M4:2Assignment 2: Analyzing Religions

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The US culture has a broad spectrum of religious affiliations and religiosity. As a result of interacting with people who share similarities, people seldom evaluate the main premises of other religions. This assignment will give you the opportunity to explore two religions that are new to you.

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Using Argosy University online library resources, identify and research

  • Two religions which are unfamiliar to you.
  • Select two peer-reviewed academic resources on these selected religions.

Based on your research, complete the following:

  • Compare and contrast these religions from an anthropological perspective.
  • Describe the history of the religion. Be sure to include the following:
    • When and how it was first founded
    • Details of initial leaders of the movement and spread of the religion
  • Explain the main principles of each religion’s belief systems, the religious texts—if utilized—and the significant practices.
  • Examine the role religious leaders have in these religions as well as the roles devotees or followers play.
  • Describe how the religions view at least three varying social norms or cultural issues.
  • Examine how these two religions coexist in a globalized world.

Support your statements with examples. Be sure to include a list of scholarly references.

Write a 3–4-page paper in Word format. Apply APA standards to citation of sources. Use the following file naming convention: LastnameFirstInitial_M4_A2.doc.


Religion as a concept is exceedingly difficult for social scientists to measure. From the cultural anthropological perspective, the best way to evaluate religion is by assessing its significance to the members of the cultural group. For example, in the United States, the predominant religion is Christianity, and more specifically, Protestantism—with approximately 78 percent of Americans identifying themselves as Protestant or Catholic (The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, 2010).

According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2010), this statistic is changing as the nation becomes more diverse. Even though Christianity is the most prominent religion in America, the older population is clearly more religious than the younger population. With each successive generation, members are less likely to affiliate themselves with Christianity. With the influx of a diverse population, other religious groups in the U.S. are becoming more popular and accepted.

Many countries have a strong foundation or religious base interwoven into their political history. The first colonists to the United States came with the intent of avoiding religious persecution from their own nations. Many nations around the world still undergo religious conflict on a daily basis. As a result of religion being such a strongly held value or ideology, it seems to inevitably create opposition when people holding differing religious valuations reside in the same nation. However, many theorists argue that as a society’s members learn about foreign religions, pluralism and the ability for religious groups to harmoniously coexist is much more likely to occur.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. (2010). U.S. religious landscape survey. Retrieved from http://religions.pewforum.org/reports

Worldly Connections—Holy Land

Israel is one region of the world with significant religious history for the world’s three major religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. According to historians, Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E. The State of Israel was recognized globally in 1948.

Region of Unrest Currently, the conflict is primarily between the Jews and Muslims in the region. There have been numerous peace accords offered in an attempt to minimize the bloodshed and violence in the region as competing religious groups attempt to garner power. Connections Israel is considered a “Holy Land” in various religious texts. It is mentioned in the Old Testament and is significant to Jews, it is mentioned in the New Testament and is significant to Christians, and it is mentioned

in the Quran and significant for Muslims. The debate to “possess” this region has been a significant one for hundreds of years, and today there is still dissension on who should be able to occupy the region.

Many countries across the globe including the United States, Britain, Germany, France, and Spain have at one point been embroiled in the conflict within the region. After the establishment of the United Nations (UN), it has become the attempted peacekeeper. Cultural Anthropological Perspective Although there is little likelihood peace will suddenly occur in the region, a healthy perspective across the

global community would be to recognize the role religion plays in perpetuating the regional violence.

Ironically, all three religions disputing the region are considered predominantly peace-loving religions. All three religions operate under the main premise of not

causing harm to others, and yet for control of the “Holy Land,” the violence escalates and perpetuates. It will be interesting to watch the region and see how political talks of a global nature can influence the deep-seated values of Israel’s citizens to counter the violence occurring across the board.


Shah, A. (2009, February 1). Palestine and Israel. Global Issues. Retrieved from


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