World Religion Initiation

World Religions and Initiation

Cody Baldwin, Fall 2015.

In this blog I dive into some of the most important rituals and ceremonies in five of the largest religions.  Initiation is vital to a religion as it reinforces a person’s entrance into the religion as well as the community.  I was able to interview a Hindu and get her thoughts on the Hindu Upanayanam. This blog provides a high level overview of these ceremonies and rituals.  It covers: Christian Baptism ceremony to symbolize the new life of Christian who has formally entered the religion, Jewish Bar Mitzvahs that serve as a rite of passage for young men and marks their entry into manhood, Muslim Shahada where Muslims pronounce their faith publicly and officially become a member of Islam, Hindu Upanayanam when young men and boys enter Hinduism and manhood seeming to merge two ideals from Christianity and Judaism.  These ceremonies are thousands of years old and continue to mark entry into the highest populated religions.  Over the years some have dwindled in importance, while some have simply evolved to include more progressive ideas, such as a woman’s rite of passage.  It is important to study these rituals and ceremonies in great detail because nearly all members of each of these communities have undergone some type of initiation.  It is interesting to see how these rites of passage play such a large role.  The Muslim Shahada, or profession of faith is so important it is considered one of the five pillars of Islam.  You will see many examples of the importance of these rituals in this document.