Elements of Religious Traditions
December 16, 2013
Dr. Paxton Reed
Religion plays a large role in the lives of many whether they are religious or not. Many of the laws that we follow today have their foundation in religious teachings. Some people would argue that society needs religion. We live in a society where interactions between people of different cultures is increasing so it is important that we attempt to understand religious traditions that are not historically our own. In the following text I will explain how religious traditions describe and encourage relationships with the divine, sacred time, sacred space, and between people. Religious traditions vary across the many different religions however some religious traditions include prayer, pilgrimage, ritual, and worship.
The study of religion can be very complex. Approximately 21 major ...view middle of the document...
“All religions are concerned with the deepest level of reality, and for most religions the core or origin of everything is sacred and mysterious. This sense of a mysterious, originating holiness is called by many names: Brahman, Dao, Great Mother, Divine Parent, Great Spirit, Ground of Being, Great Mysterious, the Ultimate, the Absolute, the Divine, the Holy. People, however, experience and explain sacred reality in different ways” (Malloy, 2010). Some choose to believe in one God, which is called monotheism while others believe in many, which is called polytheism. Some of the more popular monotheistic religions are Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. Polytheistic religions that people may be familiar with are Buddhism, Hinduism, and Shintoism.
Sacred time can be interpreted as time set aside for connecting with the divine through meditation, prayer or worship. These observances sometimes occur annually depending on the religion. For example, Muslims commemorate important historical events, such as the Miraj, which celebrates Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Jerusalem. People of the Christian faith also observe many holy days. Christians commemorate the birth of Jesus on December 25th by celebrating Christmas and the resurrection of Jesus on Easter. Sacred spaces are places of worship, shrines, or places of pilgrimage. Such places include Buddhist temples, Hindu ashrams, Islamic mosque, Native American sweat lodges.
There are many different perspectives on how religious traditions have encouraged relationships between people. Many believers credit their religion with bringing peace amongst humans however there are some who argue that religion has in fact done the complete opposite. In the name of religious tradition man has justified immoral acts such as slavery, the mutilation of infants, racism, and genocide. Religious traditions have also promoted unity and fellowship amongst men. In many religions acts of humanitarianism are encouraged and emphasized during holidays.
Molloy, M. (2010). Experiencing the world’s religions: Tradition, challenge, and change (5th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.