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Religions of the World - Research Paper Example

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Religions of the World

Just as each person is unique, so are the religions that they rely on to define who and what they are. As Stephen Prothero says about religions, “the worlds religious rivals are clearly related, but they are more like second cousins than identical twins. They do not teach the same doctrines. They do not perform the same rituals and they do not share the same goals.” Three of the world’s major religions, Mormonism, Christianity, and Buddhism, reveal the truth of this statement, and how even though religions may differ greatly from one another, they exist to provide insight into the world and the human condition. By investigating the unique goals of each religion, as well as their gods, doctrines and beliefs, and their perceptions of afterlife, the notion that religions are related while still standing out on their own can be brought to light. The Goals of Religion Differences abound in all of the religions of the world, setting them greatly apart from one another. The first and most notable difference that can be picked from each religion is its goal, or the primary purpose that the religion prevails. The goal of Mormonism, for example, is for its followers to enter a state of holiness, which is also known as exaltation. Mormons strive to conduct their lives in ways that reflect the characteristics of God. When they succeed, upon their death they will enter heaven, gaining eternal life and an eternal family. The members of Mormonism who achieve eternal life are likened to lesser gods, a belief formed by the concept that God himself was once a flesh-and-bone human and became holy upon death (Smith, 2009). However, His followers that reach this state of holiness are placed beneath God the Father who presides over Mormonism. The goal of Christianity shares part of Mormonism’s goal, which is for its followers to become more like God by taking on His attributes. The difference between the goals of these two religions, though, is that followers of the Christian faith strive to become Godlike so that they can bridge the wide chasm that separates them from God as a result of the sinful nature of humankind (“The basics of Christian beliefs”). Humans are born naturally apart from God due to their inherent sin. The God of Christianity wants nothing more than to have a relationship with His people, but this relationship cannot be attained as long as humans continue to live in sin. As such, the major goal of Christianity is to have the sins of its followers forgiven so that they may become more Christlike, and thus establish a relationship with their creator. The primary goal of the spiritual path of Buddhism is for its practitioners to reach enlightenment, which is more commonly referred to as nirvana by those who actively practice Buddhism. This is the Buddhist concept of total freedom, to be liberated from the cycle of life and death and to attain an eternal body. To achieve enlightenment, members of the Buddhist faith accept the Four Noble Truths, which outline that suffering is caused by desire, and follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which direct them in how to live a life that can bring an end to suffering. Suffering is brought to a complete end when enlightenment is achieved, and the person can experience the pure freedom, happiness, and clarity of nirvana (Hanh, 1999). Each religion strives to not so much make life easier for its practitioners, but to give their followers what they need to survive the hardships of life while maintaing a peace of mind and giving them something to strive for. In the process, the goals of these religions help their followers become better people. When these individuals are successful in reaching the goal of their respective ...Show more


In a world with over seven billion human inhabitants, it comes as no surprise that there are hundreds of religions that help these many individuals see their world and their life in a special, meaningful, and profound way. …
Author : heathcotetalon
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