Robert Van Voorst: Understanding The Dimensions Of Religion

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In understanding the dimensions of religion and how the rituals of each religion have been formed, it is important to recognize that each individual religion holds its own unique methods of practice and have many different levels of complex beliefs; including ways of following and practicing the cultural expectations as well as understanding the historical events that have formed each religion. Some beliefs are formed due to the exposure of the religion that has been practiced within one’s family. Others may be formed within adulthood based upon self-discovery and one’s wishes to pursue a certain lifestyle. Those who are fully knowledgeable on the many different forms of religion are more likely to be able to form more in-depth opinions that …show more content…
Max Muller once stated, “Those who know only one religion know none.” (Van Voorst 10) This supports the argument that failing to expand your knowledge of alternate religions may only hurt your own understanding of the religion you practice. The dimensions that have been affiliated with the studies of religion have been categorized as more of a subject identifier rather than a basis to form in-depth understandings of the relationship one has with the religion they practice. Although they can help to explain the information available, they cannot truly explain the commitments, values and comforts that the believers find within their religion. (10) Allison Carabajal defined the dimensions found in World Religions by Robert Van Voorst in six forms: cognitive, ethical, ritual, institutional, aesthetic, and emotional. Van Voorst classifies the cognitive dimension is known to be more of the “thinking” element of religion that essentially educates the followers on the information needed to …show more content…
This can include “senses of awe, fear, and love.” The emotional dimension also gives believers an understanding of their religion’s beliefs of the afterlife. It helps them to understand what their religion expects during life in order to reach their heaven or please their God(s). By focusing on the emotional levels of religion, believers are able to place their strife and pain in the hands of their leaders and God(s) for guidance and support. It helps them to cope with the pain of loss in death and cruelties of the world; giving them an understanding of purpose for their experiences. The emotional connection that believers feel towards their religion also provides them with an ability to label themselves within a certain group that gives them a sense of identity and feeling of unity within their group. The level of emotional openness that believers allow themselves to experience within their religion often connects them to a feeling of a true and personal relationship with their God(s).

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