Aaron Tan “Module Three” Question 1: Is thinking about the sacred a useful method for understanding.

Aaron Tan
“Module Three”
Question 1: Is thinking about the sacred a useful method for understanding our own existence? Why or why not?
The term for the coming up and existence of the sacred is hierophany. There exists different forms of manifestations of the sacred as is evident in the histories of different religions across the world today. Judaism, for example, came about as a result of Moses and his leading the children of Israel out of suffering and consequently being handed the Ten Commandments which were later to form the basis of Judaism. Islam, on the other hand, arose as a result of divine intervention of an angel of God on Muhammad when he was required by the angel of God to recite. Buddhism came about due to the discovery of several aspects about life by a master of trance. Evidently, the forms through which the sacred came into existence or were initially manifested vary from one religion to another. A study of the appearance of the sacred forms a crucial part in understanding one’s personal existence.
Several crucial lessons that are relevant to our experiences can be drawn from these studies of the sacred (Mircea, p. 186). A good example is from the case of Buddhism and how it came into existence. One can relate well with the experiences of Buddha as he sought with unwavering determination to find answers to the questions he had. Siddhartha Gautama had from a previous existence had a clear ambition of one day becoming a Buddha. He worked tirelessly and with much resolve towards the fulfilment of his goal. From this, one appreciates the fact that effort and determination are the core investments for any endeavor to be fruitful.
From both the Islamic and the Christian points of view, it is clear that the existence of the human race was not by chance but by the will and influence of a supreme being. According to the Islamic religion, the existence of humanity began from a clot of blood whereas according to Christianity, it was from creation from a lump of dust (Cunningham & Kelsay, 2013, p. 201). Despite the differences in the two accounts, the existence of a supreme being to whom all humanity should be answerable is common to both. This plays an important role towards unmasking and understanding our very own existence as both religions offer guiding principles as to how one should live in accordance to God’s will.
In thinking about the sacred, one weighs the legitimacy of some objects that are considered sacred by different religions around the world (Clifford, p. 195). This is mostly done by considering how they came into existence in the first place. According to Christianity and Islam, the Bible and the Quran, respectively, are deemed as sacred books as both religions believe that they represent God’s words. The processes that influences the existence of both books were inspired by god. Since these sacred books offer accounts on how humanity came into existence, a study of the appearance of the sacred is crucial in trying to understand our origin and therefore, in extension, our existence, depending on one’s faith.
From the above accounts, it is indisputable that thinking about the sacred in terms of sacred people, sacred objects, sacred symbols, sacred spaces etc. plays an important role towards the quest to understand our very own existence. The reason for this is because such thoughts influence to a great deal whether or not a person believes in a certain doctrine or religion. By extension, it therefore influences how he/she acts depending on the guiding principles of life according to the faith in question.
Cunningham, L. & Kelsay, J. (2013). The Sacred Quest:  An Invitation to the Study of Religion
(6th ed.). Boston, MA:  Pearson Education.

Eliade, Mircea. The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion. Vol. 144. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1959.
Geertz, Clifford. “Ethos, world-view and the analysis of sacred symbols.” The Antioch Review 17.4 (1957): 421-437.


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