7 junio, 2024

Religious norms: what they are, characteristics, types, examples, importance

What are religious norms?

The religious norms They are the rules of conduct that the practitioners of a certain religion follow, imposed by the religious authorities. These norms not only organize what is related to beliefs and worship, but also other areas of life, such as sexual relations, food, the way of dressing, among others.

Religious norms vary from one religion to another. For example, in Judaism and Islam it is forbidden to eat pork, while the Christian is free to eat moderately what he wants except on Easter, when he must refrain from eating meat. In Hinduism, the cow is a sacred animal and is never killed or eaten.

Some religious norms are presented as revealed by God himself, while others are established by high authority figures, such as the pope, a rabbi, or an imam.

Some religions have more rules than others. Judaism, Christianity and Islam require their believers to comply with numerous rites and prohibitions. Instead, Buddhism is based more on the daily practice of prayer and has the flexibility to adapt to many of the customs of the countries where it is practiced.

Characteristics of religious norms

They are the product of divine revelation.

In Christianity, for example, communion is a norm revealed and established by Christ himself during the last supper with his apostles. For Islamists, the rules of the Qur’an were dictated to Muhammad directly by Allah.

May be based on authoritative text

Other norms obtain their foundation from texts considered reliable or true, such as the Torah jewish, the Bible christian or the Koran Islamic.

The rule that Catholic priests must be celibate, for example, takes its foundation from the Gospel of Matthew, where it says:

“There are men who remain unmarried because of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever can accept this, let him accept it” (19,12).

They aspire to be timeless

Religious norms aspire to last forever, as they are considered an expression of an eternal and unalterable truth. However, the truth is that they often change.

For example, currently the mass is said in the language of each country; but before the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) the norm required that it be said in Latin.

In most cases, they are not imposed by force

Religious norms are accepted voluntarily, by faith and without being forced to. However, in some cases force is applied, as is the case among radical Islamists, who force women, under threat, to walk around with their faces covered.

They have no legal force in non-theocratic countries

In secular countries, that is, in those whose political administration is separated from religion, religious norms have no legal weight, although the religious community can activate censorship or rejection.

Theocratic countries are those where the administrators of the law and the religious leaders coincide. In these nations it is a crime to break any of the established religious norms, and they can be punished with imprisonment (for example, in Islamic countries).

Types of religious norms

Divinely Revealed Standards

There are religious norms that are said to be directly revealed by God. This is the case of the 10 commandments of Judaism, written directly by Yahweh on a stone tablet.

Norms instituted by the authority

Other rules are set by high authority figures in a religion, such as the pope, a rabbi, or an imam. For example, the Catholic norm of believing in the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary was established by Pope Pius IX in 1854.

Norms instituted by tradition

Some customs have been repeated for so long that they have become norms. For example, giving gifts at Christmas.

Importance of religious norms

Religious norms played a central role in the development of human civilization. Some recent discoveries have shown that it was religious worship, and not agriculture, the reason why humanity abandoned nomadism to settle near the great ceremonial centers.

In the beginnings of humanity, religious norms were the first laws, which indicated what things should be done and what should be avoided.

They were fundamental in the development of our moral conscience and in the containment of basic impulses, as well as in shaping a harmonious behavior in society.

Example of religious norms

Religious norms of Christianity (Catholicism)

The most important rules of Christianity are the 10 commandments:

Love God.
Do not use the name of God in vain.
Sanctify and respect the holidays of Christianity.
Honor your father and mother.
Do not kill.
Do not commit impure acts.
Do not steal.
Do not lie or give false testimonies.
Do not have impure thoughts.
Don’t covet other people’s things.

Other norms of Christianity:

Baptize newborns and those who convert to this religion.
Communion regularly.
Confession before Communion.
Do not eat meat during Holy Week.
Practice charity.

religious norms of islam

pray daily: five times, at set times, and looking in the direction of Mecca.
pilgrimage to mecca: Every believer of Islam must travel to Mecca (Saudi Arabia) at least once in his life.
Fasting during Ramadan: In this celebration you only eat and drink water before sunrise and after sunset.
cover your hair: women, even in the most liberal Muslim countries, must cover at least their hair with the hijab, and in the most radical ones, the entire body with the burqa.
Don’t eat pork: Muslims cannot eat pork because it is considered impure. All food must be halal, meaning that the food complies with sharia, or Islamic law, for purity.

Judaism religious norms

Do not steal.
Respect God.
Don’t murder.
not worship idols
Do not eat meat from live animals.
Do not commit sexual sins.
Boys have to be circumcised within 8 days of birth. Respect and know the Torah. Cover your head as respect to the creator.

Religious norms of other religions

Do not eat beef (Hinduism): This animal is considered sacred, therefore it is not killed or eaten.
You shall not take the life of any living being (Buddhism): from a human being to an ant; all life is considered sacred.
Offering regularly to the gods (Shinto): offer rice, fish and fruits to the gods to calm their anger.
Women’s clothing (orthodox evangelical church): women must rigorously take care of what they wear, make-up and the use of earrings and other adornments is prohibited, and hair must be kept above shoulder height, never longer.
Do not intervene in the body (Jehovah’s Witnesses and other religions): this means that surgical interventions or blood transfusions are not accepted, since the body is considered the temple of God. In this sense, piercings or tattoos are not allowed either.

Themes of interest

Social norms.

Legal rules.

Moral standards.

Conventional norms.

Rules of school coexistence.

Norm concept.

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