Lesson 4 ~ Comparative Religions Part 1 ~ Essay
By: Rev. Trent Murman
Those that are historical and affected people around the world.
The Great Floods.
1) According to the story, G d decided to flood the Earth to cleanse it of humanity's wickedness. G d chooses one family to ensure the continued survival of the human race. G d warned Noah about the flood, and instructed him to build a great boat, the ark, and onto this ark gather two of every kind of animal, one male and one female, to ensure the survival of all of G d's animals. And this happened, and mankind was washed away, except for Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives, and this family re-started life on earth, along with a boatful of animals.
2) Greek story about a man named Deucalion and his wife, Pyrrha. In this story, Zeus and the other gods were weary of the human weakness in battling against sin, since the humans (those without godlike ancestry) had been made from clay. The gods decided that the earth needed to be cleansed of all the weak humans, so that the gods could start over with a new human race. However, before the flood began, Deucalion is warned to build a boat and collect his wife, so that they alone would survive the flood.
3) In a Sumerian tale, the gods had decided to destroy mankind. A god (probably Enki) warned the priest-king Ziusudra ("Long of Life") of the coming flood by speaking to a wall while Ziusudra listened at the side. He was instructed to build a great ship, take his family, and carry beasts and birds upon it. And this happened, and mankind was washed away, except for Ziusudra's family, and this family re-started life on earth, along with a boatful of animals.
The similarities in the above stories all involved a man and his wife, building of a huge boat and a pre-warning of the impending flood disaster. There was a non-human who sent a warning in each case relative to the impending danger.
Those that sanctify social change.
1) The story of Abraham and Issac
2) The story of Ontohsai
3) Human Sacrifice
The similarities in the above stories are the involvement of young children and event of almost sacrificing. But, very close to the end the child was saved by the particular groups "god". A bloody decree was issued in these cases, having for its object the destruction of the child. The hurried flight of the parents takes place in each case. The governor or ruler was hostile in each case to the mission of the young child.
Those that have a hero for the people to emulate.
1) The story of a wicked and ambitious king by name of Kamsa in Mathura.
2) King Herod the Great, in Jerusalem
Many religions revolve around a central character. This character very often is the son of the "god" the religion follows.