Religion is a system based on a set of beliefs and practices followed by believers who pass this system over generations. These beliefs are strong hence they bond the believers to one direction of faith and also direct the believers on how life should be lived as a believer of that religion. For example, in the Christian region, they worship in the church compared to Muslim who conducts service on the mosque; moreover, the worshipping days are also different. ( Barret 2007).
People under a certain religion have a supernatural being, who is said to be the creator of humankind whom they all worship. The Christians have God as their creator while Muslims have Allah as their creator; also in addition to that, under the creator, there is a supernatural being who acts as a mediator between the creator and mankind. For example, people under Islam religion have Prophet Mohammed as their mediator while the Christian religion has Jesus Christ.
In the folk religion, the ancestors were said to be super beings whose work was too connected mankind to the god (Awolalu 1976). s. The world largest religion includes Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and folk religion. The above religions have stories that are preserved on their sacred or Holy Scriptures, for example, Muslims have Quran while in the Christian region have the bible, narratives, and each religion as a holy place where they communicate with their master.
The holy or sacred scriptures explain the meaning and origin of life and therefore giving us the purpose of believers on this world.in addition to that, the Holy Scripture also contains beliefs and laws which are said to be true and therefore should be followed by believers too, for example, in Islam region, pork meat is not allowed to be consumed by the Muslim believers while in the Hindu religion, a cow is sacred because of the faith of the Hindus. . Every religion in the world has a religious leader or leaders whose work is to lead the believers to follow the teaching of the Holy Scriptures and they are in charge of the worshipping places.Therefore, they in charge of performing rites and ceremonies in that religion such as death rituals. For example, in Buddhism, the monk is the religious leader.
Every religion in the world also as certain acts which are said to be righteous while others are said to be sinful and therefore believers are forbidden from doing the sinful acts and encouraged to Act in accordance with the religious principles in order to achieve good results while the sinful acts are said to result to suffering or disaster. Some religions believe in the presence of heaven and hell whereby the people who practiced the righteous acts will go to heaven after death while those who did the sinful acts will go to hell.
Each religion has a system of rituals that they practice. Rituals are the behavior that a believer or believers perform with reference to supernatural power. This includes behaviors such as mode of reciting prayers, wearing specific modes of clothes, taking birth in holy rivers, mode of singing and dancing, crawling, fasting, etc. All these rituals are done by a believer or a collective group of believers in order to strengthen the individual’s faith in the supernatural power. For example, A Muslim may do Namaz alone or with the collectivity in a Mosque (Naughton 2000). A Christian may offer a flower to Jesus Christ or seats for prayer in the church etc.
The academic study of religion basically is the description and interpretation of beliefs, rituals, practices, and social structures from communities around the world. This involves the study of history and formation of these practices, beliefs, and structures, as well as their reinterpretations over time while on the other side devotional practice and advocacy in a region are the activities which are performed as to the interpretation of the religion.
The discussion that follows helps us to understand want are the critical issues about the academic study of religion. Every person is interested in observing the common elements that are found in many or all religions, some are interested about the Sociology of religion: about the organization of our religion and what role does it play in our community. There is also a debate about the psychology of religion: under this people tend to ask a question on how does conversion work exactly, Are there certain people of a certain religion more likely to become religious than the other?.
Everyone is interested to know and have knowledge about the history of religion: how did our religion start, changes occurred on our religion over time and how did religion as a phenomenon get to the point where it is now. Furthermore, we also try to figure out about Anthropology of religion: is there any role of ritual within religion and culture and how does culture at large relate to religion.
Ethics which is a major branch of philosophy is a system of moral principles that effect on our decision making.it covers the following important subjects:
Our rights and responsibilities.
Our moral decision making.
How to live a good life.
Determining what is good or wrong.
Religious ethics deals with practices and teaching of what is right and wrong from a religious point of view.one of the aspect of ethics are living a good life, people in religion should have good personal habits such as courage and temperance. We should live a life that we are comfortable regardless of our religion. Also, ethics plays a role in religion in determining on what is good or wrong, people are not allowed to commit murder or do any sinful acts therefore as a religious member we learn that some acts that we might do or aspire to do are wrong. (Anscombe 1981).
Ethics also play a role in moral decision making. These decisions we make influence greatly on our life and also acts as a guide on our life, therefore we should make positive decisions that will lead to happiness in our society. An ethic that guides all religions teaches us that we should treat a member of our society the way we would want to be treated. Therefore if we do so, happiness will be ensured and we will all live a good life.
The above debate helps as to understand on our religions. We are able to understand how religions are organized, the origin of religion and the role of ethics in our religion. Therefore, the key aspect of the above extract is to teach us how we should live among each other’s regardless of our religion.
Anscombe, G. E. M. (1981). Ethics, religion, and politics (p. 26). Oxford: Blackwell.
Asamoah-Gyadu, J. (2004). African charismatics: Current developments within independent indigenous Pentecostalism in Ghana. Brill.
Awolalu, J. O. (1976). What is the African traditional religion? Studies in Comparative Religion, 10(2), 1-10.
Barrett, J. L. (2007). Cognitive science of religion: What is it and why is it?. Religion Compass, 1(6), 768-786.
Bergin, A. E. (1991). Values and religious issues in psychotherapy and mental health. American Psychologist, 46(4), 394.
Guthrie, S. E. (1996). Religion: What is it?. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, 412-419.
Jensen, J. S. (2014). What is religion?. Routledge.
Lyden, J. (2003). Film as religion: Myths, morals, and rituals. NYU Press.
Naughton, S., & Naughton, T. (2000). Religion, ethics and stock trading: The case of an Islamic equities market. Journal of Business Ethics, 23(2), 145-159.
Naughton, S., & Naughton, T. (2000). Religion, ethics and stock trading: The case of an Islamic equities market. Journal of Business Ethics, 23(2), 145-159.
Parratt, S. N. (2014). The Religion of Manipur: Beliefs, rituals, and historical development.
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