Elements of Religious Traditions PaperAppreciate the contribution of religion to: SocietyInteraction between culture and religionThere is a close reciprocal relationship between the areas of religion and culture. Religion is profoundly influenced by its cultural context because religion cannot be expressed other than through a particular cultural setting and context. For example, the fact that Theravadan Sangha in Thailand, do not allow women to become abbesses is a reflection of Define the supernatural dimensionBelief in the supernatural dimension is central to all world religions Religion by its nature defies precise definition. However, the central commonality to all world religions is the belief in the supernatural dimension.
Thus, it can be said that the most significant element of a religious worldview is this belief in a divine being or power, which is greater than humankind and the natural world. This being or power is believed to be responsible for the creation of the world, for providing a moral framework for human life and being the ultimate destiny of a human person at the end of their mortal life. Different responses to supernatural dimension Different religions have their own unique responses to the question of the exact nature of the supernatural dimension. The Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam believe that the supernatural dimension is a single divine being or power. This doctrine or belief is known as monotheism. The two Eastern religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, derive from an understanding of a number of divine beings or powers, a belief known as polytheism.
Despite these differences, the belief in the existence of beings or powers beyond the realm of the natural world is an important defining element of a religious worldview. Discuss a transcendent religious worldview, which has a belief in a divine power and/or powers beyond the humanA transcendent worldview is one which has a belief in a divine power or powers beyond the human. The three Semitic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam emphasize the idea of God being revealed to humankind from beyond the human spirit. For example, Muslims believe that the will of Allah has been revealed to the Prophet Mohammed and is contained in the writings of the Koran. This is a transcendent worldview because the divine being is seen to be separate and outside of the human and revealed to humankind through an intermediary. Discuss an imminent religious worldview which has a belief in a divine being or powers dwelling within the individualAn imminent worldview holds the belief that supernatural powers or divine beings dwell within the human.
For the two Eastern religions, Hinduism and Buddhism, the emphasis is on the finding of truth from within the human spirit. For example Buddhists follow the Eightfold Path prescribed by the Buddha in order to reach Enlightenment. This is an imminent religious worldview because the divine power is believed to be found within the human and awaits discovery through following the prescribed path. Define the characters of religion??? Beliefs and believers – Beliefs are the key tenets, doctrines, or values, which underpin the religious practice of a particular religion for the believers ??? Sacred texts and writings – The most important beliefs of a religion are contained in its sacred texts. Usually these beliefs were in oral circulation before they were written down in the sacred texts. These sacred texts contain sacred stories, which explain through historical or non-historical means, how people are connected to this supernatural dimension ??? Ethics – Ethics is the reasoning behind moral decision making.
The ethics and precepts of a religion are the laws which embody the key doctrinal tenets of a religion and allow for the practical application of that religion. In other words, ethics offers a system of standards which regulate moral decision making ??? Rituals and ceremonies – Rituals and ceremonies are practical expressions of aspects of a religion. Rituals and ceremonies involve prescribed words and actions along with the use of symbols.
Together these reflect an understanding of the sacred dimension. Thus, rituals and ceremonies help to lead to a greater understanding of the ultimate reality Explore the ways in which these characteristics interact to create a dynamic, living religion A religion or religious system is a dynamic, living reality. While it can be identified and studied through characteristics such as rituals and sacred texts, it is in essence a living thing, which is given expression through all its characteristics. As dynamic, living realities, religions help provide meaning for those who follow them. It is not possible for any religion to exist with doctrines, but without ritual.
It is practices, such as rituals, which give the doctrinal elements a lived expression. All religions need key tenets or doctrines which act as a general guide and hence unify the different communities which follow this religion. On the other hand, these key beliefs allow individual groups to re-interpret the universal meaning to make it applicable for their particular community. Sacred texts interact with the key doctrines, as these key doctrines are contained in and expressed through these sacred writings. Furthermore, in order for religion to exist as a dynamic, living entity this doctrinal dimension, as contained in the sacred texts, must also be applicable to the practical demands of daily life.
This is where ethics comes into play, as it is ethics, which embodies the doctrines in the form of laws and precepts thus allowing for the practical application of religion. In other words, ethics, which is a system of specific standards by which moral conduct can be judged, is derived from values, which underpin the religious system. A central part of religion is response to and interaction with the supernatural or sacred. Through the understanding of the key doctrines and ethics of the religion, as contained in the sacred texts believers are able to give expression to their understanding of the divine. This element is the ritualistic dimension of religion.
The believers of that religion, by partaking in worship, teaching, and prayers give expression to and come to a greater understanding of this ultimate reality. Religion has made significant contributions to the lives of individuals as well as society as a whole. Religion has achieved great feats for humankind; however, religion has also resulted in violence and bloodshed. Appreciate the contribution of religion to: IndividualsReligion has made significant contributions to the life of individuals in areas such as the personal search of meaning, ethical guidance, sense of belonging and ritual meaning. Personal search for meaning Personal search for meaning: Human experience is characterized by a search for the understanding of the great questions of life. Those questions include those of origin (where do we come from), purpose (why are we here), and destiny (what happens when we die) People will look towards religion for answers to these enduring questions, especially during times of personal trauma or crisis. Ethical guidanceEthical guidance: Ethics are concerned with the reasoning behind moral decision-making. Religion has been sought out by people for guidance in the field of ethics, which enables individuals to act in a morally correct manner.
Individuals have sought ethical guidance from religions for a broad spectrum of concerns ranging from bioethics and sexual morality to issues of social concern. Bioethics for example, involves the study of the moral implications of new biological discoveries in the fields of genetic engineering and drug research. Concerning sexual morality, religion is a prominent voice on the appropriateness of matters such as homosexuality and extramarital sexual activities. Religion also offers guidance in social concerns. Social concerns relate to matters such as the unequal distribution of wealth and resources, and the impact of pollution on the environment. Sense of belongingSense of belonging: One of the strongest desires that exist in human experience is the need to feel a sense of belonging. The nature of religion makes it well suited to providing this sense of community.
This is because religions have the capacity to bring together people of similar ideals and values and to provide an opportunity for people to express these values in a supportive environment. Ritual meaning experienceRitual meaning: Some sort of ritual action or event usually marks important stages in human. These stages include the birth of a child, the coming of age, a graduation, a marriage etc. Such events are often ritualized in religious traditions where ceremonies take place to mark these important events. People place great importance on these events and the rituals which accompany them. Accordingly, such rituals are important elements in the contribution of religion to individuals. How men have been culturally conditioned to accept restricted roles for women in this form of Buddhism. Conversely, religion has a strong formative influence on culture given the dynamic ever changing nature of culture.
Religion as a conservative influence on societyReligion is most often seen to exert a conservative influence on society in areas regarding sexual morality and bioethics. The recent contributions of religious groups to social debates on issues ranging from stem cell research to euthanasia and homosexual relationships is evidence of this conservatism. Religion is often seen to be quite clearly trying to prevent society from moving away from traditional values. Religion as a progressive influence on societyReligion can also act as a progressive influence on society. Religion, with its emphasis on human dignity, can be readily seen as proactive in areas such as the advocacy of refugee and Indigenous rights, protection of the environment, and opposition to military action.
This is because religion has sought to instill a sense of justice in prominent social debates as a way of attempting to change community views to embrace a new approach.