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How diverse can Religions be? Well, just the use of water has many different meanings when used in rituals. Some use it for physical cleansing. While for others it means salvation from eternal suffering. It is an excitement to learn how these religions have some things in common and some differences. Christian’s baptism differs from Shinto bath in several ways and also have one thing in common, that is water.
First of all, while both religions use water, they are different because of the fact that they do their rituals once or more than once. An example is Christians baptize only once but at times twice (Shinto, 2008). Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants baptize babies only once (Religious Conversion, 2010). Christians believe that baptism is only a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be saved or to be purified from your sins. Christians believe that what is significant about all these aspects of salvation is that they are only once-in-a-lifetime works of God. So it would not be necessary for it to be done a second time. God himself did not put in the bible that Christians should be baptized more than once (Why only baptize once, 2010). Christians tend to believe to get baptized only once when they are babies but later on they feel that they should get re-baptized at an adult age. While Christians get baptized once, Shinto’s perform their ritual every time they visit a shrine. Their ritual is a bath that is believed to be done daily, weekly, seasonal, lunar, and annual basis (Shinto, 2008). Shinto’s bath is year round and can be done repeatedly when visiting a shrine. Many Shinto’s can visit as often as they like so their soul can be calmed and cleaned. It is amazing how the religion Shinto allows different people to come and cleanse their soul year round. They also perform their rituals at ceremonies. Shinto’s also have different rituals at different times. For example, Oharae is a purification ritual for year-end, which is June and December. Shubatsu is a ritual done when there is a Sumo Wrestling (Harae-Purification Rites, 2009). So in the end both religions believe to be purified more than once or just once.
Second of all, these religions have their own reasons of why they perform their rituals using water. Christian perform baptism because they believe being baptized is to show obedience, to take upon them the name of Christ, to become members of The Church Of Jesus Christ, to receive the Holy Ghost, and to enter the Kingdom of God ( Why be baptized ,2010). The Apostolic Assembly Church believes if you get baptized you are saved and get to go to heaven once God comes for his people. Catholics, Churches of Christ, and Christadelphians believe that being baptized is an essential to salvation (Religious Conversion, 2010). In the Apostolic Church they believe it is the only way to be forgiven for your sins. Christians believe that once you get baptized you are renouncing sin (Religious Conversion, 2010). With the Catholics when the bishop prays, he is praying for you to receive the Holy Spirit that comes with seven gifts. The seven gifts are reverence, understanding, courage, knowledge, wisdom, awe and wonder and right judgment (Confirmation, 2009). So, Shinto’s take a bath because they are cleansing or purifying their souls. Apart from it being a physically cleansing, it is a way of washing away all negativity and purifying their spirit and soul (How to Purify, 2010). There is a legend that is the concept of the purifying for the Shinto. It is said that a God that went to visit his wife, who was from the Land of the Dead, and left washed himself from the pollution from that land (Harae-Purification Rites, 2009). A bath is also a ritual which frees the body and mind from contamination (Harae-Purification Rites, 2009). Purifying is one of the four affirmations for the Shinto’s. It’s astonishing how these two religions have their own belief and reasoning for their rituals.
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Last but not least, these two religions perform their rituals in different ways. Christian’s baptism is administered either by aspersion, affusion, immersion, or submersion (Christianity, 2008). But in order to get baptized you first undergo church lessons. In the Apostolic Church, they first teach you about the word of God, once you understand it, and feel like God is calling you then you get baptized. So in other words, Catholics baptize babies by only sprinkling water over their heads. Apostolic’s either goes to a lake or their own pool to put in the whole body. Christians drop water on the foreheads, water half of the body, or water the whole body. Christians are baptized by a pastor, bishop, reverend, father, or someone with authority. So the Christians baptize differently and are baptized by an important person. The Baptist Church baptizes adults by full immersion (Confirmation 2009). Some Christians re-baptize adults if they were baptized as a child. Shinto’s believe differ and they have their own way to start the bath ritual. This bath ritual is done by them. It is basically done by washing their hands and mouth at the entrance to a shrine or standing beneath a waterfall (Shinto, 2008). Shinto’s believe that going underneath a waterfall they will purify themselves more intensely. They use the ablution, which is the water basin found in front of a Shinto shrine, to purify themselves (Harae-Purification Rites, 2009). What they do is, they visit any shrine, go to an ablution, they can wash their whole bodies or the simple ritual of washing face and hands, and then they may enter the shrine.
Rituals are performed with using water but in different ways. Like Christian baptism is different than a Shinto bath in many ways but still use water. It is amazing how water is used in different rituals for many religions. In the Shinto religion anyone is welcomed to purify themselves and the Christians welcome anyone to get baptized. These two religions are amazing to think that water is used for either salvation or for taking away negativity. Both of these religions are really fascinating. These religions may seem very different, but one thing they have in common is water.
How to do a Purification Bath. 2010. http://www.ehow.com/how_2305312_do-purification-bath.html
Shintoism. 19 December 2005. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/~chen20m/classweb/116.Shintoism.html
Shinto. 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinto
Christianity. 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity
Baptism. 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptism
Why be Baptized. 2010. http://lds.about.com/od/basicsgospelprinciples/p/baptized_why.htm
Why Presbyterians Only Baptize Once. 13-19 June 2010. http://thirdmill.org/why_presbyterians_only_baptize_once
Harae-Purification Rites. 2009-9-16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/shinto/ritesrituals/harae.shtml
Religious Conversion. 2010-11-28. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/religious_conversion
Confirmation. 2009-6-23 http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianty/ritesrituals/confirmation_1.shtml
Rites of Christian Initiation of Adults. 2010-11-10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rite_of_Christi an_Intitiation_of_Adults
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