Seven Dimensions of Religion
The seven dimensions of religion detailed by Ninian Smart provide a clear illustration of how religion is formed, practiced, and perceived by society. Each dimension touches on specific characteristics that hold true for most traditional religious sector. The most prominent dimension are the rituals and customs practiced that differentiate the various schools of religious belief. For instance, in Islam their prayer is referred to as a Salat which involves a very strict set of guidelines which must be followed during prayer. Whereas in the Baptist subset of Christianity, prayer doesn’t necessarily have to follow to set physical routine in order for it be considered a legit prayer. The second dimension described is the experienced and emotional, as it ties a human’s sentimental values to various religions. In Buddhism, the sentiment is tied to the belief of enlightenment and how it reduces the mental burdens that plague all humans in their daily lives. In Christianity, the experience is more heavily geared towards the afterlife and its promise of heaven which plays on the human mind’s natural curiosity of what happens after death. With each religion, there is the dimension of narration and myth which is illustrated in the vast accounts of oral traditions that are passed down by various generations and are told with the conviction of truth. Examples of this can be found in the stories of Christianity where Moses parted the red sea, and Islam’s stories of a camel appearing from stone. Doctrinal and Philosophical dimensions of religions provide a description of the narrative or mythic principle. This is the “grey area” of religion that ties the “black and white”. For instance, the story of Prophet Muhammad and his journey and experiences of becoming a prophet, allows the religion to tie in philosophical aspects. Buddhism is a heavily philosophical religion where their theories are based primarily on everyday occurrences and this...
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