One of the major questions in religion and philosophy is the question of free will. Without delving deep into this issue, the main question that might be raised is, do people have the possibility for spiritual renewal and transformation? Taking a look at most major religions, it can be stated that the answer would be positive. Nevertheless, this paper attempts to analyze the need for human renewal and transformation, stating that such possibility is often given in unequal proportions.
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Approaching the aspect of religion, it can be stated that all religions emphasize human transformation and renewal. In that regard, with all religions acknowledging and identifying sins, in one form or another, they at the same time acknowledge that people are not free of these sins. Thus, people need to purify themselves going through transformations, the most complete form of which is spiritual, i.e. “a dramatic change in religious belief, attitude, and behavior that occurs over a relatively short period of time” (Schwartz, 2000).
Each religion slightly modifies its version of the transformation, having the main theme in changing behavior and resetting priorities. In that regard, renewal can be seen as a lighter version of spiritual transformation, which implies changing behavior without major shifts in religious beliefs. It can be stated that our nature is pure at birth, develops into a mixture of good and bad with different proportions, largely defined by many external factors, e.g. background, family, locations, beliefs, etc.
It can be stated that there is a general call for renewal and transformation, where each person perceives such call individually, due to individual characteristics. A person raised in a religious family, who lived in a moderate-income and received a good education, will likely have fewer difficulties in transforming his character, than for example, a person who lives in a poor family with alcohol problems, in a neighborhood filled with gangs, and who quit school at the age of 15. The latter might be an exaggeration, and exceptions in both cases certainly exist, but nevertheless, it does not change the fact that people are influenced by external factors, reaching the need for renewal and transformation, outlined in most religions.
Accordingly, it should be stated that the path for renewal and transformation is mostly the same for most people, which implies that different efforts will be needed for spiritual transformation. In that regard, the path prescribed by Christianity can be found attractive, specifically, with the ritual of going to confessions. Acknowledging one’s own mistakes can be seen as the first step to avoid them. It is not implied that other paths are not effective, rather than that it is hard for a person to acknowledge his/her own mistakes. Even from the point of view of psychology, such practice can “encourage the practitioner to observe his own subjective frame of reference… [acquiring] a high level of self-awareness by using any one of these practices as a means of paying attention to his own thoughts (Banks, 2009).
It can be concluded that despite the difficulties that different people might face in acknowledging the need for renewal and transformation, it is nevertheless possible. Despite the contribution of individual factors, personal responsibility should not be omitted. With the distinction of good and bad being acknowledged since birth, each person needs to go through transformation and renewal, with the failure to do so, being an indication of spiritual weakness.
Banks, S. L. (2009). ON HOLY GROUND: WHERE RELIGION AND COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY CONNECT. Renew Theology. Web.
Schwartz, A. J. (2000). The Nature of Spiritual Transformation: A Review of the Literature. Spiritual Transformation Research. Web.