Week 4 Assignment 1 Religion on Planet Earth
By Natasha Macoon
Professor Eric Speir
July 29, 2012
In every situation in life, people need a source of hope. Many times, they turn to their religion. Religion is a collection of rituals, traditions, and beliefs that revolve around a single or group of supernatural beings or creators. These gods have the power to change or alter reality. Therefore, people use religion to hope that their gods will save them and help them whenever they need help. They then spend time trying to make the gods happy so that they favor their needs and agree to help when called. To be considered religious, a person has to believe in some higher-power and participate in traditions or customs, usually to keep away evil spirits or please the good gods. Religious individuals dedicate their lives to their gods and how much they truly believe that their creators reach out to help their disciples.
There are many religions, each with its own beliefs and traditions. However, while they are each very different, there are many similarities that tie them together and allow many to work together in harmony. Three examples of tradition that are found in practically every religion are prayer, fast, and alms-giving. All religions have some form of prayer, whether it is in a group or individually. Some religions have specific places of worship, such as a church, temple or synagogue. Many different religions choose to fast to show that they put their gods or a single god before their own physical needs. Some religions have a time for alms-giving, which is a way to show that they don’t put themselves higher than anyone else and to help those around them. These three are very important traditions; “Prayer carries us half-way to God, fasting brings us to the door of His palace, and alms-giving procures us admission” (Koran). Basically, these three traditions are ways to salvation.
Prayer is an imperative ritual for just about every religion. It is a spiritual unity between man and god; a spiritual doorway to connect the natural man to the supernatural beings. Many use prayer as a way of asking for help or guidance, of thanksgiving, of showing adoration, reverence and worship, and of confession or to ask for forgiveness. Praying is like speaking directly to a god and bringing your needs, problems, confessions, and words of worship to him. It is easy and simple enough to do often, which is why so many religions require the followers to do it often. Some religions require the disciples to dedicate a specific number of times a day, while other religions encourage followers to pray whenever they feel the need or desire to connect to the creator, as said in the book of Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing”. In all religions with prayer, prayer is an invitation to salvation, and, as said in the bible, Romans 10:13, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” When a person dedicates a good amount of time just to pray, it shows that they really are religious and honestly believe that their god or gods are listening and waiting for the best time to answer their prayers.
In many different religions, many people use sacrifices to show that they put their god or gods above their physical needs. Many different religions encourage or even require the adults to fast during certain times of the year. Examples are in Christianity, where Christians fast in Lent, and Muslims fast during the month of Ramadan. Fasting is the act of giving up excessive foods, eating at specific times of the day, and not eating at all for an amount of time. Many people “fast” for other reasons. Many try to hold themselves from eating to lose weight or stop themselves from consuming too many calories. It may sound like a good idea, especially during a time when the person’s religion calls for it. However, if a person is dieting and considering it fasting, it is