Superstition and Religion: How It Affects Western and Eastern Medicine My personal experiences with religion and superstition are skewed due to the evolvement of the way I perceive things today. Furthermore, I can easily realize that I do not have this one set mind where everything should revolve around God and the Catholic Church. Taking time to understand why certain things happen for a reason, and gradually becoming aware of what people choose to believe in shaped my personal views on religion and the beliefs of unseen forces today. Based on Marvin Harris, the world may never have a solid answer as to why and how cultures decided to establish religious beliefs as well as superstition. As for the Hmong culture, however, there is a sign of major controversy with beliefs in religion and superstition. The practices of Eastern and Western medicine will meet in the middle despite culture clashes.
The reasons behind why people believe in religion as well as how religious culture has evolved can be seen in Marvin Harris’ article, “Why We Became Religious”. Harris, an anthropologist, defines the differences between spiritual beliefs and superstition. People perceive the importance of the role of spirituality as well as the unseen. Harris exemplifies this point with the term “mana”, which means “magical power” in the Melanesian language. He goes on to discuss how Western culture expresses the concepts of luck with baseball players who touch their caps or spit and rub into
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Sometimes the question about spirituality, and why people believe in it swarms around the minds of today’s society. It never occurred to me about the importance of why people believed in religion or superstition until I entered high school. Growing up Catholic, it felt like a routine to attend mass every Friday and Sunday because that was what everyone I knew did. I was never that interested in any belief of God, let alone any interest in superstition. I always thought that my religious beliefs tied to my cultural background. Growing up as a second generation of Filipino heritage, life without Christ was looked upon as unbearable, and less motivating to do things in life. It is as if Filipinos needed to breathe with the motivation of God, and become heavily influenced by applying Catholicism to its culture. However, the question about why people believe in religion and superstition is still a mystery to this day.
After reading The Threshold of Religion, we see Marrett rationalize how the Malagasy people felt as if the supernatural was all around them. They felt that “Whatever is new and useful and extraordinary is called god. Silk is considered as god in the highest degree … Rice, money, thunder and lightning, and earthquake are all called god. Their ancestors and a deceased sovereign they designate in the same manner. Tarantasy or book they call god, from its wonderful capacity of speaking by merely looking at it” (p. 15). Marrett believed that there were powerful supernatural forces everywhere and that the world is encircled by awe and mysterious powers. These mysterious powers could be “mana” which is positive or “tabu” which is negative. Supernatural forces in our society are social media and technology, in that they create an obsession, keep people informed, and influence people’s decisions in both a positive and negative way.
Myths are culturally accepted stories that humans have orally constructed and passed on from generation to generation to serve our larger perception of life and humanity. Further, myths help guide us in their teachings about creation, good and evil, mortality, and suffering. However, these myths contrast between Eastern and Western regions. Eastern regions depart from Western regions in terms of their religious influence. Religion in Eastern regions helps shape the importance of humans’ relationship with a higher power through the embodiment of rituals and sacrifices—much like in Native American and Shinto religious beliefs. Although Eastern regions branch from these diverse cultures, they centralize on the belief that the relationship between God and humans is universal and essential for human life.
As modernization progressed even further, the religious beliefs were weakened by the contact of Western society. In recent decades, only the elderly Polynesians still believe in this immorality being the causation of a disease. A pattern was also noticed by the anthropologist conducting the interviews of these islanders and found an interesting correlation regarding education and religious belief. It was noted that the higher the education among them, the less likely they are to blame their health problems on spirits. One must not make a hasty generalization and ask why these indigenous people didn’t refuse progress in the first place since at first they regarded modernization as a form of higher status. It wasn’t until after the negative consequences took its toll that they were questioning the efficiency of medical treatment between modern doctors and traditional healers. Barriers such as not knowing the English language and not correlating the cause of an illness as well as miscommunication between doctors and the patients is what resulted in the health stigma among these
While perusing through the different pieces of art in the museum, the piece that really struck my eye comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, called a bow harp, produced by the Azande people in the early 20th century. Made from wood, animal hide, and fiber, the bow harp measures about 32 inches in length. As an ethnic group in North America, the Azande people primarily live in the northeastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as mentioned above. In South Sudan, the Azande prove to be the third largest ethnic group. In their culture, the practice of witchcraft and different superstitions evident. With no real origin of the Azande people, the prevailing myth explains that once these people die, they can recompense as different
In all cultures, human beings make a lifestyle out of interacting with and pledging their devotion to what are thought to be spiritual powers. Humans connect themselves with these spiritual powers which give their lives purpose and meaning. Religion is simply used to guide its followers through this complicated and diverse realm of human experience. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, religion is, "the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe." In
The question that motivates the article would be why do religious actors believe in the doctrines that comprise the religious system of their culture? In order to answer the question the author looks at how the psychological processes of cognitive, affective and motivational underline any type of complex behavior. Religious systems serve as cognitive systems, continuing to exist because of the powerful motivational dispositions and affective needs of the social actors to which they are responsive. The main argument for the reading would be in order to explain why social actors believe in their doctrines of their culture, we must examine the motivational and affective, as well as the cognitive properties of the mind, while still being concerned
In Thailand, it is common to believe in spirits, superstitions, and supernatural beings. To keep these “paranormal spirits” happy and satisfied, Thai people offer snacks and drinks to them. In return, they seek protection from the spirits, and sometimes also ask for favors regarding their exams and business. Here, religion is portrayed in a positive manner because
In the 21st century what do people think of when they hear the word magic? Is it Harry Potter and his friends fighting off Lord Voldemort or perhaps as Black Sabbath sings “witches at Black Masses?” It is probably a bit of both depending on your age and religious beliefs. This was not the case during the time period extending from antiquity to the early modern period. People in this time believed that magic could explain things they did not understand or could not explain. It was not for entertainment. “Magic probably claimed to provide all the answers which were later provided by science, technology, and philosophy: it was everything.” This statement stands true for all three periods this paper focuses on even the early modern period when religion was supposed to have taken place of magical beliefs.
Superstition in the, “Joy Luck Club,” is a method used by the mothers to provide comfort and guidance to their daughters, or to scare the daughters into submission. In the book, many times do the mothers resort to using superstition to keep their daughters in line. For example, in page 164, Lena says,”” Aii, Lena,” she had said after that dinner so many years ago, “your future husband have one pock mark for every rice you not finish.”” This of course scares Lena into finishing the rest of her rice because she fears that her future husband will have many pock marks because of her failure to eat the rest of her rice. In the article,” In Age of Science, Is Religion 'Harmful Superstition’?” religion is a harmful way to keep people in the dark
Karma is a powerful influence on humans, but only when one gives it the power to be influential. The sum of a person 's actions in the past can decide one’s fate in the future; this belief is artificial but impacts our moral decision making nonetheless. Those that walk the path to light are rewarded, and those that travel the road to darkness are punished. The acceptance of this value may shape one’s actions, but in reality this precedent is simply just a surrogate to fate. In The Story of the Stone, Cao Xueqin used the theme of karma to illustrate how characters are highly affected by the superstitions they hold. I believe that generosity and kindness will trigger fruitful benefits in the future, and that unjust actions will come back to haunt you as well. However, I do not believe that these paths are set in stone after the initial action. Those that possess good morals should not be rewarded if they become immoral, and those that commit something unjust should have the chance to redeem themselves. This theme demonstrates what Marjorie Garber calls the “use” of literature “as a way of thinking” in that characters make decisions due to their belief in this fabricated guideline. Karma has the power to configure the way we think and act, and its impact on these characters ultimately prompts the reader to do the same.
Dr. Stuart Vyse, Professor of Psychology at Connecticut College, and author of ‘The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs keep Us Happy, Healthy, and Sane’, shares his thoughts on superstitions. In ‘Embrace the Supernatural’ written by Thorin Klosowski, Dr.Vyse shows both good and bad feelings towards the existence of superstitions.
When understanding the many beliefs that cultures have, helps grasp an understanding the healing practices a family may have. In today’s society, “religious practices are usually rooted in culture” (Giger and Davidhizas, 2008). Typically each culture has a set of beliefs that they use to explain their health and manners that prevent or treat illnesses and diseases. When a family member is ill, a culture uses rituals to get rid of the disease.
Throughout the course of this term, we have studied several different philomaths of religion and several different approaches to the study of religion. As we studied these approaches, many aspects of religion have been recurring in several scholars’ definitions of religion and approaches to the study of religion. I have endeavored to encapsulate what I believe to be the most paramount aspects in my definition, which is as follows: Religion is a community that shares notion in some supernatural force and apportions a worldview that disunites the sacred from the profane and reinforces this worldview through symbols, rituals, traditions, texts and objects of religion. Foremost in my definition is the aspect of a supernatural force. While this term is nebulous, it is essential in differentiating religion from many non-religious forms of ‘worship’ such as devout fans of Miley Cyrus. As verbalized in the textbook Exordium to the Study of Religion by Hillary Rodrigues and John S. Harding, “A defining feature of many religions, which dissevers them from other deeply absorbing and paramount activities, is their solicitousness with powers or agents that are regarded as mostly subsisting beyond the grasp of the five senses or instrumental apparatus” (Rodrigues, Harding 3). There are so many different religions with so many different notion systems that a nebulous term is obligatory, because a more concrete term such as “God” would omit many traditions. The next part of my definition