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Friday, January 23, 2009

Truth in Traditions and Superstitions

Is there any truth in Traditions and Superstitions? How are these affect our faith?

Many superstitions result from lack of knowledge of causality, others from unenlightened fears. Many superstitions could be based on accidental luck or misfortune. Most are found in our society as old traditions which transferred from one generation to another.

Other people do not rely on this belief as a great deal but they do sometimes as a sort of imitation. We know that there is no understandable scientific justification of this belief, but some people still believe in it and they try hard to arrange their life according to it. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. Some believes if wearing a particular dress or ornament brought good luck on a certain occasion, then there is a tendency to repeat that dress or ornament. Subsequently if the dress or the ornament continues to bring "luck" it is our faith or belief that works in making it "lucky." Hence we have a series of superstitions, such as, if a cat crosses our path, it is bad omen. It is good luck to find a four-leaf clover; and breaking of a mirror brings seven years of bad luck.

Likewise, belief in the power of the "evil eye" is not a superstition. Evil eye is the destructive power of thought. Our thoughts coalesce with elementals and become an entity.

"Greatly mistaken, or as grossly unjust is he who affirms that...strange beliefs are limited to paganism, or that they are the direct result of the heathen religions alone. Adopted by the archaic priestly, hierarchies, the policy of subjecting the ignorant masses, by working on their untutored imaginations and credulous fears. Unstemmed it ran in a straight course, through Paganism, Judaism, and Christianism alike, catching up in its current all the garbage of human dead letter interpretations...."(The Theosophist, December 1881)

Traditions lay down the code of conduct for individuals, societies, families, etc. It is these traditions which prepare a person for the higher spiritual life. However, we need to distinguish between true and false traditions. Many traditions are universal, no mythological story, no traditional event in the folk-lore of a people has ever been, at any time, pure fiction, but that every one of such narratives has an actual, historical lining to it.

Some superstitions originated as religious practices that continued to be observed by people who no longer adhere to the religion that gave birth to the practice. Often the practices lost their original meaning in this process. In other cases, the practices are adapted to the current religion of the practicer. As an example, during the Christianizing of Europe, pagan symbols to ward off evil were replaced with the Christian Cross.

Some Churches considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments.Though lots of people find it hard to go against the traditions that have been long established in their community, they often do things because they have been well established in society, despite the fact that they are convinced that logical reasoning proves them wrong or even harmful.It is enough that we create some doubt in the recipient's mind, because this doubt will lead him to further questioning and eventual conviction of the truth. When such a person arrives at the truth in a particular aspect, realizing that contrary tradition in that particular aspect is baseless, he will acknowledge that other traditional beliefs and practices have no basis.


bluedreamer27 said...

hello my friend just dropping by to say
happy chinese new year to you
kung hei fat choi!!

WHITEShadow said...

Thanks, I don't that it's Chinese New Year's day. Anyway,I hope you are enjoying out there.

tikno said...

I like to know your opinion about praying with facing the holy-statue like in some particular society. For example, ritual in the temples.

I Whisper to God said...

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Maria said...

Early Filipino immigrant is known to be very superstitious. Some, we adapted from other cultures like Chinese.Dreams have meanings. Certain things that you do at a certain time have meaning. For example, to whistle at night could cause the wind to become stronger. To play with your food could cause you to have a stomach-ache. To have a black-and-blue mark on any part of the body without knowing how it was caused means that a spirit has touched you. To find a moth in your house means that a spirit is present. To keep spirits away from your home, one could have a piece of garlic and salt on the window sill. Filipinos believe that spirits called aswangs can possess a person and cause illness. Many Filipinos blame spirits for making people sick and they sometimes depend on faith healers to cure the person, rather than calling a medical doctor. One method or curing aches and pains is called hilot, which is a way of massaging certain parts of the body to take away the pain.

It is said that if a person dies, all of the house windows should be opened because the open windows would allow the deceased to depart. The Filipinos will make a fire until the deceased body is returned to the family from wherever he may be for instance from the hospital. When the family has the body, the body is positioned in a way that is facing the door. The feet is faced toward the door so it will allow the spirit to depart easily. The Filipinos say don’t go to bed with your feet facing to the door because it is like you are asking to die.

Another one: After a funeral, the Catholic Filipinos have a novena. Novena is nine nights of prayer for the deceased. On the fourth or ninth night the spirit returns. Food is left on the steps of the house for the spirit to return. It is said that if the people make a joyful atmosphere it will make the deceased go on to its journey to the new world. Filipinos bury their deceased in mahogany coffins. They pack clothes, their favorite hat, wallet, eyeglasses, dentures, and family pictures.

Superstitions have no scientific basis.

bluedreamer27 said...

superstitions are very dominant traits for filipino
by the way i have something for you in my site i hope you like it

Anonymous said...

How does superstition come into play with mysticism and the use of talismen in religious beliefs? Do you know what is a talisman? I think this would be a good topic for you to explore.

WHITEShadow said...

Thanks for all of the comments and input shared to me. Some of the queries I need to catch in my next post. Have a happy days with happy smiles!