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Rel 134 - Studying Religion

Autor:   •  May 23, 2018  •  Research Paper  •  1,510 Words (7 Pages)  •  183 Views

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Studying Religion

Darlene Gutierrez

REL 134

May 2, 2018

Dwight Bastian


Studying Religion

Nowadays that we are facing a multicultural diversity not only in our country but also around the world, we found out that religion plays a significant role in everyone's life, but the question here is, what religion is? How can we define it? Over the years, people have tried to explain and find an answer to it, but everyone has a different definition and meaning. Although there are countless religions in the world, most of them agree that religion is a combination of practices, feelings, convictions, beliefs, behaviors, and a moral code that guide an individual or group. Also, it is described as the relationship between divinity or sacred and human being. People usually tend to look for something meaningful that helps them to cope with life issues and mortality. As well as, allows them to find answers and fulfill human needs, that is why religion gives them often comfort, joy, and relief to those who practice it. (Molloy, 2013).

According to Molloy (2013), eight elements are essential for a tradition to be called religion, for example, rituals, sacredness, belief system, ethics, material expression, community, characteristic emotional experiences and central myths. The majority of these elements go hand in hand with each other and helps to convert a tradition into religion. Culture plays a significant role in this process because when an individual shares their belief system and convictions in the community, more people can practice it and expand it over the world. People experience inner peace, devotion, liberation, guilt, conversion, ecstasy and “rebirth” feelings by sharing these emotional experiences with others. Rituals consist of ceremonies that individuals or groups practice to build cultural identity, worship, and personal meaning. Sacredness is very important because it makes a difference between the ordinary and the sacred, some characteristics are consecration to God, gods or divine, be pure and be away from evil. On the other hand, ethics are a set of rules about human behavior that people established to determine what is right or wrong in someone’s life; these ethics rules are the connection between morality and religion. (Mintz, 2012).  The material expression is the way that a community professes their religion with physical items such as ritual objects, statues, paintings, musical instruments, and architecture. Lastly, central myths are those narrative descriptions that culture accepts that are based on religious beliefs such as the exodus of Israelites in Egypt, Muhammad’s escape or resurrection of Jesus. (Molloy, 2013).

According to Shouler, K. (2010), no one knows entirely how many religions exist, but there are approximately 4,200 religions in the world. Judaism, Islam, and Christianity are the three major western religions with most influential impact in the history and with the most significant number of followers. Although there are some differences between them, these three religions have some commonalities. Every day, more people profess them, and also followers are increasing because of the people who convert these doctrines worldwide. All religions are based on monotheism which means that they believe in only one God, Christians based their faith in a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Jews in Yahweh and Muslims in Allah. Also, they are called "Abrahamic religions" because they believe themselves that descendent from him. ("Religious Facts", 2017). Jesus was the founder of Christianity, Muhammad founded Islam, and Abraham founded Judaism. As well as, each recognizes a holy book which is part of their belief systems such as the Bible, Quran, and Tanakh. According to "Pew Research Center" (2011), research conducted shows that Christianity has about 2.2 billion followers worldwide, making the world's largest religious tradition. Statistics collected by "Pew Research Center" (2017), shows that in 2010 1.6 billion of Muslims practice this doctrine around the world and 14 million converted to Judaism. ("Pew Research Center", 2011).

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