How religious traditions describe and encourage relationship with the divine

Religion and Culture

how religious traditions describe and encourage relationship with the divine

This paper will explain how religious traditions describe and encourage the relationship with the divine; the relationship with the sacred time;. In one instance, she helps a young women's relationship with her husband. Individuals that hold these beliefs explain a powerful unseen force that can potentially .. and religious traditions by providing a focus point where the divine and the associate with non-believers yet exhibit their beliefs, which is encouraged in. Religious diversity of this sort can fruitfully be explored in many in all religious truth claims related to the divine is nonexistent—all such claims are false. it is inappropriate to subject religious beliefs to assessment of any sort. And to encourage such relationships is surely an appropriate goal of public.

Concepts of Supernatural Beings[ edit ] There are many different ways cultures conceptualize their spiritual beings. These include, but are not limited to: A Polynesian carving, spirits are said to be able to manifest themselves in any object.

Mana is conveyed trough tiki statues in Polynesian culture Animatism is the belief in a supernatural power that is able to be something other than a person or animal.

Cultural Anthropology/Ritual and Religion

In this sense, it is the belief that the supernatural is all around you and could be anything. Individuals that hold these beliefs explain a powerful unseen force that can potentially be found all around us; in people, animals, plants and features of nature such as volcanoes and the ocean, for example, Mother Earth believing in the non-living.

The belief of animatism doesn't assign a spiritual identity but instead believes in a single unified power that can manifest itself into objects or be acquired by and controlled by certain individuals. The term was coined by the British Anthropologist Robert Ranulph Marett as "a belief in a generalized, impersonal power over which people have some measure of control" Animatism is the cause of consciousness and personality to natural phenomena such as thunderstorms and earthquakes and to objects such as plants and stones.

Inanimate objects, forces, and plants have personalities and wills, but not souls. These forces are inanimate and impersonal, This is not true for those beliefs relating to animism. In the South Pacific Polynesian cultures, the power of animatism is commonly referred to as "Mana". For them, it is a force that is inherent in all objects, plants, and animals including people to different degrees.

Some things or people have more of it than others and are therefore, potentially dangerous. Often a chief must have some with him at all times. Dangerous places, such as volcanoes, were considered to have concentrated amounts of mana. Mana is a spiritual quality considered to have supernatural origin — a sacred impersonal force existing in the universe.

Therefore to have mana is to have influence and authority, and efficacy — the power to perform in a given situation. Mana, Marett states, is a concentrated form of animatistic force found within any of these objects that confer power, strength, and success.

For example, the Polynesians, believe in mana as a force inherent in all objects. This essential quality of mana is not limited to persons — folks, governments, places and inanimate objects can possess mana. Animism[ edit ] Animism is one of the oldest beliefs, dating back to the Paleolithic age a prehistoric period distinguished by the earliest known primitive tools about 2.

Animism believes that natural objects, natural phenomena, and the universe all possess individual souls. It is derived from the Latin word anima, meaning a breath or soul. Tylor posted that animism was birthed by primitive cultures mistaking their dreams for reality. In classical animism, it is said that spirits are a separate entity from the body, and cause life in humans by passing through bodies and other inanimate objects.

He believed that the earliest animists based their religion on inanimate objects acting strangely, or uniquely giving them the illusion of life alike to humans, trees blowing in the wind for instance.

how religious traditions describe and encourage relationship with the divine

In terms of practices, many animistic cultures worshiped plant life, including trees and plants, because of their beauty, strength, and life. It is thought that all beings, including plants, have a soul. This is why in many Native American cultures totem poles are a major symbolic structure, and the main focus of many rituals.

Centuries ago the Coast Salish Indian Tribe was well known for its belief in spiritual transmutation between humans and animals, a trait of animistic culture.

how religious traditions describe and encourage relationship with the divine

Living in Cowichan Valley, on Vancouver Island they created hundreds of totem poles in order to showcase the spirits believed to be living in the animals portrayed upon the totems, and the trees the totems themselves were made out of.

As mentioned, animism is greatly associated with more primitive cultures. This form of the religion is focused on the different types of souls in different types of people from all different cultures.

It is more acutely understood as the teaching of how to have respectful relationships with human beings, as well as the natural world. The basic idea is that showing respect for relationships is vital to survival. Anthropomorphism[ edit ] Anthropomorphism is the concept of attributing human characteristics or behaviors to a non-human being. This can mean animals, plants, and almost anything else taking on the personality of a human.

It can mean that any object can be given human traits by a person, such as a dog feeling guilty for stealing food, or the gurgling of a stream sounding happy. Different religions have different interpretations of anthropomorphism, but in general, it is to show their God as something or someone else. In Greek mythology anthropomorphic animals are representations of their Gods. An example that is most defined in Western culture is in Judaism and Christianity, God has given human feelings of anger and jealousy or compassion and forgiveness.

All human qualities that have been given to God in human settings that surround humanity, where these feelings are all emotions that humans have observed and none that we haven't.

how religious traditions describe and encourage relationship with the divine

A functional analysis of anthropomorphism proposes that when the supernatural takes human form, it may be easier for people to relate to the concepts promoted by religion. Dualism[ edit ] The term dualism was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition. A meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts.

Bitheism implies that the gods live in peace and Ditheism implies that their in opposition. This means that a Ditheism system would have one good and one evil god or one god that listened and helped and one that ignored. A god of life and one of death is another example. An example of a Bitheism system would be something like one god is of the sky and one of the wind. It is not always easy to distinguish between the two, like a sky god who brings storms and rain and an earth god who brings fertility and tremors.

In a moral sense Christianity is a dualism religion with the opposition of God and Satan. Euhemerism is a rationalizing method of interpretation that was named after the Greek mythographer compiler of myths Euhemerus. Euhemerism is the idea that a real person can become a deity or a supernatural immortal being through the constant telling and re-telling of their stories that leads to the distortion of the actual story.

For example, many people believe that Hercules was a real person but was deified through the stories of his life and after some time the embellished story became the accepted story. Therefore, Hercules was remembered as a deity. Euhemerism is the worship and belief in an ancestor or historical being who is thought to have supernatural power. Euhemerus believed that every Greek god was someone that actually lived long ago and was immortalized in myth through their actions in life.

The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual and to serve as their emblem or symbol. Masks are sometimes used as well to recreate the spirit or being. Usually seen through the use of Totem poles. Though this is usually seen in Native American traditional societies, this is something that is practiced all over the world.

Zoomorphism is the attribution of animal qualities or characteristics to a God. Many times it is mistaken for anthropomorphism, which attributes human characteristics or qualities to things that are not human. Zoomorphic supernaturals can be found in many religions, such as Hinduism with the deity Ganesha.

Other examples include images of male deities with antlers that appeared in prehistoric art in countries as far apart as France, Australia, Canada, and China. In Egyptian mythology, Anubis was the god that protected the dead and brought them to the afterlife until Osiris took over the position and then Anubis became the gatekeeper of the dead.

His head is the color black because black is the color associated with death and the rotting color of flesh and the black soil of the Nile valley. The head of a jackal is significant because in ancient times jackals would hunt at the edges of deserts near the necropolis and cemeteries and ravage the desert graves throughout Egypt. Horus was often drawn as a falcon on the shoulder of a ruler and he is typically depicted as having the head of a falcon when drawn alone.

He was often used to show a ruler's connection to the Gods. Other examples in Egyptian mythology include Hathor, who is often depicted as a cow, and the warrior goddess Sekhmet, who is depicted as a lioness in human form. Myths often have extraordinary characters or stories that seem impossible in the real world, but these feats and traits only seem possible because it explains some of the growth and development of civilizations.

Myths are passed down stories or events within time. In turn, over periods of time myths tend to change slightly and also change within certain cultures. Regardless of background, at the international level all players in these clubs have a loyalty to the Australian football team. Football is the common bond — a sporting pastime but also cultural practice. Think about the way entire nations can be said to embody the activities of its national sporting heroes.

Supporters from different countries will identify their team as playing in a certain style, even if these are stereotypes and not entirely accurate: Do all South American sides use flamboyance and spontaneity? The larger point, for both individuals and nations, is the tangible power of a sporting pastime to generate common bonds from the local to the international Rees— That bond is an expression of culture.

Symbols of group identity The second element of culture are symbols of identity. The kinds of sign I am referring to are tangible reminders in modern societies of who we are as a people. They include styles of architecture such as bridges or religious buildingsland or waterscapes that influence the activity of life such as in harbour citiesmonuments, flags and other identity banners, styles of clothing and habits of dress, distinctive food and drink — and so on.

These signs are more than a tourist attraction, they are symbols that inform members about who they are as a group and that help the group live together cohesively. Consider, for example, the individual and international significance of national flags as cultural symbols.

The Star-Spangled Banner as the anthem of the United States of America describes the power of a national flag to inspire individual and national devotion. The answer for Key was yes, the flag symbolising defiance and the promise of victory. Equally, persecuted communities within a country might see a national or regional flag as a symbol of oppression rather than freedom, symbolising a dominant way of life that excludes them.

In all regions of the world nationalist groups fight for autonomy or independence from a country or countries that surround them, and do so under alternative flags that represent their own cultural identity. The flag of the Canadian province of Quebec, for example, employs religious and cultural symbols reflecting its origins as a French colony in the new world. Quebec nationalists campaigning for independence from Canada have employed the flag in the promotion of French language, cultural preservation and Quebecois identity.

National separatist groups worldwide are similarly inspired by symbols of culture they are trying to preserve. Stories of our place in the world The third element of culture is the power of story.

Like the cultural use of symbols, societies need to tell stories. These may be about individuals and groups, of events in the distant and recent past, of tales of victory and defeat involving enemies and friends — and so on. Such stories are told to reaffirm, or even recreate, ideas of where that society belongs in relation to the wider world. As such, stories are performances designed to influence what we understand to be real Walter72— Sometimes cultural difference can be most starkly understood by the different stories societies tell about themselves.

In such places, national holidays can be mourned as commemorating invasion and dispossession. New Zealand offers somewhat of a contrast, with the story of the nation including the drawing up of the Treaty of Waitangi signed in between the British colonisers and the indigenous Maori tribes.

Such ownership, as an attempt to uphold the sovereignty of the Maori nation swas central to the preservation of their cultural story. Sadly, this is not the history recounted by Australian indigenous nations or most Native American tribes in the United States and Canada. Taken together, these depictions of preservation and loss illustrate the importance of language, ritual, place and tradition in the cultural story at the individual and international level.

Like living organs, societies experience growth and decline, health and decay, fitness and injury. Extending the analogy, we could say that culture is a way to measure the psychological and emotional health of society. These descriptors reflect what individuals and international societies believe is a healthy culture.

As such, culture involves agreement on the kind of things that are good for society and can make it flourish. One of the leading frontiers of culture clash worldwide involves the campaign for gender equality in areas such as education, employment, reproductive and marital rights. The story of Malala Yousafzai from northwest Pakistan reminds us of the power of one individual to inspire an international response on the vital issue of education for girls.

When Malala was 12, and inspired by her teacher father, she began to speak out for the right to education, something that was becoming increasingly restricted due to the influence of the Taliban in Pakistan. Inalthough critically wounded, Malala survived an assassination attempt at the hands of the Taliban and, on her recovery, became a brave advocate for the many millions who were being denied education due to certain cultural perceptions about girls and their place in society.

In she was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and dedicated her prize money to the building of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. While it has been important to consider each concept separately, highlighting the particular ways that religion and culture influence international relations, there are clear interlinkages between them.

Theorists have long drawn such links and these are useful for our consideration here. Consider the similarities between the elements of religion and culture described in this chapter such as the role of symbols and stories in both accounts, and the pursuit of life according to what either faith or culture determine to be the higher standards of living. Such a view makes sense because no one religion encompasses an entire society in the world today, and no society lives entirely according to one set of sacred rules and practices.

On the other hand, in some contexts religious authority and identity can be more significant than any other cultural element. For example, when American soldiers moved into the Iraqi city of Najaf in to negotiate security arrangements, it was not the town mayor or the police chief that had most influence. Rather, it was the reclusive religious leader Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, whose authority influenced not only the city but much of the fracturing nation itself.

Taking another example, when Communist authorities confronted striking dock workers in Poland in the s, it was not only unions that opposed them but also the Catholic Church, whose priests performed sacred rituals and stood in solidarity with strikers in open defiance of the government. In both these examples, the elements of religion are equally — if not more — prominent than the elements of culture.

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Perhaps the most useful approach, therefore, is to see the elements of religion and the elements of culture in constant interaction with one another. We have explored just four elements for each category. What might some other elements be and what are the impacts of these elements on individual and international life?

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There are some excellent resources to assist us in exploring such questions. Can we all live together? One of the most pressing questions related to our study is whether religious and cultural actors and agendas have more of a positive or negative effect on global affairs. As we have seen above, these elements relate to some of the deepest levels of human experience, both individually and internationally. The influential scholar Martin E.

Marty would add that such an approach helps us to deepen our understanding of world politics as it really is.

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The number of alternative examples in IR is potentially unlimited — so as you read on, keep in mind other instances where the elements of religion and culture contribute to violence and peacemaking. In many ways this was an accurate description because the conflict between the Soviet Union and the West had shaped the dynamics of global affairs for half a century. But, what would this new order look like?

One answer was offered by Samuel P. Huntingtonwho suggested that world politics would no longer be shaped by a clash of ideologies e. With this hypothesis, Huntington still assumed that global politics would be shaped by conflict as much as the Cold War before it had been. The significant shift in thinking was the prominence that religious and cultural identity would play in shaping the conflict.

Significantly, the descriptors Huntington gives to the major civilisations have a cultural or religious link: This creates fault lines between individuals and peoples who will inevitably fall into serious conflict over these deep and abiding differences.

Although it is worth noting that the administration of George W. Religion and culture are central to this framing. Religion and culture create a dialogue of civilisations At the end of the Cold War, rather than assuming the continuation of a conflict-driven world as Huntington did, some saw the new world order as an opportunity to redesign the way international affairs was conducted.

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What would such a politics look like? Some policymakers imagined a world where multiple actors — not just powerful states — could contribute to a collective process of stability and accountability. Religio-cultural voices were increasingly considered an important part of this conversation. Accordingly, an alternative approach to that of Huntington came from a United Nations consultative group known as the World Public Forum, which began an initiative in called the Dialogue of Civilizations.

Thus, in stark contrast to the clash of civilisations assumption that religion and culture are causes of conflict, the Dialogue of Civilizations deploys the same broad elements as resources for building bridges between individuals and peoples in the development of sustainable peace and cooperation. What is the value of such a change?

The Dialogue of Civilizations potentially offers a more equalising approach, whereby religion and culture become an extension of politics based on shared interests.

The importance of precise thinking Which framework makes more sense to you? Does the rise of religion and culture in international affairs encourage clash or a dialogue? Do religious and cultural elements of politics enable us to live together in cooperation or do they disconnect us in ways that lead to conflict? Applying the logic that we introduced at the start of this section, one answer is that elements of religion and culture contribute to both clash and dialogue, to both conflict and cooperation.

The benefit of this approach is twofold. First, it encourages us to look closely at specific elements of religion and culture — as we have done in this chapter — instead of forcing such complex phenomena into a singular assumption about conflict or cooperation. This kind of ambivalent outlook allows us to consider how the precise elements of religion and culture are used in violent and peaceful ways.

For every cultural symbol of hate, we see as many cultural symbols of healing and peace. For every religious movement of violence, we see as many religious movements for reconciliation. Beyond the issue of peace versus violence, it has also helped us understand the need for particular consideration about the extent of religious and cultural influence on politics throughout the world. For example, on religion, Jonathan Fox7 writes: