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Religion is commonly defined as a group of beliefs concerning the supernatural, sacred, or divine, and the moral codes, practices, values, institutions and rituals associated with such beliefs (Wikipedia, 2006). Most of the major religions have evolved over the centuries into what they are today. In many cultures and times, religion has been the basic foundation of life, permeating all aspects of human existence (Fisher, 2002). Religion is passed on from generation to generation. My religious beliefs were passed on from my relatives on my mother's side. My family has believed in the Catholic faith for many generations. Since I grew up in the Catholic faith I went to Catholic schools my entire childhood. My personal experiences and the Catholic faith made me into the person I am today. Without a religious upbringing I feel that there would have been something missing in my life.
Since I grew up in the Catholic faith, I understand that not everyone has the same religious beliefs that my religion teaches. The way a person is raised, has an impact on their religious beliefs. Your belief system is the actual set of precepts from which you live your daily life, those that govern your thoughts, words, and actions (Woods, 2006). Since, I had religion classes through out my school years I have been taught to accept other people's religious beliefs. Even my parents have taught me to look at a person's culture and beliefs to gain a better understanding of their point of view. With the understanding of others religious beliefs and cultures it has allowed me to deal with others in a fair and equal manner. Even though I have had some difficult time with others I remember how I was raised and it has helped me through those difficult times.
There are benefits and disadvantages of believing in the Catholic faith. A benefit of believing in the Catholic faith is that God will forgive you for your sins as long as you repent and are truly sorry for acts that you have committed. Catholics believe in a heaven and hell, which is an advantage and a disadvantage. As an advantage when a person dies, according to the Catholic religion, they will go to heaven as long as they followed a good Christian life.
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Every religion has many different traditions. Some of what people think are religious traditions are not. Since religions beliefs have been around for such an extended period of time things change from being a truly religious tradition to one that people believe is a tradition. Religious days are a good example of a day that might have started a religious day and now has turned into something else. Christmas is a good example. Every religion has days that are holy to their religion. Some of these days are the same but are celebrated differently. On October 3rd or 4th, the Islamic religion celebrates the first day of Ramadan. On October 31st the Protestants and Lutherans celebrate Reformation Day; also on that Day the Hindus begin to celebrate Deepavali. On November 1st, the Catholics, Protestants, and Lutherans celebrate All Saints Day. These examples are religious holidays that are filled with traditions, but also happen around the same time of the year. The Catholic religion is full of traditions. In April of 2005 the Catholic Church elected a new pope. The election was filled with many traditions. When it was time to elect the new pope the cardinals gathered in the Sistine Chapel. The cardinals are the highest priest in the Catholic religion. Each cardinal casts a ballot. Each time an unsuccessful pair of ballots is completed a chemical is added and is burned in a stove inside the chapel and the smoke is black in color. This black smoke tells all Catholics that a new pope has not been selected. When the cardinals do select a cardinal to become the next pope before they burn the ballots a chemical is added to produce a white smoke. The white smoke informs all Catholics that a new pope has been selected. This is only one tradition that the Catholic religion has.
To understand other people and cultures a person needs to understand and be knowledgeable about other people's religious beliefs. There are certain things that might not be offensive to one person but it might be to another because of their religious beliefs. In today's world, there is much violence and conflict between cultures and religious believers. Many people in the world truly believe that their religion is the one that is the true religion. In most cases, if these people would look at other religions and cultures they would discover that every religion has very similar core values. If people would spend the time in understanding and have compassion of others most of the religious conflict in the world would end.
Most religious beliefs are passed on from generation to generation. A person who is raised in a certain religion, but also accepts other religious beliefs will have a better understanding of people. Some sort of religious beliefs is needed in everyone. Since every person believes in something and their beliefs are never the same, it takes a bigger person to understand the others point of view and accept the person for who they are. Everything in the world affects one another. The world is like a tapestry, which forms a picture of who we are as a people (Woods, 2006). It is colored by our different cultures, beliefs, religions, and the beauty and horrors we have created (Woods, 2006).
Fisher, Mary P., Living Religions, 2002, Fifth Edition, Prentice-Hall Publishing
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the Internet on February 28, 2006 From the website
Wikipedia, 2006 retrieved from the Internet on March 1, 2006 from the website
Woods, Karl, Fringe Wisdom, 2006, retrieved from the Internet on February 28, 2006,
From the website http://www.fringewisdom.com/your_belief_system.php