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Common Practices in Religion
September 1, 2016
"Strange potency, this thing we call Religion! It came into man's world untold centuries ago, and it is still in man's world today. It is still there, deep and tremendous: a mighty draught for a mightier thirst, a vast richness to fill a vaster need. No matter where one turns in time or space, there it is inescapably. Wherever there is a man, there seems to be also a spirit or a god; wherever there is human life, there is also faith... "One wonders about it. What is it, this thing we call Religion? Whence did it come? And why? And how?... What was it yesterday? What is it today? -- And what will it become tomorrow?..."
-- Lewis Browne
It astonishes me how different cultures of the old and new will create stories to deal with their environment, or understand things that are beyond human comprehension. In ancient times these stories were said to be myths, but now they are mostly perceived as religious beliefs or religious stories. Standard practices in religion are the use of these myths or stories to attempt to answer life's fundamental questions such as; How did the world or universe come to be? Or, do I have a higher purpose? This paper will define religion, discuss common practices across world religions, including the indigenous religion, as well as discuss a critical issue about the academic study of religion.
If you were to look up the word religion, you would find definitions such as these;
Belief in a divine or superhuman power or powers to be obeyed and worshiped as the creator of the universe.
Specific system of belief, worship, conduct, often involving a code of ethics.
State of mind or way of life expressing love and trust in God, and one’s will and effort, according to the will of God. (Macks,2015)
The characteristics that give meaning to religion are community, myths, ritual, ethics, sacredness, and most importantly a shared belief system. I use the words shared belief system because, one does not want to rely on their way of thinking any longer, they seek a higher power for his or her guidance. It’s everyday life that causes the need for a supreme being or divine power.
Religion aims to give a deeper meaning to life and provide structure and guidance with moral values. Faith can help an individual find their way and at the same time standard practices are shared, such as the use of a sacred text, scriptures, and reincarnation, gods in human form or another. There are many conceptions of God, or who he or she is, his, her, or it's characteristics, aims, and actions. There is one underlying focus point that all religions share, the belief in a higher power or supreme being. The commonality is that one God, seen through different, overlapping concepts and mental images of him, her, or it, is the creator. Religious rituals are used to symbolize stories that are common to all religions, including the indigenous religion. Indigenous people live in every region of the world. They live in climate ranging from Arctic cold to Amazon heat, and often claim a deep connection to their lands and natural environments. (Welkner,2016) “The category indigenous religion denotes religions practiced by people with ancestral or longstanding cultural ties to local places.” (Bassett,2011) "Their focus tend to be more local and less universalizing" (Bassett,2011), unlike world religions that continue to expand.
The academic study of religion is an extension of particular traditions.and the general nature of religion as a human trend. (Rs,2014) However, there is a critical issue with the study of worship because of personal beliefs. Personal bias can lead to not having the full understanding of the views and perceptions of other religions. Personal beliefs or bias can also stop a person from being open to all the necessary knowledge of world history and literature that can give them a better understanding of a specific faith. What one may perceive about their religious faith, isn’t so with all others.
In conclusion, religion is hard to define, but the one characteristic that’s common to the various religions is, the belief in a sacred order, higher power, divine being, or the creator of the universe. That one commonality is the link that bridges the various world religions including the indigenous religions. Also, there is a critical issue with the academic study of world religion because of personal beliefs. Personal bias will stop an individual from being open to all the information that he or she may need to be successful in their studies. One has to realize that he or she cannot build their academic studies of religion around their personal belief system because, 1. They will not be able to understand another faith or religion, and 2. In life period an individual must learn that the way we perceive our life and environment is not necessarily the way others will view theirs.
Bassett, M (2011), Indigenous religions, global encyclopedia of women in today's world
Macks, William, (2016), World Spirituality Organization
Rs, Anjail, (2014), A brief overview of religion, Common practices in religion
Welkner, G, (1993-2016), Indigenous peoples religions
Common Practices In Religion
COMMON PRACTICES IN RELIGION
Running head: COMMON PRACTICES IN RELIGION
1on practices across world religions, including the indigenous religion, as well as discuss a critical issue about the academic study of religion.
The academic study of religion is an extension of particular traditions.and the general nature of religion as a human trend. (Rs,2014) However, there is a critical issue with the study of worship because of personal beliefs. Personal bias can lead to not having the full understanding of the views and perceptions of other religions. Personal beliefs or bias can also stop a person from being open to all the necessary knowledge of world history and literature that can give them a better understanding of a specific faith. What one may perceive about their religious faith, isn’t so with all oth