Comparative Religions

There are numerous different religions in the world. Each of them has its system of beliefs, community, central myths, rituals, an ethical system, emotional experiences, material expressions and sacredness. Each element of these religions has its own specific impact on person’s outlook, behavior, moral and ethical view on lifestyle and afterlife.

The belief system is the first element of religion manifestations that consists of the told stories for the explanation of human’s individual sense of existing reality. Every person has his/her individual belief system, and it makes sense of the surrounding world. Religion belief system consists of mental constructs without evidence. A faith-based system is based on the absence of evidence, and there is no possibility to collect them.

Every religion has its peculiar group of people or community that professes and practices the religion. Members of different religions can live and mix with other community members; therefore, they go to their places of worship, and they can marry only with the members of their community.

Myths and rituals are the main components of every religion practice. Believers study and regurgitate their religion’s myths, hold and keep the rituals according to their religion.

Every religion dictates and sets its certain right and moral behavior of ethic system for better achievement of the religion goals. Believers have their religious material expressions such as Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Torah, New Testament, Qur'an and others.

Emotional experience is subjective, and it is construed as a framework of religion. There are revelations and divine manifestations that believing people did not see; therefore, they worship and believe them.

Many objects are considered sacred or holy according to each religion; groups of believers have their "sacred ground” or “holy days”, “holy man” or “holy prophet” and other persons or objects.

Since I am a believer, respectively, I have a religion belief system according to my religious affiliation. I am a member of the religion community, and I try to observe all rites and rituals according to my religion. I believe in myths and worship sacred signs and try to lead the proper lifestyle according to the religion ethic system and written material expressions. Being a believer, I have certain emotional experience during the prayer, visiting sacred places and participation in rituals.

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In my opinion, all these elements are important and make a holistic system of the chosen religion. Both belief system and the central myths form the basis of a religion. Their significance is enhanced by sacredness presence and conducting rituals. Moral views, outlook and right behavior constitute the ethic system that bases on material expressions. All these actions, views, learning and emotional experience are carried typically by the religion community. Members of these religion groups support and help each other. Therefore, many new religion movements are developing today and attract many followers.

According to Robinson (2010), “Wicca is an almost completely decentralized religion.” It is a new religion and it was appeared as religion in 1973 in Minneapolis “to form a temporary "Council of American Witches" under the leadership of Carl Llewellyn Weschcke” (Robinson, 2010). This religion does not have any material experiences, any sacredness and ethical systems, and it does not have central myths. Therefore, a group successfully created a set of beliefs that harmonized the beliefs of the many Wiccan traditions in the U.S. at the time (Robinson, 2010). The main belief principles consist in intercommunication with nature and environment, as well as in equal rights of men and women. Wiccans believe in the Creative Power that manifests in feminine and masculine polarities. The conception of good or evil is absent, and the term “witch” does not mean a real witch. Wiccans have aversion to Christianity because of its prosecution and persecution.

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Members of Wicca have their meetings and community accordingly, and they carry out rituals accompanied by emotional experiences. Wiccans respect the nature, they believe in gender equality and human sexuality. In addition, they have different approaches to afterlife. Therefore, belief system, rituals, and community are the most important elements of Wicca, and emotional experiences are paid less attention. Other elements of a religion are not present in Wicca religion, or they are underdeveloped.

Another new religion is Falun Gong. In Chinese, it means “the Practice of the Wheel of Dharma” (Introvigne, 2015). This new religion movement was founded by Li Hongzhi, and it appeared in 1992 in China. Spiritual and mental renewal was reached by Falun Gong’s adherents. Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism and Chinese folklore are depicted in this religion. According to Introvigne (2015),” The sudden popularity of the movement in the late1990s raised concern in the Chinese government, which named it as a “cult.” Recent events are combined successfully with ancient practices, and they are considered as the movement’s origins. Meditation, physical activities, as well as qigong for excellent health and inner peace have always been present way in Chinese history. Therefore, in traditional Buddhism teaching, “falun” is the “wheel of law”. In Falun Gong, it is the spiritual energy center and it is located in lower abdomen. People can activate it through some exercises named xiulian. This religion’s belief system includes teaching about demonic aliens from space who want to destroy the Earth and humanity; in 1900, they came to the planet and negatively affected the world leaders and scientists. In fact, members of this community abandoned the official medicine, due to which many people died.

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This new religion has a large community in China, and its leader Li moved to New York in 1998. The government of China is dissatisfied with the Falun Gong actions, and the religion representatives are subjected to arrests and persecutions.

Every person chooses the own lifeway, view on salvation and outlook. Religion helps people find this way; it forms their ethic system and it has an impact on their behavior. The new religions are the alternatives to many ancient religions, and they help people believe, hope and live comfortable in their world.

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