Religious And Spiritual Beliefs Serve Two Purposes Essay

804 Words Aug 15th, 2015 4 Pages
Religious and spiritual beliefs serve two purposes: one, explanations of the natural

world, and two, moral guidelines by which people must live their lives. No religion is just

explanation, and no religion is just morals and values. The Kaluli of Papua New Guinea

have developed a religion where everything is interconnected – for every animal and

person, there is a counterpart; for every action, there is an action in return. This belief in

the reciprocal nature of things has lead to the formation of a very cooperative, social

society. The egalitarian nature of their world has also affected their ideas on suffering and

misfortune: suffering must be paid in kind. Just as there is reciprocal exchange for labor,

marriage, and friendship, there must be retribution for any kind of misfortune. The Kaluli

interpretations of misfortune bring people together for their suffering friends or family,

strengthening the social relationships by demonstrating sympathy and solidarity.

Kaluli demonstrations of cooperation and solidarity manifest in circumstances in

which people do not suffer, but are still tied to the notion of misfortune and suffering.

They believe that “everything in life is paid for by someone somewhere and that from

time to time one must receive the lumps himself” (p. 100) which does not result in a

karma-like philosophy, but instead in a system of reciprocity and compensation for every

kind of significant action. This creates a…

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