Sarah L. Emde
April 2, 2012
Elements of Religious Traditions
Religion can be defined in simple terms as a fundamental set of beliefs and values in regards to the creation of the universe and the powers that are responsible for such creation, usually involving one or many deities. While there are numerous religions recognized throughout the world and society, there are basic components of all religious traditions. According to Molloy (2010), scholars agree that most religions manifest themselves with 8 common elements: belief system, community, central myths, ritual, ethics, characteristic emotional experiences, material expressions, and sacredness.
With each of these components, religions bring to life their faith for their followers. The teachings and doctrine provide the foundation which believers base their worldview on, as well as the rules that devout followers use to guide them through life. In the Catholic religion, for example, the Holy Bible (Old and New Testaments) is the doctrine which the beliefs are based on. The Bible, though also used by many other religions, is interpreted by Catholics as having been written by prophets chosen by God and in some instances even co-authored by God (Hardon, 1997.) The scriptures offer the Catholic Church and its follower’s basic moral guidelines with a promise of everlasting life in Heaven if these guidelines are followed faithfully.
The rituals and community, along with material expressions, are the outlet in which believers are able to practice their faith and come together with members of the same faith for a sense of wellbeing and togetherness. The Catholic Church views their churches as holy and sacred places, where followers can come to be cleansed of their sins during services and confessions of their sins to the Priests of the church. This tradition provides an ease of mind to their followers and a place to in some aspects “escape” from...