February 12, 2014 Elements of Religious Traditions
Religion is defined in the Webster Dictionary as: the belief in a god or in a group of gods, an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods, or an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group. My personal outlook on this would be there is no definition to this word that can be defined within words. Religion is within one’s self or within a group, who have chosen to believe in something greater then themselves to survive in the world they live in, in one way or another.
There are many different religions and religious beliefs all around the world. People all over the world have chosen to follow certain rituals and live by sacred symbols and use spiritual places to do so. These rituals, symbols, places, and traditions are all defined within the religion the person or group has chosen to follow. With religion come’s traditions that have been carried out over hundreds of years to make one feel a spiritual closeness with the divine.
Some religions are monotheism with only one god they follow and some are polytheism with more than one god. With a monotheism religion, a group has chosen to believe in one god and to follow the word of one god which is usually scriptures written thousands of years ago made for people to live there life by. According to Molloy and Hilgers (2010), the thought of the powerful God is the sacredness that is active in the world but also distinct from it (Chapter1). This God is pure and undefinable in words (Molloy & Hilgers, Chapter 1, 2010).In some monotheism religions the sacred reality is viewed more as an energy that is imminent within the universe and can be discoverable within the physical world and its processes (Molloy & Hilgers, Chapter 1, 2010). Some worship the sacred reality in the form of many gods and this is called polytheism. These Gods are separated into their own entities, in charge of different elements of life (Molloy & Hilgers, Chapter 1, 2010). Along with religious groups there are also groups of people who choose to believe there is nothing greater then what we have here living among us, no greater god or gods, this is called atheism.
Religion can be a very complex subject when studying. We have now been studying religion for over 200 years. The first to study religion were only able to study what they could read with little chance to travel (Molloy & Hillgers, Chapter 1, 2010). Sometimes the text and scriptures were incomplete and would often contain hagiography, Greek holy writing or saint writing. Another area of concern was the religions that did not hold writings but only oral traditions (Molloy & Hillgers, Chapter 1, 2010). This was hard to study correctly. In recent times the study of religion has been given to people trained in behavioral sciences. When studying religion there are also moral issues to make sure that the study has been done respect and not the researcher’s curiosity and cultural domination.
Religious influences can be found everywhere in everyday life. It is said that anyone drawn to painting, sculpture, music, or architecture will be drawn to the study of the religions because of the numerous religious traditions have been among the most significant patrons of art (Molloy & Hillgers, Chapter 1, 2010). Within studies of religion are many religions from all different parts of the world and ethnicities.
The study of indigenous religions is the practices of the native throughout the world. These