Proto-religious holy places like shrines and temples were first built or carved around spectacular / singular geographical features like forest glades and rock outcrops. Natural for a non-urban civilisation. Hinduism and Shinto remain loyal to this lineage. Christianity and Islam are urban religions, very deliberately making their churches and mosques inside cities or as austere man-made monoliths; divine as superior to nature not a nexus or collaboration.

Thus the city and the dogma denies the land and the direct communion with divinity. Enter the Christian priesthood, Muslim imams and Jewish rabbis. Dictators of scripture rather than temple curators and shrine caretakers.

Hence Christianity/Islam is an enemy of the natural world, Hinduism and to a lesser extent Buddhism its inseparable ally.

The liberation from strict ritual gained in the West by Protestantism and the East by Hinduism – as a side observation – is very much introvert vs extrovert insofar as spiritual imagination is expressed. Written word in the West. Riotous colour and myriad forms (Sculpture) in the East.

It’s a stark contrast that by now defines the cultural landscape but its original divergence was an accident really: Buddhism being about inner dialogue (introvert) and Catholicism all colour and glorious show (extrovert).

Thus the next generation religions in both cases were reactions against – inversions of their parents. What do you think?

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