November 14, 2011
Elements of Religious Traditions
All religions and beliefs are different. Some religions share the same characteristics, while some do not. Religion varies from culture to culture. Certain religions worship a divine being, have a sacred book, or commandments which they follow. “Shinto, for example, does not have a set of commandments, nor does it preach a moral code; Zen Buddhism does not worship a divine being; and many tribal religions have no written sacred scripture” (Molloy, 2010). There are three main religions that believe in a divine being (God), have a sacred book, and follow certain commandments. The first religion, Judaism, they believe in one god (God) and have the Torah as their sacred book. Next is Christianity, they believe in one god and live by the Hebrew Bible. The third religion is Islam, they also believe in one god (Allah) and follow their sacred book called the Koran. There are eight elements that religions are manifested in some degree. First is the belief system, in which “several beliefs fit together into a fairly complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and the human being’s place in it; this is also called a worldview” (Molloy, 2010). Second is community, where “the belief system is shared, and its ideals are practiced by a group” (Molloy, 2010). Third are central myths, they are “stories that express the religious beliefs of a group that are retold and often reenacted. Examples of central myths include the major events in the life of the Hindu god Krishna, the enlightenment experience of the Buddha, the exodus of the Israelites from oppression in Egypt, the death and resurrection of Jesus, or Muhammad’s escape from Mecca to Medina” (Molloy, 2010). Fourth is ritual, in which “beliefs are enacted and made real through ceremonies” (Molloy, 2010). Fifth are ethics, where “rules about human behavior are established. These are often...