Tag: Religion

Reasonable Accommodation Expectations Concerning Religion and Disability that Employers Must Meet Under the Law

The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employers other than religious organizations to discriminate people due to their religion in firing, hiring, and other conditions and terms of employment. Employers are required by Title VII to reasonably put up with prospective workers or workers religious practices, unless doing so would result to undue hardship to the employer. Based on this requirement employers are not required to treat workers less or more favorable due to their religion. Based on this provision workers cannot be forced to participate or restricted from taking part in a religious activity as employment condition. Employers must sensibly accommodate workers who are honestly held religious practices except when doing so would inflict an undue hardship to the employer. Employer thus has a duty to inhibit religious harassment(Anti-Defamation League, 2012).

 Reasonable accommodation in this case is one which eliminates the worker’s complicit between work requirement and religious practices and which does not impose an excessive hardship to the employer. For instance, a worker can get specific off day annually for religious celebration, or a weekly off day for Sabbath. Religious worker may also be permitted to have prayer place or dress in religious grab. However, this freedom should not interfere with employee’s safety or workplace hygiene, for instance religious workers should not be permitted to wear loose clothing while operating machines as a religious fulfillment, or have long beard in a catering business (HR Hero, 2017).

Similarly, an employer is outlawed from discriminating job applicants or employees based on disability. According to American with Disability Act of 1990, employers are required to make sensible accommodation to permit a disabled person to perform the important job functions if one qualifies to do so. According to ADA any person with mental or physical impairment which considerably confines one or more main life activities is regarded to be disabled. Main life activities in this case include lifting, standing, walking; main bodily functions operation that include reproductive function, cell growth, and immune system function; or mental tasks that include thinking, reading and learning. Others include an individual that the employer considers to be disabled, or one with disability record. In this case employers are needed to make sensible to make sensible accommodations for all qualified persons with disability except when doing so would result to excessive hardship. Some of sensible accommodations that an employer with disabled employees will need include offering extended leave to a worker. This should happen even when the worker has spent all his or her vacation leave, and Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave or sick leave. Worker with disability may require to be granted extra leave (HR Hero, 2017b).

 The employer should also adjust or modify the process of job application to permit a qualified applicant containing a disability to be regarded for the position that includesdesires of qualified applicant. Employer should also adjust or modify the work environment, or to the circumstances or manner in which the position desired or held is customarily performed, that permits a qualified person with disability to accomplish functions of the position, or usually performed, which permit a qualified disabled person to conduct the important activities of that position. The employer is also required to make adjustments or modifications which permit a covered entity’s disabled worker to enjoy equal employment privileges and benefits as enjoyed by other healthy workers in the similar working position. The accommodation should consider physic or structural adjustments that should be enhanced to ensure effective and easy operations of individuals with disabilities (The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2002).

American companies have tried to observe equal employment law by observing Title VII provision on religion accommodation and ADA disability accommodation. One of the companies that have tried to enhance disability accommodation is Apple Inc.  Apple is dedicated to working with and offering sensible accommodations to job applicants containing a disability that need a sensible accommodation for any part of hiring or application process should follow. However, based on the research, private organizations are finding it hard to offer reasonable accommodation of religious practices in their workplace, especially those related to unique dressing. There is various law cases associated to religious discriminations in different workplaces in the United States. These law suits range from denial of leave in important religious days in a week or during large religious holidays that one must participate based on the religious requirement to dressing which include need to wear a scarf or beard based on the religious requirements, but conflicting with employers preference. One such case is reported in MacDonald where a Muslim employee requested to grow beard based on religious requirement. MacDonald refused to permit this and his persistence results to his firing. The company preferred paying a fine than taking him back as the company employee.

Should a Government have the Right to Ban Religious Expression if the Majority of the Citizenry Supports it?

Normally, a ban should not just be executed because majority supports it, but because it brings a new value to the society and conforms to the laws of the province or a country. Religious symbols are regarded to be important to the minorities who value their religious beliefs and values. They are also protected by freedom of speech and freedom of religion laws in Quebec (CTVNews 1). Such bans undermine such laws. However, when these symbols are likely to be used to undermine the rights of majority, then they should be banned to create a unified society where religion becomes personal affairs. Although it is hard to permit freedom of speech and limit religious rights, it is sometimes necessary when matters of security are in question. Majority support would imply that their use is subjecting majority of people into danger and the public chooses safety or benefits attained by foregoing their diverse religious values. Thus majority support should be an indication that the society is ready for the change and hence, the government should consider the change

Relationship Between Religion and Philosophy in Islamic Circles

Part One: Renaissance Ideas

As Islam spread across large regions, Muslim scholars began to adopt ideas from Ancient philosophers. In the following passages, we read some thoughts about the role of Aristotle in Muslim and Renaissance Italian political thought. The first passage was written by Muslim scholar Mohammed Al-Farabi.

Now when one receives instruction.., if he perceives their ideas themselves with his intellect, and his assent to them is by means of certain demonstration, then the science that comprises these cognitions is philosophy. Therefore, according to the ancients [Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates], religion is an imitation of philosophy. Both comprise the same subjects and both give an account of the ultimate principles of the beings. For both supply knowledge about the first principle and cause of the beings, and both give an account of the ultimate end for the sake of which man is made – that is, supreme happiness – and the ultimate end of every one of the other beings. In everything of which philosophy gives an account based on intellectual perception or conception, religion gives an account based on imagination. In everything demonstrated by philosophy, religion employs persuasion. It follows, then, that the idea of Imam, Philosopher and Legislator is a single entity. ~ Al-Farabi (ca. 870-950)

Islam. (n.d.). Islam.
Retrieved from 
http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/source/arab-y67s11.asp

The following passage comes from medieval thinker Roger Bacon:

The next consideration from effects is taken by comparing our state with that of the ancient Philosophers; who, though they were without that quickening grace which makes man worthy of eternal life, and where into we enter at baptism, yet lived beyond all comparison better than we, both in all decency and in contempt of the world, with all its delights and riches and honors; as all men may read in the works of Aristotle Seneca, Tully [Cicero], Plato, Socrates, and others; and so it was that they attained to the secrets of wisdom and found out all knowledge. But we Christians have discovered nothing worthy of those philosophers, nor can we even understand their wisdom; which ignorance of ours springs from this cause, that our morals are worse than theirs. For it is impossible that wisdom should coexist with sin. But certain it is that, if there were so much wisdom in the world as men think, these evils would not be committed. And therefore, when we see everywhere (and especially among the clergy) such corruption of life, then their studies must needs be corrupt. Many wise men considering this, and pondering on God’s wisdom and the learning of the saints and the truth of histories have reckoned that the times of Antichrist are at hand in these days of ours. ~ Roger Bacon ca. 1271

Paul Halsall (1996) Medieval Sourcebook: Roger Bacon: Despair over Thirteenth Century Learning
Retrieved from 
http://www.fordham.edu/Halsall/source/bacon1.asp

Question

Based on these words, what can we say about the relationship between religion and philosophy in Islamic circles? In Christian Renaissance circles? Since both passages are drawing from the same ancient philosophers, what does this tell us about the origins of the Renaissance? Write 200 – 250 words.

Book Review – Forgiveness and Reconciliation : Religion, Public Policy, and Conflict Transformation

This book is written by a group of experts who explore conflict resolution and emphasizes on the importance of forgiveness. It digs into theology, public policy, psychology as well as social theory. This book is important because it serves to educate the society and the public on the need for forgiveness and reconciliation. Conflicts are inherent and are part of our daily lives. The need for conflict resolution is therefore inevitable and forgiveness being a moral responsibility, acts as the best solution to conflicts. The essence of life is to live harmoniously amongst ourselves and serve our purpose in the best interest of the society. Forgiveness and reconciliation is an essential moral obligation for the society and a very critical aspect in conflict resolution. The writers of this book have discussed forgiveness and reconciliation in relation to religion while at the same time tailoring the content to societal context.

Article nine of this book deals with forgiveness and reconciliation. Definitions of forgiveness, unforgiveness, dispute resolution and reconciliation are the opening statements in article nine. Everett Worthington definitions are justifiable and well-thought because they are drafted in the perspective of international and societal relations thus showing relevance in terms of purpose. According to him Everett, forgiveness is the superposition or the inclination to embrace positive emotions against the negative emotions of hate and resentment.He says that people forgive but one cannot tell whether they have actually forgiven others. He defines forgiveness as an altruistic gift that we give to others. I agree because forgiveness makes us get over the hurt while at the same time creating a harmonious environment which is good for peaceful coexistence. He defines conflict resolution as a way of solving differences between people in a society and that it involves skills of communication as well as negotiation. While people, families, and friends can be able to solve conflicts, it does not mean that problems are eliminated.

Everett in article talks about forgiveness as a personal decision and I agree with him. However,it is important to note that forgiveness is not as easy as the Bible states. God recommends that we forgive and forget, but the emotional nature of human beings makes forgiveness very difficult. Article nine expounds on the importance of managing emotions when we are hurt so that we can be able to forgive and forget as the Bible recommends. Reconciliation as discussed in this article involves another party and therefore is not a personal decision. Reconciliation according to the article is defined as the restoration of trust between two or more parties. It involves forgiveness. Everett explains the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation by attempting to show how one can bridge the gap between forgiveness and reconciliation. I however disagree with the thought that forgiveness precedes reconciliation. In my opinion, the process of forgiveness comes after reconciliation and it is what determines the success of reconciliation process.

Naturally, human beings develop bonds of love and when such bonds are broken, hatred comes in. The consequence of hate is that we tend to objectify those who wrong us and alienate ourselves from them and the longer we hold on to hate and resentment the deeper it eats into us. It is therefore important to learn how to forgive before we get overwhelmed with hatred. Religion is also playing a critical role in justifying and encouraging the need for forgiveness and peaceful coexistence. This book is a masterpiece given the in-depth analysis and scholarly input from its writers. Research to promote forgiveness and reconciliation has been done to help reduce the act of unforgiveness.The acrostic REACH is used to explain the five step model for forgiveness.

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Ethnographic Comparison: Religion of the Lakota of the United States and the Bhil People of India

The search for truth and a deeper understanding of reality has long been an unending task for humanity. Life in its purest form presents unrivaled beauty second to none, prompting many societies to seek answers on the origins of this enigma. Successive generations in human societies attempted to find these answers in the existence of a supreme being and eventually developed their own set of unique beliefs. It was at this point that religions were born as an attempt to explain the origin of man and the purpose of life. A common denominator among these faiths is the search for an in-depth understanding of the meaning of life and the universe in a world filled with mystery.  Creation is often among the integral facets of their beliefs as it traces their origin and therefore seeks to put the pieces together and explain the origin of life on the planet. Moreover, they seek to pay homage to a superhuman agency through strict observance of fundamental beliefs and a ritual observance of a moral code that is expected to guide the conduct of all parties involved. The 15th century is by far one of the most pivotal epochs in human history as expert explorers were beginning to take center stage due to their bravery sailing on unchartered seas searching for trading routes and land. Christopher Colombus was one such figure whose voyages resulted in his stumbling upon the New World. In this new land, he was surprised to find native tribes that had already made it their home and were living in perfect harmony (Burgan, 2009, p. 45). As a Christian from Spain, he was taken aback by the realization that these people already had a well-established system of beliefs and a form of spirituality that was central to their way of living. Similarly, the British were confronted with a similar scenario when they established their rule over the Maharajas of India. In this essay, I will discuss the religion of the Lakota Native Americans and the Bhil of India offering a concise comparison of their beliefs and practices.

The Lakota People of North America trace their roots to the Sioux group. They are proud of this heritage since their ancestors were among the First Nations People, a confederacy of ethnic groups that are often hailed as the original inhabitants of North America. Anthropologists unanimously agree that these Paleo-Indians crossed Beringia, a land mass formerly present on the Bering Strait, and crossed over from Asia to North America. Socially, the Lakota were long known for being nomadic and lived in the Rocky Mountain ranges bordering other Great Plains people. After adopting the horse as the tribe’s identity, the Lakota soon became famed equestrians across the plains and famous for hunting bison on horseback. They did this to obtain meat and fur that was vital for their religious practices. Additionally, fur was a prime commodity for European American trappers which ultimately led to war and strife between them and other Native American tribes (Miller, 2003, p. 89). This, together with the incursion of American settlers on their land was one of the reasons why they were pushed further to Mississippi and South Dakota. Treaties such as Fort Laramie with the Federal Government were expected to broker peace and allow these native people to live in peace and practice their religion. The Bhil, on the other hand, is an ethnic group residing in North West India. Their language is classified among the Indo-Aryan languages and still makes the most significant tribal group in the whole Indian subcontinent (Gajrani, 2004, p. 12). They were some of the most respected organizations during the British conquest of India since they mainly collaborated with the imperialists. They, therefore, became administrators, helping the empire impose its indirect rule on this crown jewel through many of their clans. Their impeccable mastery of Hindustani, Marathi and the more Sanskrit sophisticated Hindustani gave them a privileged status that allowed them to practice their religion freely.

One similarity in religious practices among these two groups was a belief in a supernatural power that was behind their creation and a broad sense of spirituality. The Lakota, for instance, have a spiritual philosophy that is deeply ingrained in their religion. It focuses on understanding nature and creating a rhythm with life and all other aspects that accompany the universe. Their religious beliefs assert that spirits were the original inhabitants of the earth. Takuskankan is one dominant spirit that often worked for hand in hand with Wi and Hanwi (the sun and the moon). It is for this reason that they are always in search of equilibrium in life that would lead to a state of harmony between all groups inhabiting the earth. Central to this belief, however, is Wakan Tanka often referred to as the Great Mystery. It is a power central to creating the rhythm evident. In essence, it can be referred to as a “monotheistic religion” since Wakan Tanka appears as a deity central to the group and every ritual that accompanies their religion.  They practice seven sacred rites: Ininikagapi (renewal of life), Handblyeceyapi (a cry for vision), Winagi Wicalguha (Spirit keeping), Wiwanyang Wacipi (sun dance), Hunkapi (the making of relatives), Isnati Awicalowanpi (the puberty ceremony) and Tapa Wankayeyapi (the throwing ball ritual) (Sullivan, 2003, p. 9). Conversely, the Bhil are animists who have, over the years, combined their faith with Hindu beliefs. It is for this reason that the Bhil have polytheistic tendencies in as far as their religion is concerned.  A plethora of deities, such as Wagh do (tiger god) and Nandervo (the god of fertility) exist and are central to their religious rites. Out of all these stands Bhagwan who acts as supreme to all other deities. “Mother Earth” also counts as a deity who is revered but even greatly feared (Mehta, 2004, p. 6). The Padova acts as a conduit to the heavens and also doubles up as a healer to worshipers. Belief in spirits is central to the Bhil animist religion and the reason why cremations are performed to free them from the bodies after death.

Just like many other Native American nations, the Lakota have suffered a great deal of injustice perpetrated by the Federal Government. Most of the treaties signed between the Lakota People and the Federal Government were almost immediately violated.  Lands were in the hands of the Lakota people were subject to incursion by prospectors and pioneers making their expansion westward. Such was the case when George Armstrong Custer commanding the Seventh Cavalry took control of the Black Hills, at He Sapa. This was after the discovery of gold. After the signing the Indian Removal Act of 1830, President Andrew Jackson paved the way for settlers to occupy land formerly under the Lakota while the latter was pushed to the reservation. The impact of this policy is evident presently. Reservations such as Pine Ridge in South Dakota are still dominated by the Lakota and the Oglala Sioux, who are some of the marginalized communities in the United States. Jobs are hard to come by with most of its residents lacking necessities that would allow them to educate their children. Depression is a standard mental health issue here with most of those afflicted by this malady succumbing to suicide. Pine Ridge is also remembered as the site of the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890 of nearly 300 Lakota Sioux cut down by the United States Army bullets (Andersson, 2008, p. 67). These men, women, and children were on their way to Wounded Knee Creek to perform the Ghost Dance, a religious practice that the Lakota Oglala held dear. The Bhil has also been the subject of marginalization in India where the caste system is still a dictate of society. Fewer members of this community have had an opportunity to gainful employment with most of their children lacking primary education. In Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh states, starvation has become a standard phenomenon with children often proved to be malnourished (Minahan, 2012, p. 43). The Indian government has continually failed to intervene and the reason why aid groups seek to provide help to these forgotten people.

In conclusion, religion is central to humanity and his quest to understand the universe. The Lakota in the United States and the Bhil in India have strong religious beliefs that have withstood the test of time. Their firm religious beliefs and practices might be why they have managed to surmount all these debacles faced.

Elements of Religion – Christianity And Rastafarianism

Introduction

As an institution, religion acts as comprehensive technique for human kind to value their experience on earth. Organized religions, in particular, act as intensive and comprehensive ways of valuing the experiences that one goes through here. Religions found all around the world are often placed in a segment of human phenomenon with distinct characteristics. A common feature among all these religions is the presence of elements that appear to be common among them all (Molloy, 2013). A strong sense of community, belief system, rituals, central myths, emotional experiences, ethical systems, sacredness and a materialistic expression of the religion are some of the main elements central to all religions and are vital in keeping them afloat an ensuring that they stand the test of time. For the purpose of this expository essay, I will examine how religions fall into this pattern (strong sense of community, belief system and central myths) using my Christian religion while at the same time comparing these elements with those found in the Rastafarian religion.

Religious elements in Christianity

To begin with, all elements in a religion are equal in their significance and none takes precedence over the other. They share a symbiotic relationship where they are all dependent upon each to create a strong foundation for the purpose of posterity. As a notable monotheistic religion, Christianity has a belief system that follows laid out standards, rules, and codes that have to be followed to lead a pious life. In Christianity, the belief is in one God referred to as the Father with his son being Jesus (Molloy, 2013). In a Christian context, Jesus is recognized as the only begotten Son of God was sent to the world to save mankind and redeem them from eternal damnation. As God’s son, Jesus taught that the most important commandment was to love God and one’s neighbor, a law that Christians worldwide strive to adhere to. Additionally, faith plays a huge role in the Christian religion.

A Christian’s belief in the death and resurrection of God’s son Jesus automatically means that they have a right in as far as sharing a relationship with the father is concerned. It was the death and resurrection, a Christian context that absolved human kin of all sins that they were encumbered with. A firm belief in the Trinity (God the Son, Father and Holy Spirit) is simply meant to affirm that God is always present through actions of believers. Christianity is characterized by a sense of community or all those who subscribe to it. As a fundamental facet of church life, a Christian community creates a sense of belonging that is second to none. These strong linkages shared by its adherents creates a sense of identity and support that in turn leads to meaningful interactions that go a long way in assisting those who would be in dire need of support (Casserley, 2009, p. 34). Churches ensure that they check up on their congregants to establish their current status and how they are carrying on with life. It is a Christian duty to ensure the well-being of other members of the church as they all represent one community that is connected through their belief in the Bible and Christ as Lord and Savior.

Mythology also plays a central role in the Christian doctrine. It serves to educate the adherents of the religion on the origin of life in the world while teaching them important lessons mean to ensure they follow the right path in life. The creation story serves to explain the origin o life on earth. From this perspective, we understand God’s role in creating all that exists in the power that He wields (Olson, 2016). As a lesson, Christians now understand that God is the force behind their being and should be revered and respected. Furthermore, the Fall of Man in the Garden Of Eden and the story the birth of Jesus are just but a few instances where the use o mythology is intended to put across vital pieces of information. These stories are often retold and reenacted to ensure that a belief in the power of an all-seeing omnipotent God is inculcated in the Christian psyche.

Elements in the Rastafarian Religion

The Rastafarian religion is a relatively new religion which began in the early 1920s. It is a monotheistic with teachings based on a specific type of Biblical interpretation referred to as “Rastology. It has a clear belief system like any other that believes God is in the form of a spirit and is manifested to man though His Imperial Majesty the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia. In this religion, Jesus is also a central figure with the only difference being that he is a black man and a descendant of Kind David. Moreover, Rastafarians believe that they will be repatriated back to Zion by God (Barnett & Nettleford, 2012, p. 156). In their context, Zion is located in Africa and more specifically in Ethiopia. They hold that they were taken away from the Promised Land (Ethiopia/Babylon) was taken away from them by the White Man and taken into servitude in a Babylonian system. Babylon alludes to the West Indies where they were enslaved.

Rastafarians have a strong sense of community that is driven by their urge to help their fellow brothers (brejin) and sisters (sistren) (Middleton, 2015, p. 162). Most of sects in the Rastafarian religion partake in the use of marijuana that is often used for religious purposes and moments of self-reflection. It is for this reason that they create close-knit relationships with the members of the same community as marijuana is a banned substance in most countries and even classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States. As a fringe community, they stick together to uplift each other economically while educating their children on the ideals of the true “Rasta way”. They derive pleasure from seeing their own prosper in a world that has been very unkind to them by continually labeling them as drug-abusing hipsters involve in illegal activities.

Myths also make up the Rastafarian doctrine and have for the longest time heavily influenced it. They believe that though His Imperial Majesty the late Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was the 225th emperor descended from a union between Queen Sheba of Abyssinia and King Solomon. It is this myth that is used to propagate the argument that His Imperial Majesty the late Emperor Haile Selassie was a direct descendant of King David from the tribe of Judah. Additionally, while it is largely known that His Imperial Majesty the late Emperor Haile Sessie passed away in the year 1975 after a communist takeover of his throne, Rastafarian mythology has it that the Savior (His Imperial Majesty the late Emperor Haile Sessie) would go into hiding and later come back to deliver all his people back to Zion.

Conclusion

            All religions share a sense of community, belief system, rituals, myths, emotional experiences, ethical systems, sacredness and a materialistic expression of the religion as core elements in their doctrine. All elements are just as important and none is more important than the other. Christianity and Rastafarian religion differ in dogma but are similar in the core elements that make creed what it is.

Religion and Theology Report – Field Trip To The Baptist Church

The Baptist Church

The Good News Baptist Church is located along the telegraph road, VA. The church is of medium size with an auditorium that can accommodate over five hundred church attendants. An entry into the church compound ushers one into a spacious compound, which provides space for playing children and where guests as well as the church attendants can relax. The church opens its doors both on weekdays and on weekends. The Sunday church service starts from 9:30 a.m with the Sunday school service and adult school services. After the Sunday school service, the main adult service begins.

The Start of the Service

The Sunday service commences when the church pastor arrives in the church. On arrival the pastor greets the congregation and gives a small talk to the departing Sunday school children before they are ushered out of church for the adult service, which starts about ten to fifteen minutes later. The adult service begins with a short hymn, which is led by any member of the church service. The hymn does not necessarily need to come from a specific printed hymn book. However, the church has its specific hymn books which it prints and distributes to the church members. The congregation is also free to recite any songs in the holy bible.

After the hymn, the congregation the first part of the service begins through the recitation of the holy prayer, which ends with the word in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen. Some church members take the sign of the cross as they pronounce the word Amen. The holy prayer is printed in the church booklets, which have been distributed to the church members and any new member on joining the service. The prayers occur when the congregation is standing.

The Service of the Word

The teachings are read from the Holy Bible, by the pastor, who stands at the pulpit while in special dress code. The service booklets provide guidance on the specific book, chapter and verses from which the first, second and third readings will come from. The pastor occasionally asks the congregation to join him in singing Alleluia, and the crowd responds with the word Amen (meaning let it be done in God’s will). The sermon continues and is concluded with a prayer for the members of the church, the community, the government, peace and global wellness.

The Service of the Sacrament

After the sermon, the congregational members sung songs of praise while rising up in readiness for the Holy Communion. The pastor steps forward with holy sacrament as the congregation lines up. Before the Holy Communion is served, the pastor cautions the members of the church that have not been baptized in the church not to take the sacrament as it belongs only to the church members who have undergone baptism. Instead, he urges them to see him after the holy sacrament.

The End of Holy Communion and the Service

After the Holy Communion, the church members sing a hymn while the pastor prepares for prayers to mark the end of the services. As the church members continue to sing while standing, members join one another in giving their donations and offerings to the church. The pastor then makes one final shout of Alleluia and the members reply with a uniform Amen. Thereafter he asks the crowed to join in the final prayers for the offerings and donations and proceeds to make announcements about upcoming events. The pastor leaves at the end of the service, with invitation to join them in a cup of tea/coffee in the hall.

How it compares with My Own Religious Upbringing/ Current Religious Practices

Since I grew in a predominantly catholic family, I grew and got baptized in the Catholic faith. Although there are some significant similarities between my catholic faith and that of the Baptist church, the two faiths have differences in the way the church conducts their liturgy and the liturgical teachings.

The catholic and the Baptist Church have a similarity in their use of hymns in praise and worship. Both religious beliefs use songs and hymns as a means of praising God. The hymns are often followed or precede a reading from the scriptures. In addition, the two religious faiths serve the holy sacrament for the faithful that have undergone baptism. Moreover, there are offertories in both faith with church prayers concluded with important announcements.

However, the Catholic faith has a more elaborate and long church service is more predominantly traditional. The catholic service consists of four major sections, the liturgy of word, the liturgy of the Eucharist and the Eucharist banquet. The liturgy of word consists of singing and procession, then the word of God from Psalms, followed by sermon and prayers for the community.

During the liturgy of the Eucharist, offertory of bread and wine donations are accepted though not a must. The gifts are then prepared and preface of prayers mainly for giving thanks is done prior to the Eucharist prayer. The cantus hymn is then sung and the Eucharist offered to the baptized members of the church. The holy Eucharist is concluded with a prayer of peace, done with the sign of handshake or a kiss.

Religion as the Core Imperative for Colonies in America

Introduction

The story of the colonization is one of the earliest colonization histories in the entire world. Upon discovery, the America continent was dubbed the new world and European powers immediately began to take an interest in claiming a stake of this new world. Such European powers included the Spanish and the Portuguese, the first to set base in this new world, as well as England, France and Netherlands who would later follow suit albeit in a different manner and with different intentions altogether. The difference in the methods explored by the former and latter sets of powers is that the former pursued rather uncouth and violent means while the methods explored by the latter were less violent. In this paper, the British involvement in the colonization of America is explored. The argument advanced is that religion had a central role to play in the setting up of colonies in the Americas.

Religion as the Core Imperative for Colonies in America

There are various reasons why colonies were set up in America, among them religion. One of the largest reasons for the setting up of colonies in the Americas is to secure economic gains. The newly discovered world provided plenty of opportunities for the settlers to secure economic gains through trade, acquisition of land and exploitation of minerals. In addition to the economic opportunities, within the colonies, there was a paradigm shift in terms of the dominant economic system. This shift was characterized by a change from the mercantile relationships that characterized England, to the capitalist system. This was made possible by the presence of large tracts of land which could be allocated to individuals. The effect was the abolition of social classes that were characteristic of England. Limited opportunities in England had led to the mercantilism, a notion whereby for one individual to gain, they another had to lose. The presence of resources in America however meant that prosperity of one individual was not tied down to that of another. Moreover, democratic pursuits were also another motivation for the setting up of colonies. Many of the settlers envisioned societies where they enjoyed freedom of choice over what the government did. Such characteristic changes were occasioned across all the colonies in America.

Differences in religious predilections and interpretations led to the establishment of Puritan societies in America. In Britain, King Henry VII had broken ties with the Roman Catholic Church and subsequently made himself the leader of the church in England. Consequently, religious reformers, the Puritans, saw it necessary to reform the Church of England. The effect was the establishment of Puritan colonies such as Massachusetts, with Boston as the core of Puritan society. Another such colony established due to differences in religious interpretation was Rhode Island, where Roger Williams established the Baptist church, which advocated for the separation of government form religion with no taxes. Yet another colony where religion underpinned its foundation was Connecticut where separatist of Puritanism established a colony in New Haven. This was after they broke off from the Puritan church in Massachusetts since they perceived its interpretation of the Bible and Christianity as too literal.

Conclusion

There are many reasons for colonization in America, but religion was at the centre of the setting up of colonies. While there were other reasons such as economic gains and government, many of the colonies set up had religious motives behind them. Such colonies include Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. While the religious powers behind their setting up differ, there were many similarities among these colonies such as the separation of church and state, and the shift from mercantilism to capitalism.

Religion can survive through the "enlightenment" from science.

The major question with me is how religion can survive through the “enlightenment” from science. Philosophers like Francis Bacon and John Locke were about encouraging the validity of science and logic, and were able to help create the era of the “Scientific Revolution”. With the proof brought on by subjects, such as mathematics and biology, it leaves people turning around and asking for the same kind of proof from religions, like the Roman Catholic Church who during this era started getting attacked creating Protestant Reformation. So, my question still stands, for all of you, how can religion (such as Christianity) stand after this scientific enlightenment? How can religion benefit from this as well? And how is religion still standing today, even though science seems to (sometimes) be more of a credible source of information for mind boggling questions

MGT 410 -Principles of Servant Leadership in Diverse Contexts Sample Paper – Indian Cultural Context and Islam Religion View

Servant leadership refers to a leadership form where the leaders offer priority to the followers through nurturing and empathy. According to Liu, Hu & Cheng (2015) servant leader is first considered a servant before he shows his leadership aspirations. The servant leadership style implements a unique perspective when it comes to the leadership literature based on the fact that the theory has its focus upon the fact that a leader acts as a servant to meet the needs of the followers. The identified quality calls upon doing away with self-interest to ensure the interest of the followers are first met. The identified research will look into the application of servant leadership theory within the Indian cultural context and in the Islam religion view.

Servant Leadership in India

It is evident that India is a fascinating region characterized by different cultures, languages, as well as religion. Various leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi have become role models in the region as a result of their great leadership features. The leader implemented a servant leadership model during his time therefore showing evidence of it in the Indian culture. There is extensive evidence showing that servant leadership has been and is still being practiced  in India. For instance, Rohm Jr. and Osula (2013) reveal several examples of literature showing the origin of the style within the culture. According to the author, the Gita tradition of the Indian culture requires the leaders to be humanistic. This means an individual without any form of personal gain but one with a high level personal concern for the subordinates. Therefore, the leader in this case is required to be compassionate, friendly, not egoistic, forgiving and knows how to balance pain and pleasure. The outlined are some of the servant leadership features. Arthasastra, one of the ancient Indian literatures in management considers the duties of a king to include the happiness and welfare of the followers. Whatever pleases the followers was also what pleased the king. Incidentally, the identified duties define servant leadership attributes.

The servant leadership behavioral scale model outlines a set of 6 dimensions of the servant leadership behavior which forms a basis of the similarities of the model as implemented in Christianity and Islam. The dimensions include voluntary subordination, covenantal relationship, authentic self, responsible morality, transforming influence, and transcendental spirituality. Through the implementation of the outlined dimensions in the case of Mahatma Gandhi, the similarities and differences in the philosophies and values of the servant leadership theory as presented in the case of the Indian cultural context is provided.

Voluntary Subordination

             Voluntary subordination provides an insight into the revolutionary act that requires a person to abandon himself and act as a servant to the others (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012). Gandhi is a representation of a service to mankind. Despite the fact that a larger percentage of leaders elevate themselves above their followers, Gandhi represented the people he strived to lead. He was a representation of service rather than power based on the fact that the he made efforts to meet the services of the people through offering voluntary services to his followers.

Acting as a Servant

            The quality of becoming a servant requires the leaders to make their followers their first priority before themselves. Literature shows that Gandhi is one of the leading servants when it comes to humanity (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012). Incidentally the leader considered serving the people as a privilege as well as pleasure. It is evident that the leader considered his service to the poor as a desire of his heart that has thrown him among the poor making him able to identify with them. Prevalently, service only derives meaning after a person takes pleasure in it without considering the opinion of the public.

Acts of Service

            Gandhi is also a representation of how Indian leaders provide their services to the people. It is eminent that the service of Mahatma Gandhi begun during the days when the leader was in South Africa. Gandhi offered to teach the Indians free of change to enable them enhance their living conditions despite the racial tension in the region (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012). There is also an instance when the leader offered food to a leper, dressed him, and even took him to hospital. It is also a fact that Gandhi volunteered to save live during the incidence of the pneumonic plague. The leader volunteered despite the risks involved in turn disregarding any form of infection that he was likely to obtain during his service. In addition, during the time when Gandhi was in South Africa, a large number of Zulus were injured as a result of the Zulu rebellion. No one was willing to look after the injured. As a result, alongside other 23 volunteers from the Indian community, Gandhi took him upon himself to come up with and Indian ambulance corps to take care after the injured in the community and take care of their health.

Authentic Self

            Servant leaders have the capability of leading authentically as reflected in their constant character of humility, accountability, integrity, vulnerability, and security. Gandhi has depicted the feature of authentic self as portrayed in his subsidiary features as discussed hereby. It is a fact that Gandhi is a leader with a humble character. There is no instance when the leader sought influential posts despite being a leader of the Indian National Congress. He later sacrificed his life for India after independence (Barnabas & Clifford, 2012). It is also a fact that the leader showed high levels of integrity. In South Africa, Gandhi forgave his oppressors showing consistency in his words and actions. The people in South Africa threw stones and bricks at him and even tore his clothes as a result of resentment.

Covenantal Relationship

            The outlined quality of covenantal relationship requires the leaders to establish a profound and lasting relationship with the followers. Considering Gandhi’s case, it is prevalent that the leader had established the relationship with the people through collaboration, promoting equality and acceptance.     

Responsible Morality

            Gandhi always appealed to higher moral values which were ethically justified. As is, he led the Indians to bloodless revolutions described by non-violence and forgiveness. In addition, he always implemented moral reasoning even during the British war.

Transcendental Spirituality

            It is a fact that religion drove Gandhi’s life. Aspects such as truth and non-violence are an indication of the leader’s transcendental spirituality. It is a fact that the leader believed in the Bhagavad Gita as he continually memorized the verses prevalent in the book. Furthermore, the leader was also committed to his mission of service delivery to the people other than exercising power over them.

Transforming Influence

            Transforming the influence on other people is regarded as a fundamental when it comes to servant leadership. Trust is one of the ways that Gandhi transformed his influence on the people. Incidentally, Gandhi was willing to share his authority and leadership responsibilities with the people despite the risk involve. The outlined is common in South Africa when the Black Act was passed. Gandhi led the Indians to resist the requirements of the Act.

Servant Leadership in Islam

Servant leadership is evident within the Islamic religion. Drawing from the meaning of the word “Islam”,  it is evident that the members of the Islamic religion are required to always surrender to God’s will. According to the Quran, it is evident that members of the Islamic religion are the best persons ever brought up for the good of the human race since they have been raised in a manner that they serve others. Haddara and Enanny (2009) depicts that the basic qualities that every Muslim must have to serve mankind or to develop a passion for serving the human race includes humility, love, kindness, honesty, desire to share knowledge, a thirst for knowledge, and the desire to further Allah’s cause through good actions. Incidentally, the Muslims must always be people from whom their goodness acts for the benefit of the other people available in the society.

Similar to Christianity, servant leaders is based on trust. Looking at various examples of leadership as presented in the Quran, it is evident that leadership is based on accountability and trust (Rohm Jr., and Osula, 2013). The two aspects go hand in hand. Under trust, it is a commonality that Adam was created to play the vicegerent role on earth. Adam had the obligation of accepting trust by indicating that man undertook trust after mountains and heavens were afraid to take it. As a result, God taught Adam the name of all and provided him with the responsibility of establishing justice on earth. This was a representation of Adam’s responsibility to the followers. Therefore, it is a fact that the Islam religion requires the leaders to be responsible of their subjects. This is also the case in a family setting where the man is responsible for the other members of the family. Under accountability, it is evident that God is accountable for his people.

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Principles of Servant Leadership in Different Cultures and Religions – Assignment Instructions And A Sample Answer

While servant leadership is often associated with Christianity and the Bible, one could argue it is compatible with most religions and philosophies and that it transcends cultures. This assignment presents you with an opportunity to explore other cultures, philosophies, and religions and asks you to think critically about how servant leadership practices are apparent in other religious and cultural values.

Select one cultural context e.g Indian Culture Context  and one religious viewpoint e.g Islam Religious Viewpoint (other than Christianity, its denominations, or something already discussed in the textbook) and examine how the principles of servant leadership are evident in that culture and religion. In a 1,250-1,500-word essay, identify similarities and differences between servant leadership’s philosophies and the values evident in the selected cultural context and religious viewpoint. Be sure to provide specific examples of practices and or values in your discussion.

You are required to locate two articles that examine servant leadership from a different cultural perspective and two articles that examine servant leadership from a different religious perspective. Be sure to select academic articles from reputable sources that are 10-20 pages in length. Include information from the articles in your discussion.


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Assessing Religion And Spirituality In Counseling – Reflections And Recommendations

There is growing professional awareness about the importance of spirituality and religion in counselling. This is however often overlooked by many professionals during the phase of assessment in the counselling process (Kelly, 1995; Miller & Thoresen, 2003; Richards & Bergin, 2005). Spiritual and religious assessment is relevant to counselling for several reasons.

By understanding the clients’ spiritual view, the counselor will be able to understand them. The misunderstanding of this view will in most cases undermine the relationship, therapeutic relationship that they are supposed to have. The mutual understanding between the client and the counselor can lead to positive outcomes. When a counselor assesses the client’s spirituality, they are able to respect their religious beliefs and values. The spiritual assessment may also help to decide if there would be need for spiritual intervention to be indicated with the clients (Richards & Bergin, 2005).  If there is need, then they are able to know which ones are most helpful. These assessments are able to indicate whether a client has any unresolved needs or spiritual concerns that need to be addressed in the counselling session. Finally, it also enables the counselor determine whether the client’s religious or spiritual belief is deleterious to their health mentally or whether this can be used to help in faster healing.

The code of ethics guiding spirituality has been set in place by a number of the professional counselling organizations so as to ensure that every person who needs counselling are treated equally. The counselor’s professionals pledge is to commit to increase the clients understanding of the meaning of life, beneficial and the vital understanding of the benefits of the counselling profession (D’Andrea & Sprenger, 2007). The implementation of religion and spirituality helps clients’ growth and welfare and also help solve the issues that the clients bring to them (Steen, Engels & Thweatt, 2006).

There are several ways that have been recommended by scholars to help in assessing the religious beliefs of the clients. (Richards & Bergin, 2005). The counselors can assess the religious beliefs of their clients through inquiring on the various aspects of their lives.  This, this might include their physical, emotional, relational, physical, spiritual well-being and also their occupational well-being. Assessments can be done on two levels. The first level basically involves depending entirely on the client’s self-description and self-receptions of the way they are operating in every aspect of their lives. This is important in helping the counselor understand how the client’s spiritual background will be relevant in solving the problem at hand and aid in the treatment process.

When deemed relevant, the counselor may go ahead and undertake the level 2 assessment. This assessment is done so as to determine the specific spiritual and religious beliefs. This goes to greater depth. When a client states that their spiritual concerns are creating complication to them emotionally, the counselors may be interested in exploring the concerns further (Richards & Bergin, 2005).

Level 1 assessment may also be obtained through the use of counselling interviews and questionnaires. This information may also come up as a result of the counselling process. These questionnaires can be filled before the interview (Richards & Bergin, 2005). For the questionnaires to be efficient, it should ensure that all the important life events of their clients are assessed right at the beginning of the counselling session. The clients can also be given inspirational quotes from the different spiritual and the religious traditions. The counselors may also create their own quotes to top up.

The level 2 assessment may also be done through the administration of the standardized measures of assessment. Several instruments have been set up to aid in the study of the religious variables. Most of these instruments have got psychometric properties that are well established (Hill, Hood, 1999; Miller & Thoresen, 2003).

Thus assessing the client’s spirituality and religious beliefs can play a huge role in therapy. According to the discussion above, it is very beneficial in helping in the therapy session and thus should be fully incorporated by the professionals.

Role of Religion in Society – A Comparison of Marx, Weber, and Durkheim Religion Theories

Religion refers to an organized collection of believers who have worldviews of worship to the existence supernatural powers; many religious narratives have been forwarded to explain the origin and the meaning of life. In most scenarios, people may derive morality ethics which makes up the preferred lifestyle, however in 1965, the strong wave of migration brought new religion in the United States. It resulted to construction of new places of worship where many temples and churches began, the immigrants also brought new forms of Christianity and Judaism which later shaped the   language and the services in the United States, Although the introduction of religion was deemed to be foreign, The American   society adapted the religion hence the new immigrants came also to conform the existing religion, many old and new immigrants have been organized to a solid and cohesive religion

However, religion faith and religious organization remain playing the critical role in the society, for instance many people have  been able to find a solace for the inevitable human experience of death suffering and loss, also the heightened  and expansion of knowledge  has help in controlling the behavior of the believers. The unacceptability of death may be seen in the contemporary world different unlike in the traditional times thus forms part of a very day experience and the continuity of the new eternal living. Believers are given a chance to enjoy eternal life after death.

According to Warner (1998), Churches and religious organization n play a  vital role especially in the creation of community and other major  sources of  economic and social  assistance ,in retrospect of the past, many individuals would  turn to extended family  and the wider community  for social and spiritual comfort as well s ,material  support the  shared believes of the members of the society  motivated and enhanced trust  along the personal relationships, in this  case, the customary  religious practices  such as attending weekly services ,burning incense, lighting  of candles  and reciting of prayers formed a strong bond with American society, this activities  often took new meanings to the community ,(Carl and  Min 1995).

Furthermore ,churches too formed  the most  important source of  support  for the  practical problems faced during every day life, it involves helping those in need, and the poor  an d other charitable  works  which are directed  to fellow congregants, theories of the sociologist           Durkheim in  his theory book  analyzes religion as a social phenomenon. Durkheim attributes the development of religion to the emotional security attained through communal living. He associated it also with human feelings not only with another but also with the existing objects in the environment; he believed that religion is a unified system where believers and practices become the new sacred phenomena. He believed that those who adhere in American society would later evolve to become the new sacred phenomena.

On the other  hand, the renown sociologist  Karl Marx was among the famous philosophers who believed that  religion  contributes to capitalist society, in this aspect ,the economy of  the community lies on the culture that is being  influenced by  the believers, he strongly  argued that religion nurtures the  a stronger workforce  that strives also  to improve the living conditions of the community, an assumption was that the lazy individuals in  the society was a taboo hence were not allowed to eat because they haven’t worked,  these  according to       Marx highlighted that  religion is  closely linked the production activities in the community. Max Weber on his   understanding of religion was that politics was also inclined to religion because it influenced people behavior. His hypothesis identified that politics influences the unity of members thus members end up deciding how the leadership would be rolled out.        Therefore  the  choice of  political institutions is determined by the members ,the outcomes of community endeavors  contributes to uplifting the  economy to an average  income, the results according to Weber is influenced by the religion because of one believe ,hence  translates to  having  form leadership  who   have the needs of the community at heart. Ultimately, Durkheim, Weber and   Marx concluded that religion is an overall aspect that conditions the political, social and economic existence in the society, the American affiliations to religion  is   a conscious  exercise  which influence  and favors their daily chores.

In relation to the  current generational affiliations in  the United states, religion  has received  believers from the scholars, private and  public colleges  and universities  who represents  various disciplines and  faith perspective they all came together  to wingspread the need of shaping the America`s  religious culture ,public views has grown  and other nations diversity ahs extremely  increase hence it call for understanding of differences in  as well as the ability and willingness to  engage the differences  for the sake the common good, (Yang 2002).

Reflection Essay – Elements of Religion

Religions are sets of convictions, or beliefs, regarding the universe’s purpose, nature, as well as cause, particularly when the universe viewed in the light of the development of particular super human agencies. Commonly, religions involve specific ritualistic and devotional practices. As well, religions are seen as commonly containing or providing moral codes for directing human conduct. There are diverse elements that are deemed as constituting particular religions. The elements are worldviews or belief systems, community, central myths, ethics, typical emotional experiences, sacredness, rituals, and material expressions. A community is a population whose members share particular belief systems explaining human beings as well as the universe. Central myths are narratives interpreting the beliefs. Rituals are the ceremonies via which the beliefs are expressed. Ethics are essentially guidelines of human conduct. The emotional experiences are the sensations characterizing particular religions. The material expressions of a given religion may include the music, paintings, or statutes typifying the religion while sacredness is the divide between being deemed ordinary and being deemed sacrosanct.

The essayist interviewed a man who affirmed that his religion is Hinduism. The essayist read out and explained to the man the eight elements that characterize religion. The man submitted that his religious, Hinduism, beliefs fell wholly into the pattern defined by the elements. Besides, he affirmed that in he viewed the eight elements as bearing rather comparable weights. The essayist interviewed the man rather deeply on his religion’s belief system, central myths, and ethics.

Hinduism has a well defined belief system. Hindus belief in Atman, or eternal self. Atman denotes the actual self away from the false self or ego. Often, atman is taken as one’s soul or spirit. It indicates a person’s actual essence underlying his or her existence. Other principal components of the Hindus’ belief system are rebirth, moksha, and Brahman. Moksha means liberation. Moksha’s goal is rebirth, which frees individuals from the continuing action-reaction cycle. Brahman refers to an awe-inspiring power clear of the universe (Doniger, 2010).

Hinduism is partly hinged on varied central myths. The myths include Krishna and the Salt Parable, whose moral lesson is that one can reduce the pain he or she suffers by expanding his or her perspective. The Krishna myth has it that Vaishnavas concentrate on avatara, or avatars, which are Vishnu’s incarnations plus Vishnu himself. Vaishnavas hold the belief that the world is incarnated by God into varied forms, including Krishna, to reinstate dharma (Bhalla, 2005).

The man interviewed by the essayist projected Hinduism as a religion with ample ethical tenets. The principal ethical pillars of Hinduism are karma and ahimsa. Karma makes a literal reference to action. Karma has it that all actions have corresponding immediate or succeeding reactions of comparable weights. Virtuous, or ethically commendable, actions are deemed to exist harmoniously with dharma. They are seen as begetting good responses or reactions. Actions that breach dharma are deemed bad and are seen as begetting bad responses or reactions (Doniger, 2010). Ahimsa is essentially an ethical principle that one should not harm other entities bearing life. The principle has it that when one harms others, he or she essentially harms his or her heart too.

An examination of scientology, which is often characterized as being a new religion shows that the elements bear similar weights. The eight elements are present in scientology. scientology has a well defined belief system. Scientologists believe in thetan, afterlife, science, and infinity (Headley, 2010; Hubbard, 2007). Thetan is human consciousness, which is capable of separating from mind as well as body. Thetan is viewed as a person’s spiritual essence. Indeed, a person is believed to be a thetan rather than a being bearing it. Infinity is the all’s all-ness and absolute freedom and potential (Lewis, 2009; Urban, 2011). Scientologists consider their religion as scientific, as found on religious claims that are all verifiable via scientific experimentation.

Scientology is partly hinged on varied central myths. One of the myths is that when a person dies, he or she continues living by being housed by another body (Headley, 2010; Hubbard, 2007). The myth is hinged on the thinking that a person is not a physical entity but a spiritual being. Some scientologists hold the belief that they have been present on the universe for a very long duration, at times possibly existing as aliens on other planets (Lewis, 2009; Urban, 2011).

Scientologists project their religion as typified by ample ethical tenets or considerations. The religion’s ethical system is wholly focused on reason. The system comprises of a technological body known as Conditions Formulas (Lewis, 2009; Urban, 2011). Scientologists believe that a person’s diverse existence states as linked to various exact formulas. Persons are capable of determining the conditions in which their lives are and apply specific formulas to improve the conditions instantaneously (Headley, 2010; Hubbard, 2007; Urban, 2011). Another scientology ethical system is founded on the thinking that when one confesses own sins, or unethical actions, he or she is unburdened from the weight of the sins right away.

Common Elements of Religion

Introduction

Throughout history, religions have tried to control the actions of their followers using various moral grounds. Therefore, religions have various common basic elements. Anthropology has helped in identifying the common elements of different religions. The elements are evident in both historical and ‘advanced’ religions. Myths, taboos, and animism are some of the common elements of different religions. The elements define how people should behave in the society. In addition, they provide explanations of different beliefs within the religion. Animism is one of the oldest elements.

Myths

Mythology is one of the major characteristics of all religions. This is regardless of whether they are basic or advanced religions. In contemporary parlance, myths generally refer to lies or false beliefs. The myth of Aryan supremacy is one of the false beliefs. However, the study of religion uses the term myth differently. Myths refer to the religious stories on the dealings between humans and gods. They enable people to visualize the interactions between humans and gods. They usually form the foundation of various beliefs in the religion. Historically, preliterate societies used myths to transmit their religions from generation to another (Antion & Ruml, 2011).

Christianity has several myths that act as a foundation of its beliefs. The death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven of Jesus Christ is one of the major myths of Christianity. According to Christianity, God offered the blessed sacrifice of Jesus Christ to carry the sins of all men. Therefore, if people have sinned, they should ask for forgiveness from God. God has the power to forgive people regardless of their sins. The dying god is a mythical theme that is present in many religions especially religions in the Near East. The Bible details the story of Noah, where the sinful life of people in the world made God cause a huge flood, which cleansed the world in preparation for the rebirth of a more righteous society. Flood myths are common in all Abrahamic religions. In addition, certain ancient religions also had flood myths. The common feature of all flood myths is that they have a hero who ensure the rebirth of humanity (Hopfe & Woodward, 2012).

Religions use myths to provide an explanation “on the whys and hows of the world” (Hopfe & Woodward, 2012, p. 24). Myths may provide an explanation to on the creation. Religions have different myths on creation. Religions also have myths that explain the powers of certain religious personalities. Myths helps in defining various religious practices. Religions do not use scientific foundations to explain the occurrence of various things in the world. In fact, science has discounted several religious myths.

Taboo

Religions strive to dictate the activities of its followers. Therefore, it may prohibit them from undertaking certain activities lest. Failure to do so would make the spirit world cause harm to an individual. The prohibited activities are referred to as taboos. In a basic society, holy places, persons, and objects are taboo to ordinary people in the society. Therefore, an individual should not touch holy objects or enter holy places without great fear. An individual who knowingly violates taboos may face great harm (Antion & Ruml, 2011).

The Bible in Second Kings 2:23–25 details an incident where a boy mocked Prophet Elisha. A prophet was a sacred religious personality. Due to the transgressions on a prophet, two bears mauled the boy. In addition, Second Samuel 6:1–7 details an incident where God struck dead a man who touched the Ark of the Covenant. This is despite the fact that the man touched the Ark of the Covenant to prevent is from falling from a cart. The Ark of the Covenant was one of the holiest objects in the kingdom. Only certain religious personalities could touch it (Hopfe & Woodward, 2012).

Religions have different taboos. One of the most common taboos regards the conduct of women during menses. Judaism considers menstruating women as ritually unclean. Therefore, it states that people should avoid getting into contact with menstruating women before rituals. In Islam, menstruating women are prohibited from taking part in religious activities. In addition, husbands it prohibits husbands from having sexual intercourse with their wives during menses.  However, it does not restrict the women from engaging in other social activities normally. Hinduism regards menstruating women as impure. Therefore, she must be ‘purified’ before she can return to her home and interact freely with her family. Christianity and Sikhism do not have any taboos regarding the conduct of women during menses. Christianity allows women to interact freely and perform their normal functions during menses. On the hand, Sikhism claims that washing the body does not affect the spiritual purity of an individual. Therefore, it does not relate spiritual purity with menses (Antion & Ruml, 2011).

Animism

Animism is the notion that non-human entities have a spiritual essence. Therefore, nature is alive with many spirits, which have feelings. In addition, animism assumes that people can communicate with spirits. The physical and spiritual world are the major components of an animistic worldview. In this worldview, there is no clear differences between the spiritual world and the spiritual world. What happens in one reality may affect the other. If the spirits are pleased, they may help people. On the other hand, if the spirits are offended, they may harm people. Therefore, animism assumes that the spirits are personal. People should strive to avoid offending the spirits. Sir Edward Taylor, the first person to undertake research on animism. He termed animistic beliefs as ‘childish’ beliefs that portrayed the cognitive underdevelopment of a society. He claimed that these beliefs were common among ‘primitive’ societies such as the hunter-gatherer societies. Despite the advancements in technology, many religions still believe in animism. Christianity has several elements of animism. Christianity encourages the spirituality of its followers. Therefore, Christian animism enables Christians to experience, understand, and relate to the different entities in the universe. This helps in spiritual nourishment of Christians (Hopfe & Woodward, 2012).

Animism is prevalent in both Abrahamic and Eastern religions. Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists believe that the spirits may bless or curse an individual. Therefore, they fear strive to appease the spirits to seek ‘its’ blessings. Most religions have acquired animistic beliefs due to the conversion of people with the beliefs into the religion. Christianity is the major religion that highlights this trend. Christianity has not displaced the local folk religion of people upon their conversion. Therefore, both religions coexist in an uneasy tension. Coexistence of the religions has led to the incorporation of animistic beliefs into Christianity (Antion & Ruml, 2011).

Conclusion

Religion is one of the major factor that holds the society together. All religions share ideas on how people should live and what happens when people die. They also provide stories on the origin of creation. Taboos and myths dictate the activities that people should engage in. On the other hand, animism fosters respect of nature and the spirits. Therefore, religion leads to the creation of norms that facilitate social harmony.

The Study of Religion in American Society

Final Paper Preparation: Part I

In preparation for your Final Paper, this week you will submit information about the event at which you will conduct participant-observation and conduct Library research on it. Examples of events are:

  • Baptism ritual
  • Dharma talk at a Buddhist center or temple
  • Marriage ritual (of any faith.) Make sure to primarily elaborate on the rituals at the event.
  • Pooja at a Hindu temple
  • Rasta reasoning session
  • Religious service (of any faith)
  • A religious rite of passage (involving community)

 

Note: If you are unable to attend a specific site, you may use the following alternative sites for your ethnography.

  • An online chat group dedicated to a particular religion or faith.
  • An online religious talk or service.
  • Second Life Buddha Center http://www.thebuddhacenter.org/calendar/schedule-b-c/
  • This should be used only in special circumstances and you must have the permission of your instructor in advance to do so.
  • Use the article by Melinda B. Wagner in chapter 1 of your text book “The Study of Religion in American Society” as a guide for preparing your research.

Submit the following information:

  • Place, time and a brief description of the event where you will conduct participant-observation.
  • Feasibility of the project: You must gain appropriate access into the religious event, prior to the event, by clearing your participation with key persons in the religious community. For example, if you intend to conduct participant-observation at a Sunday church service, you will call ahead and make sure it is permissible to attend the service and to conduct unobtrusive, quiet observations. You might also ask if the officiate or other conducting personnel could meet with you in advance of the service or following the service to answer questions and provide a context for the religious event.

 

In Week 3, you will conduct your first fieldwork observation for a minimum of two hours. In Week 5, you will return to the site again with follow up questions for a minimum of one hour. Therefore, this week, you must provide in narrative form a justification of the feasibility of your research. For example, if you intend to observe Baptism in a Catholic church, it happens once a month and so a follow-up visit will not be possible. Establish contacts with people in charge of the event and those you will interview. Point out in your contact at least one person you can do follow up interview with in Week 5. Get in touch with people at the event and find out whether your proposed event is feasible or not. Provide names of contacts as well as how you have arranged to stay in touch with them for the duration of your project.

  • Library Research: Find at least two scholarly resources, i.e. articles from peer-reviewed journals and Ebooks available using Ashford Library or another source and/or printed books that provide background information on the event you will observe. Use these sources with as much specificity as possible, so that you understand the nuances of the event. For example, to observe a Buddhist ritual, it is important to understand Buddhism as well as the particular Buddhist tradition as well as the culture of the people participating in the Buddhist event.
  • Using information from the sources you have collected, list at least five questions you intend to find answers to at the event. Except for the questions, your paper must be in narrative form. Use headings and sub-headings as necessary.

 

The paper must be two to three pages in length (excluding the title and reference pages) and formatted according to APA style. You must use at least two scholarly resources. Cite your resources in text and on the reference page.

Role Family and Religion Played In The Slave Community

Introduction

Family and religion played a great role in slavery. Religion was used to strengthen slavery as some of the slaves were told to obey their masters.

Religion reinforced the slaves and propagated it through various justifications from the Bible like required the servant, in this case, the slave to obey the master (Dunaway, 2003). The slaves were taught in this manner thought it was the wrong interpretation. Religions thus required them to be submissive and do all that they were asked. Religion was as a cover in taking missionary work to Africa while propagating slavery, which was one of the profitable trades at that time.

The Bible has various references to slavery, which the whites used to justify slavery (Andersen & Taylor, 2008). Religion was used to enslave people especially Africans with reason that they would easily be reachable through Christianity. Some of the verses were drawn from Apostle Paul where were to obey their masters regardless.

The family was a refuge for the slaves as the outside world dealt harshly with them. The slaves found solace in the various gatherings of the family and would encourage one another. The family unit ensured that more children resulted which were then sold as slaves. The slave family could not oppose the sale of a family member, as it was powerless. As such, the family was a tool used by slavery to propagate and enhance the slave trade due to the children born from those families.

Family and religion thus strengthened slavery in one way or another and ensured that it was here to stay.

Differences Between Eastern And Western Religions

Eastern religions, which include Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, are notably different from western religions, which are Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. One of the major differences between the two groups of religions is that the God of western is personal while that of eastern is impersonal (Tomka, 2006). For instance, in Hinduism, God is everything, he is the universe and the universe is God, while Christians believe that God is sovereign and separate from the universe, His creation.

Another difference is the religious view of the world and material possessions and how it relates to sin. Eastern thought’s major notion is the idea of maya, Hindu term for material illusion. They believe that material possessions are an illusion, and that sin is due to ignorance about that illusion. The western religions on the other hand teach that the world and material possessions are a reality. The western religions also believe that sin is not mere obliviousness about the world’s illusion, but adeliberate rebellion against God.

The law of karma is a familiar belief among many Eastern religions. They believe that good karma, which refers to good works, is the only way one can be delivered from the reincarnation cycle, while bad karma results in reincarnating in a lower form than their present life.Western religions believe that salvation is through works and grace over karma. For instance, in Christianity, deeds are not considered as very important in determining salvation (Tomka, 2006). The bible states,“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5, NIV). Although ones deeds are important, they are not a salvation determinant, they come after salvation has already been received. Deeds are a sign that one is indeed saved.

The two groups of religions also differ in their belief in the transmigration of souls. The eastern religions believe in reincarnation where individuals get a chance to redeem themselves while the western religions do not believe in second life or second chances (Tomka, 2006). Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism believe in continuity of life where a person comes back to life and has another chance to chose how they want to live while Judaism, Christianity, and Islam teachings state that once a person dies, there is eternal judgment. For example, Scriptures teach that every individual is unique and after he/she dies, he/she will be answerable to God during judgment time (Hebrews 9:27, NIV).

Other differences include:

 

 

Western religions

Eastern religions

Creation of the universe Universe was created by god

 

Universe exists in endless cycle

 

Worshiping

 

Sabbath day All day, any day
Cause of human suffering Disobedience of God’s will Soul’s ignorance
Scripture authority Ultimate

 

Scripture has limited/no authority

 

God One God

 

Individual freedom to choose God(s)/no-God
Judgment day

 

There is a judgment day No judgment day
Number of lives One life Reincarnation, many lives
Eternal hell/heaven

 

There is eternal hell/heaven

 

No eternal hell/heaven

 

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World Religion – Hinduism – What Happens When We Die?

Hinduism is one of the major religions of the world. Rebirth and reincarnation of souls after death is one of the major beliefs of Hinduism. Hinduism believes that all souls are imperishable in immortal. According to the religion, souls are part of a jiva, which refers to the limited being. Jiva is subject to the impurities of its attachment and laws of karma. Therefore, Hinduism believe that death is not a huge calamity. This is due to the fact that it is not the end of all. Instead, it is a natural process of jiva’s existence. During this period, jiva recuperates and recollects its resources prior to adjustment of its course when it returns to earth to go on with its journey. According to Hinduism, if a soul is not liberated, death and life are not permanent to the soul. Instead, they act as a part of a grand illusion. Death acts a brief end of physical activity. It facilitates the recycling of energy which enables jiva to reenergize itself, engage in a review of its programs and policies, and plan on what it should undertake in the next phase of life. Therefore, each life provides jiva with an opportunity to learn and overcome various faults, which ultimately enable it to become whole. According to Hinduism, people cannot have dislikes, prejudices, preferences, and attachment and anticipate that they would be whole. In fact, even the preference for purity acts as hindrance of wholeness at a certain stage of life. Therefore, it is vital for the soul be born continuously several times in order to overcome the state of delusion. When this is achieved, the soul realizes the state of completeness (Gibson and Wootten 57).

A jiva that goes to heaven would enjoy all the pleasures that are in heaven. This would enable it to ultimately acknowledge the fact that heaven and seeking heavenly pleasures are not the ultimate goal in life despite how intense the pleasures of heaven may be. This is due to the fact that the pleasures would not last long. On the other hand, a soul that goes to the darker world suffers the horrors of the evils it tried to encourage during its life on earth. This would make the soul acknowledge the implications of evil. Therefore, according to Hinduism, the goal of heaven and earth is to create a mind-set of wisdom and detachment to souls. However, the extent of the lessons the souls may have learn in heaven or the darker world is unknown since the souls may unlearn and revert to their old ways when they return to earth. This increases the need for many lives, which leads to learning and relearning the same lessons. This enables the sould to become part of jiva’s samskara (education) (Gibson and Wootten 58).

Yoga is critical in Hinduism. It enables an individual to achieve the goals of Hinduism since it leads to quieting of the mind. The quietness of the mind is vital as it enables an individual to reflect on reality without having to impose the individual’s own subjective interpretations. Therefore, the aim of yoga is to enable the mind to capture this reality instead of creating the reality. Yoga enables an individual to avoid noise and fully think. Therefore, it stops the fight that individuals have with their own consciousness (Fields 79).

Efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous and Religion – Sample Paper

Introduction

By the year 2007, there were about 2,000,000 members in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA is highly accessible as well as affordable part of treatment for many Americans who suffer from alcohol disorders (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, n.d.). Several research findings show that regularly attending and engaging in the AA’s programs improves the drinking results as well as more abstinence rates, giving strong indication in supporting addicts’ participation in the 12-step AA program (Kelly & Moos, 2003). AA facilitates change through several ways such as self-efficacy, social support and network variables, self-determination, positive psychology, working through transition issues, grief, and spirituality as well as meaning.

The challenges in substantiating AA data are because of focus on anonymity and autonomous structure and ethical considerations, therefore, hinders deep methodological examination. However, there is proliferation regarding 12-step-related findings recently(Kelly & Moos, 2003). This paper reviews the efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as the spiritual aspect.

Efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous as a treatment model is indicates positive abstinence results thus making it be superior or equal to other conventional alcoholism treatments. 12-step programs for instance, have indicated to be more effective compared to cognitive behavioural skills training for other drug abusers (Arthur, Tom & Glenn, 2008).

According to Arthur, Tom &Glenn (2008), the study of alcohol addicts realised that patients who actively engaged in self-help groups were better than those who infrequently engaged themselves in the same. Similarly, continual self-help engagement was linked with minimum substance as well as alcohol abuse. On the other hand, nonattendance was related to the highest abuse, even after controlling for duration participant’s severity and formal treatment of their drug use as well as alcohol problem. In addition, drinking outcomes are strongly linked to participation in AA.

The duration and frequency AA participation is an important projector of drinking outcomes as well as duration of abstinence. Increasing AA involvement in the 12-36 months post treatment improves the odds of abstinence at three years by about thirty-five percent regardless of mental health issues, gender, and religious preferences. Further, it does not depend on whether the addict had previously engaged inother self-help groups or AA (Murray Goggin & Malcarne, 2006). In addition, regular attendance of AA results in positive drinking outcomes compared to those who never participated at all or irregularly attended. Further, those who attended AA either weekly or even more often indicated significant reduction in alcohol abuse as well as more abstinent days.

Moreover, patterns of AA participation play a crucial role in abstinence (Hudson, 2004). The study conducted among dependent drinkers indicated that rates of abstaining at year 5 were about forty-three percent particularly for those who engaged in AA in year one following treatment(Hudson, 2004). Seventy-three percent of alcohol dependants who attended close to sixty meetings each year at 3- as well as 5-year follow-ups. Finally, seventy-nine percent of alcohol dependants who attended AA 200 meetings or more each year at the 3- as well as 5-year follow-ups in abstinence.

Key Activities as Projectors of Abstinence

Several key activities, which predict abstinence within AA, have been recognised.Specific aspects in the twelve-step participation differently affect abstinence depending on the person’s particular substance dependence disorder (Kelly & Moos, 2003).The frequency of meeting attendance as well as the number of activities undertaken predicted abstinence independent of substance dependence disorder. On the contrary, particular activities are linked to abstinence differentially through dependence disorder. In particular, two activities of AA differentiate abstinence for the alcohol dependants, doing service as well as having a sponsor(Kelly & Moos, 2003). Other activities, however, differentiate abstinence particularly for the drug dependents or those who abuse alcohol as well as drugs.

Servicework, which is defined as the execution of a task and which supports the AA group remains to be the strongest predictor as far as abstinence in all groups twelve months after treatment is concerned(Kelly & Moos, 2003). In addition, AA attendance, the number of problem or heavy drinkers in a person’s social network, the number of people in the social network emphasizing reduction of alcohol consumption as well as AA-related support emphasizing reduction of alcohol consumption are also other activities, which play key roles as abstinence predictors.

Mechanisms of change

Besides evaluating as well as quantifying theAA’s efficacy, researchers have examined AA’s effectiveness by looking at proposed change mechanisms through several paradigms. Some of these paradigms include social support as well as social network variables, spirituality and religion, self-efficacy, positive psychology, SDT and working through grief, loss and transition issues (Hudson, 2004).

Regarding the link between social network variable and AA for instance, engagement in AA is linked to a number of positive qualitative as well as quantitative transitions as far as social support networks is concerned, with less effect on family as well other networks and greatest effect friends(Hudson, 2004). Hudson (2004) further indicates that other AA members support is of great importance in recovery as those with prior and existing dangerous social network receive remarkable benefits.

Spiritual aspect and the meaning of Alcoholics Anonymous

Research has not concluded on issues relating to the role played by spirituality as well as religion as change mechanism in AA. However, a number of studies have indicated that attendance of AA generates important changes in God’s beliefs as well as spirituality (Piderman, 2004). Conflicting evidence exist in support of religion and spirituality as predictors of abstinence. Several research findings note AA attendance as a key factor in abstinence as well as reduced drinking regardless of an individual’s spiritual or religious affiliation. Tonigan’s (2007)close look at AA as well as spirituality and religion seems to mirror the outcomes of a number of studies. This includes the fact that he identified that there exists little evidence supporting spirituality and religion as one of the key factors in future abstinence. However, Tonigan (2007) argues that spirituality might have indirect impact since original improvement I spirituality and religion seems to enhance sustained as well as continual attendance and participation of AA, hence, resulting in sustained recovery with time.

According to Robinson et al. (2007), increase in spiritual and religious beliefs takes place among outpatients having alcohol use disorders despite controlling for AA engagement as well as gender. Robinson (2007) further points that using ten measures of religiousness as well as spirituality, beliefs, experiences, behaviours and beliefs involving a study of 123 outpatients having disorders of alcohol use were examined for changes regarding religiousness or spirituality from treatment entry to the sixth-month and whether the notable changes were related to drinking outcomes. Outcomes indicated statistically realisable increases of up to half the religious as well as the spirituality measures over a period of six months in addition to the notable decreases in the use of alcohol.

Harber (2006) points out that the application of qualitative as well as quantitative methodologies to determine the relationship, which is exiting between self-image, God’s image as well as the duration of abstinence particularly among active members of the AA is of no significant statistical relationship between beliefs in God/higher power as well as duration of abstinence. According to Harber (2006), the mean days’ sober number was approximately 68 percent longer for those days’ active members of AA who hadquit at one point AA because of religious reasons than those other people who quit for other reasons.

Harber (2006) further point out that those that had no religious affiliation were sober for a longer period, about 8.3 years, than those who were affiliated to some religion (protestant 7.32 years, Catholic had 5.6 years and other religions had 5.02 years).

Similarly, in the study by Tonigan, Miller and Schermer (2002)showed that attendance of AA was in strong correlation with higher abstinence as well as reduction of alcohol consumption regardless of belief in God. However, agnostic as well as atheist clients attended AA less often than those who were affiliated to spirituality did and religion and religion did, no notable differences were seen in the number of days abstinent as well as drinking intensity were realised between the spiritual and religious versus atheist and agnostic clients.

In the Murray’s et al. (2006) study evaluation of members’perception of the role of God/high power in alcoholism recovery by Alcohol-Related God Locus of Control (AGLOC) scale, a Twelve-item self-support measure. It was done to 144 recovering alcohol addicts attending the meetings of AA and indicated that attribution of control of God were in correlation with cessation of drinking, but not to maintaining abstinence. On the contrary, Piderman (2004) found a correlation between several spiritual well-being as well as abstinence self-efficacy among 49 alcohol addicts. Furthermore, Poage et al. (2004) points out that the length of sobriety is in strong relationship with spirituality regarding his case study examining the duration of sobriety, stress, and contentment as well as spirituality in AA sample participants.

Hudson’s (2004) study on spirituality and religion versus alcohol recover on the other hand yielded positive response. In his case study, Hudson examined the correlation among combined variables of spiritual awareness and alcohol-problem adversity, involvement and participation in AA as well as patterns of AA membership. Though the Drinker Inventory of Consequences as well as the General Alcoholics Anonymous Tools of Recovery (GAATOR) 2.1, he analysed data from about 172 participants finding that the number that reported higher attendance of AA was in strong relationship to relatively fewer negative drinking-related consequences. In addition, the higher GAATOR number had a strong correspondence to fewer consequences.

Conclusion

In brief, Alcoholics Anonymous has played a key role in alcoholics’ recovery as is evident by various researchers. This has been through various mechanisms, which are perceived to be effective. In addition, spirituality as well as religion is also perceived to be components of such mechanisms although some researchers tend to contradict there is no such relationship.

However, it is evident that most researchers have indicated significant increments particularly spiritual beliefs as being part of and alcoholics’ recovery.Researchers, however, tend not to link the increases to attendance of AA as well as affiliation. Finally, more research concerning the causality of the correlation that may exist between the AA and spirituality/religious beliefs should be done to avoid contradicting views by the present researchers so that they have a common stand regarding religion and Alcoholics Anonymous.

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Comparison of Two Religions – Assignment

Assignment Instructions

In this assignment, you will select two (2) religions from those studied thus far in the course (i.e., Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism). Next, compare and contrast them based on the criteria provided. Preferably, the two (2) religions you select are not any that you practice now or have practiced in the past.

Write a two to three (2-3) page paper in which you:

  1. Select two (2) religions from those that we have studied so far. Identify and describe the cultural and geographical origin of each religion.
  2. Identify and describe three (3) specific religious practices of each religion.
  3. Provide a specific example of how each religion is practiced in different parts of the world today.
  4. Use at least three (3) quality resources in this assignment. Note: Wikipedia and similar Websites do not qualify as quality resources. Document your sources using APA Style for in-text citations and references.
  5. Write clearly and coherently using correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, and mechanics.

Include a cover page containing the title of the assignment, the student’s name, the professor’s
name, the course title, and the date. The cover page and the reference page are not included in
the required assignment page length.