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Source 1: The Obscure Religion that Shaped the WestSummary: The first monotheistic religion, Zoroastrianism, is now used in very famous and important movies, series, and music. This religion began in the Persian Empire with Zarathustra, which has influenced various aspects of our daily life. For example, Zoroastrianism was the root of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The author explains the change of this religion, how it went from being used by most of the population of the world and influencing various other cultures/religions to not many people practicing it, instead, it is now being used in past and futuristic films. History: The religion initiated in the Persian Empire by Zarathustra (about 1500-1000 BCE), an ancient prophet. Before Zarathustra, Persians used to venerate deities of the old Irano-Aryan religion until he began to criticize the practice, and instead, only worshipped Ahura Mazda. This did not only cause the rise of Zoroastrianism but it also caused the division between Iranian and Indian Aryans, this then influenced Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Analysis:Zoroastrianism impacted the Persian empire as well as other empires surrounding it in general, but also in their politics. Persian leaders were very devoted to their faith; therefore, they ruled in a very liberal and tolerant way not only towards people but tolerant towards other religions. Zarathustra motivated those who practiced Zoroastrianism to respect and take care of the environment because it may have been made to help human progress, according to their beliefs, but it must be given back to Ahura Mazda, their god, in its original form. They also demand them to care for their fellow creatures as they do with their god. Zoroastrianism motivates their followers to take care of the environment. Zoroastrianism has also influenced Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Many traditions of those religions come from the largest religion in the ancient world. For example, they believe that “a trinity of saviors” will lead society to its final victory over evil, this can be connected to Christianity since they believe that God is father, son, and spirit another form to say the holy trinity. Even though Zoroastrianism has become one of the smallest religions, it has still influences religions, politics, and society throughout time. Predictions: Taking into consideration how the practice of Zoroastrianism has been decreasing but now is used in films, I predict that in a long future the practice of the religion will eventually disappear. But I still think that people will know about the religion and its ideals because of the films it is being used in now and future ones that will probably use them as well even if it’s unconsciously. Source 2: The Japanese Castle that Defied HistorySummary: In April 2016 a magnitude 7.3 earthquake hit Kumamoto and destroyed a big part of the Kumamoto Castle, which is one of Japan’s famous castles. Because of the castle’s size, the reconstruction will take a lot of time not only doing it but planning it as well and it will be really expensive, it will take the Japanese government about 63.4 billion yens. The reconstruction is planned to start in 2018 with all the right equipment and planning completed. It’s important for all Japan because it contains its history and has been constructed since 1607.History: By mid-sixth century Chinese had spread Buddhism around Japan. “The Way of the Warrior”, the strict code of Samurai’s practice, was inspired by Zen Buddhism, its traditions, and its ideas. The Kumamoto Castle is known to have defied history. The castle faced the Satsuma Rebellion, in 1877, 20,000 samurais attacked it but not even with the most trained warrior with the best sword skills were able to get through its structure, the maze of gates nor through the curved stone wall. The castle’s defending army and the structure were able to hold the samurais for about two months without allowing not even one single persona being able to get in. In that rebellion, it was destroyed but finally rebuilt in 1960. Later on, a section of the original keep down was burned there were theories of the cause but nothing certain, and now the earthquake which destroys a huge amount of the castle. Basically, the castle has been destroyed, burned, etc. various times but it has always been built again, it is one of the most important architectures of Japan. Analysis: The castle is a really important relic for Japanese, which the government protects and maintains it as good as possible. For example, now that it was destroyed by an earthquake the government is using billions of yens to fix. It is a very big tourist attraction source, one of its economic entries, and it was and still is influential in their culture. Taking into consideration the fact that it is surrounded by 400 yearly trees, Japanese must take a lot of care of the environment surrounding the castle. The Kumamoto Castle is considered one of the most enchanting, cultural landmarks in Japan. It’s a castle that has accumulated years of history and today is open to finding it out, its history has also inspired various movies. Furthermore, it is full of blossoming cherry trees of about 400 years old, a cultural icon, very known in Japan. Nowadays, it is being used as a tourist attraction, it is really famous not only for foreigners but for Japanese as well, because of it is full of knowledge.Predictions: In the future, the Kumamoto Castle will be completely fixed and starting to work again. It will continue being an attraction for tourists and sharing the knowledge of the Japanese culture. If it is destroyed again, the government will continue to fix/rebuilt it, that is considering how many times it has been done, and its importance for their country. Source 3: Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain explainedSummary: Catalonia, a current autonomous community of Spain, wants to build a new country from scratch by becoming independent from Spain. It is a very intense situation which has to be thought patiently and analyze everything that is going to happen after getting their independence. Catalonia, as a region, is the richest region of Spain, but their residents believe they are not given the profits that they deserve. Plus, in 2010-2013 the Spanish government have done many economic cuts because of the crisis. There are also some historical conflicts that have been going on officially since the 18th century.History: According to those in favor of the nation’s separation, Catalonia has been oppressed by Spain since 1714, in which King Felipe V banned them from associating with their language and traditions. In the 20th century their need for freedom kept on growing; unfortunately, Francisco Franco, a dictator, repressed their revolution. After the dictator’s death Catalonia aspired to rise again; however, the Spanish government was not convinced by the idea. Catalonians have very different traditions, culture, etc. Spain could’ve accepted their proper identity. They have those differences mainly because in the seventh century the Islamic culture sought to spread and share their ideology with the rest of the world. They conquered what is nowadays Catalonia; therefore, they have different ways of thinking in comparison to Spain. Analysis: It’ll affect the population by allowing Catalonians practice their culture and talk their language without a problem; otherwise, for Spanish, their economy will fall and that may cause preoccupation around the country, even loss of jobs and inflation. Allowing the separation of Catalonia as a nation from Spain means the Spanish government has to change their constitution, which is against that. It would mean that they have to build the country from scratch, the legal roles such as the president, vice-president, etc. would change and so will their laws. The independence of Catalonia would be partially beneficial. If that happens, then Catalonians will be able to be themselves, follow their culture and practice the religion they absolutely want. On the other hand, Spain’s economy will fall drastically if the independence occurs. Catalonia is one of Spain’s wealthiest nations, containing about 16% of their population and 19% of Spanish total value of goods produces. By separating it may favor Catalonia because they’ll receive all the income, receiving everything they earned with the products they produced.Predictions: The biggest possibility is that Catalonia will not be able to become independent because there are a lot of political implications that if it was to happen they would have to change. For example, the constitution, the laws written down right now will not permit that to happen, so if they would want to separate then the constitution would need to change.  APA Citations: Source 1:Bekhrad, J. (2017, April 06). Culture – The obscure religion that shaped the West. Retrieved from 2: MacEacheran, M. (2018, January 04). Travel – The Japanese castle that defied history. Retrieved from 3: Catalonia’s bid for independence from Spain explained. (2017, December 22). Retrieved from

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