Characteristics of Religion

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The quest for answers to the meaning of life is universal. It is not surprising then that the world’s major Religious Traditions share many characteristics. Using the characteristic headings from the Oxford Studies of Religion text book: -Name each of the characteristics of religion.

-Write a comprehensive definition for each characteristic. For each characteristic, give TWO detailed examples from the Christian tradition, and ONE detailed example from another tradition. (1 ½ - 2 pages) Religion provides us with a set of beliefs, values and attitudes, a focal point for developing ritual as well as a variety of social networks therefore giving us a purpose to our lives. Religion comprises of four main characteristics, including beliefs and believers, sacred texts and writings, ethics and rituals and ceremonies. All religions are sustained by beliefs and its believers. It is often the belief in one or many Gods that defines a religion. It may not only be the belief in one deity, such as the Christian and Islamic faiths, but could be the belief in more than one divine being, as seen in Ancient Greek Polytheism. Christians believe that there is only one God, and he created everything, all that is seen and unseen, from cats and dogs to the air we breathe. Alternatively, in Ancient Greek Polytheism, there were many Gods, each responsible for a certain part of nature. For example, Poseidon, was the God of the Sea and it was believed that he controlled everything to do with the sea from waves to sea creatures. Another example of Christian belief is that Jesus of Nazareth, the son of God, was crucified, suffered death and was buried. In most religions, believers derive majority of their basic beliefs from the sacred texts and writings specific to their religion. Sacred texts are texts which both dictate beliefs and are of central importance to a certain religion or religions. All religions have sacred texts from which they get their basic beliefs. There are three...
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