Religious rhetoric has been very influential in the contemporary world in different aspects. We acknowledge religion uses both the spoken and written words to convey the intended message. We also observe religion relies on language to enable people converse with God or gods, talk about the sacred, show divine intervention and understanding. All these are in rhetoric form for they aim at convincing people to adore the sacred power in their life undertakings. According to Liguori in the book Uniformity with God’s Will, he appreciates that,
“Perfection is founded entirely on the love of God: “Charity is the bond of perfection1;”and perfect love of God means the complete union of our will with God’s” (Liguori 3).Therefore, the love of God in this case is dependent on one’s bid to unite his or her will with divine will. In fact, failure to conform to God’s will in one’s actions does not only displease him but also lead to their rejection and punishment (Liguori 3). Consequently, whatever we do as religious beings it must be in agreement with the spiritual principles and practices. In this case, we refer to all spheres of life as in political, social, cultural and economic dimensions. For instance, Liguori writes,
“The essence of perfection is to embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse” (Liguori 6)
Calvin in his work The Institutes of Christian Religion discusses the importance of discipline in the church that is, for both the clergy and the congregation. He notes that this discipline relies on mainly the religious explanations and the spiritual influences. The teaching and preaching offered to the faithful should be convincing to facilitate good conduct as desired by the divine authority. Calvin writes,
“that if no society, and even no house, though containing only a small family, can be preserved in a proper state without discipline” In this case, for any society or community at any level to succeed in daily activities it must observe discipline. Moreover, it is in the religious instruction that we find the expected behavioral conduct. For instance, we note communities that are pious do relatively well in life. In fact, this justifies the routine of praying before we start to do something or after we are through in a given task. We seek divine intervention so that everything develops as planned for us to get the expected results or outcomes.
The observation is through religious principles there is law and order in the social systems and institutions. Calvin asks,
“For what will be the consequence, if every man be at liberty to follow his own inclinations?” (Calvin, the Institutes of Christian Religion). Definitely, we expect uncountable misunderstandings and conflicts, which will be worst in form of anarchy. This explains why institutions, organizations, societies, communities and states have rules and regulations. These take various forms as in the case of by-laws, charters, constitutions and conventions. Haeckel in the writing The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science argues,
“the whole cognizable world is constituted, and has been developed, in accordance with one common fundamental law It comes virtually to the same thing when God is defined as "the supreme law of the universe” This argument clearly stipulates the supremacy of God in all that happens in the world. We witness even a scientist concurring with the existence of supernatural being who influences everything that takes place in the world. That is whatever human beings do must be in conformity with the will of God. For instance, we note most constitutions’ preamble start by acknowledging the supremacy of God. Therefore, the governance of the country depends on divine intervention.
The principles and practices of democracy borrow heavily from the religious instructions. Democracy flourishes when there is discipline. In this case, there is respect for others as desired by the spiritual teachings. This is in an effort to harmonize the individual’s will to that of God. For instance, Liguori stipulates that the best way we can glorify God, will be through exercising his will in everything, which includes how we relate with others (Liguori 3). The best way to practice democracy is leading by example as Jesus did. That is why the religious institutions have leaders to guide their congregation. Moreover, to practice the principle of democracy they conduct elections. For example, we witness the election of Catholics’ Pope. Furthermore, we observe elections taking place all over the world in order to practice this philosophy. Consequently, we observe the exercising of democracy in various spheres of life by people recognizing the contribution of others and respecting their opinion too. In fact, democratic principles determine the excellence of any society in the modern world. The observation being mature democracies are doing very well in addressing the issues of their nations.
Sacred inclinations shape the personality of individuals thus for discipline and the rule of law to prevail the character of persons must be in desired form. Through religious lessons, people are adopting the intended behavioral attitudes and qualities as taught and instilled in them. Despite the differences of religion or denominations, the point of convergence we observe is the same that is, recognition of deity in our lives. It does not matter whether one is a Christian, Buddhist and Muslim among others all are in a bid to recognize the supremacy of supernatural being in their lives. In his work, Advice to the People called Methodist Wesley advises as follows,
“If you walk by this rule, continually endeavouring to know and love and resemble and obey the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the God of love, of pardoning mercy; if from this principle of loving, obedient faith, you carefully abstain from all evil, and labour, as you have opportunity, to do good to all men, friends or enemies; if, lastly, you unite together, to encourage and help each other in thus working out your salvation, and for that end watch over one another in love, you are they whom I mean by Methodists”
Therefore, the expectation is everyone should strive to do pleasant things to others whether friends or foes. This facilitates harmony and unity in the world. We note that states have been striving to ensure there is unity within and without their nations. The governments of the day are collaborating with religious institutions to ensure peace and unity in their respective countries and regions or continents and in the world. The desire is we have to unite in all aspects of life for instance, in experiences direct from God such as sickness, misery and death and in those from man as in injustice, contempt among others (Liguori 6). This explains why we find people, communities and nations coming together to address the challenges facing them. These challenges take different forms as in the case of personal and external. For instance, we note when an individual is sick people gather to pray together in an attempt to seek divine intervention in unity. We also observe communities coming together to address common problems like ethnic clashes with an aim of having peaceful coexistence.
The sacred teachings expect as to cultivate popular culture that nurture respect of God’s creation and respect for other peoples way of worship. This is in practice of the will of God as aforementioned. All religions strive to uphold there religious principles and dictate how to go about the same. The faiths prescribe to the followers the expected way of life and the kind of practices to observe as enshrined in their respective spiritual teachings. For instance, according to Islam its basis is the Holy Koran, which is the revelation of God to Prophet Muhammad. The Sunnah, which is a set of Prophet Muhammad traditions and deeds supplement the Koran. These guide the conduct of Muslims in their daily activities thus having a clearly defined culture (Jewish History Sourcebook). On the other hand, the Christians are under the guidance of the bible, which refers to specific traditions like baptism and salvation. Where in both cases there is assimilation to observe Christianity principles (Wesley, The Character of a Methodist). We appreciate that whatever we do has to be in agreement with our respective faiths thus one is either a Muslim or Christian among others. In fact, in a given social context, we can identify an individual based on grooming and behavior one exhibits in relation to his or her beliefs.
However, we should note that there are times that conflicts arise between the beliefs of different religions. For instance, the differences between the Islam and Christianity have led to war in some cases. We note that Islam dispute the argument of the God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and that Jesus is God. On the contrary, they believe God is one and that Jesus is a prophet (Jewish History Sourcebook). They also try to win more converts by justifying which religion conceptualizes the divine authority in a better way. Consequently, in a bid to ensure unity among the Christians and Muslims, these religions concentrate on teaching the virtues to facilitate peaceful interactions. They overlook the differences and ask their faithful to conduct themselves as per the will of God. They believe they will win converts by doing good deeds to them and not harm. Moreover, we observe there is freedom of worship provided there is respect of humanity.
The religious instructions expect its followers to work hard in life. However, this must be in accordance with the will of God. Liguori illustrate this by referring to two servants. Where one servant does one’s job according to the master’s directions while the other works as per his desires. We observe that the servant who obeys the master’s instructions attracts favor from the master unlike the one who does the contrary (Liguori 3). This example justifies the need to learn to follow instruction as in the case of abiding by the sacred teachings to reap the best possible. In this case, we note that members of any society have to struggle towards success as individuals and as a society.
In conclusion, we observe that the rhetoric of religion is in language, which carry the spiritual message. It is this message that convinces the faithful to act as per the will of God. Discipline is a crucial determinant for success at both individual and societal level. Religion facilitates the shaping of character of an individual, which in turn replicates to the whole society. The observation of rule of law for peaceful coexistence is because of religious instructions. We note that democracy thrives because of discipline. In fact, the emphasis is doing pleasant things to others. In spite of, differences in religious conceptualizations the religions are working towards ensuring unity among the people in different communities. The spiritual institutions also have distinct traditions that define them and their way of conduct. Moreover, they insist on hard work for the people to accomplish their dreams in life. Therefore, religious beliefs are paramount in influencing the modern world.
Calvin, J. "The Institutes of Christian Religion: The Discipline of the Church; Its Principal Use in Censures and Excommunication " 1536. Internent History Sourcebooks.Web. 18 November 2013.
Haeckel, E. "The Confession of Faith of a Man of Science." 1998. Modern History Sourcebooks.Web. 18 November 2013.
"Jewish History Sourcebook:Islam and Jews:The Status of Jews and Christians in Muslim Lands,1772." 1998. Internet History Sourcebooks.Web.18 November 2013.
Liguori, St. Alphonsus de. Uniformity with God's Will. Grand Rapids,MI Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 1755.
Wesley, J. "Advice to the People Called Methodist." 1872. The Works of John Wesley.Web. 18 November 2013.
Wesley, J. "The Character of a Methodist." 1872. The Works of John Wesley. Web.18 November 2013.