The Origin Of Man Is The Subject Religion Essay

“What is man?” – asked David in his Psalms thousands of years ago. It is striking that the relevance of this question has not decreased in the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Whether a man is only an animal or, maybe, he is just a complex combination of chemical compounds, or, maybe, he is much more than all this, some great creation? The desire to know the history of man’s origin is quite natural, as people have not always existed on the Earth. That is why, the problem of Creation and understanding of human nature is central problem of people of all ages. This question can be considered from different perspectives: from the standpoint of theology, religion, anthropology, philosophy and history.
Views and ideas on the origins of humanity
The origin of man is the subject of speculation since ancient times and led to the emergence of various myths in different people, who believed that the first humans were created by gods from stones, animals, etc. The ancient Greek thinkers had different views on the origin of man: some believed that man is eternal, second believed that he was born from marine sediments. With the spread of Christianity people accepted the idea that man was created and inspired by God.
Many people believed that a man is the most highly developed animal, “the top of the evolution” of the animal world, he is mortal, and his life has no higher meaning. Others believe that man is not the “top”, but only a very selfish animal who tends to pleasure and enjoyment. So, humans belong to the natural world, until the physical and chemical processes in their body depend on nature. 
If we consider the philosophical approach, then we need first to say that in humans there is an element that is “above” the natural world. There are different views on this, as, for example, Greek philosophers said this element was mind, and Aristotle proposed a definition of man as a rational animal. (Stevenson 2004)
But most important is the fact of human consciousness that “elevates” him above the natural world.  Human consciousness is ascension of naturalism in the understanding of man, since he is not only a natural being, but also a spiritual being. (Wilson 2004)
In the XVIII century, many thinkers (such as Lord Monboddo, Herder, Rousseau, Kant, etc.) suggested the evolution of man from the great apes in savages, and later in modern humans. In a more clear way this idea was developed by Lamarck in the beginning of the XIX century in his “Zoological Philosophy”.  Later t theory of development and evolution in various forms has been to explain various scientists. Those who support this theory believe that man was not created by anyone, but occurred in the development of lower organisms. For example, the French scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck said that some species of monkeys, under unfavorable conditions of existence, were to descend from the trees and acquired the habit of walking on two feet. Bipedalism led to strong changes of the body, and “quadrumanous” monkey turned into “bipedal”, who gradually settled around the Earth. Gradually in new species began to developed the consciousness… (Bowler, 2003).

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The theory of evolution has become one of the most prevalent theories of human origins.  This theory was developed by Ch. Darwin, who introduced the history of development of the organic world of the Earth carried by the interaction of three main factors: variability, heredity and natural selection. Evolutionary theory suggests that man evolved from apes, being changed under the influence of external factors and natural selection.
The evolutionary theory of anthropogenesis is supported with a large number of facts – paleontological, archaeological, biological, genetic, cultural, psychological, and others. However, many of these proofs may be interpreted ambiguously, allowing opponents of evolutionary theory to challenge it.
Biblical Creation of the world
“The Bible” tells that a man was created in God’s will and in accordance with His plan (Gen.1: 26). In the all-powerful Word of God was hidden a great creative force to create the world, and then a men. When God created a man he said: ” Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in His own image, in The Image Of God created He him; male and female created He them.” (Genesis 1:26-27 KJV)
A man was created in a special act, and, unlike the animals, in the image of God, that means a man is intelligent, free, creative and moral personality. Like God, man is gifted with the following qualities:
– Creativity (Genesis 2:20);
– The mind and the ability to cognition (Genesis 2 :19-20, Col.1: 9; Rim.12: 2;);
– Willy (Luk.23: 25; 2Petr.1: 21);
– The ability to choose and evaluate (Genesis 2: 17; 13:11);
– The ability to love (Genesis 2: 24). ( McFarland 2009)
A man is the image and likeness of God, is a spiritual being, rising over the natural and social world, and able to transform it and dominate over it. In Genesis 2 we can learn more about how man and woman were created : “And The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul… And The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him … And The Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which The Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” (Genesis 2:7,18,21-23)
That is, the biblical interpretation of creation of man is the most common that is primarily due to the important role of religion in people’s lives. Biblical Creation is very important for people, as it defines the essence of man: Man is not just a body, and he was created “in the image of God and for eternal communion with God”. This means that people are moral and spiritual creatures with the ability to trust, to choose to love, etc. Creation is the basis for our worship to God and His worship: “Let them praise the name of the Lord, for he commanded, and they were created” (Psalm 148:5). Thus, worship is a gratitude to the Creator. ( McFarland 2009)
At the present time, we can hear that the question of creation of humanity is asked rather strictly: either the idea of Creation or the theory of evolution. However, such a statement seems incorrect, since many modern scholars note that the idea of Creation of humanity by God, the Creator, does not deny the scientific theories. The religious world does not contradict the scientific, that can be proved by the fact that many prominent world scientists were deeply religious people: for example, Copernicus, Isaac Newton, Mikhail Lomonosov, Pavlov, Albert Einstein. That is, the science also does not deny the idea of the Creation of humanity by God.
Conclusion
Each of the ideas, assumptions and theories about the origin of humanity has a right to exist and has its supporters. Yet, the biblical Creation of the world and man is the most important for people, regardless of their scientific views. The idea of man’s creation by God is the basis of religion and faith of millions of people, the basis of their ideology and view on all the existence of humanity.
 

Controversial Nature Of The Subject Of Sufism Religion Essay

Before tenth century there had been started a new emphasis began to develop within the religion of Islam. This emphasis was a reaction against the prevailing impersonal and formal nature of Islam. For many Muslims the shari’a, while seen as necessary, failed to satisfy their deepest spiritual longings and desires. The search for deeper meaning led to the development of the popular mystical side of Islam – known as tasawwuf or Sufism.
The controversial nature of the subject of Sufism becomes evident when one realizes that this short introduction already reveals a viewpoint which the Sufi would strongly disagree with. For, if the Sufi spiritual quest is to be viewed as legitimate, even within Islam itself, it must be rooted in the Quran and the Sunna of Muhammad. (p.b.u.h)
In defense of Sufi legitimacy, some Muslims argue that it was simply a response to the growing materialism in the Islamic world. However, this argument skirts the basic reason for Sufism, as during early Islamic times under Muhammad’s (p.b.u.h) leadership, wealth was enjoyed and served as a great motivation for the military expansion of Islam. Muslims, at the time, followed a legal system allowing unbridled materialism, though they were fully observant of the present religious doctrine. The formal and legal nature of the Islamic system never addressed the issue of materialism, and as a result was seen as inadequate by those who became Sufis in their search for deeper spirituality.

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Sufism has inclined many Muslims, and is, especially in the West, represent and regarded as a valuable and legitimate part of the Islamic faith. Fazlur Rahman, in his work Islam, says that “considerable ink has been spent by modern scholarship on the ‘origins’ of Sufism in Islam, as to how far it is ‘genuinely’ Islamic and how far a product, in the face of Islam, of outside influences, particularly Christian and Gnostic.” Rahman seems to hint that some of this ink has been wasted, as he concludes that “outside influences must have played an accessory role and these no one may deny, but they must have supervened upon an initial native tendency.” However, aside from a vague reference to the ideas of trust in and love of Allah as being a result of “developments within the intellectual and spiritual life of the community,”
In reaction to critics, Sufis argue that tasawwuf has been present from the very initial stages of Islam, and profess to find evidence for their claims in the Sunna and the Quran. On this basis they state that tasawwuf “is the batin aspect of Islam.”
According to Sufi principle a number of verses in the Quran provide clear support for their mysticism. Perhaps the most often quoted as a proof is Surah 24:35, “Allah is the Light of Heaven and Earth! His light may be compared to a niche in which there is a lamp; the lamp is in a glass; the glass is just as if it were a glittering star kindled from a blessed olive tree, {which is} neither Eastern nor Western, whose oil will almost glow though the fire has never touched it. Light upon light, Allah guides anyone He wishes to His light.”
Sufism does throw in in the means of spirituality to the religion of Islam. Mounting out of the weakness of the Islamic system of faith and practice, it, however, added a aspect which has varied and further destabilized the structure of Islamic belief and practice.
Reflecting on the authentication presented, and ending given, we see that to suppose Sufism, with its important concepts, is a rightful part of Islam introduces definite problems for anyone who then challenge to try to defend Islam as a logically consistent set of beliefs. For Sufism not only points to a lack of spirituality in Islam, but also contradicts orthodox Muslim teachings – in the process clearly opening the door to all the world’s religions
There have been a lot of aspects which should be discussed and reconsidered regarding this aspect of orthodox teachings of Islam, so I can write it is to be continued
Reference Notes:
Sufism, Reformed Internet Ministries
Andrew Rippin, Muslims: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices (New York: Routledge, 1990), 118, 119, 120
Fazlur Rahman, Islam (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1966), 131, 148,149
Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Sufi Essays (London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1972), 11-12, 15, 137, 138, 139, 147, 149
Tara Charan Rastogi, Islamic Mysticism – Sufism (New Delhi: Sterling Publishers Private Ltd., 1982), 1..
Titus Burckhardt, An Introduction to Sufism (Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press, 1990), 15, 16
In Arabic “Inna li’Llahi wa-inna ilayhi raji ‘un.” Martin Lings, What Is Sufism? (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1975), 28,32
Haqiqa refers to the ‘inner Truth’ or ‘inner Reality’ that Sufis believe is at the heart of Islamic revelation. William Stoddart, Sufism – The Mystical Doctrines and Methods of Islam (New York: Paragon House Publishers, 1986), 41, 66,67,83,74
Eisegesis, or the practice of interpreting meaning into a passage, bears a striking resemblance to Sufi methods of Quranic interpretation. Orthodox Muslims opposed to Sufism argue that Sufi interpretations are indeed eisegesis – in other words the Sufis are ascribing an ‘inner’ meaning which the verses themselves do not contain.
Fazlur Rahman in his work Islam states, “the Sufis, in order to justify their stand, formulated (ie. verbally invented) statements, sometimes quite fanciful and historically completely fictitious, which they attributed to the Prophet.” Rahman, 132,133,134..
J. Spencer Trimingham, The Sufi Orders in Islam (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1971), 246..
Rahman, 140. Other authors also agree with Rahman’s position on this point. A.J. Arberry argues that Abu Hamid al-Ghazali brought about Sufism’s reconciliation and assimilation with orthodox Sunni theology and religious law, through a number of writings consolidated in the Ihya”ulum al-din, which was written between 1099 and 1102 A.D. A.J. Arberry, Sufism – An Account of the Mystics of Islam (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1950), 74. .
Ibn al-‘Arabi (1165-1240 A.D.) was one of the great Sufi masters of all time and is referred to as ‘The Greatest Shaikh’ (al-Shaykh al-Akbar). Muslim opinion has always been split about Ibn al-‘Arabi: for some he is a great heretic; for others, a great saint. Ian Richard Netton, A Popular Dictionary of Islam (London: Curzon Press, 1992), 110..
Elliot Miller, “Sufis – The Mystical Muslims,” Forward (Spring/Summer 1986), 17-23..
Martin Lings, What is Sufism? (London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1975), 84, 85, 99..
Dara Shikoh (also spelled Shukuh) was a Sufi of the Qadiriyyah order and a devout Muslim – according to Seyyed Hossein Nasr. Shukuh believed the Upanishads to be the ‘Hidden Books’ to which the Quran refers (lvi. 77-80) and wrote that “they contain the essence of unity and they are secrets which have to be kept hidden.” Nasr states that “it is enough to read Shukuh’s translation of any of the Upanishads to realize that he was not only translating words into Persian but also ideas into the framework of Sufism.” However, as usual Nasr follows up with a statement denying that this is “an attempt to syncretize,” once again revealing a blatant disregard for the evidence presented, not to mention a complete lack of logical thought.
The members of one popular order (the Mawlawiyya) begun by Jalal ad-Din Rumi (d. 1273) are the origin of the Western term ‘whirling dervishes’
John Alden Williams, ed., Islam (New York: George Brazillier, 1962), 155-156..
Idries Shah, Reflections – Fables in the Sufi Tradition (Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1972), 1.; Miller, 20..
 

Anthropology and Its Subject Matter

Anthropology is a very wide field of study and one that is very important to the understanding of the human race. From ancestral species to the origins of communication, anthropology’s four main fields of study cover all aspects of human life, evolution, and development. The main fields can then be specified further for a more microscopic look at the nuances of human life and civilization.

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The study of Anthropology can cover anything from the development of symbols and language, to how humans evolved from unrecognizable mammals. At its core, anthropology is the study of humankind, from a holistic perspective that views the human race from all perspectives and angles. This holistic approach ensures that anthropologists study with no cultural values and ideals from affecting their research (Haviland, Prins, Walrath, McBride.2016) Under the umbrella of anthropology, four subfields exist to focus on specific areas. Those being: cultural, linguistic, and biological anthropology, as well as archeology.
Cultural anthropology is the study of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of humans. Cultural anthropology can cover many topics of human culture. Systems, such as legal, political, medical or religious systems are explored, however more specific groups can be the subject of focus as well. Societal divisions such as age, race, gender and class are examined by cultural anthropologists. As per all anthropological studies, these groups and systems are viewed from a holistic viewpoint.
Linguistic anthropology, as the name suggests, investigates the idea of language and explores the structures, history and development of human languages and communication. Linguistic anthropology puts an emphasis on the “Why” and “How” of language, by examining linguistics under a more holistic lens, exploring ideas such as, “How does language reflect and influence specific cultures” or “How does language differ from one culture to another”. Linguistic anthropology also aims to conserve and document languages on the brink of disappearance in an effort to protect from cultural amnesia. To do this, an anthropologist will interact with, record, and document those who speak languages whose disappearance is imminent.
Like cultural anthropology, Archaeology studies human cultures. However, these studies are conducted through the recovery and analysis of remains. Archeologists use million-year-old tools, pottery, and even human remains to understand human life, and gain a biocultural understanding of prehistoric life. Archeology can focus on more specific areas through the studies of bioarchaeology and historical archeology. Examples of archeology can be the examination of DNA from bone samples found in dig sites, used to analyze and compare with other samples from other sites to document the spread of a group of early peoples.
Biological anthropology focuses on humans as an organism, researching human development, and humans on a molecular level. Originally, biological anthropologists focused heavily on the subject of evolution, but it has since branched out into many subcategories. Because knowledge of the human body can be applied in so many ways, biological anthropologists can apply themselves in areas. Such as paleoanthropology, to study long time changes to human biology, Primatology, to study primates and the connections humans share with them, and forensic anthropology, to use genetic information and skeletal remains of the deceased to build a profile about them.
Within cultural anthropology, lies the subfield of ethnography. Along with ethnology, these are the main components of cultural anthropology. Ethnography is a description of a cultural group, obtained via fieldwork. Research is conducted by a mix of outside observations and social participation, referred to as participant observation. Through participant observation, anthropologists follow the habits and rituals of those they are studying, by eating the same foods and sleeping and living in the same conditions. This approach provides anthropologists with a fully immersive understanding of different cultures and provides the anthropologist with a better outlook of a culture.
Linguistic anthropology has many subfields, one of them being historical linguistics. Historical linguistics focuses specifically on the history of language and how it changes, spreads, and correlates and interacts with other languages. An example can be seen by how over the course of millennia, the spread of the Bantu languages in Africa and their spread from the western edges, to the rest of the continent.
Archeology is widely regarded as dealing with prehistoric artifacts, however, this is not always the case. Applied archeology is a subfield that focuses on excavating landfills and what happens to old waste, rather than digging for pottery and remains. The purpose of applied archeology in this setting is to examine the effects of biodegradation over time and gain a more accurate estimation of how long biodegradation actually takes in different materials that end up in landfills.
The human body is important to many areas of study, so naturally, biological anthropology can be applied in many different subfields. Paleoanthropology is a subfield of biological anthropology that focuses on some of the largest time spans of any other form of anthropology. Paleoanthropologists study the origins of the human species, and the organisms that predate us. Looking back to mammals from 225 mya, paleoanthropologists can map human evolution over millions of years, comparing fossils to humans to gain an understanding of the lineage of the species.
Anthropology is a vast field of study that takes a look at humans and their culture to better understand the vast history and the future of the species. Through a holistic lens, anthropology touches almost every facet of human living and connects it together to paint a full picture of the species.
Citations
Haviland, W. A., Walrath, D., McBride, B., & Prins, H. E. (2016). The essence of anthropology (4th ed.). United States of America: Cengage Learning.