July 22, 2010
Mikel Gerard Del Rosario
Elements of Religious Traditions
Many religions of the world have eight elements in common. The elements are a belief system, community, central myths, ritual, ethics, characteristic emotional experiences, material expression, and sacredness. These elements help shape religions and the people who believe in them. In this paper I discuss how these elements are similar or how they differ in each of a few of indigenous religions. The worship of one or more gods is a common characteristic of many religions. Christianity believes in only one God. According to the Bible, the first commandment of God is “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:2 New King James Version). The belief in one god is also known as monotheism. “Pantheism (Greek: “all divine”), sees the sacred as being discoverable within the physical world and its processes. In other words, nature itself is holy” (Molloy, 2010, p. 7). Pantheism is a common belief with many indigenous religions of tribal people such as Native Americans. These people believe that everything natural is divine and has its own place in both the spiritual and natural world. The belief that everything in the universe is alive and contains a Life Force is common among indigenous religions. Polytheism describes religions that worship many coexisting gods. Many people are familiar with the Ancient Greeks and the many gods they believed in. These gods all coexisted on Mount Olympus and decided the fate of the humans on the Earth below them. There are also people who do not believe in any god at all. They do not believe that any greater being or force exists. This belief is known as atheism. Sacred time to many indigenous religions is about the past. Through rituals they relive the deeds of the gods and their...