What Are The Applications Of Theology?

When religious beliefs are applied in practical ways, then that is known as applied theology. This term typically refers to Christian theological beliefs that are lived out during the normal activities of an adherent. It also refers to the works or the way of functioning of Christian missions or ministry. Missions in general help to spread theological beliefs and how people should live them. Usually, theological seminars are held where discourses are held in applied theology. Often, such coursework is part of a theology degree program that a candidate undergoes. Other faiths and how they should apply the religious belief inherent in them are similar applications of theology.

Christian missions

Applied theology and its practice are seen in many Christian missionary works. There is evidence of evangelistic efforts, volunteerism, and acts of mercy that are seen as applied theology where a more humane approach is taken. Through such acts, Christian beliefs are impressed upon by adherents to those who do not follow Christian doctrines.

The acts of kindness that are shown to people who suffer are often a field of applied theology. However, such attempts are not without controversy as many feel that such acts are intrusive. However, many charities across the world continue to work with the belief that their religion requires them to offer charity to others. Often, such acts are carried out with theological arguments given in support for such actions.

Often applied theology was misinterpreted by many who tried to impress as well as convert others to Christian beliefs. Legal action is taken around such efforts in order to protect those who practice practical theology. Such laws in the US restrain the evangelistic zeal being shown to the public. In the US there are laws under freedom of religion act where protection is given to those who wish to express their views on applied theology and to ensure that they can draw someone to participate in a ritual or a debate without coercion or persuasion.

Many Christian seminaries offer courses in applied theology and pastors engage in such activities as part of their ministerial duties. Many religious institutions help people who are poor, are in grief or suffering. Many Christian ministers are required to assist such people in order to retain or be suitable for such posts. However, application of one’s faith cannot be restricted to Christianity alone. It might be the first religion that actively advocates such actions, but every other faith needs to create a sense of responsibility towards others among every follower. Indeed, applied theology should transcend beyond the barriers of a specific religion and help people realize humanity as being the greatest religion of all. That would be the ultimate aim of any scientific approach to such a field of studies.

Oldest Religions In The World And How They Formed

The oldest forms of worship that can be traced back to ancient times are animism, shamanism and the worship of ancestors. Such kinds of worship were prevalent around 300,000BCE. The oldest organized form of religions is Hinduism followed by Judaism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Jainism. The origin of Hinduism was in India, while Jainism, as well as Buddhism, originated in Nepal, Taoism in China and Judaism in Israel. Other old forms of religion are Shintoism which is a Japanese spiritual belief and practice. Other old forms of worship are Confucianism, Zoroastrianism, and pantheism.

Buddhism

When we refer to old forms of religion, we refer to evidence of organized form of religions that were practiced based on certain rituals.  Ritual burials were in vogue as early as 300,000 years back. In the pre-organized form of worship, ancestor worship played a large role as well. Shamanism was the practice of people going into an altered form or state of consciousness that allowed them to communicate with animals or spirits. The evidence of such forms of practices is seen in cave paintings, some that date back to 320,000 BCE. These practices related to animism as well, which was a belief that all things have a spirit or soul.

Among the ancient organized religions, polytheism was a belief that included several goddesses and gods. Such a practice was seen in several societies such as among the ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Sumerians and other ancient societies. Most polytheistic religions had similar deities like water deities, mother goddesses, and love and creator deities. Hence, different cultures have similar deities in their ancient religions. Among the oldest religions, Hinduism is a major organized religion in India. It was formed based on different traditions, beliefs, and mythologies across different regions in the country. The two main movements are the cult of Vishnu which is known as Vaishnavism and that of Shiva that is known as Shaivism. Dharma or the ideal way of living is the main doctrine of Hinduism and the belief in karma or the cycle of actions and reactions which result in reincarnation or how the soul moves from one body to another.

Judaism is considered the matrix on which Islam and Christianity developed and is an ancient religion. The belief propagated by this religion is the belief in one God. The Hebrew Bible is considered the oldest religious book of this belief. This religion has a legal status in the Jewish community which establishes a criminal and civil justice system, how family relationships should be, personal values and social responsibilities. Buddhism was formed in the 6th century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama. It became one of the successful religious movements to spread across Asia and India.a