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Thinking Through Religions 2 - Essay Example

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According to Bergen and Newell (3), the quality in which superstition consists is seen to commonly be obscured. Man is usually seen to result to the use of superstitions in the event that he happens to encounter any particularly difficult problem. …
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Thinking Through Religions 2
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Download file to see previous pages These have been seen to define superstition as essentially being a disease that primarily depends on an excess of religious sentiment. The affected person is often seen to frequently have an unreasonable level of credulity. Superstitions were employed in ancient times so as to thwart evil by using a number of rituals that were thought to bring good luck (Superstitions, 2000).Cunningham and Kelsay (76), define rituals as essentially being a series of repeated stylized gestures or ceremonial acts that are used for some certain given specific occasions. Human life is seen to be filled with quite a number of these gestures ranging from the simple custom of shaking hands to some gestures such as standing so as to shake someone’s hand. The rituals have progressively become so familiar that they are now frequently overlooked and their importance is only highlighted in the event that one fails to observe them, an example of which might include someone refusing to shake another person’s hand. It is these refusals and failures that cause us to become acutely aware of the relative importance of these rituals that would otherwise be severely obscured by the mundane ordinariness of customary rituals. Superstitions and rituals are seen to have an intrinsic relationship as superstitions require an individual to perform some certain rituals so as to encourage or avoid an occurrence. One of the rituals that I often perform that is closely linked to superstition is to essentially avoid black cats from crossing my path. In the event that a black cat happens to cross my path, my normal ritual is to try and walk around the area crossed by the cat or in some instances use a different route. The superstitious belief that is tied in with this ritual is that black cats tend to cause bad luck in the event that they cross one’s path. Why are Human Beings Superstitious? It can generally be observed that often at times, after having encountered seemingly knotty problems, man tends to try and explain away or avoid the given situation by using superstitions. By inventing various superstitious fabrications, man is able to effectively understand and explain a number of mysteries. It is often always as a last resort that man will opt to eventually turn to himself to provide an explanation and even so, he does not turn to his true self but instead turns to some foreign particle or blemish that absolves him and causes him to not be responsible (Berry 228-229). One of the more frequently used scape goats in this respect is the concept of original sin that had been invented by the ancients. (Berry 230) argues that the chief virtue of this theory is that it effectively heaps all the blame on the serpent, an animal that man has never really had much use for. Man is also perceived to be superstitious as a result of his relatively conservative nature that causes him to obstinately try to hold on to a number of old trinkets, ideas and customs even after he has learned better and the original purpose of these has been forgotten. Although man has made a number of developments in science and knowledge, civilized life to him is seen to still be largely precarious, insecure and uncertain and hence man has opted to result to superstition to tackle these challenges. Why Can Superstitions be Dangerous The adverse effects of superstition can result in fear, suspicions, a general reduction in the quality of life and even death as seen in an incident related by Berry (11). In this incident, in the year 1656, a young woman named Eunice Goody was suspected by her fellow New Hampshire town’ ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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