Religious belief and practices are deeply rooted in traditions and teachings from sacred scriptures and texts. Indigenous religions are specific to a tribe, region, and cultures that have had various influences in their core religion. Religion is a very personal issue for most people and therefore closely guarded. Studying religion is necessary to have an understanding of the connections and foundations that have been built throughout its history. Definition
Religion as defined by Merriam-Webster is, “the belief in a god or in a group of gods; an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods; an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group” (“Religion,” 2014, p. 1). However, throughout history different people have had different views and influences that have shape their definition of religion. Most religions have leaders, organized practices, holy places, and holy books or scriptures that are followed. Religions can also include mythology, dance, festivals, death ceremonies, gods, goddesses, idols, and prayer. Common Practices
Religions across the world share common threads of thought. Although they may focus stronger on one commonality than others most religions are based on and follow some level of love, faith, forgiveness, and humility. The stories, or parables, teach the followers about how to help others, love, do unto others, and faith in a higher presence that is not physically obtainable in our world. Religion gives people a commonality in their journey through life and what to expect in death. When people have a shared common belief through religion that affords them the ability to bond and grow by sharing the same ideals. Indigenous religions
Encyclopedia.com states that, “indigenous refers to anything that is native to a particular geographical region. This includes people, cultures, languages, or species of plants or animals” (“Indigenous,” 2014, p. 1). Tribal religion is practiced by people in the tribe that has occupied that region of the world for centuries, possibly thousands of years. The indigenous religion may be something of a hybrid of religious beliefs or ideas because of the exposure to missionaries and other forms of indoctrination. Indigenous religion often is viewed as using witchcraft, magic, belief is spirits, and medicinal altering of the mind. Ultimately, people are the common factor in all religions. People are looking for a connection with other people who are looking for a higher or greater purpose than their own. People seek comfort, hope, companionship, a place of belonging, and love. People need the knowledge that they are part of a common understanding and belief that unites them with other people. Critical Issues
Religion creates division between humans because of the historical values and stories that are pasted down throughout the centuries yet many of the stories have very similar backgrounds. This division begins with the teachings of the religion to its followers and the degree to which they implement the teachings into their own lives. Humans have a distinct internal drive to be on top and in the best groups. Bias of specific cultures and their religions is a critical issue to the study of religion. Islam is an example that resounds within the United States and throughout the world. Islam is a religion that does not teach hate, wars, and killing yet many people automatically associate the Islamic religion with terrorist and therefore all of the followers of Islam must be terrorists by association. Dramatic changes in the growing and developing world around religion and religious traditions is a critical issues to the study of religion. People are very worried about their own time in life that they are rushing from home, to work, to sporting events, and to social activities. The building busy schedules of people is causing a decline in the attendance and religious traditions that have been built throughout time that religions have been built upon. Conclusion
Religion is the belief in a god, higher power, organized beliefs, or specific activities that are important to a specific group of people. Many religions have been influenced by other larger religions and this is evident in the traditions and rituals that are established and carried on. Opinions and biases are easily formed by people that do not understand the cultures that are associated with certain religions. People are the common factor behind all religions. Their shared beliefs and desires to believe in a higher power unite them in their religious beliefs.
Indigenous Religions. (2014 ). Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-3448400023/indigenous-religions.html Religion. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religion