Theology is the study of natural, spiritual and religious beliefs. I’m going to speak on why I think its very important to be learning what other religions are about and even involving yourself in their practices to understand what their experiencing.
Why is theology a topic to speak on?
Theology is something I wanted to talk about and became really excited to after I took a class over theology last year in college and recently experiencing a Service at a Buddhist temple. I was really fortunate in having this opportunity because I feel it has expanded my perspective in more ways than I could’ve imagined it would.
When I had the opportunity to share what I learned and how it impacted me, I unexpectedly heard this.
Why would I listen to them, its not my religion.
I was really confused by this but the more I thought on it, I realized that me taking that theology class opened me up to a world of perspectives that many are closed off to and don’t get the opportunity to experience or learn about themselves. Not that its their fault, but simply not influenced enough.
I feel that the Christian religion and culture is something very prominent in the western society and I don’t think that is a problem. I do think that it is healthy that there is such a massive community of followers trying to be the best version of themselves.
But I do see a problem in the unwillingness to hear new perspectives from many of these followers. I feel it holds them back from the goal they’re trying to achieve. Many will form opinions over things without actually ever hearing the input of what it is that the person, religion, spirituality, or philosophical opinion may be.
Simply because it doesn’t align with their opinion, their culture, or what they recognize as the normal as its all they have experienced.
I simply had the very obvious statement that, there is always more than meets the eye, come to fruition.
Base Information over theology
Theology – how a particular religious group thinks and talks about the divine/ultimate reality
A theologian stands within a religious tradition and speaks from that perspective
Making sense of human experiences in light community beliefs, acting as a mediator between religion and contemporary culture
For some basic definitions to understand where I’ll be speaking from.
- Religion – the Communal articulation and expression of faith in an ultimate reality, that’s based on common beliefs on a set way of life.
- Spirituality – A sense of connection to something greater than yourself (natural forces, something holy or divine)
- When you are religious, you are spiritual, but just because you are spiritual doesn’t mean you are religious as religion is a community involvement.
I’m looking over my theology notes and I wanted to share what the foundations of faith are within religious or spiritual faith.
- Faith requires some level of knowledge about that in which we have faith.
- Faith spurs us to seek and think, it encourages us to want to learn more.
- Faith builds on trust through emotional bonds we have throughout life.
- Our experiences are central to the development of faith.
- If you don’t act out. does it exist?
- Individuals choose to commit themselves in a relationship of faith.
- Your choice is not complete if not lived out through your actions.
Lastly is Transcendent Experience
- These are experiences that theological professionals would describe with a sentence going along the lines of.
There’s natural, and there’s stuff we cant explain.
- Those experiences that you can’t explain, are Transcendental Experiences.
These will all form a foundation of faith that will give us our source of belief
- Belief can come to us through
- Authority of others
- Arguments from reason
- For many in Christian perspective these would be
This is just some base level intro to theology, what it is and how the process works. Now I would like to speak on why I feel that it is so vital not just for your personal growth, but for those that are followers of religion or spiritual practices, how exploring different Theology’s can help expand and strengthen your connection with the divine as well.
What I’ve learned
Through expanding my Religious Pluralism and seeking into learning about and experiencing different experiences.
Ive learned one simple thing.
Everyone just wants to be happy, everyone just wants to be a good person.
But for some reason the western culture, and a lot of society as a whole doesn’t ever think of dipping their toe into the water of different theologies simply because it’s not their opinion.
But reason is one of the most important aspects of religion.
When you stop thinking looking at other religions as a religion, and as philosophy’s, you begin to learn. You begin to grow. Understanding different perspectives and walks of life at the same time you start expanding yours.
For example with Buddha
He was a Hindu by the name of Siddhartha Guatama born into luxury in 563 BCE
He was discontented with life, he saw in his religion problems with the hierarchy and social system and he leaves his home of comfortably to become a beggar.
He spots a Bodhi tree and after sitting there for 49 days. He began to recognize the way things truly are.
Buddha wasn’t a God, divine entity, he was a man who wanted to be content with life.
Many Buddhist don’t talk or even think about a god, some people don’t classify Buddhism as a religion but instead as a philosophy.
The things Buddha came to understand are things such as
- All existence is transient
- Meaning everything in the universe is in a constant state of flux, everything is always changing
- There is no eternal self or soul
- Life is full of sorrow and painful
- This is because we continue to see after permanence and secutiry and act on behalf of our own individuality but these things do not exist, so when we strive for them we will on begin to bring pain to ourselves and others.
- The goal of Buddhism is to reach Nirvana
- Buddhism shares a concept of reincarnation: the root cause of rebirths is ignorance of what the world really is
- Our ignorance leads to actions that harm ourselves and others
- Nirvana is true understanding of the Nature Of Existence
- Once we let go of our false sense of our own selves – to blow out yourself, to stop quenching onto the activities of the worldly mind and its related suffering.
Following the guide of the eight fold path you can achieve this
- Right understanding and right thinking
- Adopting the right views about the nature of existence
- Right speech, right action, and right livelihood
- Carefully controlling ones conduct
- This altruistic system of morality was intended to focus on other people
- Right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration
- Meditation is necessary for any progress towards enlightenment
Meditation has shown me how to find peace within myself the same way prayer does for many. After my trip to the Buddhist temple I learned more about myself, the community I’m surrounded by, and the practice itself. It was an experience I’d advise anyone to try.
I also learned that Christianity is a very individual within a community religion in my community. The openness of the people at the Buddhist temple was unlike anything I’ve experienced. Someone quite literally chased me and my friend down to my car just to insure that we would go back to enjoy their vegetarian lunch with them. Even with a language barrier, I felt that they were more open to conversation than many I’ve met at church. That’s not to say that church isn’t as good, but maybe just that the community of church and anyone wishing to grow, can learn a lot from more than just themselves.
When you read this, you’re getting like the intro of intros of what Buddhism is all about, but can you tell me something you don’t necessarily agree with? I assume yes as not everyone holds the same opinion, but I don’t understand why many might not bother to give themselves insight because its simply not Christianity, and it doesn’t stop there, getting insight on what Judaism religions believe in, same with Muslims. Same with every religion. The core part of it all, is they want to be a good person, they want to be content with life, they want to be happy.
We need to stop this discretion of opinion not just in our religious or spiritual arena of life, but everywhere within, our life, stop forming opinions on things you don’t know about, stop making assumptions and start experiencing experiences.
Thank you for being here today, thank you for bringing yourself insight.
I hope you have an amazing day.
See you again soon.
(p.s if I happened to make any mistakes within this article please contact me and let me know so I can make changes right away. Thank you)
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