Global Essay Belief Systems

Global Essay Belief Systems-15
For over two thousand years the Silk Road was a network of roads for the travel and dissemination of religious beliefs across Eurasia.The religious beliefs of people along the Silk Road at the beginning of the 1st century BCE were very different from what they would later become.In the latter case, that is, of non-proselytizing religions, membership in a religion often coincides with membership in an ethnic group, so that religious participation is a birth right and not a matter of conversion; conversion often occurs only when a person marries into the faith, and in extreme cases conversion is rejected as an impossibility.

For over two thousand years the Silk Road was a network of roads for the travel and dissemination of religious beliefs across Eurasia.The religious beliefs of people along the Silk Road at the beginning of the 1st century BCE were very different from what they would later become.In the latter case, that is, of non-proselytizing religions, membership in a religion often coincides with membership in an ethnic group, so that religious participation is a birth right and not a matter of conversion; conversion often occurs only when a person marries into the faith, and in extreme cases conversion is rejected as an impossibility.

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The Greek colonies of Central Asia that had been left behind after the collapse of the empire of Alexander the Great had, by the 1st century BCE, largely converted from Greco-Roman paganism to Buddhism, a religion that would soon use the Silk Road to spread far and wide.

In India, on side routes of the Silk Road that crossed the passes to the Indus Valley and beyond, the older religion of Brahmanism had given way to Hinduism and Buddhism; the former never spread far beyond India and Southeast Asia, while the latter eventually became worldwide in extent.

Buddhist missionaries from Central Asia began an active program of translating sacred texts into Chinese, and a number of Chinese priests and monks, over the centuries, traveled the Silk Road in search of doctrinal instruction in India.

Buddhism spread from China to Korea and Japan by the 6th century CE; it retained a dominant position in China until the decline of the Tang dynasty in the 9th century.

When China defeated the nomadic Xiongnu confederation and pushed Chinese military control northwest as far as the Tarim Basin (in the 2nd century BCE), Buddhism was known in Central Asia but was not yet widespread in China nor had it reached elsewhere in East Asia.

Christianity was still more than a century in the future.

That is, they either actively seek to recruit new members to the faith from outside the current membership group, or they do not.

In the former case, ethnicity, language, color, and other physical and cultural differences are taken to be of relatively small importance compared with the common humanity of all believers, and the availability of the faith (and its particular canons of belief, forms of worship, and promises of salvation) to all humans everywhere.

Over the centuries for two thousand years the Silk Road was a network of roads for the travel and dissemination of religious beliefs across Eurasia.

Religious belief is often one of the most important and deeply held aspects of personal identity, and people are reluctant to go where they cannot practice their own faith.

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