20 Examples of Religious Norms

The religious norms They are, as their name indicates, they are those that make up the code of conduct proposed by a specific religion, and that dictate various aspects of the lives of the faithful. They are usually contained in some type of sacred text (such as the Bible, the Koran, etc.) and are interpreted by a priest or spiritual guide of some nature. For instance: celibacy, fasting, prayer.

These rules, which regulate various vital aspects From food, sex, hygiene, family construction, prayer, justice and even clothing, they are assumed by the faithful with greater or lesser rigor, understood as a divine mandate (heteronymous norms) whose disobedience will bring eternal punishments or the loss of the further state of grace. The nature of these norms obeys that of the specific religious cult and, ultimately, the culture that gave rise to it.

At the time, religious norms were an important ethical code, moral and social of primitive societies, providing human groups with a code by which to govern their conduct and a primitive form of jurisprudence, based on the unquestionable divine will.

This is why many of the current legal codes are heirs to varying degrees of the moral and religious codes that preceded them.

However, in many cases they can be source of conflict with more secular views of organized society, whose social and legal foundations were separated, at least in the case of the West, from religious texts centuries ago and today constitute an autonomous code of coexistence.

baptism - religious norms

Examples of religious norms

  1. Pig ban. In the Jewish religion, the pig is considered an impure animal, and therefore its consumption is strictly prohibited. The most orthodox practitioners of this religion, therefore, never taste a bite of said meat.
  2. Cover the woman. Very controversial tradition in western countries with a strong Muslim presence, such as France. Islam proposes that women should hide their bodies from the view of strangers, so as not to incur the sin of inciting them to lust. This is strictly observed in the most radical Muslim countries, which cover with a burqa women, barely letting their eyes show (sometimes not even that). Less strict variants are content with the woman covering her hair with a discreet veil.
  3. Wearing white when you get married. This custom, more than the norm, of Christian religious marriages, requires the bride to wear white when going to the altar to be joined by the priest with her future husband. This color is a symbol of purity and chastity, although nowadays there are not many who cling to the mandate to become virgins at marriage.
  4. Celibacy. For many religions, chastity is a vow to renounce the callings of the body and surrender to a spiritual model of existence. In that sense, it is imposed on its priests and imams, since they have the mission of connecting the congregation with the divine, but also the monks and pursuers of enlightenment, as in the case of Zen Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
  5. Fasts. Both the Arab and the Jewish religion contemplate fasting as a method of expiation or purging of the sins of the soul through the body. In the month of Ramadan and on Yom Kippur, respectively, food intake and in some cases even personal hygiene and sexual relations are prohibited or restricted.
  6. Alcohol restriction. Although no religion welcomes the abuse of alcohol, many use it in their rites, such as Catholic consecration wine, such as Islam, are particularly strict with it, prohibiting all kinds of alcoholic beverages or recreational drugs, since they divert man from the path traced by divine regulations.
  7. Baptisms or purifications. Religions such as Hindu or Christian contemplate purification rituals that must be done frequently (bathing in the Ganges River) or once in life (baptizing) to cleanse the spirit and access a full commitment to the model of values ​​embodied in religion .
  8. The sentence. Probably the most universal of religious norms is prayer in its various aspects and possibilities, understood as supplication, prayer, petition or simply meditation and introspection, according to the religion that is practiced and the link that it proposes with what divine. Prayer should be done daily, either at certain special times (before eating, before sleeping, at sunset, etc.) or as part of mass rites (masses, the salat).
  9. The Crossing. In the Catholic religion, the cross is an important gesture of acceptance of the faith, as well as protection or invocation of divine help. The sign of the cross of Jesus Christ is made on the body itself, first on the head, then the torso and finally the shoulders. This gesture should accompany each prayer and should often be done while in the presence of a church or cemetery.
  10. Cow worship. For Hinduism the cow is a sacred symbol and therefore a protected animal. Not only is it forbidden to eat their meat, but they should not be touched, much less hit or forced to move, or restrict their passage under any circumstances.
  11. Wear white for a year. In the Yoruba religion (Santeria), the commitment of the faithful to the specific deity that will protect them throughout life is expressed during a whole year, during which they will not be able to wear more than white clothes and the specific necklaces of the cult.
  12. Punish murder and robbery. Perhaps on this the religious and modern legal codes are very much in agreement, although the forms of punishment are different. In the most radical Islamic religions, thieves have their robbed hands cut off, while the Catholic world threatens eternal perdition in hell.
  13. Punish infidelity. In this, certain religions are more police than others, but in general, no one welcomes the desire of other people’s women. Islamic radicals will stone adulterers, while Christianity, inspired by Jesus Christ’s forgiveness of the prostitute Mary Magdalene, may be more permissive about it. Even so, in both religious settings, women always have the losers in those cases.
  14. Do not intervene the body. Many religions pose the human body as a form of sacred temple, whose intervention is punished by God. In that sense, they reject tattoos, piercings or even, as in the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses, blood transfusions.
  15. Rejection of menstruation. This is an unfortunate norm, a product of the macho tendencies that are found in many of our religions and cultures. According to the Bible, the woman during her menstrual cycle is “unclean” and therefore should not have sexual intercourse with her, nor should she even sleep together with her husband. Fortunately, this is not fully fulfilled except in very extreme cases, but it is part of the discourses of shame about the female body that many feminist groups fight today.
  16. Attend Sunday Mass. This obligation of life concerns most of the Christian sects, but especially the Catholic one. The parishioners should meet in church on Sundays to worship God and carry out certain rites of faith reaffirmation in community. To do this, they must go at the same time, with a more or less formal dress, and behave within a certain behavior of obedience and generosity.
  17. Control of female clothing. For the Orthodox Evangelical Church, the use of earrings, earrings or this type of clothing is prohibited, since they refer to ancient forms of slavery. The same goes for makeup, or cutting hair above the shoulders.
  18. Cremation. Although many religions prohibit cremation or view it with bad eyes, others like the Hindu adopt it as a commandment, precisely to avoid the decomposition and decay of the body that occurs after death.
  19. Do not eat red meat. During Holy Week, in most Catholic countries no red meat is eaten, but is replaced with chicken and fish. This as a symbol of respect for physical suffering and the blood shed on the Cross by Jesus Christ.
  20. Do not worship false idols. This Christian commandment has been interpreted differently by religious sects that are governed by the Bible, many of which reject the acquisition and worship of images (statuettes, saints, carvings, etc.) because they consider that the divine cannot be represented. Other churches, such as the Catholic, practically base their worship on these images and on a representative pavilion or saints.