Beliefs and Believers
Belief, Communal and Seeker religious styles are used widely in the video series in this
course. I believe most people can identify with each style at one point in their lives.
The belief style deals with boundary questions. It is the basics that make up what you
think and hold to be true. Communal style is belonging to a group that hold the same
truths as you do. It is like being a part of a community. Seeker style is for those who
may have held certain truths, but are now unsure. The community in which they belonged
now doesnít seem to "fit". Or the seeker may just be asking more profound questions.
There is much validity in the study of each of these styles. It may turn our study inward
to where we are, belief, communal, or seeker?
All religions began with a myth of some sort. Be it Christianity and the creation of the
world or Buddhism and the journey of Siddharta to enlightenment. Myth can also point to
the future. The communication of myth is often acted out in ritual. One example is the
Last Supper. Which is still celebrated today in most Christian churches in America. Each
may have a peculiar way of doing so, but the message is still the same.
Symbolic depth helps laity understand myth in religion. There may be certain truths that
are either too abstract or difficult to understand, so explanantions are made to aid in
understading. One may not be able to understand why humans are inevitably going to die.
An Indian legend or story from Genesis in the Bible can satisfy the curiousity. It may be
an explanation that is silly to some and widely accepted by others.
Some key function of myth in religion as discussed in Beliefs and Believers and the video
series are as follows: It answers profound life questions. This is important to
religious followers as described in the above paragraph. It guides individual and
collective behavior. Myth makes up the "basics" of religion. It is these basics that
make up the behavior of the believer. It affects how they act and react in respect to
their beliefs. It engenders self-esteem and empowerment. All people want to feel good
about themselves. We have an inner need to believe we are a part of something great and we
are important. It orders existence. From the history of the beginning to how its all
going to end, myth in religion sets things in a certain order. It provides reverence for
the past; hope for the future. In order for something or someone to have substance, there
has to be a beginning. Credibility is not given to "fly-by-night" operations. History
gives this depth and a clear plan for the future completes the package.