhammad is pictured in the Koran as a loving person, helping the poor and slow to take revenge. Nevertheless the firm belief that Muslims possess the one truth has led to much violence on the behalf of Allah through the ages.

    Although the Koran actually worked to elevate the horribly degraded position of women in Arab society, women continue to be regarded more as possible temptations to sin for men than as human beings with their own responsibilities before God. Many modern Muslims take the Koran's approval of multiple wives to be applicable only to ancient times.

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    Torah ("to point the way, give direction"), often translated "law," refers in Judaism to a total pattern of behavior, ap-plicable to all aspects of communal and individual life. It is to be found not only in the Old Testament Scriptures but also in a wide variety of oral traditions, rituals, ceremonies, stories, and commentaries on Scripture.

    Jews have often tried to develop rules of behavior to cover each situation encountered in their various cultures. Thus a gigantic literature covering codes of conduct has arisen. From time to time movements have emerged that have tried to cut through those rules and get back to the original meaning of torah, but legalism has been a perennial problem of Judaism.

    As can be seen in the Ten Commandments, much of Jewish morality is related primarily to the good of the community. The Jewish prophets were perhaps the first strong proponents of social justice in the ancient world, and concern with economic justice continues to be an integral part of Judaism.

    But material possessions are generally not considered bad in themselves, even the prophets did not denounce wealth as such, but wanted a greater number of people to have more.

    Marriage and children are held in high regard by Judaism. Singleness is looked down on even for religious leaders, and much time is spent teaching children the precepts of the faith.

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    Survival of the group is of paramount importance. Without secular means of control (police, etc.), ways must be found to make group members adhere strictly to codes of conduct. Primitive people have developed communal ways of coping with the world, embodied in religious traditions they are fearful of changing.

    In many basic areas moral standards are much the same throughout the world. Lying, cheating, stealing, and murder are generally forbidden. But often those rules apply only within the group.

    Generally a sense of conscience is aroused only when some disaster occurs. If it is felt that an illness, for example, is the result of a wicked deed, then the person will repent to the god.

    Primitive morality is thus largely a matter of transactions, of acting in ways that will benefit the self and the community. Also, although primitive men are not devoid of natural feelings of love, their morality is largely legalistic. "Sins" are usually a matter of overstepping concrete rules, even when the reason for those rules is not understood.

    Taken from: The Spirit of Truth and the Spirit of Error 2. Compiled by Steven Cory. Copyright 1986, Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. Moody Press. Used by permission.

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