Religion

Comparison of Judaism vs Buddhism
In this essay I will be comparing the rituals, and festivals chosen from two different religions. The two religions that I will be comparing are Judaism and Buddhism.

Judaism and Buddhism have many rituals and beliefs. There is a wide range of Jewish beliefs, Stan Fischler emphasizes on these major points. Reformed Jews believe that being Jewish gives them a common culture, while Orthodox Jews try to keep all the laws and customs commanded by the Torah. The basic Jewish religious beliefs is in the existence of one, eternal, invisible God. The Jews also believe they were chosen to receive Gods Torah. They believe that by looking at its many meaning, and by living according to its laws, they can spread justice throughout the world. At the right time, they believe that the Messiah will come to bring this perfect world. Reward for good deeds will largely be granted in the world to come. Jews believe that seven weeks after the Israelites left Egypt, God chose them to receive the Torah. Moses climbed Mount Sinai to hear the Torah and bring the Commandments back to the people, carved into stone tablets. They also believe that on the first day of the creation of the world, God made night and day. Earth and heaven were created on the second day, and seas and land were created on the third day. On the forth day, the Sun, Moon and stars were created, and on the fifth day, the fish and birds. On the sixth day God made all animals and people. On the seventh day God rested. Many Jews carry out even everyday activities in special ways, believing that this brings them closer to God. Water is a symbol of purity in Judaism and is used in other ceremonies. People sometimes immerse themselves in living water – rain, river or sea water in a special pool called a Mikveh. A convert to Judaism uses the Mikveh as a symol to show re-birth as a Jew. Judaism is observed in the home as well as the synagogue, in the home, such as Kashrut, the preparation of food so that it is ritually acceptable, for example Kosher foods. Foods containing milk are never mixed with meat, nor eaten at the same meal. The weekly Sabbath is observed in the home, and begins with a women of the house lighting Sabbath candles. Observant Jews recite blessings before eating over wine, bread and other foods.

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In Buddhist religion author Gary Miles of the book All About Buddhism emphazises mostly on these points, monks and nuns lead simple, strict lives, studying the sacred texts, learning to chant and meditate and helping in the daily running of the monastery. Some also work or teach in the local community. The monks and nuns obey a set of monastery rules called vinaya. Many monasteries have 227 rules, but the number can vary. The rules include the Ten Precepts, which the monks vow to keep. These are the five precepts which ordinary Buddhists follow:
1.) Not to harm or kill any living thing
2.) Not to steal or take anything that is not freely given.

3.) To control sexual desire
4.) Not to tell lies
5.) Not to drink or take drugs
Together with five extra rules not eating after midday, not singing or dancing in a frivolous way, not to wear perfume or jewlery, not sleeping on a bed and not taking gifts or money.

As part of their simple lifestyle, these monks in Thailand have only 2 meals a day. The first is eaten early in the morning, at about 7am. The second must be eaten before noon. The meals are made up of food placed in the monks alms bowls that morning by the local people. After this the monks fast until the next morning, with only water or tea without milk or sugar to drink. This teaches them self-discipline and helps them to train their minds.
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Religion

Genetic Engineering
Genes, or chromosomes, are often referred to as “blueprints” which are passed down from generation to generation. From the study of these hereditary materials, scientists have ventured into the recent, and rather controversial, field of genetic engineering. It is described as the “artificial modification of the genetic code of a living organism”, and involves the “manipulation and alteration of inborn characteristics” by humans.

Like many other issues, genetic engineering has sparked a heated debate. Some people believe that it has the potential to become the new “miracle tool” of medicine.

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“Advances in the field of genetic engineering
could mean progress on an unprecedented scale for all civilization”
– Gail Dutton
To others, this new technology borders on the realm of immorality, and is an omen of the danger to come. They are firmly convinced that this human intervention into nature is unethical, and will bring about the destruction of mankind.


” the promise of genetic engineering as a tool of medicine is matched only
by the threat it would pose to human society and civilization.”
– Ann E. Weiss
Rapid advances in medical science have fuelled the question of bioethics. However, as science takes leaps and bounds towards its goals, ethics are often just learning how to crawl. In fact, it has even suffered major backslides in some cases. Genetic engineering “raises serious ethical questions about the right of human beings to alter life on the planet”. Changing the basic physical traits of an organism can lead to an unprecedented threat to life on the planet”. With such dire consequences, where do we draw the line?
What View Does Science Have on Genetic Engineering?
For the first time in history, evolution has taken a backseat to the meddling of humankind with their own genetic makeup. There is an “ongoing realization that humanity is capable of directly shaping its own and other species evolution”.

As we ease into the twenty-first century, we realize that genetic engineering is undoubtedly going to have a dramatic effect on our lives. It seems that “with genetic engineering, science has moved from exploring the natural world and its mechanisms to redesigning it.” Now, we must ask ourselves this, will that influence be for better, or for worse?
However, even the responses of science differ in this topic. Scientists remain divided in their opinions. Some have warned against the hazards of genetic engineering, while others have dismissed these perils as inconsequential. Two opposing viewpoints, which is right?
Lewis Wolpert, professor of biology as applied to medicine at University College London, says that, “There are no ethical issues because you are not doing any harm to anyone.” And indeed, the gist of his statement is staunchly supported by James Watson, a Nobel Prize winner and president of Cold Spring Habour Laboratory. “If we can make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldnt we do it? The biggest ethical problem is not using our knowledge.” They are both extremely critical of excuses that genetic engineering is a bad idea. Are they absolutely right? Are the predictions of “doomsday” just insubstantial bits of fluff with no proof to support these claims? Are we truly so confident as to proceed with no holds barred?
Both scientists seem not to have the slightest bit of anxiety regarding potential glitches. They have found a fascinating “playground” in genetic engineering, and appears that it is not only a way for them to earn their livelihood, but also gain fame and fortune. Is their attitude towards this serious issue too cavalier or biased? Are they too unclear about the likelihood of threats to civilization?
In contrast, two other prominent scientists have displayed their displeasure about genetic engineering. They have made no secret of the rather strong feelings against genetic engineering. George Wald, Nobel Prize-winning biologist and Harvard professor, wrote:
“Recombinant DNA technology genetic engineering faces our society with problems unprecedented not only in the history of science, but of life on the Earth. It places in human hands the capacity to redesign living organisms, the products of some three billion years of evolution. It is all too big and is happening too fast. So this, the central problem, remains almost unconsidered. It presents probably the largest ethical problem that science has ever had to face. Our morality

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