Components of Religious Traditions and the Relationship of the Sacred
Religious traditions vary from religion to religion. Many people believe every religion worships a higher power, has a sacred book, and has a set of commandments. Although this is true of some religions, it is not the case for all religions. For example, the Shinto religion does not have commandments; Zen Buddhism does not worship any type of godlike being, and most tribal religions do not have written divine scripture (Molloy, 2010). Every religion although different has certain things in common such as a belief system, community, and stories that express the beliefs of that religion. This writer will use two examples of religious beliefs to help the reader understand a little more about religion, Christianity and Catholicism. Christianity is defined by The Free Dictionary (2013), as a person professing belief in Jesus Christ and following the religion based teachings on the life of Jesus. A person learns these teachings by reading the holy bible, church services, and is passed down from one generation to the next. When reading the holy bible a person can learn several important teachings and myths about how God created the earth and how Jesus was born to the virgin Mary to eventually die on the cross for everyone else’s sins. A person would also learn about the Ten Commandments that are rules for Christians to live by. The majority of Christians have church on Sundays, pray in the morning, before meals, and before bedtime. Christians celebrate most holidays especially Christmas as that is the day the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated. Christians believe that all Christians are one big family with the preacher at each church as the leader. Catholics follow the same teachings, texts, stories, and moral codes as Christians. Although there are some differences between Christianity and Catholicism such as, Catholics usually have service on Saturdays, have confessionals where they confess sins, and have a person voted in as the leader called the Pope. The Pope stays the leader of the Catholics until he dies and then another person is then voted in by other Catholic people high up in the hierarchy.
Critical Issues in the Study of Religion
When studying religion there are several issues that can affect a person’s understanding of religion. Finding a pattern when studying religion is extremely hard especially religions with a long history and many followers. Religions are constantly changing and are not everlasting constructs. These changes are influenced by governments, people, historical events, and changes in technology (Molloy, 2010). Another issue in the study of religion is the ever changing cultures of the world. Centuries ago people did not marry out of his or her race or religious beliefs. In today’s society people are