Studying different religions of world is very exciting and important, which arises from the embedded curiosity in order to study the religion’s nature and the hidden traditions. Personally and culturally, religious studies are useful because they raise several questions of value and purpose in conjunction with developing necessary skills of living a peaceful life. The study of religion provides exclusive combination of the analytical skills, which include communication skills, critical thinking, direct and keen observation and understanding of the cross culture that is essential in order obtain a successful and satisfies career in the global economy. However, in today’s technology oriented and scientific society, it is not enough to know and practice just our own religion. I find that Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Daoism, Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions of the world. Religious studies help in the determination of faith and increase the respect that we have for our religion because they help us to do comparison of our own religions with other religions. For example religion’s study explicitly explains the origins, practices, faiths and developments of various religions of the word.
It becomes evident from religious studies that Islam and Christianity are considered as the state religion in the Middle East and Europe Middle ages respectively, while Hinduism is not regarded as the formal religion of the state. Moreover, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam rely on the assumption that there is only one Lord that rules the entire world, which is the most uplifting aspect of major religions. But, Buddhism and Daoism do not believe on this belief. They are based on ethic i.e., they believe on the assumptions made by human, which say that happiness and peace can be achieved when all individuals are wise and perform well. Hence, it is the matter of making rules for better behavior and spreading them. However, the depressing aspect of such religions is that it is possible that people may make amendments on their own in the religion and make such rules that are not beneficial for the mankind, which will ruin the whole society. In Daoism ethics are the entire content. In Buddhism, the Buddha’s doctrines are also ethics but they have deep pessimistic and unenthusiastic origin.
Life is considered as inherent pain and suffering. However, in this religion the person can escape from the life by giving up all his/her craving and desires. This type of escapist character is found in all the Buddhism’s branches, the major among them are Zen, Theravada, and Mahayana. Daoism and the other religions on the other hand encourage the adherents to participate in the society and make efforts to convert them into good citizens. Besides these the gloomy aspect of religious studies is that a person may become confuse relating to certain aspects. For example, religions such as Hinduism and Islam teach to believe on destiny that makes people not to make required effort for improving their lot. Further, I become able to understand about the sects in which the followers of same religions are divided. For example, in case of Muslims they are two main sects which are Shi’a and Sunni. I came to know about the difference, similarities and historical background of both the sects. Moreover, I developed hatred for Jews but now by studying religion I came to know that they are not responsible and involved in the wars fought in the world, so the study eliminated the detestation against Jews.
Moreover, earlier I considered that Hindus adore cows only but now I realized the basic logic behind it and the implications of avatar and it become possible just due to study of religions of world. It also provides the different views and points of several religions in order to gain wisdom. They help to develop sense in people and make them a socially responsible citizen by respecting and tolerating our own religion as well as other religions, which I consider an inspirational aspect of religion. Appreciation and recognition of the viewpoints however play a central role in the development of sympathetic relationships between the society and individuals and ultimately between nations. Furthermore, such studies assist in developing spiritual intelligence, which further help un developing the required skills in ourselves and ensures full participation in the multicultural society worldwide, which is crying out for the compassionate and engaged leaders. Additionally, religious studies are also important from historical perspective because, if we study the history keenly then many truths and reality of the world in which we are living, will however be revealed.
Furthermore, it can also be seen clearly that religion can be a rewarding and an effective tool in the hands of the sharp and shrewd people, which I consider a gloomy religious aspect. Religion is even used by people to enrich them spiritually and financially and it can be utilized for controlling and manipulating other for evil and goods. I have found that throughout the history religion inquiry has troubled and inspired several religious scholars and this allowed them to arrive at a better conclusion, which I consider the most uplifting aspect. I also learned that religious beliefs and rituals are the strongest forces that shape memory, unite past and the present, and maintain identity as well as individuality from generation to generation. Religion plays a vital role in human life for developing each dimension. It also become clear after study that the religions of the world assume great importance because globalization brings people of different religious customs and traditions closer to each other. Considering an example, the city of Richmond, an inspirational place for me, is a home for people belonging to different religions. It is a home for Protestants, Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikh, Native Americans, Pagans, Muslims, Falun Gong’s practitioners, Santeria and Jews, all are living together in vivacious urban location on the bank of River James. Thus, the world’s religion study is a key for understanding the historical significance and for developing the abilities and knowledge in order to live in the global community that is diverse on religion basis.
Politically, the study of religion is very important. The beliefs and traditions of religions play a significant role in the politics of economies worldwide. Study of religion is vital in the liberal education because it will in turn contribute for making the world better by creating awareness among the citizens and keep them better informed of their of political responsibilities. Religion forces them to perform the duties. For example in case of elections it is responsibility of people to cast vote as it is also their social obligation and responsibility, so people by casting perform their duty. All this is due to the awareness that is created by the religious study. In this way political systems can be improved as best one is selected for running the affairs of the country. The selected person will then choose policymakers and other political members that have grasp of religious life dimensions in other countries and cultures in order to ensure that they will not move forward ignorantly for assuming mistaken and popular assumptions relating to what all Muslims, Jews and Hindus believe or not. This will help in the smooth functioning of the political system. This will also encourage the leaders of one nation to increase the cooperation and establish friendly relations with the leaders of other nation and worldwide brotherly relations can be ensured, another uplifting aspect of religious studies. However, the disheartening aspect is that it is quite possible; the politicians may involve in corruption in the name of religion and also involve priestly class with them in such activities.
In nut shell, religion either as an agent of progress or retreat/retrogression, stability or instability, peace or uproar, or other forms of change all over the world, will continued to be a crucial factor in personal, social, religious and political life throughout the world and we should understand it. Religions are based stories and myths that do not make any sense. However, God exists in one way or in another. Most of the religions rely on existence of God but they use different concepts. Study of the religion provides an opportunity to understand about how different societies and cultures think, live, believe and they help us to determine the ways to deal with and manage diversity. It teaches a lesson that never to judge people on basis of their beliefs. So, there is need to facilitate and promote the study of religion in every general education and liberal arts curriculum. It should be made compulsory in secondary schools worldwide because understanding and knowing religion are the crucial and significant elements in managing the world’s affairs, which are growing more culturally and religiously with the passage of time. These affairs however depend upon people living in different societies and states that are finding new ways in order to work and live together for the continued existence of our planet earth.