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The semester review of

similarity and unity within the


popular established world
religions
Taylor Moulton
4/28/17
RELS 2300
Position Paper

What is Religion?
Religion to many can mean different things. Some use it as a scapegoat for the afterlife,

some use it to justify love and compassion, and some use it simply to find their self and become

a better human being. According to Pat Fisher religion has many dimensions to it such as

experiences, beliefs, some values that come from traditions that transform into religion and refer

to as spirituality. I believe religion is defined as best but is hard to fully give one definition

because religion can mean so much more. Religion: is the makeup of beliefs, values, traditions,

to evaluate and continually correct a human being to give sight of a future beyond this life. The

makeup of religion is complex and is ever evolving. The meaning of religion is to teach

spirituality and gain compassion to others and things in this world. Religion gives a reason and

thought to our ever drowning and mundane lives. As said by Radhanath Swami a well-

established Swami(master and teacher) in Hinduism. Religion is meant to teach us true spiritual

human character. It is meant for self-transformation. It is meant to transform anxiety into peace,

arrogance into humility, envy into compassion, to awaken the pure soul in man and his love for

the Source, which is God. Religion is there for those who need it, and virtually and in reality,

enhances the world around us giving meaning to those who need it. The teachings of many

religions teach similar aspects of peace, love humility, compassion, and God. Religion is an

organized body of many traditions and values that we long to seek or keep in this world.

In the worlds established religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity,

and Islam there are many differences to these religions but in the same sense they share a lot in

common. Many of religions of old and new share common aspects such as a belief in God or

higher power, many beliefs and worship are similar, and lastly the emotional/spiritual experience.

Through all these aspects demonstrated Religion is ultimately the same.

Connection to God
God or a higher being is represented in many religions and is sought to be like or

eventually make your way to them in the afterlife. Many religions are monotheistic but a few

have a little bit of twists to it. In Hinduism they believe in many devas, such as Indra,Agni,Soma,

Ushas as all these deities and many more have a purpose though ultimately, there is one true God

Brahman. In Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share the same monotheistic God. The all mighty

ever creating God. Representation of God, in Judaism and Islam is solely God, in Christianity

God is represented within the Holy Trinity. Most religions state what they believe in such as god;

even if the religion doesnt necessarily belief in one god or in many, they all share the common

aspect of a creator or a reason to why we are here. God is there for the reasoning of why we are

all here on Earth. God gives meaning to the afterlife which ends reincarnation, or one day gets us

to be in heaven.

Buddhism aspect is a little different but holds the same principle. Nirvana is the end all

craving and attachments of the materialistic world, once reaching a state of higher enlightenment

you are an Arhant entering a state of heavenly dimensions (Fisher,149). God could be a physical

or mental idea of a higher power or reason of creation but in other religions reaching

enlightenment can be the equivalence of being with God vs. being a God. Even though

Buddhism doesnt believe in God they believe in a state beyond this earth and reaching it

through certain goals and journeys in their physical/spiritual life. Where the name is Nam,

Jehovah, Allah, God the father, or Braham the meaning is all there representing the higher

being/inspiration in all religions. God or Divine being gives guidelines to devotees and

establishes culture and structure in society. Without these simple ideas of God and their rules

we would not have come as far as we would today with established laws, rules, and societal
norms. God gives structure to religion and society which is needed in all religions to thrive as a

cultural and spiritual religion.

Beliefs and Worship

As god gives structure to religion, beliefs and worship give shape to it. Religion without

structure or beliefs is nonexistence. Without it we would not need religion as we would already

be perfect without worship and would not invest in believing in something such as God. Many

beliefs and worship give character to their respective religion but without it, the religion would

have no meaning. The founding fathers or inspiration in all these world renown religions gave

birth to belief which lead onto worship. As Muhammad had a vision to get his people out of sin

and idolatry gave birth to the Islamic religion. Christianity is founded on Jesus Christ a divine

man that taught many beliefs of respect and God. Or even Siddhartha Gautama who has reached

enlightenment giving birth to Buddhism. Without these profound leaders/founders the religion

would not have its structure, principles, and beliefs as it would today. Every religion has a

foundation or a founder who gave birth to ideologies that transformed into a organized religion.

In every religion, they have a set of written standards and beliefs, many revere these

books as holy rules and revelations. The holy bible(Christianity), Quran (Islam), Vedas

(Hinduism), Tripitakas (Buddhism), and the Torah (Judaism). They all have significance in

religion such as the Holy Bible that is a written collection of stories and parables that teach

valuable lessons and commandments that is needed to follow to achieve a heavenly afterlife.

Many ultimate and sacred teachings are included in these revelations. Buddhism teaches the four

noble truths: Life inevitably involves suffering, dissatisfaction and distress, suffering caused by

raving, rooted in ignorance, Suffering will cease when craving ceases, and lastly there is a way to

realize this the Noble eightfold path (Fisher,144). In Hinduism to be considered a member
(Hindu) use must follow these beliefs acceptance for the Vedas, sprit of tolerance of others point

of view, acceptance of their creation of the cosmic world, acceptance of reincarnation, many

paths of acceptance, and not worshiping in idols but the gods that are there (Fisher 118). In

Judaism, they believe in the ten commandments such as Christianity. In Islam, belief in One god,

and Muhammad is the messenger of God nothing more. God is centralized in all teachings and

beliefs in Muslim culture (Fisher,387-388). In many aspects of belief God is centralized and the

basis of everything. Buddhism being the exception in a sense they all strive through certain

commandments to reach a state of spiritual bliss.

Prayer is a belief and worship that is among all the religions sharing the same idea of

prayer or act of, this in some ways is a connection to God or an elevated spiritual experience. In

Islamic culture prayer five times a day is set to be the standard and with Judaism Tefillah is three

to four times a day depending on the time of the year. Prayer is the daily communication of

reverence, reflection and meditation. In Buddhism prayer is translated differently and is more of

a meditation for calm and reverent (samatha) and insightful (vipassana). My experience in

Catholicism (Christianity) prayer can be representation of respect to Christ and God as we

experienced the bread and wine and said amen which ends most prayers in Christianity (Western

Site Visit,2). Hindus would discipline their mind and body through Yoga which is revered as a

prayer of self-reflection. Prayer gives insight, respect, question, mediation, peace, or thanks. That

is why prayer is needed in religion or is related to all religions because of that aspect.

Emotional/Spiritual Experience

Being spiritual is necessary for religion. Spirituality defined as any personal response to

dimensions of life to be considered sacred (Fisher,541). Without response to religion how do we

truly gain experience or even divine belief? Through sin we cannot gain experience or
enlightenment as our emotion can carry us to spiritual levels that we would have never have

achieved without struggle. Karma gives away to the responses we give to others is this life

creating a cause and reaction effect. In this respect, it gives emotion and spiritual actions based

off the certainty of the action. Jewish belief that those who desire to grow with god will be asked

to suffer more, emotion is key to gaining spirit and spirit is key to gaining enlightenment or

heavenly rewards. Attending services such as Sunday Mass, or Friday Shabbat or uposatha day

of rest or service based on who you want to worship in Hinduism. Religion always has social

meetings and gathering to further connect the religion with other humans and devotees. To fully

show the emotion and worship to their God or religious faith. As many founders or impactful

figure of these religions were going through spiritual experiences to gain insight to God or even

life itself. Christ was sent to earth to experience mortal life and gain those proper experiences to

save all people. Muhammad led his people out of sin and darkness to properly worship God

away from Idolatry and murder. Hinduism was birthed to religious and sacred experiences in

India, and Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) experienced many challenges in life that lead to his

final stages of enlightenment. And lastly through stories of experiences Moses and Abraham

gave birth to Jewish culture and religion. In many religions, the key to emotional/spiritual

experience is through prayer, fasting, meditation, scripture reading, attending serve and

welcoming in religion in to your soul.

Conclusion

Religion is ultimately the same, in very small instances such as Buddhism it can seem

different. The reasoning of the similarity is the structure of most religion based off of

heavenly/enlightened figure. Studying from a group of revelations and rules taught to be the

beliefs and morals of the religion. Founders giving birth to the structure and as the rest filled out
the growth of a huge reaction to spiritual experiences. Religion is complex and has many aspects

which makes it hard to define or even study it. Overall religion is there for humankind to find a

purpose in life and the afterlife to give moral guidance to treat all things in life as equal. Religion

even gives shape to cultures, political systems and laws to give life a human experience without

being completely savages. Religion is culture, religion is faith, religion is truth, religion is

reason. All these things give religion a definition so really is religion solely defined on a few

principles of organized religion. To one person religion might mean hope and to another it might

mean dedication. Religion is beyond our comprehension because of the impact it has on us,

humankind and life. The similarity is quite striking as many religions share the same structural

beliefs as they all continue to build and grow through the interaction of each others respective

religion. Without it would we be who we are today of societal structure and deliberating giants?
Works Cited

Radhanath Swami Quote:https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/radhanaths737730.html?


src=t_religion

Fisher, Mary Pat Living Religions 9th Edition, Pearson Publishing, 2015

Western Site Visit Worksheet, Taylor Moulton, St. Andrews Parish 4/23/17

Images courtesy of google search: coexist and world religions


https://www.google.com/search?
q=coexist&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjw46f9ksjTAhVps1QKHR4OCUUQ
_AUIBigB&biw=1600&bih=794#tbm=isch&q=world+religions&imgrc=_
https://www.google.com/search?
q=coexist&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjw46f9ksjTAhVps1QKHR4OCUUQ
_AUIBigB&biw=1600&bih=794#imgrc=_