Misconceptions about Religions – mental_floss on YouTube (Ep. 36)Otis Rodgers August 20, 2019 100 Comments
Hi I’m Elliott. This is Mental Floss on
YouTube. Today I’m going to talk about some misconceptions about various major religions.
It’s gunna be a lot of fun. Misconception #1: Muslims are usually Arab.
According to the Muslim Journal, there are around 1.2 billion Muslims and only 15% of
them are Arab. In fact, there are more Indian subcontinent Muslims (30%) and Sub-Saharan
African Muslims (20%) than there are Arab Muslims. Misconception #2: The Quran says you will
receive 72 virgins in heaven. The Quran does extensively describe heaven.
And there’s no mention of seventy-two ANYTHING there. As for the virgin part, it’s a confusing
translation issue. The Arabic word “Abkarun” appears in the description of heaven. This
could be translated to mean either virgins or angels. And even Muslims debate the true
meaning of the word. In fact, German linguist Christoph Luxenberg argues that much of the
Quran is in Syriac, making the term mean food and drink. Misconception #3: To Muslims, “jihad”
means “holy war.” The Arabic word translates to “struggle”
or “resisting.” But, in the Islamic faith, “jihad” actually means “religious duty.” Misconception #4: The Buddha is a deity.
Buddhists don’t view the Buddha as a deity or god. In fact, in Buddhism there’s not
really a place for a god like figure. Often, people view the Buddha as a god because that
makes more sense in the context of western religions. But it’s a little more complicated
than that. So, Gautama Buddha, who may have lived between the sixth and fourth century
BCE, is considered the founder of Buddhism. But, he’s not considered a savior, god,
or creator. Instead, he’s more of a teacher or guide to Buddhists. Though it’s worth
noting that different branches of Buddhism may view him differently. He’s also not the only Buddha. In the branch
of Theravada Buddhism, anyone who is enlightened, without a teacher, can be a buddha. And in
Mahayana Buddhism, a buddha is anyone with absolute wisdom. Speaking of which…
Misconception #5: The Laughing Buddha is Siddhartha Gautama.
Many westerners don’t know that the Laughing Buddha (also known as Budai or Hotei) is not
the Buddha that I was just talking about. First of all, the two look nothing alike.
The Laughing Buddha represents enlightenment. And in many Asian cultures, he represents
luck, happiness, and wealth. Misconception #6: Mormons believe in polygamy.
People who practice are effectively excommunicated from the Mormon church. According to the Gordon
B. Hinckley, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints during the
late nineties and 2000s, “This Church has nothing whatever to do with those practicing
polygamy. They are not members of this Church…. If any of our members are found to be practicing
plural marriage, they are excommunicated, the most serious penalty the Church can impose.
Not only are those so involved in direct violation of the civil law, they are in violation of
the law of this Church.” Misconception #7: The Star of David has a
long history in Judaism. Historically, the Star of David has been used
in many different religions. Like, in Hinduism, the star has been used as a symbol of Shiva
and Shakti — or male and female. And it has even been used in Mormonism to represent heaven
and earth. We don’t know for sure when Judaism adopted the symbol, but one of the first times
was probably in 1354 CE when Jewish people in Prague put it on a red flag. But, it really
took off during the 19th century when Jewish people started using it to distinguish their
communities from others. It was probably an attempt to create a religious symbol similar
to the Christian cross. Misconception #8: A Hindu woman wearing a
red bindi is married. Traditionally, a red dot, or bindi, on the
forehead meant that a woman was married. But nowadays, it’s more of a fashion accessory
than anything. Married and unmarried women wear red bindis in addition to bindis of pretty
much every color. Misconception #9: People who practice Judaism
call God “Yahweh.” First of all, it’s worth noting that the
Hebrew language does not contain any vowels, so this word is represented by four letters:
either YHVH or YHWH. This means that the vowels were added in much later and the original
pronunciation has been lost. Because of this, the word is generally not spoken out loud,
just like how many Jewish people don’t write or say the word “God.” Misconception #10: There’s no technology
in Amish societies. Actually, the Amish distinguish between using
technology and owning it. So, in many cases, it’s considered okay for an Amish person
to ride in a car, as long as they’re not driving. They’re also allowed to go to work
and use a computer with the Internet. But, they generally are against personally OWNING
things like computers and cars because they can bring the temptation of sin. Thanks for watching Misconceptions on Mental
Floss on YouTube. If you have a topic for an upcoming Misconceptions episode that you’d
like to see, leave it in comments. And we’ll check it out. See you next week!