Sunday, July 12, 2015

Some religious practices - their impact to health and the environment

There are many religious rituals and practices in various faiths that fall under either of the categories – to help or destroy our health and environment. This is a good assignment in schools and community workshops. It is time to review them in the light of health warnings and  the environmental concerns.

Dr Abe V Rotor

1. On Palm Sunday trees are stripped of their buds, leaves and stems. This is detrimental to the environment especially in summer when plants face tight water regime.(Acknowledgement: Internet photo, Wikipedia)

2. Fasting is cleansing, it helps the body stop the accumulation of unwanted substances such as cholesterol, and allows the body to eliminate toxic materials.

3. Retreat and reflection is therapy, helps the mind and body release tension and do away with the effects of stress.
 

4. Abstinence conserves animal population especially during the lean months, conserving breeding stocks - like seeds (binhi) – in order to multiply in the next season.
 

5. To some religions pork is banned. Pork is a carrier of known parasites such as tapeworm, hookworm, and ascaris. 

6. Ancient religions regard certain places and trees sacred, thus enhancing their conservation. Such worship was replaced by later religions, thus losing their protection. 


7. The washing of feet is not only ritual, it is also sanitation, getting rid of germs and preventing them to spread. 


8. Walking on knees, a form of penitence, usually along the aisle to reach the altar, is harmful to the knee joint and cap (patella).
 

9. Self inflicting of wounds imitating the scorging at the pillar, practiced by flagellants amy lead to loss of blood, serious infection, and even death.
 

10. Communal holy water may become a breeding place of vermin and germs causing ailments and epidemic diseases.



11. Receive holy communion photo with the palm of your hand to lessen the possibility of disease transmission. (Photos from Internet)


12. Kissing or touching the dead. Diseases like Ebola, SARS, MERS-CoV must be strictly quarantined.~

How do you classify the following 10 practices?
  • Removing shoes and slippers before entering a temple of worship
  • Viewing the bright sky and even the sun - to witness a miracle 
  • Wearing robes and habits of holy persons
  • Wearing veil when attending mass or any ritual inside the church
  • Baptism by immersion in a pool or river
  • Offering flowers at the altar, especially in the month of May
  • Walking barefoot as penitence, usually under the sun on rough road..
  • Actual crucifixion on Good Friday as "ultimate penitence"   
  • Joining a huge religious assembly or procession such as the Black Nazarene. 
  •  Kissing icons for intercession or expression of reverence

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