Elements of Religious Traditions Chriselda Oani REL/134 November 14, 2011 Jorge Luna Elements of Religious Traditions All religions and beliefs are different. Some religions share the same characteristics, while some do not. Religion varies from culture to culture. Certain religions worship a divine being, have a sacred book, or commandments which they follow. “Shinto, for example, does not have a set of commandments, nor does it preach a moral code; Zen Buddhism does not worship a divine being; and many tribal religions have no written sacred scripture” (Molloy, 2010).
There are three main religions that believe in a divine being (God), have a sacred book, and follow certain commandments. The first religion, Judaism, they believe in one god (God) and have the Torah as their sacred book. Next is Christianity, they believe in one god and live by the Hebrew Bible. The third religion is Islam, they also believe in one god (Allah) and follow their sacred book called the Koran. There are eight elements that religions are manifested in some degree.
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First is the belief system, in which “several beliefs fit together into a fairly complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and the human being’s place in it; this is also called a worldview” (Molloy, 2010). Second is community, where “the belief system is shared, and its ideals are practiced by a group” (Molloy, 2010). Third are central myths, they are “stories that express the religious beliefs of a group that are retold and often reenacted.
Examples of central myths include the major events in the life of the Hindu god Krishna, the enlightenment experience of the Buddha, the exodus of the Israelites from oppression in Egypt, the death and resurrection of Jesus, or Muhammad’s escape from Mecca to Medina” (Molloy, 2010). Fourth is ritual, in which “beliefs are enacted and made real through ceremonies” (Molloy, 2010). Fifth are ethics, where “rules about human behavior are established. These are often viewed as having been revealed from a supernatural realm, but they can also be viewed as socially generated guidelines” (Molloy, 2010).
Sixth are characteristic emotional experiences, where “Among the emotional experiences typically associated with religions are dread, guilt, awe, mystery, devotion, conversion, ‘rebirth,’ liberation, ecstasy, bliss, and inner peace” (Molloy, 2010). Seventh is material expression, in which “religions make use of an astonishing variety of physical elements—statues, paintings, musical compositions (including chants), musical instruments, ritual objects, flowers, incense, clothing, architecture, and specific locations” (Molloy, 2010).
The eighth element is sacredness, in which “a distinction is made between the sacred and the ordinary; ceremonies often emphasize this distinction through the deliberate use of different language, clothing, and architecture. Certain objects, actions, people, and places may share in the sacredness or express it” (Molloy, 2010). “Sacred time is ‘the time of eternity. ‘ Among the Koyukon people of the Arctic it is called “distant time,” and it is the holy ancient past in which the gods lived and worked.
Among Australian aborigines it is often called “dream time,” and it is the subject of much of their highly esteemed art” (Molloy, 2010). “Sacred time is cyclical, returning to its origins for renewal. By recalling and ritually reliving the deeds of the gods and ancestors, we enter into the sacred time in which they live. Indigenous religions even tend to structure daily lives in ways that make them conform to mythic events in sacred time; this creates a sense of holiness in everyday life” (Molloy, 2010). Sacred space is the doorway through which the ‘other world’ of gods and ancestors can contact us and we can contact them. Sacred space is associated with the center of the entire universe, where power and holiness are strongest and where we can go to renew our own strength. In native religions, sacred space may encompass a great mountain, a volcano, a valley, a lake, a forest, a single large tree, or some other striking natural site” (Molloy, 2010).
Sacred space can also be constructed into a symbolic shape, like a circle, square, or a group of stones, like the Stonehenge in England. Sacred space can also be a church, synagogue, or any place of worship depending on the religion and its beliefs. “Some native religions see everything in the universe as being alive, a concept known as animism. The life force (Latin: anima ) is present in everything and is especially apparent in living things—trees, plants, birds, animals, and human beings—and in the motion of water, the sun, the moon, clouds, and wind.
But life force can also be present in apparently static mountains, rocks, and soil. Other native religions, while more theistic, see powerful spirits in nature, which temporarily inhabit natural objects and manifest themselves there” (Molloy,2010). Many religions use things, like water, mountains, fire, trees, the sun, the moon, and other things in nature as a symbolism in their religious beliefs; some even have statues that have symbolic meaning in their religions.
For example, water, “is used in all sorts of religious rituals: Hindus bathe in the Ganges River; Christians use water for baptisms; Jews use water for ritual purification; and Muslims and followers of Shinto wash before prayer. Ashes also have widespread use among religious traditions to suggest death and the spirit world: ashes are used by tribal religions in dance ceremonies, by Hindu holy men to represent asceticism and detachment, and by some Christians, whose foreheads are marked by ashes in observance of Ash Wednesday” (Molloy, 2010).
Religions differ from culture to culture and yet many of them share like characteristics. They all believe in something spiritual, be it a divine being, a higher power, gods or goddesses, or spirits. They all believe in sacred time and space. Even though religions of the world are all very different, they are all quite similar in belief. Reference Molloy, M. (2010). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (5th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Reference Molloy, M. ; Hilgers, T. L. (2010). Experiencing the world’s religions (5th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Written Assignment Feedback Student/Group Name(s)Course | Date Assignment | Content/Development Subject Matter: * Key elements of assignments covered * Content is comprehensive/accurate/persuasive * Displays an understanding of relevant theory * Major points supported by specific etails/examples * Research is adequate/timely * Writer has gone beyond textbook for resources| Good choices with ideas? | Higher-Order Thinking: * Writer compares/contrasts/integrates theory/subject matter with work environment/experience * At an appropriate level, the writer analyzes and synthesizes theory/practice to develop new ideas and ways of conceptualizing and performing | Here it is difficult to tell where you were quoting because you thought it was exemplified a point or if you were using critical thinking in a higher order? Organization * The introduction provides a sufficient background on the topic and previews major points * Central theme/purpose is immediately clear * Structure is clear, logical, and easy to follow * Subsequent sections develop/support the central theme * Conclusion/recommendations follow logically from the body of the paper| Well organized You followed a logical progression and discussed the main ideas in the paper? |
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