What is Young’s Definition of Religion?
Various individuals and groups have defined religion basing on what they believe or through the influence of forces surrounding their faith. William Young, in his book, The World’s Religions: World Views and Contemporary Issues, he argues that, religion is a form of human transformation, which is in, response to alleged intimacy (Young, 4). Perhaps, according to him, it can be argued that, transformation is the sole purpose or religion rather than not what religion it is.
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Young’s definition of religion, however, differs with Christianity point of view. Christianity perceive religion as a variety of basic transformation, which is the fundamental shift from being overwhelmed with challenges or troubles of frequent occurrence such as ignorance and sin among others, to living in a manner that one can tolerate and a deeper level with the challenges (McDaniel, 29).
Why Consumerism can qualify as a religion under Young’s definition
Consumerism connects the strength of satisfaction and success through purchasing or consuming things, but not through creating by thy-self. This approach of Consumerism causes people to view religion as a mere submission of consuming rather than a philosophy which can be applied and practiced. Besides, consumerism tend to align the spiritual experiences for instance using signs, images, visiting underworld realms, heaven and being in deep meditative situations of absorption (Young, 34).
This situation of Consumerism can be equated to tourists who visits popular destinations sites, behold the beauty of nature behind windshields and stay in luxurious hotels rather than pitching a tent or walking in the jungle to experience peace and harmony. They are only interested in the short- term benefits. On a Christian perspective, religion entails a journey mixed with challenges such as pain, persecution and even death (McDaniel, 26).
This challenge asserts strength and motivates a Christian, a fitting sign of what religion is all about, granting hope and optimism drives a Christian. Consumerism provides a short term or temporary living hence, no matter the wealth and resources a person might have, in contrary to other religious teachings, cannot guarantee life happiness (Young, 74). The meaning of life is warranted by seeing the “self”. Therefore, we can allude that to a certain extent, it is not a religion.
What does it mean to be human?
Most religions place human beings in the context of the universe. As for Christians, the meaning of being human is defined by establishing a relationship with God, the earth and with one another (McDaniel, 78). Through these relationships, Christians can determine if they have immortal souls. Consequently, to be human, Christian identifies happy events or moments which can mean having a good family, friends or appreciating God enabled achievements in one’s life. Moreover, Christian’s views events in one’s life as connected to a divorce, death of a family member or a relative. However, for Consumerism, to be human means having more possessions, thus; happiness lies on accumulating wealth and losing it is like dying, having more money, good job title, house and nice car (Gore, 58).
What is the basic human problem?
Various religious groups represent a situation which is necessary for people. The situation establishes a requirement for transformation. Consumerism identifies the fundamental human problem as instigated by sting in a cycle of birth, death and rebirth. These conditions constraints a person from achieving or fulfilling his or her passion in life, besides, it identifies other human problems connected to harmony and peace with the rest of society.
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Christianity connects human problems with heterogeneous factors. One of the factors is deviating Gods ways through sin (Deutsch, 46). Christians believes that sins entered the world as a result of transgressions of Adam and eve in paradise. Hence, Sin denotes immoral for which man is responsible and which grants him severity of condemnation. Sin has contributed to disconnection of man and God. And as the result of these disconnections, more problems such as suffering, ageing, death, diseases and wars among other problems are common in the world.
What Is the Cause Of the Problem?
Most religion espouses the understanding of human problem. For example, Christians identify the problem has being caused as a result of direct disconnection from fellowship of God (Deutsch, 78). This illustrates that, instead of a human being worshiping a being greater than them; they tend to create symbols and idols as their gods. The disconnections have additionally contributed to destruction of the earth which God commissioned human being to oversee and develop.
Consumerism begins with answering the real needs of a person. Thus, they are obsessed by finding ways or substitute of accumulating wealth and power (Gore, 76). Hence failing to acquire wealth and power to satisfy individual needs for consumerism, leads to the human problem.
What Is the End or Goal of Transformation?
Most religions envision an ideal state of being and go further in answering their needs. This state is often leads to the ultimate goal of transformation. Christians identifies the goals of transformation as a sequence of human life. Christians believe the purpose of change will come when they meet their God. Christian interpretation of faith designates towards the end, thus religion is believed to be accomplishing this goal. This also applies to worship (Deutsch, 104).
Generally speaking, worship can be invoked for the purpose of attempting to obtain “something” from God, which designates the end. In reality, sincere worship focuses on God and is primarily praising him with no attachments of receiving “something” in the process (McDaniel, 76). However, the benefits we get are a mere ramification which is not directly connected from our efforts expended. Consumerism perspective on the goal of transformation is that, it is a compromise and restoration which is achieved through association with a personal god through material wealth and possessions (Young, 69).
What Is the Means Of This Transformation?
Various religious organizations have come up with the technique which enables this transformation. Christianity practices, which are traditionally, held under the liberation of birth, rebirth and death has asserted it as a standard a goal of transformation. This illustrates that the means of such conversion focuses on overcoming the physical closeness and fighting spiritual poverty.
Moreover, the Christian views that if a transformation offers the possibility of repairing the disconnection from God caused by human disobedience, sin among other evil things, and the process of transformation brings a new life inspired by the divinity (Deutsch, 98). Consumerism, on the other hand, endeavors to reinstate the harmony and peace of all its believers; this indicates that when the followers are able to use their needs and be satisfied, then, the process of self -gratification is accomplished.
What is the nature of Reality?
Religion provides an opportunity for space and time for all of its happenings or processes. Christianity for instance believes the coming back of Jesus to reclaim the world and cleanse the world for righteousness. This indicates that, the nature of truth for Christianity is focused with interest in the future for meeting with their Creator. Christians believes that death is a requisite for a human being and that, during this time, human thoughts on deathbed are confined to immediate family members, and friends, you will not have think of how much wealth you have accumulated or how beautiful or recognize your mansion (Young, 109). This is in contrast with Consumerism a great attention is anchored on material and the amount that one amasses rather than spiritual and qualitative aspects of life.
What is sacred and how can the sacred be known?
Sacred designates the state of being holy, some religion link sacredness with divine intervention. In other context, sacred is can be connected with objects, if these objects are used for religious purposes such as worship of gods (Deutsch, 18). Consumerism, which encompasses the anthropological approach to religion entails seeing, rituals, myths, symbols and ethics of the “secrets” created by the society. Hence, through these objects, they contend that sacredness is present in their lives because they fulfill their inner desires. Christians relate sacred in reverence to God. This can be seen through actions such as prayer life.
Prayer connects a human being to the spiritual world. Christians believe that by being created by God, they have complete commitment to proclaim the goodness, wisdom, sovereignty of God by being dependence of him (Deutsch, 66). Besides, the sacredness of a Christians occurs naturally. This implies that by being aware of “natural care” granted by the unseen power, they ought to give thanks to the sacredness of life as children of holy church.
Religion has been regarded as a network connected thoughts and beliefs which aims of achieving a deeper understanding particularly security and matters of the heart. Human can achieve security through different means or methods. These methods include; having more possessions, being healthy, encountering success and being famous. Besides, every form of religion has a critical function of providing hope to its audience if they do good deeds, trust in God, and give alms among other things Consumerism answers human-physical needs on short-term goals. Thus, they offer a purpose for life by satisfying short-term desires for humans.
Christianity grants hope to its followers by providing inner strength and joy through God. The Christian believe of Gods omnipresent and doing His as it pertains to the Bible are assured of His protection and preparedness of His final coming to reward good works. Hence, Christian’s beliefs are long lasting confirming the true nature of religion than Consumerism practices.
Deutsch, Eliot. Religion and Spirituality, New York, NY: Sunny Press, 1995.
Gore, Albert. Earth in the balance: Ecology and the human spirit. New York, NY: Houghton Miffl in Company, 1992.
McDaniel, Jay Byrd. Living from the center: Spirituality in an age of Consumerism. St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 2000.
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Young, William A. The World’s Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, New York: Prentice Hall, 2005.