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Culture Regions


Culture Regions Religious Regions Religious Diffusion Religious Ecology Cultural Integration in Religion Religious Landscapes Religious ecology A main function of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Culture Regions

Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes

Religious ecology
  • A main function of many religions is the
    maintenance of a harmonious relationship between
    people and their physical environment
  • Religion is at least perceived by its adherents
    to be part of the adaptive strategy
  • Environmental factors, especially natural hazards
    and disasters, exert powerful influence on the
    development of religions

Belem, Brazil
African religion in the New World
  • Traditional African religious practices diffused
    to the New World with slavery where they became
    syncretized with Roman Catholicism.
  • In North America and the Caribbean these new
    religions are known as Santeria and Verdoun.

African religion in the New World
  • In South America they are known as Candomble or
  • Animals and plant materials, important for
    rituals, are sold in public markets and in
    special stores called botanicas.

Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Most evident in animistic faiths
  • In many religions ceremonies and rites often
    intended to bring rain, quiet earthquakes, end
    plagues, etc.
  • Sometimes a link between religion and natural
    hazard is visual
  • Pre-Columbian temple pyramid at Cholula in
    central Mexico, mimics the shape of
    Popocatepetla nearby volcano with a height of
    nearly 18,000 feet
  • Catholic missionaries erected a church on top of
    the temple

Religious ecology
  • Sacred mount Lengai is in Kenyas crater
    highlands, a region populated by Maasai
    pastoralists. Their main god Lengai is
    benevolent as the black god of rain and evil as
    the red god of the sun.

Religious ecology
  • Ol Doinyo Lengai, meaning Mountain of God, last
    erupted with a plume of ash in 1982. Maasi
    pilgrimage here to pray for rain, cattle, and

Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Animistic nature-spirits lie behind certain
    religious practices such as geomancy or feng-shui
  • Chinese and Korean Buddhism
  • Auspicious sites chosen for houses, villages,
    temples, and graves
  • Homes of living and resting places of the dead
    must be aligned with the cosmic forces of the
  • Chinese Buddhists invented the magnetic compass
    to serve such needs
  • Burial sites should be neither featureless and
    flat, nor steep and rugged

Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Animistic nature-spirits lie behind certain
    religious practices such as geomancy or feng-shui
  • Chinese and Korean Buddhism
  • Active and passive forces of Chinese cosmology,
    yin and yang must correctly surround burial site
  • Yang energy expressed as a lofty mountain range
    called the Azure Dragon
  • Yin energy is a lower ridge called the White
  • Most auspicious model of feng-shui topography is
    a secluded spot where these two energies converge

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Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Even in great religions, rivers, mountains,
    trees, forests, and rocks often achieve status of
    sacred space
  • The river Ganges and certain lesser streams such
    as the Bagmati in Nepal are holy to the Hindus
  • Jordan River has special meaning for Christians
  • Most holy rivers are believed to possess
    soul-cleansing abilities

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Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Many Mountains and other high places achieve
    sacred status among animists and adherents of the
    great religions
  • Mount Fuji is sacred in Japanese Shintoism
  • Many high places are venerated in Christianity
    including the Mount of Olives
  • Mount Shasta in northern California, serves as
    the focus of no less than 30 new age cults

Mt Shasta
Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Mythical topography is produced when Navajo
    Indians of the Southwest link tribal legends to
    certain topographical features
  • Plants often serve a religious role or acquire
  • Evergreens symbolize eternal life for some
    Christian groups
  • The ceiba (or silk-cotton) tree was to
    pre-Columbian Maya Indians of Guatemala the
    sacred tree at the center of the world
  • Today the ceiba, Guatemalas national tree, often
    stands beside churches

Appeasing the forces of nature
  • Even today environmental stress can evoke
    religious response similar to animistic cults
  • Some Judeo-Christian traditions feel God uses
    natural disasters to punish sinners and nature is
    benevolent to the devout
  • Ministers and priests often attempt to alter
    unfavorable weather with special services
  • Plagues of crop-eating locusts over the centuries
    gave rise to locust cults in China
  • Almost 900 temples were built for worshiping the
    locust and locustgods
  • Suitable sacrifices and rituals were developed to
    avert locust plagues

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The environment and monotheism
  • Some geographers sought to explain monotheisms
    origins using environmental factors
  • The three major monotheistic faiths have their
    roots among desert dwellers
  • Lamaism most nearly monotheistic form of
    Buddhism flourishes in the deserts of Tibet and
  • In all the above cases, the people were once
    nomadic herders

The environment and monotheism
  • Ellen Semple, an environmental determinist,
    suggested desert-dwelling peoples feel unity from
    the monotony of their environment
  • She believed the unobstructed view of stars and
    planets allowed herders to see heavenly bodies
    move across sky the in an orderly repeated
  • She concluded desert dwellers gravitate
    inevitably into monotheism

The environment and monotheism
  • Other possibilistic rather than deterministic
    explanations have been proposed
  • We should look at social structure of nomadic
    herding people
  • Desert nomads are organized into tribes and clans
    ruled by male chieftains
  • Chieftains have dictatorial powers over members
    of the group
  • Female deities usually associated with farming
  • Women represent fertility
  • Original domesticators of plants
  • Male deities are linked with herding or hunting

The environment and monotheism
  • Others have noted monotheistic nomads lived on
    the edges of larger, more established culture
  • New ideas, they feel, tend to develop at the
    borders of regions
  • Core of regions is where older structures and
    ideas are firmly entrenched
  • We do know some desert dwellers were polytheistic

Religion and environmental modification
  • Religious belief and practice can be influenced
    by the physical environment
  • Peoples religious outlook can also determine the
    extent to which they modify their environment

Religion and environmental modification
  • Example of the Maori people of New Zealand
  • Believe humans represent one of six aspects of
    creation, the others being
  • Forest/animals
  • Crops
  • Wild food
  • Sea/fish
  • Wind/storms
  • People rule over all of these except wind/storms

Religion and environmental modification
  • Judeo-Christian view goes further to promote a
    teleological view
  • Teleology the doctrine that Earth was created
    especially for human beings, who are separate
    from, and superior to, the natural world
  • This view is implicit in Gods message to Noah
    after the Flood
  • The same theme is repeated in the Psalms

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Religion and environmental modification
  • Early Christian thinkers believed humans were
    Gods helpers in finishing creation
  • Europes medieval period witnesses a huge
    expansion of agricultural acreage
  • Large-scale destruction of woodlands and drainage
    of marshes took place
  • Christian monastic orders supervised many
    forest-clearing projects

Religion and environmental modification
  • In the view of Lynn White, Christianity destroyed
    classical antiquitys feeling for the holiness of
    natural things
  • He argues scientific advances permitted the
    Judeo-Christian West to modify the environment at
    an unprecedented rate on a massive scale
  • The marriage of technology and teleology is the
    root of our modern ecological crisis

Religion and environmental modification
  • The great religions of Asia and many animistic
    faiths believe in protecting nature
  • In Hinduism, the doctrine of ahimsa resulted in
    the establishment of numerous animal homes,
    refuges, and hospitals
  • Particularly located in northwest India
  • Closely linked to the Jains
  • View of the world where people are part of, and
    at harmony with, nature

Religion and environmental modification
  • Geographer Yi-Fu Than points to a discrepancy
    between stated ideals and reality
  • China has an old tradition of forest care, but
    woodlands have been systematically destroyed
    through the millennia
  • Buddhism, like Hinduism, protects temple trees
    but demand huge quantities of wood for cremations
    Animistic shifting cultivators destroy huge
    acreages of forest
  • Religion cannot overcome civilizations exercise
    of power over nature

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Godliness and greenness
  • Other ecologists point out the Judeo-Christian
    tradition is not lacking in concern for
    environmental protection Book of Leviticus
  • Robin Doughty suggest Western Christian thought
    is too rich and complex to be characterized as
    hostile toward nature
  • He feels Protestantism may be more conducive to
    ecological intemperance
  • Worldly success symbolized individual

Godliness and greenness
  • View of some fundamentalist Protestant sects
  • View ecological crisis and environmental
    deterioration as a gauge to predict Christs
    return and end of the present age
  • They welcome ecological collapse
  • View of other fundamentalist Protestants Old
    Testament story of Noah is viewed as a call to
    protect endangered species

Godliness and greenness
  • Multidenominational National Religious
    Partnership for the Environment
  • Includes evangelical Protestant members
  • Hope to mobilize Christian Right against
    environmental destruction

Godliness and greenness
  • Link of godliness and greenness has now gone
  • Came after a conference in the middle 1980s
  • Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and
    Buddhism came together
  • Some 130,000 projects have arisen
  • Green teachings of long-dead saints now receive
    heightened attention
  • Whites pronouncements now seem simplistic

Religion and environmental perception
  • Religion has a profound affect on the way people
    perceive environmental hazards such as floods,
    storms, and droughts
  • In Hinduism and Buddhism followers accept hazards
    as natural and unavoidable
  • Christians more likely view such hazards as
    unusual and preventable
  • Will generally take steps to overcome the hazard
  • Some view natural disasters as divine punishment
    for their sins

Religion and environmental perception
  • Results of various studies conducted in the
    United States to discern different religious
    groups feelings about God and nature
  • Southwestern Spanish-American Catholics (72
    percent) felt humans are subject to nature
  • Most Mormons (55 percent) saw humans in harmony
    with nature
  • Protestant Anglo-Texans (48 percent) held humans
    control nature and can overcome environmental

Religion and environmental perception
  • Results of various studies conducted in the
    United States to discern different religious
    groups feelings about God and nature
  • Intense conservative Protestants in Alabama react
    to tornados fatalistically, relying on God to see
    them through
  • lllinoisans, adherents of a liberal,
    low-intensity Protestantism, felt in control and
    took more measures to protect themselves

Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes

Religion and economy
  • In the economic sphere, religion can
  • Guide commerce
  • Determine which crops and livestock are raised by
  • Decide what food and beverages people consume
  • Decide the type of employment a person has
  • Influence in what neighborhood people reside
  • Plants and animals tend to spread with a faith
    when they are in great demand because of their
    roles in religious ceremonies and traditions

Religion and economy
  • Wine grape diffusion associated with religion
  • Some Christian denominations drink wine during
    communion to symbolize the blood of Christ
  • Diffused to newly Christianized districts beyond
    the Alps in late Roman and early medieval times
  • Vineyards of the German Rhine were the creation
    of monks
  • Catholic missionaries introduced cultivated
    grapes to California
  • Vineyard keeping and wine making spread westward
    across the Mediterranean in prehistoric times
    with worship of the god Dionysus

Religion and economy
  • Religion can also often explain the absence of
    crops or domestic animals in an area
  • Spain and Morocco show the impact of food taboos
  • On the Spanish, Roman Catholic side pigs are
  • In Muslim Morocco only about 12,000 swine can be
    found in the entire country
  • Islamic avoidance of pork underlies this contrast
  • Judaism imposes restrictions against pork and
    other meats as stated in the Book of Leviticus

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Religion and economy
  • Other explanations for Islamic and Judaic pork
  • Concern with the danger of intestinal parasites
  • Considered pigs unclean
  • Unlikely relationship between poorly cooked pork
    and intestinal parasites would have been detected
    before modern medical technology
  • As some groups lost access to irrigation waters
    they became nomadic herders

Religion and economy
  • Other explanations for Islamic and Judaic pork
  • Pigs require shade, plus little food they need is
    found in the desert
  • Nomads relied on sheep, goats, horses, camels,
    and in some areas cattle
  • May have declared pork undesirable in a sour
    grapes reaction
  • Ages later, Muslim nomads imposed their religion
    and pork taboo on farming people in river valleys

Los Angeles
Religion and food preferences
  • Five Islamic Centers, 82 mosques, and countless
    halal markets have emerged to serve an estimated
    250,000 Muslims in southern California.
  • Halal refers to food not prohibited by the Koran
    and includes meat from ritually slaughtered

Religion and food preferences
  • As a prayer is spoken, the animals throat is
    slashed with a single cut.
  • Pork and alcohol are both prohibited.

Religion and economy
  • Muslims also believe alcoholic beverages, games
    of chance, idols, and divining arrows are an
    infamy of Satans handiwork
  • Some Christian denominations prohibit all
    consumption of alcohol Baptists, Mormons, and
    Seventh-Day Adventists
  • Other Christian denominations tolerate alcohol
    use Catholics, Lutherans, and several others
  • The economic imprint of these different attitudes
    can be seen on a map of wet and dry areas,
    especially in Texas

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Religion and economy
  • Food taboos affect on the fishing industry
  • Roman Catholic avoidance of meat on Friday
    stimulated fishing
  • Christian tradition has always honored fishermen
  • The fish was an early symbol of Christianity
  • Symbol stimulated fishing industry, especially in
    Catholic countries
  • Most Hindus will not eat fish
  • India suffers food shortages and dietary
    deficiencies while nearby ocean teems with
    protein-rich fish
  • Seventh-Day Adventists have a finless fish taboo
    and will not eat pork
  • When they converted population of Pitcairn Island
    to their faith, the island economic
    self-sufficiency collapsed

Religious pilgrimage
  • Defined as journeys to sacred places
  • Typical of both ethnic and proselytic religions
  • Particularly significant to followers of Islam,
    Hinduism, Shintoism, and Roman Catholicism

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Religious pilgrimage
  • The character of sacred places
  • Some have been setting for miracles
  • A few are source regions of religions
  • Some are areas where founders of the faith lived
    and worked
  • Others contain holy physical features rivers,
    caves, springs, mountain peaks
  • Others believed to house gods or are
    administrative centers where leaders of the
    church reside

Religious pilgrimage
  • Examples of sacred places that are pilgrimage
  • Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina in Islam
  • Rome and Lourdes, France in Roman Catholicism
  • Varanasi on the Ganges River destination of
    Hindu pilgrims
  • Ise, Japan hearth of Shintoism
  • Pilgrimage offers the reward of soul purification
    or attainment of some desired objective

Religious pilgrimage
  • Pilgrimages can have an economic impact, as a
    form of tourism
  • In some favored localities, pilgrim trade
    provides the only significant source of revenue
  • Lourdes attracts between 4 and 5 million
    pilgrims each year
  • Many seek miraculous cures at its famous grotto
    where the Virgin Mary supposedly appeared
  • Ranks second only to Paris in number of hotel,
    and most are small
  • Mecca attracts hundreds of thousand of Muslims
  • Come from every corner of the Islamic culture
  • Closed to all non-Muslims

Manali, India
Religion and lifestyle
  • This man is a Hindu sadhu or holy man. He has
    elected to remove himself from ordinary society
    to seek moksha or release from the cycle of
    birth, death, and rebirth. A devotee of Shiva,
    he hopes to achieve this ultimate state of bliss
    through a lengthy process of devotion, ritual,
    meditation and several rebirths.

Religion and lifestyle
  • The trident symbolizes three aspects of the god
    as Creator, Protector, and Destroyer. The drum
    represents original sound, the rhythm and
    vibrating strength of creation.
  • Sadhus come from all walks of life and vary
    widely in mode of dress, body décor and behavior.
    They migrate among holy sites in their quest and
    are welcomed and fed by other Hindus.

Religious pilgrimage
  • Mass pilgrimages have a major impact on
    development of transportation routes
  • Steamships connect Arabian port of Jidda with
    overseas Muslims areas in Africa, Indonesia,
  • Chartered and scheduled airline service is also
    available to Mecca pilgrims
  • In medieval Europe many roads and bridges were
    built to accommodate pilgrims

Religion and political geography
  • Americans are usually unaware of how religion and
    politics are intertwined in much of the world
  • Religious practices and traits often change
    abruptly at political boundaries
  • In some nations, religion serves as the rallying
    point for nationalistic sentiment

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Religion and political geography
  • In 1947 Britain granted independence to colonial
  • Area split to form Hindu India and Muslim
  • Feeling was the two religious groups could not
    coexist peacefully in the same state
  • Time has shown Muslims and Hindus have difficulty
    living together on the same subcontinent, even in
    separate states
  • Israel and the Republic of Ireland are based
    largely on religion

Religion and political geography
  • Split of former Yugoslavia derived in part from
    religious divisionCatholics, Eastern Orthodox,
    and Muslims
  • Political conflicts in Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon,
    Ireland, and the Philippines have part or all
    their bases in religious difference
  • Where religion provides the basis of nationalism
    a state church is often created
  • Recognized by law as the only one in the state
  • Government controls both state and church
  • In Norway, pastors and officials are appointed
    government employees

Religion and political geography
  • Theocracy what government is called where
    churches are actively involved in governing the
  • In some nations, political parties are linked to
    particular church groups
  • Results in voting returns often duplicating the
    religious map
  • Common in Europe
  • Political parties names reflect religion-Catholic
    Peoples Party or Christian Democrats
  • Churchgoers advised from pulpit on how to vote
  • Even in the United States, voting patterns can
    reflect denominational patterns

Religion and political geography
  • The division of the world is increasingly taking
    on religious overtones in the division of hostile
    economic power blocks
  • Prosperous Judeo-Christian World pitted against
    the less prosperous Islamic World
  • Along Christian/Muslim borders in Eurasia and
    Africa conflicts erupt

Culture Regions
  • Religious Regions
  • Religious Diffusion
  • Religious Ecology
  • Cultural Integration in Religion
  • Religious Landscapes

Religious structures
  • Vary greatly in size, function, style of
    architecture, and degree of ornateness
  • Roman Catholic structures
  • Church building is literally the house of God
  • Typically large, elaborately decorated, and
    visually imposing
  • In many towns and villages the Catholic church is
    the focal point

Russian Orthodox
Religious structures
  • Protestant churches
  • For Methodist and Baptists the church building is
    simply a place to worship
  • Their churches appeal less to the senses and more
    to the personal faith
  • Their churches appear deliberately humble
  • Amish and Mennonites reject ostentation in any
  • Some meet in houses or barns
  • Their churches are very modest in appearance

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Religious structures
  • In Islam, mosques are normally the most imposing
    items in the landscape
  • Jewish synagogues vary greatly in visibility
  • Hinduism has produced large numbers of visually
    striking temples, but many worship in private

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Turfan, China
  • Mosques differ widely in style yet their elements
    are constant. They include consecrated space for
    ritual prayer a mihrab, or wall-niche indicating
    the direction (qiblah) of Mecca and, to the
    right of the mihrab, a pulpit (minbar) for the
    Friday sermon.

  • While mosques in some parts of China resemble
    Chinese temples, this one in the northwest
    reveals Turkish influences. Minarets are towers
    from which the Muezzin gives the call to prayer
    five times a day although most mosques now use
    loudspeakers. The design on the front is Uyghur.
    The color green and the crescent moon are
    symbols of Islam.

Religious structures
  • Polynesian Maori communities of New Zealand
  • Houses of worship reveal a subtler content and
  • Marae structure linked to pagan gods of the
    past, generally stands alongside the Christian
    chapel reflects blending of two faiths

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Religious structures
  • Eastern Turkey today
  • Purely an Islamic region
  • Landscape dotted with Christian churches all in
  • Christians were all killed or driven away many
    decades ago

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Religious structures
  • Catholic culture regions abound with shrines,
    crucifixes, crosses, and other visual reminders
    of faith
  • Protestant areas are bare of such religious
    symbols, instead signboards are often used,
    especially in the southern United States

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Religious structures
  • Distinction between sacred and profane is not
    always easy to discern
  • Example of steps (ghats) leading down to the
    Ganges River in India
  • Not mainly intended for convenience of fishers,
    swimmers, and people doing laundry
  • Intended to facilitate ritual bathing main goal
    of pilgrims
  • Provide a place for funeral pyres in cremation of
    the dead

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Religious structures
  • Animistic groups regard many commonplace items as
    sacred and often do not have separate houses of

Landscapes of the dead
  • Hindus and Buddhists cremate their dead, leaving
    no mark on the land
  • Zoroastrians, called Parsees, whose small numbers
    are now confined to parts of India, leave their
    dead exposed to be devoured by vultures
  • In Egypt, spectacular pyramids and other tombs
    were built to house dead leaders

Landscapes of the dead
  • Muslim cemeteries are usually modest in
  • Spectacular tombs are sometime erected for
    aristocratic persons
  • Example of the Taj Mahal, one of the
    architectural wonders of the world

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Taj Mahal
Landscapes of the dead
  • Confucianist-Buddhist practicing Chinese
  • Bury their dead in land set aside for the purpose
  • Erect monuments to the deceased kin
  • In part of pre-communist China, as much as 10
    percent of the land was covered by cemeteries
  • These cemeteries greatly reduced the acreage
    available for agriculture

Landscapes of the dead
  • Christian cemeteries vary from modest, to places
    of color and elaborate decoration depending on
    the religious denomination
  • Cemeteries often preserve truly ancient cultural
  • Example of rural traditional cemeteries of the
    southern United States
  • Rose bushes planted atop the grave may derive
    from worship of an ancient, pre-Christian mother
    goddess of Mediterranean lands
  • Cedars planted on graves is an age-old pagan
    symbol of death and eternal life
  • Shell decoration derives from an animistic custom
    in West Africa

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Queensland, Australia
Landscapes of the dead
  • This cemetery is in an area of Italian immigrants
    and has many Old World characteristics.
  • In the Mediterranean region, shallow soils
    frequently preclude in-ground burial. While
    soils here are deep, the practice of above-ground
    internment has continued.

Landscapes of the dead
  • Ceramic tiles, pictures of the deceased, and
    glass-encased roses and shells are also found in
    many European cemeteries.
  • As funerary objects, both roses and shells
    symbolize eternal life, eternal spring, and

Religious names on the land
  • The use of saints names for settlements is
    common in Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox areas
  • Common in Quebec
  • In areas of the Old World settled long before the
    advent of Christianity, saints names were often
    grafted onto pre-Christian names
  • Toponyms in Protestant regions display less
    religious influence

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