Assignment: European Religions
Although much human conduct is related to spiritualism that goes beyond practicing formal
religious teachings, these two concepts flow universally throughout all cultures. However, most of the research has focused on health and religion, as opposed to health and spirituality, primarily because religion is associated with behaviors that can be quantified (e.g., how often one prays or attends a place of worship), it can be categorized by type of religion, and there is more agreement about its meaning. Religion has a significant role in the United States and in the health. It has an impact on social lives and health behaviors and, hence, on physical and mental well-being.
Religion and rituals overlap, but not all rituals are related to religion. Rituals such as baptism and the burning of ghost money when a person dies (a tradition in China) are related to religious practices, but other rituals are not tied to religion, such as drinking tea at 3 o’clock in the afternoon every day. The chapter begins with a discussion of religion and then moves into rituals, but the separation is not definitive. We discuss how religion in America influences health. Then we focus on rituals related to health. Because these topics have such a vast scope, only a few religious practices within the United States are discussed.
Religion in the United States Spirtualism was part of the indigenous populations when the Europeans first arrived in what would become the United States. The conquering Spanish brought their Catholic priests not only for their own guidance but also to impose Christian beliefs on the natives. To a large extent the United States was established by people of strong religious beliefs, including Protestants from Europe seeking a place to practice their beliefs free from religious conflict with other European religions including Catholicism. In part because of the successful establishment of religious colonies, the United States has become “ The Land of the Free,” drawing immigrants from all over the world. The result is that almost every religion is represented and practiced somewhere in the United States.
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