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Rel 134 - Elements of Religious Traditions Paper

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Elements of Religious Traditions


October 25, 2011


Elements of Religious Traditions

In the world today one will find an array of religions and beliefs. With these religions they bring an unfamiliar and downright strange belief system to those who do not understand due to lack of exposure. Many religions do share a common belief system, such as the thought that there is only one God, but there are others that believe in numerous gods. Belief in a higher power or spirit is not one of choice in most cases, it can be attributed to where one is raised, their culture, along with the traditions they follow.

The belief in only one God is dominant but not limited to the Western World. Monotheist people believe their divine being is one of compassion and virtue. It is also believed with people who follow the monotheist way of life that their God is indeed pure in spirit, yet not definable in words (Molloy, 2010).

Other religions believe in the simultaneous existence of gods. This type of worship is known as polytheism and is another example of how some religions choose to worship (Molloy, 2010). Some of these religions present-day include Hinduism, Shinto, and some forms of Wicca (Theopedia: An Encyclopedia of Christianity, 2011). With the faith in multiple gods, the belief is that each deity is charged with a different aspect of life. In these religions one may pray to a certain gods for rain, bountiful harvest, health, etc. One way of showing the gods of individuals who practice a polytheism religion respect is to make sacrifices to them. This practice is found with some indigenous religions like that of Native American in North America or the Eskimos in Alaska and Canada. These sacrifices are conducted in ceremonies to appease angry gods or ancestors. As with most indigenous religions they grow their start from tribal cultures usually small in numbers (Molloy, 2010).

For some religions the place where and when one worships is important. For instance with Catholicism it is done in a church on Sunday. In Islam their worship is done in a mosque; Islamic people of faith also must pray five times a daily. These are just two examples of where and when people of different religious belief pray. Prayer to one's higher power does not need to be centralized to a specific place. In fact, prayer should commence anywhere one feels the need to do so.

The one thing religions of the world have in common is their belief in what they hold to be sacred and true. There are those who believe that their way of life is the only way to live and are willing to engage in war to spread and preserve their beliefs. This is evident with the holy wars also known as



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