Login

Ch 2: AP World History: Major Belief Systems

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on major belief systems and learn about major religions, how religions compare, religious history, and more. These lessons are just a portion of our online AP World History course.

AP World History: Major Belief Systems - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Understanding what people believe can help us understand how certain events in history happened. In this chapter, you'll get an overview of the major world religions, looking at their principles, gods, followers, and origins. Our instructors have broken down the chapter into smaller lessons that each focus on comparing and contrasting specific religions. You'll learn about both western and eastern religions, from the time they began to how they are practiced now. This chapter is designed to teach you:

  • The foundation of major religions
  • How certain religions were formed
  • Religious vocabulary, both general and specific
  • How religions differ and relate to one another

VideoObjective
Religion: Key Concepts and DefinitionsExplore some overarching religious concepts and learn the definition of scared, ritual, faith, sect, and more.
Religion and Social Change in Protestantism and Liberation TheologyExamine Weber's theory about the role of Protestantism in social change and look at liberation theology across the globe.
Religious Views: Atheism, Agnosticism, and TheismLearn the differences and similarities between these three categories of religious views.
Monotheism: Islam, Judaism, and ChristianityTake a closer look at the three big monotheistic religions and compare their scriptures, gods, and tenets.
Christianity's Roots: Paganism, Judaism, Neoplatonism, and Roman Mystery CultsUnderstand the forerunners to Christianity and where some of the church's practices may have originated.
Nontheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and ConfucianismDiscover the basic ideologies of these religions and see how they are similar and on which points they diverge.
Daoism and LegalismExplore some belief systems besides Confucianism that developed in China after the Zhou period.

16 Lessons in Chapter 2: AP World History: Major Belief Systems
Religion: Key Concepts and Definitions

1. Religion: Key Concepts and Definitions

Sociologists strive to study every aspect of religion in an objective way. In this lesson, we define religion and identify key concepts that are found in religion. We also discuss the difference between churches, sects, and cults.

Religion and Social Change in Protestantism and Liberation Theology

2. Religion and Social Change in Protestantism and Liberation Theology

Religion can, at times, be a powerful agent for social change. In this lesson, we discuss two examples of the dichotomy between religion and the secular world, including Max Weber's book, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, as well as the concept of liberation theology.

How Religion Contributes to Cultural Change

3. How Religion Contributes to Cultural Change

Religions have the power to dramatically change the culture around them and the people of a community. In this lesson, we'll look at three major examples of how history has been shaped by religion.

Animism & Shamanism: Definitions, Worldviews & Ideologies

4. Animism & Shamanism: Definitions, Worldviews & Ideologies

In this lesson, we look at the basics of animism and shamanism and why these categories can be controversial. You'll imagine the conversations among anthropologists as they aim to better understand these beliefs.

Zoroastrianism: Definition, Beliefs & History

5. Zoroastrianism: Definition, Beliefs & History

Major religions, like Christianity and Islam, have been popular since ancient times, but what religion was popular before these belief systems developed? This lesson explores the beliefs of Zoroastrians, one of the earliest forms of organized religion.

Religious Views: Atheism, Agnosticism & Theism

6. Religious Views: Atheism, Agnosticism & Theism

Sociology of religion is a large branch of sociology. The different views on deities are studied as part of this topic. In this lesson, we compare and contrast the views of theism, atheism, and agnosticism.

Monotheism: Islam, Judaism & Christianity

7. Monotheism: Islam, Judaism & Christianity

In this lesson, we define monotheism and identify three significant monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We also discuss the ideology of each of these three religions.

The Early Christian Church and Its Ties to Judaism

8. The Early Christian Church and Its Ties to Judaism

This lesson will explore the early Christian Church and its close connection to Judaism. It will highlight the similarities of these two faiths in reference to the Holy Scriptures while also exploring their disagreement over the person of Jesus Christ.

Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

9. Mohammed and the Birth of Islam

Out of the deserts of Arabia would come a man who would change the world. He was Mohammed, founder of the religion of Islam, and this lesson serves as a brief summary of his life and the founding of the religion of Islam.

Islam Divides: The Sunni and the Shiite

10. Islam Divides: The Sunni and the Shiite

This lesson will seek to explain the divide between the Sunnis and Shiites of Islamic culture. In doing so, it will highlight the Prophet Muhammad, Ali, Abu Bakr, and the position of Islamic Caliph.

The Hebrews and Their Beliefs

11. The Hebrews and Their Beliefs

This lesson covers the Hebrews and their beliefs. We look at the core tenets of Judaism and explore some of the stories from the Torah. Finally, we see how the Hebrews' history of oppression impacted their religion and the world today.

Nontheism: Hinduism, Buddhism & Confucianism

12. Nontheism: Hinduism, Buddhism & Confucianism

Not all religions focus on the belief (or disbelief) in a particular deity. In this lesson, we define nontheism and discuss the ideologies of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.

Buddhism's Spread in India, Ceylon & Central Asia

13. Buddhism's Spread in India, Ceylon & Central Asia

With the efforts of Ashoka, Buddhism soon spread throughout much of Asia. This lesson looks at how Buddhism spread, as well as how the faith split into two different systems. After you review the lesson, test your new knowledge with our quiz!

Three Pillars of Indian Society: Village, Caste & Family

14. Three Pillars of Indian Society: Village, Caste & Family

This lesson will explain the three pillars of Indian society. They are the village, the caste system, and the family. In doing so, it will explore the different individual castes as well as describing joint families.

Confucianism: Definition, Beliefs & History

15. Confucianism: Definition, Beliefs & History

Confucianism is an ancient philosophy of respect and kindness. Learn about the history of Confucianism, including its philosophy and founder. Then, test your understanding of the subject with a short quiz.

Taoism & Legalism in the Chinese Zhou Dynasty

16. Taoism & Legalism in the Chinese Zhou Dynasty

While Confucianism remained the most dominant philosophy to emerge from China during the Zhou period, two other philosophies, Taoism and Legalism, offered different approaches to how to best live in the world.

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Support