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Religious Maturity Essays

Religious Maturity
                Religious maturity is practically and theoretically attractive to many persons such as personality and developmental psychologists, theologians, educators, and counselors.  Mature religions exhibit the following components: strong religious commitment and motivation- religion is some vibrant master-motive which guides life; complexity and differentiation of thinking in regard to spiritual-existential issues; heuristic feature – humility plus willingness to uncertainty; an fundamental nature; and comprehensiveness –offers the meaning to existence and encourages open-mindedness regarding alternative views (Cruise, 1990, p.97).
                Buddhists regard devotion as very crucial with practices including: offerings, chanting; pilgrimage; and bowing. Conventionally, the initial step within majority of Buddhist learning institutions requires hiding within the Three Jewels (Pali: ti-ratana and Sanskrit: tri-ratna ) as a basis for an individual’s spiritual life. The Majjhima Nikaya mentions hiding for little or unborn kids.  Buddhists in Tibet at times put in a 4th refuge within the lama. Within Mahayana, individuals who select bodhisattva route make pledges or vows (the definitive expression of sympathy). Also within Mahayana, the Three Jewels are regarded as having unchanging and eternal essence as well as permanent effects. Such Three Jewels include: the Buddha; the Dharma; and the Sangha (Fieser, Powers, 2007, p.45).
                Buddha title is given to individuals who have reached Nirvana.  It could also signify some concept, that is, the ideal wisdom which comprehends Dharma as well as perceives certainty in its factual form.  The Dharma entails Gautama Buddha’s law or teachings regarding nature.   It could as well imply the sustaining and ultimate Reality that is inseparable from the Buddha.  The Sangha signifies persons who have reached whichever of the Four Stages of Enlightenment.
                Buddhist morals entail the 5 precepts including avoid: murder; stealing; sexual misbehavior; lying; and intoxicants.  Vinaya entails a specific moral policy for nuns and monks. It entails a collection of 227 regulations (the Patimokka). Meditation addresses two subjects: changing the brain; and employing it to study itself as well as other facts (Livingston, 2008, p.67). Sacred items have the following characteristics: are set apart or  devoted for the veneration of some deity; ought to be religiously venerated; are declared or made holy; are devoted or dedicated exclusively to one use, persons , or purpose;  ought to be venerated or respected; are derived from or are related to religious items, practice, or rites.
                Religious objects were made and adored in medieval Greece, Hindu and Buddhism cultures. Other religious organizations, for instance, Islam as well as protestant Christians stopped using such items during worship. They even supported the demolishing of such items within other religions.
                However, from the initial AD years, the orthodox and the catholic variants of Christian religious organizations assumed a strong culture of making and worshipping such objects. Numerous beautiful art works, including jeweled statues, lit up manuscripts, paintings and life-like figures on wooden panels superimposed with gold were made in respect of the saints and Jesus Christ. The rationale for such objects was that, such Jesus Christ was God’s material representation, it follows that such physical items signified the saints.  Such objects served to make worshippers recall such saints, and somewhat link believers with the religious fact represented by such items (Martin, 2007).
                Religious authorities and spiritual figures form a huge symbol complex including: saviors; gods; heroes; redeemers; avatars; isvaras; lawgivers; founders; reformers; and saints of the big religious organizations. The apostles, biblical forecasters, Christian saints, as well as evangelists are typified by very intricate symbol systems. Mystics, contemplatives, and theologians could as well be pictorially and symbolically represented. The teachers (doctors) of eastern orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism as well as the founders of the ancient religions have typical iconic representations (Livingston, 2008, p.35).
                 Offerings, offering places, the altar plus its accessories, the equipment which prepare and demolish offerings, the fires that devour such offerings and the communion rites are all symbolism and iconography objects. Offerings signify the concept of compliance with the principles of a religious organization, the renouncing of possessions and valuables for spiritual reasons as well as for serving human brothers, and renouncing ones existence for ones religion.
                Religious organizations recognize themselves and their ideas through symbols, for instance, the union of the opposites (yin-yang) sign bound by the ring of firmness (ta-ichi) within Chinese universalism; Janism’s and Hinduism’s swastika; Buddhism’s’ wheel of the law; Sikhism’s disk, dagger, and 2 swords;  Judaism’s menora  (the star of David); as well as Christianity’s cross.
                Buddhist religious artifacts include: incense; room dividers; jewelry; chimes and gongs; kimonos; mats; wall décor; furniture; brush art; lamps; books; and statues.
                Hindu sacred items include; sacred seeds; sacred tantra items; the holy Rudraksha; sacred caves ;crystal store; sacred shanka; sacred metals; sacred mountains ;divine yantra; mala store; Rudraksha beads; yantra lockets; crystal sriyantras; sacred trees; crystal pendants; sacred herbs; sacred mountains; sphatik; sacred shaligrans; mala beads; sacred puja items; and sacred rivers (Martin, 2007).
                Islamic religious articles include: prayer rug; religious chain and medallion; dhikr beads; prayer oil; hijab or kufi; holy Quran; miswak (a small stick, the thickness and length of a pencil, employed in cleaning moth and teeth); and kurda shirt.
                Islamic principles exist in 3 groups including: the 5 fundamental principles for all people; secondary principles (conveniences); and luxury standards (refinements).  The five fundamental values include; the capacity to undertake ethical responsibilities; safeguarding life; obtaining food, shelter, and education, clothing;  the liberty to establish a family and  make a living; and religion.
                Life entails fundamental items like transport, shelter, health, food, and clothing. Muslims highly regard the human spirit, thus attacks on innocent persons constitute a serious sin. Muslims consider religion as a fundamental value or basic right for each individual. Persons are at liberty to practice the religion they wish with no obstruction or compulsion.  Religion offers peace, guidance, comfort, tranquility, as well as purpose in life. It teaches individuals to support   justice, truth, as well as every virtue. Man’s intellectual personality consists of the intelligence, reasoning capacity, or mind (Livingston, 2008, p.78). Islam places much emphasis on such aspect as well as constructs the rational system of mankind on very logical foundations .knowledge is classified into 2 including: the fundamental or basic which ought to be obtained by every person; and the specific understanding which ought to be obtained by a few members of society.
                Christian religious objects include: banners; artifacts; cathedrals; baptisteries; baptismal fonts; crosses and crucifixes; cathedrals; holy water; communion wafers (host);  holy cards; incense; fish bumper stickers; holy grail; orthodox icons; lit up manuscripts; monasteries; relics; monstrance and pyx; reliquaries; scapular; rosary beads; shroud of turin; shrines; statues of saints; shroud of Jesus; and vestments.
                Confucianism holy texts include:  the Four Books (Si Shu); and the Five Classics (Wu Jing). Within the Si Shu are: the Analects of Confucius (Lun Yu); the Doctrine of the Mean (Chung Yung); and the writings of Meng Tzu (Meng Tzu). The  Wu Jing entails: speeches from prehistoric Chinese monarchs and the Classic of History (Shu Ching); Classic of Odes (Shih Ching); Classic of Rites (Li Ching); Spring and Autumn Annals (Ch’un Ch’iu ); and the Classic of the Changes (I Ching).
                Religious critics have argued that religious items represent the snares of the devil since they may make believers improperly worship them.  The presence of religious images is bound to ultimately result in idolatry. In addition, resources that may otherwise be utilized to assist impoverished persons are instead channeled to make and adorn religious images, adornments that show off the status and riches of their possessors at the expense of promoting genuine loyalty to the almighty (Stanbury, 2007). Believers richly value images usually inscribed with the identities of their givers, items which derive their worth from the market, market forces, as well as from their capacity to consolidate and define economic and social hierarchies.  Such objects are not esteemed because of what is seemingly most crucial and in agreement with the dictates of appropriate worship, that is, their capacity to direct believers’ concentration from the world via God’s image (Cruise, 1990, p.26).
                The images and statues of saints are obviously dead. such dead objects assume a changing and fluid reality, a kind of market life granting them power as well as distorting the difference between spirit and body, and soul and matter, thus granting them a imaginary false sense and efficacy  . Thus, devotional items are transformed into obsessions.

References
Cruise, R. J. (1990). Measuring religious maturity: a proposed scale. Review of Religious Research.vol. 32. Issue. 2
Fieser, J., & Powers, J.  (2007). Scriptures of the world’s religions, 3rd edition. Columbus, OH, USA:  McGraw-Hill.
Livingstone, J. C. (2008). Anatomy of the sacred: An introduction to religion, 6th edition. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
Martin, H. (June 12th 2007). A brief look at icons and avatars. Retrieved July 21st 2009, from http://computersoftware.suite101.com/article.cfm/a_brief_look_at_icons_and_avatars
Stanbury, S. (2007). The English and their fetishes: Devotional objects and religious life during the latter middle ages .retrieved July 21st 2009, from http://74.125.77.132/search?q=cache:AVIiSLUlEz8J:www.h-net.org/reviews/showpdf.php%3Fid%3D23438+ctitic+of+religious+items/objects&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ke

 

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