1. What is a religion? You’ve read our textbook author’s definition; use that definition as a starting point to go further.
The word “religion” is such a broad word that to this day there is no one definition that can satisfy all religions. For the time being, it is better to simply be open to many possible definitions, without embracing any single one. Different people especially in different religions will all have a difference in opinion when trying to use very few words to define religion. The traditional definition of religion is a system of belief that involves worship of a God or gods, prayer, ritual, and a moral code.
Religion is important to many people because it gives them something to believe in. Religion helps human deal with their mortality. As human beings, we look to religion for answers to life’s unexpected or unknown questions such as death, pain, afterlife, or rebirth. Religion has a way of helping us deal with death and offers comfort.
Religion also helps us be creativity and express ourselves through music, dance, and art. It gives us a sense of viewing life as something beautiful and lively. People who have a religion usually are more happy knowing that they life can reflect something of the supernatural that they do not understand. Through art, we get to express how we are feeling on the inside. Many people use music, dance, and art to show others what they cannot express through words. Religion gives them a sense of confident.
2. Discuss some of the characteristics that religions have in common.
Some characteristics that religions have in common are: belief system, community, central myths, ritual, characteristic emotional experiences, material expression, and sacredness. Not all religions will consist of all elements but rather some of these characteristics are commonly accepted. Many believe in a worldview were all things in the universe and human being has a place in it. Humans need of belonging helps them seek out for a community where they can belong too and share their ideals and practices. Many religions have this so people can rely on one another.
Other characteristics that are shared in religions are passed down from generations to generations through stories or reenactment of major events in the religious group. Each religion has its own myth that is central to the religion. Not only are myths passed down but rituals as well. These beliefs are enacted and made real through ceremonies. Also, ethics are passed down which are set guidelines for the group of people; these are viewed as being revealed through a supernatural realm.
Religions also allow people to express themselves emotionally and give a sense of inner peace that cannot come from outer resources. Material expression allows religions to make use of astonishing variety of physical elements. Each religion has a source of sacredness that is distinctive from the ordinary. Ceremonies express the distinction through different language, clothing, and architecture. Each tradition exhibit most of these characteristics but for those who practice them will manifest them in different ways and at different times.
3. In addition to characteristics in common among religions, there are some patterns with regard to beliefs, world views, etc., that are exhibited by most religions. Discuss these patterns.
There are three different patterns that we look for to see similarity and difference among religions. The first pattern is views of the world and life. Religions must offer answers to life’s great questions that are asked. All questions are the same, but the answers very depending on the religion. Because of the great variety of worldview each answer is different and must be examined close to get a better understanding of why it is the way it is. Some religion view the universe as being created by a Creator while others believe it has...
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