Christianity could be considered a religious faith that has most racial representation in the American societies as this paper will be endeavoring to elucidate herein giving examples from the Watunna society. It has followers from almost all racial and ethnic origin. However, other religious faiths such as Islam and Hindu exist among the Caribbean, Africa Americans and the Native American communities. Islam, which was brought into the Caribbean as the slave religion, found its death naturally in the hands of Spaniards but later reborn when the Indian migrants came the Caribbean. While both Islamic and Hindu faiths of Indians received rebukes, in the current Caribbean society, Islam has emerged from these ignominious attacks mainly due to the widespread acceptance of Islam faith among Africa Americans, the Native Americans and other Caribbean communities as their religion. While Hindu and Muslim are the religious faiths that stand alone, Christianity has other several sub-faiths such as the Methodist, Baptist, Anglican, Catholics and many others. Although a clear difference between these sub-faiths cannot be articulated on the surface examination, it has been argued that these sub-faiths conduct their religious services differently.
Among the Hispanic families, like the Caribbean and other ethnic minorities, they had a faith that was self-supportive, cohesive and which offered social services as well. The major Christian faith in this community is catholic. Catholic social services agencies offer extensive selection of social programs to help meet the problems of Hispanic people. It can be argued that religion is not supposed to support any particular community but rather all the people as much as they can be able to reach out for them. However, to be able to offer services to people, they should first accept the services they are about to receive.
The folk cultural ideas are said to have been influenced by the Native American and the African American belief system. Native American and African American beliefs were quite different from the Roman Catholicism because the natives were regarded to be Hindus and Muslims while the African Americans regarded as pagans. The stores selling herbal medicines along with other religious images are called botanicas and they are neighborhood centers that provide physical together with spiritual services to the community people. These services have helped shape the spiritualism of the Hispanic people who believed in the Roman Catholic as their faith. These are the centers that provided people with the information on the practices and the degree of their mixed culture or Santeria as came to be known.
As much as the folk cultural beliefs cannot be trusted in totality, there are some folk cultural rituals and spiritual beliefs and practices that can be said to be important in the lives of many Hispanics. The most important spiritual practice among the Hispanics of America is “curanderismo”. With respect to spiritual believes, the term “curanderismo” suggests that a person’s soul can be lost or stolen by magic or ritual process. This can occur by a means of magically induced fright, or by hex or an evil eye. These culture beliefs needed a spiritual faith in order for people to continue with their routine daily lives. Faith or religion used to act as a healer in a situation where a person was affected by an evil gaze due to these kinds of folk culture beliefs. An average person may wonder what role is religion playing when people have believes that affect members of the society negatively. Well, among the Hispanics, there are those people who decided to move along with the folk culture and as such, they could be affected according to the beliefs associated with this culture. Those who needed spiritual intervention could get a spiritual healer and that is where the community needed religious faith.
How religion/spirituality is deployed by African American, Native American writers
Contrary to the view of Hispanics, the Native Americans generally see life as a partnership comprising of forces of nature. According to the belief of natives, nature infiltrates all aspects of the life of Native Americans and influences their behavior and belief system. When religion is being talked about, the beliefs of Native American are characterized as being animistic. From the animism point of view, the spirits are present and they are functioning in the world both in the form of people, and in the form of objects that are inanimate, such as rivers and mountains and /or in the form of physical forces such as the rain and the wind. The spiritual belief or faith such as this one implies that a person can possess supernatural powers via hallucination or while in a dream. A person who has received these supernatural powers can use them for good or even for evil purposes.
While the witch might want to use the supernatural powers for evil, the shaman use these powers to benefit the society. In a sense of theology, it can be noted that these powers lacks intrinsic attribute of good or evil, and as such, its virtue is only its potency. In a religious sense, the shamans possessed the power to deal with supernatural powers, the witches that are part of social evil especially when they cause evil to the community and, and the ghosts of the death. A shaman could, through diverse spiritual rituals and ceremonies counterbalance the supernatural forces or powers that might have been insulted by members of the community. This religious practice in the Native Americans ensures that members of a community are socially protected from such supernatural powers that might have been invoked by the death.
Besides the Hispanics who have the family set up in the minority communities of America, the Native Americans hold in importance the role played by the family, the religious and spiritual values. Generally, the Native Americans are sometimes categorized under Asian Americans which have got more than one religious and spiritual values. The major spiritual groups or values under this category are Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. The dominant one on natives is Hinduism. Hinduism was considered as being uncivilized and, therefore Christian missionaries was given the mission of civilizing them (Civrieux & Guss, 120-121). Hindu and Islam religions are considered as barbaric, pagans and violent and as such, Christians were supposed to teach them on making peace. However, this view can be considered as being prejudicial because those who followed Christianity were only meant to belief that Christianity was the only true Christian path.
An understanding of Hinduism is essential for social workers as pertains to working with many Asian Indians. Hinduism is different from Christian theologies a single primary dimension. As per Christianity, mankind was created by God and, in His own image. In Christian belief system, man is imperfect. Through words, faith and deeds, man can be made perfect, and therefore achieve salvation. This means that man will always have faith, treaty other people fairly and lead a just life in order to gain salvation (Civrieux & Guss, 180-182). All have fallen and they will seek glory from their maker and, to get this glory, the moral standards of a Christian society ought to be very high.
According to Hinduism belief of Native Americans, there is nothing like fall from grace or even the original sin which is a popular belief of Christians. A person or persons are not estranged from God because of individual or mankind imperfections such as sin. In Hinduism, all human beings are god-like in that they all contain divine power and manifestation. To achieve perfection, people need to express the divine nature. In other words, imperfection, or a behavior that is aberrant in a sense can get an explanation as being an attempt to place the self needs of an individual before the needs of other people, and thus creating problems in the society.
How faith and religious practices shape cultures
It is imperative to note that a society and culture is knotted together by unwritten codes of behaviors as well as by tacit arrangements to living together in coherence. It is for that reason that it is common to find religions being the center and pivot that holds cultures in unanimity and all the events in the society mostly carry with them some religious significance. This can be attributed to the fact that faith and religion does offer an inspirational meaning and purpose to live and it is with this that various cultures have bound themselves together in common so as to attain the goalmouth of life in common together (Civrieux & Guss, 161-1162). Taking Watunna as an example for this case, it can be deduced clearly that as much as Wanadi who was seen as the light by the locals failed to create a perfect world because Odosha the devil as spoiling everything good deed, they continued to use Ayawa body paint, collars and beads while singing sacred chants called Ademi and Aichudi to defend themselves from Odoshi. This is one example that clearly indicates on how faith and religion does shape a culture (Civrieux & Guss, 154-155). It is through what they believed that it can deduce that Wanadi decided to create man to take care of the food for it not to get lost. By the use of mount Dekuhana clay, first man was made and was named Wahnatu with Wetashi the first woman coming thereafter. Through faith and religion, the people of Watunna did endeavor at getting rid of evil from their society to try and achieve a perfect, peaceful and harmonized world as a result creating a positive impact of the populace of the society the other purpose of Wanadi creating the first man and woman.
Civrieux, Marc , and Guss M. David. Watunna: An Orinoco Creation Cycle. Austin, Tex: Univ. of Texas Pr, 1997. Print.