Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

15.S: Chapter Summary

  • Page ID
    12277
  • Review of Key Points

    • The Abrahamic religions include over 3.5 billion people around the world. Thus, they are an essential cultural consideration when examining the factors that influence personality.
    • Judaism offers a simple set of guidelines for living one’s life, known as the Ten Commandments.
    • Kabbalah is the mystical form of Judaism, which emphasizes blending one’s daily, worldly life with one’s spiritual life.
    • Kabbalists encourage a way of incorporating the Ten Commandments into one’s life, in a manner reminiscent of Buddhist mindfulness. The meaningless alternative is to simply view the commandments as a static set of rules to be obeyed.
    • Kabbalah, as an approach to the problems of daily life, compares favorably with cognitive psychotherapy.
    • Past-life therapy relies on accepting the Kabbalistic belief in reincarnation, and using that knowledge to help people reconnect with their past lives.
    • Christianity is the largest religion in the world, with over 2.2 billion followers.
    • Jesus simplified the Ten Commandments to just two: love God, and love your neighbor as yourself.
    • The early Christian mystics were desert hermits, who helped to establish both Christian mysticism and the monastic life.
    • In Christian mysticism there have been many influential women saints, including some who challenged the patriarchal attitudes of men and one who became a great military leader (St. Joan of Arc).
    • Fr. John Main, and his student Fr. Laurence Freeman, have actively worked to help bring simple Christian meditation techniques to people all around the world.
    • Islam is the world’s second largest religion, with over 1.5 billion followers.
    • Muslims follow a set of guidelines known as the Five Pillars of Islam.
    • Sufism arose amongst those Muslims who did not wish to be drawn into the political and social battles that continue today between the sunni and shi’ah. Instead, Sufis seek to be drawn into Allah.
    • Sufism has developed some most interesting practices, including sheikhs who became renowned poets and the whirling dervishes.
    • In contrast to the conflicts between organized religions, and their supposed followers, there is extraordinary peace and both spiritual and intellectual interaction between mystics of many paths (Hindu, Taoist, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, etc.).
    • Mystics recognize the difficulty that often arises in the form of confusion regarding their ways. Accordingly, they routinely emphasize the need for a teacher (guru, rabbi, sheikh, master, etc.) for those who wish to pursue a mystic path.
    • Jihad is neither a holy war nor a requirement of Muslims. It is an urging to strive for faith, especially in the presence of those who are unfaithful. Christianity shares the same element, and it is known as ascesis.