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.

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