The most consistent factor in all of the religions that have been studied is the comprehension and dedication to the belief of a supernatural being or beings which are referred to, in some context, as God. How each religion views the concept of God greatly differs as does the way in which the believers are required to serve or worship the God or gods. It would then be justified to state that, in order to truly understand a religion, the followers, and their actions, one must first recognize the view that the particular faith has in regards to the supernatural beings that the religion is based around. Therefore, this author finds that the most interesting and telling element of any religion is the focused belief in the nature of the god or gods in which the followers recognize as being supernatural and supreme in their existence.
These differences and resulting understandings of the religions can be evaluated in each of the religions that have been studied this semester. For example, according to both the studies and “The Big Religion Chart” (2014) Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Modern Religions each have an understanding of a god or gods. Coupling the religions in being either monotheist (one god) or polytheist (multiple gods), Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and Sikhism all have believes related to the former while Jainism, Daoism, and Shinto relate to the latter.
It is important to note that Buddhism varies as there is nothing permanent; not even the gods whereas Confucianism does not address the concept of the number of supreme beings within the universe. Modern religions also vary as to their understanding of the supernatural as there are numerous belief systems addressed within this category. One example, Scientology expresses a belief in the supernatural but does not explain the number of gods as this is to be determined by the individual through the Eight Dynamics (“The Big Religion Chart,” 2014).
As each of the religions understand the concepts of the supernatural as being relevant to their universe, the way in which they interact with these beings are also very different. This explains the differences in practices and festivals that are held in each religion. The representation and understanding of the gods explains the purpose that mankind has on the earth and what they expect to happen to them in the afterlife. Everything that is relevant to a religion can be developed through the corresponding belief in the nature of the god or gods in which they serve.
The amount of power that the gods have and the amount of worship that they each deserve based on their role in humanity varies greatly as does the nature and expectations of mankind. According to Hilibrand (2014), a Christian follower, Martin Luther stated that “everything is God, in our finite mode of just standing and talking, we must think of God as Father Almighty, creator of everything that is. The word Father comes easy to us. He is the Lord of all” (pg. 52). This shows that religions which put one God as a supreme being that is all present, recognizes that everything that they do should relate to god whereas a religion that does not recognize god as being involved in all aspects of life may be more likely to not fear the repercussions of their actions. Everything about the beliefs and the actions of the believers directly relates to the nature of god.
In modern times, there is an issue with individuals finding their own interpretations of god and religion in order to better suit their choices in life. This creates a world whereas people act how they want to and justify it through their own view of the nature of god. According to Byfield and Byfield (1998), the level of freedom that individuals have has resulted in a change in the foundations of religions. Specifically, a religious “structure imposes distinct inhibitions upon us. There are things we might like to think, say or do which are simply prohibited. Other things, which we do not want to do, we are told we must.
We may flout these requirements, of course, but our disobedience is a clear betrayal” (pg. 33). In order to not feel guilt due to disobedience, the nature of god is simply altered and therefore the world has been subjected to immoral and inhumane behaviors such as terrorist attacks and the mistreatment of individuals based on their race, gender, or lifestyle choices. Of all of the concepts of the nature of god that have been studied, the collective nature of these supreme beings do not condone such behaviors yet they are often done in the name of a god.