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Organizing Religious Landscapes - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Religious Affiliation as a Cultural and Geographical Construct Whereas land and water barriers have long differentiated people groups and led to the formation of different languages, customs, and racial identities, there are other geographic means whereby individuals can differentiate themselves where no other natural barriers would seem to separate them…
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Organizing Religious Landscapes
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Download file to see previous pages Seeking to bring the analysis into a relevant current day application, the essay will seek to understand the means by which religious landscapes continue to define life, politics, and culture within the counties that comprise central Wisconsin. As a function of seeking to understand such a reality, it will be the hope of this author that such a level of research will help to shed a level of understanding on how and why certain regions have developed and exhibit some of the key indicators of both culture, religion, and politics that they do. Returning to the way in which religious barriers can differentiate a region or define a culture in a different way, one need look no further than the way in which many of the cultural and religious boundaries that exist within Europe have differentiated the entire continent in a way that it would not likely have been differentiated had religious differences not existed in the first place. Whereas the study of geography, anthropology, and sociology leads one to the understanding of how natural barriers and language barriers help to define and distinguish one group from another, religion serves no lesser nor more important purpose in achieving the same level of differentiation among individuals. To see a prime example of how geography can be decided upon religious terms alone, one need look no further than the way in which the British or French colonialists divided much of the world both in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia based upon religious lines. Evidence of this can of course be seen with regards to the creation of Lebanon, the creation of Papua New Guinea as compared to Indonesia, or the way in which African nations had their borders drawn specifically as a means of differentiating between animist, Muslim and/or Christian. However, geography and the means by which it is defined is not always chosen by an outside force. Oftentimes, the means by which geographic representations are determined are more often than not the result of domestic decisions and choices made at the lowest levels. This low-level decision making about what defines “the other” is oftentimes a result of the way in which religion and the practice thereof helps to differentiate one culture with regards to its neighbors. Due to the inherent truth that religion by its very nature seeks to instill a certain personal and group dynamic within the individuals that practice it, it is necessarily a formulary of the way in which culture is defined and comes to shape a given geography. However, it should not be understood that religious differences necessarily leads to the splitting of a nation or a state of war and/or conflict with another group of individuals. Rather, there are many religiously diverse regions within the world that live in more or less social cohesion and harmony. An obvious example of this would be with regards to the United States and many regions within Africa, Western Europe, and elsewhere around the globe. However, merely because a level of conflict does not exist should not be seen as an indication that the existence and adherence to different religions within diverse geographies does not have a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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