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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 and can help you prepare to do your best on the exam.

AP World History: Major Belief Systems - Chapter Summary

In this chapter, you'll get an overview of the major world religions, looking at their principles, gods, followers, and origins. Our instructors cover the differences between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the rise of Buddhism in Asia and India and the three pillars of Indian society. You'll also study the beliefs associated with Confucianism. This chapter is designed to teach you how to:

  • Understand the differences and similarities between these three categories of religious views
  • Discuss the three big monotheistic religions and compare their scriptures, gods, and tenets
  • Discover the basic ideologies of these religions and see how they are similar and on which points they diverge
  • Outline the beliefs of the Hebrews
  • Understand the tenets of Zoroastrianism and what its followers believe
  • Discuss the life of Mohammed and the birth of the Muslim religion
  • Explore some belief systems besides Confucianism that developed in China after the Zhou period
  • Outline the ideologies associated with shamanism and animism and how they shape worldviews

Use any mobile device or computer to study this chapter at your convenience. Our self-paced lessons can be completed in order as a great test review, or take a look only at the lessons that correspond to the subjects you need help with. Help from an expert is available in the Dashboard if you need it.

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: AP World History: Major Belief Systems
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Animism & Shamanism: Definitions, Worldviews & Ideologies

1. 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

2. 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

3. 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

4. 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

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

10. 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

11. 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

12. 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

13. 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.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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