The Nature of Religion

THE NATURE OF RELIGION 5

TheNature of Religion

Everyreligion is defined by particular elements and based on a set ofpractices, beliefs, dogmas and feelings. The community in a specificreligion shares a collection of transcendental ideas, which arepassed on by believers to converts. People in the same religion areunified by sharing the same faith, belief, and religious practices.Leadership and governance are done by religious professionals, whocarry out rituals, which can only be conducted by them. The exaltedleaders are believed to be closely in touch with superpower andtranscendental forces.

Animismis one of the oldest beliefs in the world. Sir Edward Burnett Tylorwas the first to write about the concept of animism in his book,Primitive Culture (1871). It states that all humans, anytime,everywhere have the ability to understand all phenomena in theobserved, imagined and known universe using their own culturallanguage and symbols. They have psychic unity, and it is thefoundation doctrine of their belief (Animism-Concepts).

Religionis a collection of practices, values, and ideas that have influencedcultures, politics, architecture, social norms and art. People changethe way they view life when they get into a religion. For instance,those who go to church are likely to get married and work hard tomaintain a good marriage. People drop their cultural practices ofhabits like polygamy and staying single because religions forbidimmorality. Studies have revealed that individuals with a religiousbackground enjoy enormous benefits in life. 80% were helpedpositively, 15% showed no effects and only 4% were harmed by religion(Fagan, F.F 2016).

Mostcultures accept a religion, and it changes completely. Believers haveto start thinking and behaving in a way acceptable by the givenreligion. A good example is Islam. Different communities who believefirmly in Islam accept that it is right for men to dominate and womenmust not socialize and must be dressed appropriately when going inpublic places.It is not just Islam, in the Christian-centeredcommunities people stopped using their cultural art and opted to havechurch related expressions. Their music is religious too, and theycall for support to build cathedrals. Social norms such as gayrelationship and premarital sex are unacceptable when one convertsinto a religion. Every faith requires converts to drop some of theircultures and be in line with the specific religion’s doctrines(Difference between Culture and Religion, 2015).

Thereare seven major religions in the world. The first one is Judaism andis one of the oldest monotheism faiths. The doctrine affirms theexistence of Yahweh, and he is the only God who got into sacredcovenants with Abraham’s descendants. The second religion isChristianity, which is also monotheistic religion. It was foundedJesus, a Jew from Nazareth. He is described as the son of God and amiracle worker. He was killed on the cross by the Roman Empire. Third is Islam, which was founded by Muhammad in Arabia. He was anordinary young man until he turned 25, angel Gabriel appeared to himand declared him Ala`s prophet. Mohammed started reforming thesociety by introducing Islam. Mohammed was persecuted, and he fledto Mecca where he continued spreading Islam. Hinduism comes fourth,and it is mostly practiced in India. It has no founder and is one ofthe oldest religions on earth. Believers are not bound by any creedor doctrine, and one can be an atheist, polytheist or monotheist. Sikhism is the fifth largest religion and was created by Punjab withGuru Nanak’s Guidance. It forged a path by getting some influencefrom Islam and Hindu Bhakti movement. The sixth is Confucianism,which mostly emphasizes right relationships and moral conduct amonghumans. It does not insist on spiritual and religion attainmentslike other faiths. Lastly is the Shinto and comprises of indigenouspractices and ideas from Japan. It has no dogma or holy creed andthey worship supernatural beings identified though differentmysterious ways (Major Religions of the World).

Thetheoretical variation of what people understand as God is infinite. People believe based on their religion. Monotheism means they believein one god. It contrasts with polytheism because believers ofmonotheism worship a single god only. An example of monotheism isJudaism, where they all believe in Yahweh. On the other hand, thoughDeism is a type of monotheism, it is different. Deists believe in asingle god’s existence, and he is transcendent and personal innature. Nevertheless, they do not agree that their god is imminent,which means he is not active in the universe to them. An example isChristianity where some people believe in Jesus Christ while othersdo not.In contrast, polytheism acknowledges the existence of manygods. They worship one god at a time depending on their needs. Thedifferent gods offer help in different situations. Hinduism is anexample of polytheism religion. For instance, there is a fertilitygod and many others. Another type of theism is pantheism that meanseither god is everything including forces, natural laws andsubstances found on earth or that the world is god. Confucianism isan example of pantheism. They do not follow creeds and simply indoing right to please their god (Cline, 2016).

Thereis no specific way to define religion. Only believers understandtheir particular belief. Every person claims to know their god’sexistence and believes in their super power. No one knows for sure,but it all depends on the level of believing in their theism.

References

Cline,A. (2016, May 23).Varieties of Theism: Monotheism, Polytheism, Deism,Pantheism, and More. Web. Retrieved fromhttp://atheism.about.com/od/theismtheists/p/theismvarieties.htm

Fagan,F.F. (2016).Why Religion Matters: The Impact of Religious Practice onSocial Stability. Web. Retrieved fromhttp://www.heritage.org/research/reports/1996/01/bg1064nbsp-whyreligion-matters

Animism(n.d). Animism – Concepts. Retrieved fromhttp://science.jrank.org/pages/8283/Animism-Concepts.html

n.d.Major Religions of the World. Web. Retrieved from

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0113529.html

Differencebetween culture and religion, (2015, May 1). DifferenceBetween.Web. Retrieved fromhttp://www.differencebtw.com/difference-between-culture-and-religion/