In Which Ways Are Religion And Magic Similar, In Which Ways Are They Different?

1270 words - 5 pages

Religion is part of everybody's daily life, whether passively or actively. This term, "religion", is used loosely, everywhere in this world. However, its definition is not as simple and straightforward as it appears to be.Religion is a system of belief, practice and organization which shapes an ethic manifest in the behaviour of its adherents.Religious beliefs are the interpretation of our surroundings and our personal and immediate experience with reference to the structure of the entire universe, including all dimensions of this.Belief in supernatural entities is usually emotionally very highly charged; hence the believer imputes special qualities and sacredness to them. This, amongst a variety of other things, is what makes religion so special, so important and so personal to so many people in the world.Magic is also not easy to define. Perhaps it is best to describe the different types of magic. There is the homeopathic type, which is the belief that an action will have a similar desired effect in a similar context or situation. Homeopathic magic operates under the law that "like causes like". For example, in folk-magic a "poppet" is a doll used to represent a certain person, enabling the practitioner to cast spells or the like upon said person.Another type of magic is contagion. This is the belief that a desired effect will be achieved if contact is made between two things or situations. For example, the Awajún, native Peruvians, rub stem cuttings against certain, apparently "fertile" stones, before they plant their trees. This supposedly gives the stem the ability to grow stronger and faster than others, who have not come in contact with these stones.Magic and religion both involve ritual, symbolism and myth, both deal with supernatural forces and both rely on subjective perception rather than objective perception. Most importantly both have social implications and a purpose for being used.One very important world religion is Islam. Perhaps the most well known fact about the Islam culture, to non-Muslims, is salat, or ritual prayer. This form of prayer is may be done individually, but carries special merit when practiced with a group of other believers. All over the world, every active Muslim takes part in the salat, five times a day. And all over the world it is directed to the exact location of the Ka'ba shrine in Mecca, the most sacred site of Islam. This is a religious ritual involving symbolism: that of the Ka'ba shrine. However, rituals are not exclusive to religion.The aborigine tribe are native to Australia and have inhabited and survived there for many thousands of years. A very aspect to their lives is the concept of spirits, magic and rituals. One important ritual aborigines practice is that a karadji, a type of witch doctor, performs to heal. He selectively finds, gathers and subsequently carves a bone. He then pretends to extract it from the patient to "remove the poisoned bone". Obviously fake, but nevertheless very...

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