The Role of Religion
Religion and its impact on life, is very difficult to define. Religion divides humanity into several groups and each group of people has it’s own definition of what religion is. Among the many religions that exist in the world today, are those that instill strict behavior and deeds to their followers. On the other hand, it is customary for other religious groups to prioritize according to family values and beliefs. However, every religion has their own view of what religion signifies to them. The behavioral constituent of religion is characterized by the degree of morality and ethical values that are practiced by members of that religious group. The essential features of religions are concluded by ancient interpretations to the point that the foundation, through which religion was created, has greatly influenced today’s overall characteristics and individual principles. First, this essay will argue that Buddhism is the religion most focused on behavior and deeds. Second, it will demonstrate that Christianity is mostly centered on cultivation of spiritual and moral character. Third, this paper will explain that family values are fundamental in the beliefs of Christianity. Lastly, it will present to what extent the historical context of those choices has influenced those particular characteristics.
The Religion That is Most Focused on Behavior and Deeds
Buddhism is the one religion that strictly focuses on behavior and ethical values. It concentrates more on living a righteous life, than on explaining how and when the earth was created. Like many religions however, it does have a stringent set of guidelines for behavior, one that emphasizes love and compassion. While Buddhists do strive for spiritual enlightenment, their primary focus is to treat others with respect and behave in a way that promotes harmony among all living things. In Buddhism various guidelines were established to help followers stay loyal and within the Buddhist path. The path to spiritual transformation is outlined by a set of principles composed to cultivate moral behavior, meditation, and wisdom. These principles are the fundamentals to living the kind of life through which greater spiritual knowledge can be attained, and are called The Noble Eightfold Path (“Religions” 44). The essence of Buddhist ethics is represented by The Five Precepts, which focus on earthly life, not on achieving salvation after death. The precepts are steps towards spiritual transformation and provide a model for living the ideal life (Juergensmeyers 6645). The Five Precepts include: •
To refrain from taking life.
To refrain from taking what is not given.
To refrain from wrongful sexual relations.
To refrain from wrongful speech.
To refrain from drugs and liquor.
In Buddhism, a person’s actions not only have consequences in this life, but can also affect a person’s destiny in subsequent lives. A person’s behavior and the consequences resulting from their behavior are referred to as karma. Buddhists believe that all people are reborn over and over again, through a cycle called samsara, until they obtain spiritual enlightenment and reach nirvana. Karma dictates every aspect of a person’s rebirth. Whatever the state of a person’s life, it is completely justified because it is based on their own deeds. Good deeds are rewarded by a greater rebirth, and bad deeds are punished by a lesser rebirth.
The Religion That is Most Focused on Cultivation of Spiritual and Moral Character Spiritual and moral characters are greatly cultivated among Christian followers. Christianity not only takes its name from Christ, but also its character. Christians build righteous spiritual attributes by resisting temptation. It takes effort for a Christian to obey God and resist the desire to do likewise. Building character through resistance is the basis to being rewarded with eternal life in God’s kingdom. The gradual life long process of working out...
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