Religion In Our Lives

Better Essays
Religion In Our Lives

Religion seems to find its way into almost every aspect of our lives.
In the United States, the political mainstream describes a "separation of church and state," in order to separate this profound force of religion from the public lives of its citizens. Thus, the freedom to worship any religion remains a private and personal issue. However, in this imperfect world, it becomes virtually impossible to achieve this kind of separation. Some subtle examples of this can be seen right here on campus. The intriguing yet simple New England architecture that we see all around us, is the result of the Old World Puritan religion. Also on campus, Rollins Chapel, supposedly a "universal place of worship", is structurally shaped like a cross, the symbol of the crucifixion of
Jesus. Delving deep into these religious symbols, there exists a common thread uniting all religions. The aspect of community becomes the "heart and soul" of almost all religious groups around the world. It is this upon which George
Weckman focuses his article.
The author defines the characteristics of a community in a number of ways. For one, he claims that some sort of initiation or "entrance ritual" needs to occur in order to mark the acceptance of an individual into the community as a whole. In addition to these entrance rituals, the individual will, most likely, participate in other types of rituals throughout his life.
This may include his eventual departure from the community, such as death.
Secondly, the author emphasizes the fact that communities often possess clearly defined ritual activities that are unique to their own particular community. He goes on to say, "Gathering as a group for such rites is perhaps the most persistent aspect of religious community, and is arguably its reason for being."
Thus, the author emphasizes the manner in which ritual activity and communal "togetherness" form the basis of community. I'd like to agree with
Weckman's view, but I feel that it can go beyond its present position. Weckman gives the reader the impression that communities form only as a result of their union through religion. However, it is quite possible that religious communities are the "cause" and not the "eff...

... middle of paper ...

...." People can be born into a religious community that does not fall into the six specific categories. Does this mean that this person is not associated with a specific community? Not necessarily.
Therefore, I agree with Weckman's belief that a specific community is not always voluntary. In many cases, it is just the opposite.
Community can come to mean a variety of different things to a variety of different people. Despite a few weaknesses, Weckman presents a clear and concise description of the dynamics and functionality of communal structure.
His arguments are vivid and compelling. I believe Weckman encompasses the central idea of the influence of community with great vivacity, "Nevertheless, it is not too much to say that nearly all religious situations do have a communal dimension and that in many the community is the decisive factor."
(Weckman, 566) Without a doubt, it is the community that forms the basis of religious life. When dealing with religious community, one can't help but realize how disparate many of them are. Nevertheless, community will persist as the basis and the foundation of all religious life throughout the world.
Get Access