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World Religion - Essay Example

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Magic is a term that can be seen as a controversy in the majority, if not all, of organized religions; in fact, it is a term that is seldom used, due to the negative associations that the organized religions have given to it. However, in many New Age and Earth-based practices…
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World Religion: Magic in Religion Magic is a term that can be seen as a controversy in the majority, if not all, of organized religions; in fact, itis a term that is seldom used, due to the negative associations that the organized religions have given to it. However, in many New Age and Earth-based practices and belief systems, magic is common and tends to play a huge role in bringing the practitioner closer to the divine. While New Age beliefs use this word, the practices of other religions share similar characteristics to that of the New Age definition of "magic."
Symbolism, though, is something that can be seen - and the definition agreed upon - in all religions and belief systems. Even the smallest of objects and ideas in a practice holds some sort of symbol for that practice. Colors, scents, figures, even deities, have a significance to the need of that individual during that time. Religions were defined as being "a system of symbols [...] (Geertz)." To make the practices more realistic - and in some New Age paths, more efficient and beneficial - symbolism is used.
Paganism is a New Age belief system that has a rather huge emphasis on the use of magic in their practices. Their very act of communing with Nature and divinity is considered magic; unfortunately, it is their type of magic that has given them a bad name within organized religions. The magic of pagans involves making use of symbols, chanting, reciting, or singing their aspirations, and building up energy to release into the universe in hopes of achieving what they hope to.
In a religion such as Catholicism, the magic can be seen in their prayers and their taking of communion. In a sense, in regards to a Catholic praying, it is the same as a pagan performing a ritual - specific words and symbols are used to achieve one thing, and all of that is released to the divine to allow it to manifest and become something. When taking communion, the practitioner is drawing themselves closer to the divine, as the wine and wafers of the communion symbolize the divine itself.
That is the similarity between the two religions - turning thoughts and hopes into something, regardless of what it is called, magic or prayer. Symbolism is an important part of both of them, as it helps to focus the intentions of the individual. No matter what each religion decides to call it, many of the acts can be seen as magic, as they are playing with a force that is outside their full understanding, hoping to get close to the divine and change their lives accordingly.
Works Cited
Ellwood, Robert. Introducing Religion. 1993. Prentice Hall Publishers: New York.
Geertz, Clifford. "Religion as a Cultural System." 1966. Online. Available http://www.iwp.uni-linz.ac.at/lxe/sektktf/GG/GeertzTexts/Religion_System.htm. Read More
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