Religion has encouraged and often discouraged certain behaviors in civilization. Many of these behavioral commandments are meant as a means of helping to maintain the integrity of the religion along with helping to foster growth from a societal perspective. For example, in Christian religion, the commandments can be viewed as not only religion edicts but also as a roadmap for successful societal orientation. The commandments related to stealing or murdering are not necessarily unique to the Christian religion but are instead necessary for society to survive. Interesting, many religions place a very particular emphasis related to behaviors surrounding jealously. Again, using the example of the Christian religion, three of the ten commandments are heavily related to the concept of jealously. These concepts include forbidding stealing, coveting a neighbors wife, or coveting a neighbors material. Here again, these elements are necessary for the overall survival of society and not necessarily attributable to the particular religion.
Gift giving is a natural extension of the jealousy concepts discussed above. Nearly all major religions emphasize so form of gift giving as a means of self-discipline and the need to help those who are less fortunate. In the Christian religion, the need for gift giving has been seen prior to the birth of Jesus Christ. Here, the bible refers to three wise men who are often depicted as foreigners who brought gives to Jesus shortly after his birth. The wise men brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Interesting, it is this act that provides the first similarity of gift giving between religions. Here, the universal acceptance of gold as a medium of value is unprecedented. Nearly all religion appears to hold gold in high regard as it relates to gift giving. From a person perspective, this often leads me to inquire as to why all the Gods universally accept this item as a gift. Is it that the Gods themselves accept this gift, or is it that many of the religions are man-made, and thus reflect the internal desires of man as oppose to the will of the supposed God? Here, it is possible that gift giving is simply used as a means to expand the domain and authority of humans and less to do with the particular god of the religion (Lorenzen, 2018).
This concept piqued my interest from a Christian perspective as gift giving is…much more capitalistic society of today which emphasized the need for goods and services. In this religion, gift giving is seen as a way of abstaining from the natural desires of life and of man to conquer and obtain physical goods. In this religion, it is this pursuit and its subsequent greed that create sin and follow in the world. The constant need for more land, more money, and more power often corrupts the minds of men, which inadvertently causes them to conduct themselves in an inappropriate manner. By giving a majority of their prized possessions away, they can avoid many of these sinful circumstances.
This is a particularly interesting concept as it runs counter to some of the Christian beliefs discussed above. Namely, gifts are used as a means to avoid corruption in the Buddhist community, while they are often the cause of corruption within the Christian community. Likewise, much of the lavish and flamboyant lifestyles of popular Christian evangelists would not be seen, at least publicly, within the Buddhist community. Here, the concept of minimalism is practices by all of the congregation within the Buddhist community, whereas certain elements appear to be contradictory within the Christian…
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