The Role of Religion Religion and its impact on life, is very difficult to define. Religion divides humanity into several groups and each group of people has it’s own definition of what religion is. Among the many religions that exist in the world today, are those that instill strict behavior and deeds to their followers. On the other hand, it is customary for other religious groups to prioritize according to family values and beliefs. However, every religion has their own view of what religion signifies to them.
The behavioral constituent of religion is characterized by the degree of morality and ethical values that are practiced by members of that religious group. The essential features of religions are concluded by ancient interpretations to the point that the foundation, through which religion was created, has greatly influenced today’s overall characteristics and individual principles. First, this essay will argue that Buddhism is the religion most focused on behavior and deeds. Second, it will demonstrate that Christianity is mostly centered on cultivation of spiritual and moral character.
Third, this paper will explain that family values are fundamental in the beliefs of Christianity. Lastly, it will present to what extent the historical context of those choices has influenced those particular characteristics. The Religion That is Most Focused on Behavior and Deeds Buddhism is the one religion that strictly focuses on behavior and ethical values. It concentrates more on living a righteous life, than on explaining how and when the earth was created. Like many religions however, it does have a stringent set of guidelines for behavior, one that emphasizes love and compassion.
While Buddhists do strive for spiritual enlightenment, their primary focus is to treat others with respect and behave in a way that promotes harmony among all living things. In Buddhism various guidelines were established to help followers stay loyal and within the Buddhist path. The path to spiritual transformation is outlined by a set of principles composed to cultivate moral behavior, meditation, and wisdom. These principles are the fundamentals to living the kind of life through which greater spiritual knowledge can be attained, and are called The Noble
Eightfold Path (“Religions” 44). The essence of Buddhist ethics is represented by The Five Precepts, which focus on earthly life, not on achieving salvation after death. The precepts are steps towards spiritual transformation and provide a model for living the ideal life (Juergensmeyers 6645). The Five Precepts include: •To refrain from taking life. •To refrain from taking what is not given. •To refrain from wrongful sexual relations. •To refrain from wrongful speech. •To refrain from drugs and liquor.
In Buddhism, a person’s actions not only have consequences in this life, but can also affect a person’s destiny in subsequent lives. A person’s behavior and the consequences resulting from their behavior are referred to as karma. Buddhists believe that all people are reborn over and over again, through a cycle called samsara, until they obtain spiritual enlightenment and reach nirvana. Karma dictates every aspect of a person’s rebirth. Whatever the state of a person’s life, it is completely justified because it is based on their own deeds.
Good deeds are rewarded by a greater rebirth, and bad deeds are punished by a lesser rebirth. The Religion That is Most Focused on Cultivation of Spiritual and Moral Character Spiritual and moral characters are greatly cultivated among Christian followers. Christianity not only takes its name from Christ, but also its character. Christians build righteous spiritual attributes by resisting temptation. It takes effort for a Christian to obey God and resist the desire to do likewise. Building character through resistance is the basis to being rewarded with eternal life in God’s kingdom.
The gradual life long process of working out salvation involves making changes in life to reflect God’s holiness (McKim 231). Holiness is not instant; it is a process that requires discipline. Discipline first requires self-examination, and then it means crucifixion of the old sinful ways, and lastly, practice in following Jesus Christ in new ways by the guidance and strength that the Holy Spirit provides. Spiritual growth is an essential feature in Christianity. Spiritual journey begins the moment that Jesus Christ is accepted as Lord and Savior, and is the continued transformation of moral nd spiritual character daily, until physical death occurs. Spiritual growth will not take place unless time is spent studying God’s word. In the Christian faith, the Bible is viewed as the book of God. God’s word is to be followed by faithful Christians. The Bible serves as a textbook of human values and recognizes that there is only one standard – the moral character of God (McKim 231). The Bible depicts the entire race appearing before the Judgment Throne, and it is there where man’s moral behavior is either unjust or righteous. The two destinies recognized by Scripture are heaven and hell.
The righteous is said to have eternal life in God’s universe, while on the other hand, the unjust shall go away into eternal punishment. Religions That Present Family Values as Central to Their Beliefs In Christianity, family values begin with marriage, the union of a male and female. Marriage is characterized and governed by Christian principles taught in the Bible. One of the purposes of the marriage relationship appears to be for procreation, which includes providing a secure and stable environment for children to develop in (Froehle 415).
In Christianity, the picture of marriage expands into something much broader than just a relationship. In addition, a Christian marriage is not based on love, though love is a very important component, it is ultimately founded on commitment. A marriage was designed to be a life long commitment. The husband exercises the role of authority and leadership, and the wife fulfills a role of submission. However, both are equal in God’s kingdom. Through marriage one can learn about unconditional love, respectful honor, how to forgive, and be forgiven.
As a result, true happiness can be discovered, and this is one of God’s ultimate desires and purposes for designing the covenant of marriage. Family values are of great significance in the Christian faith. In Christianity, God’s plan is to build, strengthen, and protect the family. Family has a major influence on shaping religious ideas and beliefs. Many Christians believe that parents should raise their children to learn about, and believe in God. The love that family members show each other should show how much God loves everyone (“Religions” 23).
Making religion a central part of family life is important to Christians because they will be concerned to make sure their children learn their tradition, and remain faithful to God. In Christianity, it is crucial for parents to teach their children about God starting at a young age, to encourage their children’s spiritual growth, and to watch the legacy leave you. A Christian’s devotion to God – or lack of it – will make a resounding impression on the next generation. Influence of Historical Context on Characteristics The impact of Buddhism on world culture was truly significant.
Buddhism draws most of its inspiration from the religious culture of the Indus Valley civilization; like the elements of renunciation, meditation, rebirth, karma, and liberation. Also, many symbols of the Indus Valley civilization have religious significance and are also sacred in Buddhism. On the other hand, aspects similar to the Aryan tradition can be clearly traced in the rituals of tantric Buddhism. Many of the continually evolving ideas and beliefs of Buddhism are exclusive, and have influenced the lives of countless people around the world.
Buddhist culture is enduring and is as original today as it was 2500 years ago. It is never obsolete, nor does its content change with context. From the beginning, Christianity has always been an expression of God’s presence in the world. The Bible is a historical document. It merely is recorded as a change in content and context. First, we can’t know that what we are reading words that convey the meaning the original writers intended, because the original texts are long lost, and the best we have for most of these documents are many generations removed from the originals.
That problem has been the subject of this essay, and by now it should be very clear that after the multitudinous revisions, translations and editing by at least the 150 people who produced what we now call the Bible, there’s way too much room for error to safely claim that it is error free. Conclusion Many religions in the world have fundamentally different characteristics and values. Some of the traits are determined by historical cultivation that are presented by the principles of the religion. Even if world religions are not compatible with each other, no religion is superior to another.
Furthermore, mostly all religions instill unique characteristics and moral values to their followers. Works Cited Froehle, Bryan. “Marriage, Christian. ” Contemporary American Religion. Ed. Wade Clark Roof. Vol. 2. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1999. 415-418. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Aug. 2011. Juergensmeyer, Mark. “Nonviolence. ” Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 10. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 6645-6649. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 4 Aug. 2011. Lopez, Jr. , Donald S. Buddhist Studies. ” Encyclopedia of Religion. Ed. Lindsay Jones. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 1309-1316. Gale Virtual Reference Library. 4 Aug. 2011. McKim, Donald K. “Christianity: Reformed Christianity. ” Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices Ed. Thomas Riggs. Vol. 1: Religions and Denominations. Detroit: Gale, 2006. 228-234. Gale Virtual Library. 4 Aug. 2011. “Religions Around the World: Investigate the Beliefs and Faiths of People Everywhere”. Chicago, Ill: Encyclopedia Britannica, 2003. 1-66.