Elements of Religious Tradition

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Elements of Religious Tradition REL 134 Elements of Religious Tradition How many different religions really exist in the world? An intelligent answer to this question escapes me. It is possible that an accurate count is unavailable do the vastness of the subject. What is for sure is that religion is a phenomenon of the world, found in every single place no matter how secluded. The search for a higher meaning or a power beyond our own appears to be a shared ambition the world over. While not every position of belief is considered a religion, most belief systems are. In order to separate the difference we need to identify what elements are required to make a belief system a religion by definition. The following eight elements are found to be present in any religious system: “Belief system, community, central myths, ritual, ethics, characteristic emotional experience, material expression, sacredness”. (Molloy, 2010) Religious differences are as widely varied as the number of religions worldwide. These differences do offer some insight into this fascinating world of spiritual diversity. Belief System “Several beliefs fit together into a fairly complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and the human being’s place in it; this is also called a worldview”. (Molloy, 2010) Most of us will easily recognize these traditions right off. Christianity and all of its numerous denominations develop their worldview from the Holy Bible. Islam develops its worldview through the teachings of the Koran. Just because most of the major religions have written scriptures to base their traditions and are easily recognized, doesn’t mean that other examples are not available. Many religious systems in the world are found in indigenous undeveloped areas. Even though these beliefs are passed on to practitioners by word of mouth, they still can be categorized as
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