How do belief systems affect a country's culture?
Even in highly secular societies, religion and other belief systems play a huge part in shaping people's lives. In many parts of the world, there is no distinction between religion and other areas of life—religion is an overriding and unifying force for how people move throughout the world. In Amish (also called Pennsylvania Dutch) communities, every aspect of life exists in reference to religion. The clothes people wear, the food they eat, and even the hobbies they take up are all shaped by what is considered appropriate in this ethno-religious sect.
That might sound pretty extreme, but let's take a moment to consider some of the major world religions. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, there are rules about what kind of foods people should eat and when, how to care for one's body, what kinds of clothing are appropriate, when work is to be done, and what kind of gender, age, and familial roles are to be fulfilled. In secular societies like the United Kingdom, people may adhere loosely or very strictly to their religious duties while still maintaining their religious identity. For example, not all Christians fast during Lent, and some Jewish people do not keep kosher.
That being said, some aspects of religious belief systems are more influential in a society than others. Most cultures of the world today observe the Gregorian calendar (which was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII) and observe the weekend. The cultural practice of not working on the weekend is drawn from Jewish and Christian religious traditions, which forbid working on the Sabbath. For the Jewish community, the Sabbath is held on Saturday; for Christians, on Sunday. Regardless of whether someone is or is not Christian or Jewish, most people today abstain from work on the week-end or consider it a time for leisure.
I'd like to make a distinction between religion and other belief systems. Religious beliefs aren't...
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