Elements of Religious Traditions Paper
Defining a religion can be a difficult task and there is no simple definition that can completely describe it. Every culture and society has some form of religion and some maybe specific to that culture and not practiced anywhere else in the world (Fontaine, 2013; Molloy, 2010). The vast diversity of religious traditions can be discerned by examining their understanding of what is sacred. For example, many religions believe in a single deity that is held sacred. Other religious traditions do not place emphasis on deities, but believe that the world itself is the sacred (2010). In spite of this diversity, all religious traditions share broad components: what does a religious tradition communicate, how is it performed, and how is it organized. When a anthropologists and sociologist choose to study various religious traditions, they can encounter a number of issues that can impact their study, such as, incomplete religious texts, and traditions that are passed on orally (2010). Components of Religious Traditions
The first component is what does a religious tradition communicate? These are the various teachings, texts, stories, and myths. Religious teachings are the ideas and principles passed on that describe core beliefs, values, morals, etc. of a religious tradition (Molloy, 2010). These can be expressed through stories or myths. Religious teachings can be passed orally between members or written in a scared text. Religious teachings attempt to communicate an understanding of the sacred within the tradition to its members. In Christian traditions, the basic ideas revolve around the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus was the embodiment of the sacred within these traditions (Woodhead, 2009). For the Igbo people of Nigeria, there main beliefs involve the Earth as being sacred and that the world is comprised of a number of different realms (Molloy, 2010). These contrasting examples show the diverse...
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