Religion on earth can be analyzed from the rites of passage that humans on earth pass through in life. These are birth, marriage (which is optional) and death which will be analyzed from the perspective of the religions I have identified to be the most prevalent. There are quite a large number of Religious groups on earth these are Christianity, Islam. Buddhism, Hindu, Judaism, Mormons, Rastafarianism, Sikhism, Baha’i among others.
Humans that practice Christianity are the followers of Jesus Christ. It is the sub-divided into various denominations. These are Roman Catholics, Protestants. It was the most widespread religion with a majority of the t people affiliating themselves with this religion.
In Christianity, Baptism was the only rite of passage that seemed common across the denominations. In Baptism, one was now considered a bona-fide, so to speak, member of the Christian community. It is preferred that it happens during childhood among the Roman Catholics, but it can still be done in adult life. With baptism one is considered ‘cleansed’, therefore, water is always present during baptism (Hopkins & Bahl 2000).
Marriage among the Christians is not compulsory. However, one of the Christian doctrines is that children should not be borne outside of marriage. A common trend that can be observed among Christian earthlings is their disregard for the institution of marriage and the ease at which it crumbles among them. This has led to children who have not been brought up in a family setup which leads to adults that regard marriage as a failed institution thus continuing the vicious cycle (J Green? & M Green 1992).
There are no documented rituals that are conducted upon the death of a Christian; however, they believe in the afterlife. In order for one to access the Kingdom of God (heaven) one has to be in Good terms with God before death otherwise one is doomed to perish in Hell.
The followers of Islam are Muslims whose Holy book they call the Quran. There place of worship is referred to as a mosque. There are two main Denominations Sunni and the Shiite Muslims. Their faith is held in five pillars: Creed, there is only one God who is supreme and his prophet is Mohammed; Prayer should be done five times a day while facing Mecca; Giving alms to the poor; fasting which is done in the Holy month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset; pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in the a person’s life. Muslims are forbidden from eating any pork related products and any meat they consume should be Halal, animals that have been killed according to the procedures stipulated by Islamic law.
When a baby is born to a Muslim family it is required that a short prayer is whispered into the baby’s ear. Having children outside of marriage is forbidden in the Islamic Religion the consequences of these maybe whipping or stoning to death for bringing shame to the family. Married Islamic women are required to adhere to a modest code of dressing by wearing the Hijab or the Burqa.
Death is very ritualistic among the Muslims. A dead Muslim should not be handled by non-Muslims, and the face should be turned towards Mecca as soon as possible. The body should then be wrapped in a white sheet. Muslims believe in resurrection and therefore they never cremate their dead.
Judaism it is centered on obeying the Ten Commandments, charity and tolerance towards fellow man. A child borne to this religion must be circumcised within eight days of birth. This is done by a special religious person known as the Mohel.
There are no special rituals that are conducted in marriage. In death however, they prefer that the body is not handled by non Jews until a designated religious leader can be reached. Jewish doctrines stipulate that the body should be placed facing the doorway or a candle and wrapped in a white sheet.
Religion appears as a tool used by humans in-order to help them differentiate what is morally right or wrong in cases where the law of that land does not apply. It guides humans with their day to day relations with each other, how to treating the less fortunate and a source of comfort in times if distress (Julia 1987). It also acts as an explanation for the things that are beyond their understanding as humans. The common thing among all these religions is that they concede that there is indeed a supreme Deity who has control on the direction that their lives take. Each and every religion has its own beliefs and doctrines and consequences that follow if these doctrines are not followed. Despite this common consensus there are frequent disagreements among the various religious groups which at times flare up to inter-denominational wars or inter-sectoral wars, some which have lasted across generations (Why are there so many Christian denominations?).
In conclusion, the people of the earth are united in their individual faiths but not as a race. Instead of allowing religion to unite them it acts as a tool for the division which beats the purpose of each their religion as there was no one religion that did not emphasize on the need to love thy fellow neighbor.