What holidays are important, and how are they relevant to your religion?
Please imagine, that you are the architect of a new society. It is up to you to determine the social order, the culture, the norms and values of this totally new world. You are indeed creating a religion, but you are not limited to theological tenets. Your goal is to influence the way that your community interacts with one another. Therefore, it is important to think about what you want people to believe. How should individuals interact with one another, and what boundaries and rules will govern those interactions? Is there a sacred space that encourages community in this new society like a church, synagogue, or the Kaaba in Muhammad’s day? What holidays are important if there are any? Does your religion believe in a spiritual realm, or how does it deal with death, life, and the afterlife if at all?
Please think about all of the religious teachers that we have discussed such as the Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, to name a few and their stories. Think about what they taught and the challenges they faced in influencing others to believe and behave in a certain manner. Like them, …others will be dissecting your “Religion” centuries from now, and they will determine if what you’ve organized and constructed is a good and logical system to follow. Nevertheless, your goal is to achieve the common ends of promoting social cohesion, or helping people to achieve an eternal reality, or simply the best “good” within the individuals that encounter your religion. This is your world, and the fate of it will lie in your system of beliefs.
Below are a few elements to include and/or consider for your new society. Just remember…its success depends on the health of your socio-religious ideas that you put forward.
Name of Religion:
The story of the Founder:
• Circumstances of Birth, Childhood, Adult Life (Ex: Story of Buddha in the Palace & the Four Passing sights; Jesus’ virgin birth narrative)
• Country and the realities of their day, etc. (Confucius and the Warring States of China; Buddha and the caste system)
Religious Creed: a written formal statement of beliefs that highlight central tenets of your religion.
• Nicene Creed (Catholicism)
• Shahadah (Islam)
Major Tenets of Belief: Primary characteristics, practices, or beliefs that define a follower of your religion. You can include your Ten Commandments extra credit for this.
• Ten Commandments (Judaism)
• Eight Noble Truths (Buddhism)
• 5 Pillars (Islam)
Denominations: Give at least 2-3 variations of your initial belief system and how they differ from original, or orthodox belief. What happened? What caused the split?
• Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana (Buddhism)
• Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism (Christianity)
• Sunni, Shia, Sufi (Islam)
Religious Symbols: Think of a symbol that already exists, or that you can create, that represents your religion and belief system.
• Re-visit your Iconography assignment from Lesson 9
Other Things to Consider:
• What is your religion’s view of God?
• What is your religion’s view of the afterlife?
• How can someone be initiated into your religion?
• Is this religion the only way to truth?
• Does your religion address any social realities like politics, social order, and behavior? Is there a Caste system, or other social programs? Think Confucius’ deliberate tradition
• Is there a day of the week that your religion congregates? What does this look like?
• What holidays are important, and how are they relevant to your religion? (Feel free to create a holiday)