World Religious Traditions II / REL 134
Date: September 29, 2013
Instructor: James Davidson
Religion is a set of beliefs and practices by a person or persons. Usually it entails a higher spiritual being as its center of focus. These beliefs can be influenced by culture and differentiating worldly views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions today have specific narratives, which define their belief. They use symbols, and sacred objects to help explain the origin of the universe, the creation of life, and the reasons why. There are countless religions today that address all the varying beliefs and reasons in answering our origin and creation. Let’s explore a few.
Beliefs, Practices, and Religion
According to Shouler (2010), “there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. Many religions may have organized behaviors, clergy, a definition of what constitutes adherence or membership, holy places, and scriptures. The practice of a religion may also include rituals, sermons, commemoration or veneration of a deity, gods or goddesses, sacrifices, festivals, feasts, trance, initiations, funerary services, matrimonial services, meditation, prayer, music, art, dance, public service or other aspects of human culture.” Many religions may also, as some do, contain forms of mythology in there narratives. Let’s look at the three most influential religions in the history of the world.
According to Comparison of Islam, Judaism and Christianity (2004-2014), “Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are three of the most influential world religions in history. While Judaism isn't as large as Christianity and Islam, its impact on the world has still been as profound.” Going further, “Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic faiths practiced by about half of the world's population. Monotheism refers to the belief in one God. The three faiths are often called western religions to distinguish them from the eastern religions practiced primarily in Asia.”(Dowling, 2014). Christianity is the largest of the three as it represents 2 billion of the world’s population as its members. The sacred text is the “Bible.” They worship in churches. Main day of worship is Sunday. Founding leader, “Jesus Christ”. Founded in 33 CE. Viewpoint of the other two: Judaism is a true religion. Islam is a false religion. Islam is the second largest as it represents 1.3 billion of the world’s population as its members. The sacred text is the “Quran.” They worship in mosques. Main day of worship is Friday. Founding leader, “Muhammad”. Founded in 622 CE. Viewpoint of the other two: Jews and Christians are respected but they have wrong beliefs. Judaism is the smallest of the three and represents 14 million of the world’s population as its members. The sacred text is the “Bible.” They worship in synagogues. Main day of worship is Saturday. Founding leader, “Moses or Abraham”. Founded unknown. Viewpoint of the other two: Islam and Christianity are false interpretations and extensions of Judaism.
Religion has developed into many different forms of practice for many different people based on their culture and beliefs. According to "Religion" (2014),”Some religions place an emphasis on belief, while others emphasize practice. Some religions focus on the subjective experience of the religious individual, while others consider the activities of the religious community to be most important. Some religions claim to be universal, believing their laws and cosmology to be binding for everyone, while others are intended to be practiced only by a closely defined or localized group.” Religion has been wide spread in its association and collaboration amongst public institutions such as education (Colleges and Universities), hospitals (Medical branches and clinics) , within the family arrangement, government programs, and political hierarchies....
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