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Question 1: Discuss four developments occurring in contemporary Christianity. Discuss the concerns of traditionalists and optimists with regard to the future of Christian churches. Which way do you think is most needed in the modern world?
Answer: Four Developments In Contemporary Christianity: The four developments to be discussed are ecumenism, rise of Protestant churches, televised evangelism and propagation of Christianity in Africa. Ecumenism has encouraged integration among Christian churches across the world and promotes harmony between people from different religions to address social issues.
Evangelical denomination developed since 1920s when different emotions were conveyed from congregation. This led to development of Protestant churches where charismatic ministers preach in a lively manner.
Televised evangelism promises to heal people suffering from different illnesses and television is used as a mode to reach people.
The propagation of Christianity in countries like Africa has converted the origin religion of people and also made them understand Biblical interpretations.
Concerns Of Traditionalists And Optimists About Future Of Churches: Sanctity is one major concern. Further, country club church, ex-bible church and ex-community church are more likely to vanish with the changing perceptions of people about the religion and its practices. Spiritual renewal, according to optimist and traditionalist, is yet another concern as new followers have not been following the traditional principles. A lot of traditionalists have already left the church. With this trend, churches can vanish (Lambrecht, 2019).
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Need In The Modern World: The modern world needs multiplication of Methodism and elimination of conflicts between different sects to ensure a peaceful ceremony in the churches. This can also control the possibilities of decline and vital expressions and also give freedom to followers to choose the path in ministry to serve God. To bring out the positive reality of God through church is the need of the hour to restore faith and promote unity among people!
Question 2: Describe the types of belief and worship in Arabia at the time just before Muhammad's religious reform. What obstacles did these beliefs and forms of worship offer to Muhammad's teachings? What do you consider the most powerful idea generated by Muhammad's revelation?
Answer: Belief And Worship Types In Arabia Before Religious Reform Of Muhammad: Before the religious reform of Muhammad, people worshipped many deities that had no titles or even proper shapes. People from South Arabia worshipped ancestor spirits and believed that they can reward and protect the family. Meccans regarded Allah as the creator deity and used Islamic inscriptions to worship Allah. There were also multiple goddesses that were believed and worshipped by people in Arabia such as Manat, Al-Lat and Al-Uzza (Armstrong, 2000). Initially, people believed cult images to be their deities and then worshipped them. Arabians before the evolution of Mohammad believed in ritual sacrifice in front of deities. Human sacrifice happened to be an exceptional case. Followers believed that menstruating women should not be permitted near cult images.
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Obstacles Posed By Beliefs To Teachings Of Muhammad: Before Muhammad entered and preached Islam to people in Arabia, there were no organizations to worship the deity. Hence, people believed and worshipped as per their wishes. Ignorance prevailed in pre-Islamic Arabia. A lot of Arabians lead meaningless lives and there was no materialistic thought. There were a lot more issues that demanded the involvement of Muhammad and these included slavery, harassment of women, prostitution, use of foul words and female infanticide.
Even the social condition in pre-Islamic Arabia lacked discipline as people involved in gambling and drinking regularly. There were several wars and women were denied of rights in the society.
Most Powerful Idea By Revelation Of Muhammad: As soon as Muhammad began preaching Islam, he brought people together in the name of same deity and the most powerful idea is probably the creation of first Islamic state(Stefon, 2009). This was the time when Muhammad also drafted constitution of Medina that brought beliefs together and eliminated differences in them. This revelation in fact established quality relationships between people and also insisted the significance of individual responsibility. Every person gained an identity but still encouraged togetherness.
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