Diversity of belief systems

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A pilgrimage to Mecca (called the hajj) is an important duty of all Muslims and should be undertaken by all able-bodied Muslims at least once during their lifetime. This is a photo of the Kaaba at the heart of Mecca.

Thinking about religion

Religion is also an important factor in society and influences both individual and collective human behaviour within that society. It has also been impacted by historical issues and events and often provides insight into the movements of peoples and the interactions of different civilisations.

Belief systems and religions across the Asia-Pacific again reflect the diversity of the region as well as interactions that have occurred across the region for centuries. In some states, contemporary religions reflect the impact of European presence in the region and the mission experience of many of the region’s indigenous populations. Some of the main religions in the Asia-Pacific region include Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Shinto and Indigenous spiritualities.

Overview of your study of this section

After completing the e-learning activities for this Section, you should have a deeper understanding of the religious traditions present throughout the Asia-Pacific region. This will help you to further your understanding of cultures and societies throughout the region.

As you locate and read sources for this Module, you should be able to identify and explain the principal religious traditions of Asia and the Pacific. You should also be able to list the key ideas of a selected religious tradition of interest to you in Asia and the Pacific. When researching your selected religion you should also identify and describe the central source books or written record (if any) of your selected religious tradition.

Some religions may rely on oral traditions, rather than written records, to convey its key ideas and conventions. If this is applicable to your selected religion you should include this in your examination.

Finally, you should also examine and explain the ways in which your selected religion has influenced the values, society and behavior of a state in the Asia-Pacific and where it is practised throughout the region.