how does religion impact a region?
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This is a very loaded question because anything you say sounds like it is either exalting or criticizing a particular religion. Nonetheless, some people say that a religion that is dominant in a region totally affects the region's culture. The culture, in turn, affects the region's economy and its relations with other countries.
For example, the social scientist Max Weber argued that the Protestant religion is what made Western Europe great. He argued that it gave Western Europeans a work ethic that allowed them to dominate the world economically. Similarly, other people have argued that Japan's ancestral religions helped Japan's economy. They have said that the religions' emphasis on self-sacrifice and stoicism allowed Japanese to work hard for their companies without demanding the sorts of luxuries that American workers would.
All of these kinds of commentary are, of course, speculation because we cannot know for sure how much religion affects people's culture (as opposed, for example, to how their culture affects their religion).
Religion does not impact a region. Religion impacts the people who live in the region. Those people then impact the region. If the religion hasn't fundamentally changed the lifestyle of the people of the region, they will go on impacting the region in the same way they were doing before. On the other hand, if their lifestyle is dramatically changed, for example, if they are now forbidden to eat beef, then who knows what will happen to the region's cows. Perhaps they will all be slaughtered, their usefulness at end. Perhaps they will all be released and (without a natural preadator to eat them and control their population) will grow too rapidly and destroy their environment, then starve to death. Perhaps, in fact, very likely, the economy of the region will be disrupted. Those whose livelihood was built upon the raising and productive use of cattle (or any other religion-banned product) will find that they now have no way of earning money. Perhaps wars will result from the economic distress.
The bottom line is that religion is one of the few forces with the ability to fundamentally change the lifestyle of an entire society and is utterly impossible to predict all of the effects that a major change in the lifestyle of an entire society will have upon the region that society inhabits.
how does religion impact a region?
Religion impacts a region in many ways. To use several examples, we can look at the US, Turkey and Israel to explain how religion impacts a region. The foods and traditions of a religion impact regions in ways such as determining what farmers will grow and raise, what holidays will be important, and by what behaviors will be tolerated within a certain society.
In the US religious beliefs have had a direct influence on the laws of the land. Since most of the founding fathers considered themselves Christian, and they wove fundamental Christian beliefs into the writing of law including the Constitution. Think about how the Christian religion has been incorporated into the national anthem, into our schools, and has become a focus in the courts as more people move into the US. An example of how religion has impacted consumers, think about the Christian holidays that effect the economy. Farmers provide turkeys, cranberry's, potatoes, to name but a few, for the biggest holiday of the year; a religious holiday that has become very commercialized.The closing of businesses on Sunday and the restriction on sales of perceived "sin" products on Sunday are directly linked to religion, thus the idea of Sunday being a family day in the US.
In Turkey, a progressive Moslem country, Ataturk changed how religion impacted the Turkish society by loosening the strict implementation of Islamic law. He encouraged modernization that would include women in the workforce, women living independently of men, and somewhat equalized the playing field for Turkish women. In the rural areas of Turkey evidence of more fundamental Islamic tradition prevails as is evidenced by the presence of more traditional clothing for women, and in the status women have as chattel. In Istanbul and Ankara women wear clothing influenced by western business wear which reflect the progressive movement sought by Ataturk. In reference to food, because Moslem's do not consume pork due to religious edict, there is a demand for meats such as lamb and goat which has a direct impact on what farmers raise for consumers, as well as how they farm.
Religion has a dominant impact on all aspect of Israeli society. The ongoing conflict with the Palistinians over land is rooted in religious belief and tied to the idea that God promised this land to the Chosen. Of course, this idea is founded in the belief structure of the Jewish people and not held by the Arabs of the region. Culinary culture is totally dictated by religious order as is when and how people gather, do business and even marry. The people of Israel consider themselves as bound together by the Jewish faith and therefore their society is heavily influenced by that faith through the food they grow and eat, the clothes they wear and in the cooperative camps that promote their cause.
It is interesting to note that all three country's dominant religions have the same God and that over time each has emerged as one of the major religions of the world. The Cross, the Crescent and Star and the Star of Davis all symbols known the world throughout and are linked specifically to the people who practice those religions. The influence that each has had upon the world at large cannot be addressed here, but suffice it to say that religion has a vast and direct influence on all aspects of each region of the world.
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