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Living Religions and Sacred Significance of Art Essay

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Updated: Jan 28th, 2021

Why do you want to study religion?

Religion is part of every human being’s life on this planet. This is because religion is considered to be an integral part of human existence (Hinnells). In essence, there are two major reasons which can compel a person to seek to understand or learn about religion. First, it is the quest or the pursuit to understand the society in which one lives, the culture we inherit, and the wider world of which we are apart. Secondly, this includes reasons for studying religion that is bound up with the individual’s quest for religious fulfillment.

Religion is important, that it even why the study of the subject is of vital importance (Hinnells). First and foremost, what we need to ensure is that we live in a world where we have various religious orientations. This implies that for any person to be in a position to understand and thereby live with each of these people there is a need to understand the principles which govern each or some of the religions around or across the globe.

Secondly, the study of religion opens up one understands of the role of religion in society. The implication of this is that it enables a person to gain a deeper understanding of how one can integrate issues facing society from a religious perspective. This will enable a student of religion to be better placed understanding social dynamics such as development issues.

Furthermore, there is value in studying religion because it enables one to understand the past and the world in which we live (Hinnells). Essentially, religion plays an important role when it comes to issues like politics and international relations. Therefore, in our day to day running what we need to understand is that knowing religion will enable one to foster good relations among communities and individuals. For instance, employees need to understand the beliefs and conventions which govern their employers and vice versa for harmony to be enhanced in the work station.

Lessons learned from the first 7 chapters of Mary Pat Fisher’s “Living Religions”

From the proceedings of chapter seven, several things have come to my notice. These are new things that I have learned in the course of this study. First, on the subject of religious responses, it has come to my knowledge that there are various responses to issues that are arising in society. This is largely brought to the fore by the fact that these responses are usually guided or influenced by the nature of the beliefs that one holds (Hinnells). Furthermore, the responses on issues that are prevailing at a given point in time are usually subjective depending on a person’s perspective of the principles and values that a person holds.

On the subject of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism or Confucianism, Shinto, and Zoroastrianism, I have learned that these are among the oldest religions to exist in the world. Furthermore, these religions are largely from the eastern part of the globe. It is also worth noting that these religions form the basis of the traditional beliefs of the majority of the people from the eastern bloc of the nation.

To be specific, religions like the Hindu can be traced back to the civilization which was taking place in the Indus Valley sometimes back, that is, between 4000 and 2500 BCE. The basis of this religion is that there is unity in everything that has got life in it. Furthermore, the religion of Hindu follows a caste system where everyone belongs to the class where they were born regardless of the prevailing circumstances. In the case of Zoroastrianism, this religion was founded by a Persian by the name of Zarathustra or Zoroaster. The interesting this about this religion is that the indigenous sacred ways were conducted before a sacred fire and that fire symbolized their god.

In conclusion, most of these religions had a founder who had the power to influence a way of thinking which was not considered to be natural for most people. It is also worth noting that these religions were mostly based on the belief of the ultimate good which would bring happiness.

Sanatana Dharma

For one to be able to comment on Sanatana Dharma, it is important to first seek to understand what it means. Essentially, “Sanatana”, means eternal and Dharma is a word that may be used to imply or to mean the values which sustain. Thus we can state that Sanatana Dharma is a religion that is largely based on eternity, that is, values that are eternally sustaining (Hinnells). This religion can be labeled as quite interesting. This is because it refers to an activity or activities which cannot be in a position of transformation or change. In this case, an example can be the fact that liquidity may not be taken from the water.

First, the creed of this religion is almost similar to the creed of the Christian faith. Essentially, the belief in God being the supreme reality and the unity behind all this diversity implies that this religion holds the belief that the utmost position of this religion is based on God. Truth is vital in this religion thus, we should all endeavor to seek and pursue the truth in all matters of life.

As a person, I believe in the supremacy of God in the universe that is why to some extent I tend to hold similar views with some of the positions stipulated in the creed. However, there are some beliefs within the same creed that I find difficult to hold.

For instance, the aspect which purports that the soul was never created. Also, the idea that my present life is a consequence of my past thought and that there are things about my life which I cannot influence because of this fact is debatable. Every religion has got a set of doctrines that defines its conduct and general belief. The philosophy of any religion is based on the doctrines which uphold it such as the doctrine of this religion.

Sacred significance in art

Much discussion of issues associated with visual art and religion has been directed on works that are religious ion content. This preoccupation has suggested that art which is visual be read as literature and ignore the distinctive forms of paintings and sculpture. Essentially, as students of religion, we need to look carefully at art and forms of art which have been used or which are used across human cultures. Art is crucial in the lives of human beings. This is because it is through art that a person can express themselves and understand society better. Essentially, without art, the role of the human being towards a harmonious society would not be clearly understood (Hinnells).

The sacred significance of art cannot be underestimated. In this case, the value of understanding this concept has enabled me to be in a position of understanding the history of humanity clearly and thus putting it into a proper perspective. Art in this case represents objects and symbols which conform to patterns of religious vies that are held with each religion. It is important to note the value of these symbols because they hold some meanings about a given subject.

Works Cited

Hinnells, John. The Routledge companion to the study of religion. New York: Taylor & Francis, 2010. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Living Religions and Sacred Significance of Art." January 28, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/living-religions-and-sacred-significance-of-art/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Living Religions and Sacred Significance of Art'. 28 January.

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