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The human experience is a highly diverse one, especially since no two human beings perspectives, lifestyles, goals, experiences and indeed one’s own personal roadmap in life, are ever the same Likewise, different societies foster different needs as well as expectations of their populace. When scientists, researchers as well as the general public, begin to delve into the realms of both “cultural” as well as “moral” relativism, their seems to develop a general consensus regarding the “usage” as well as identification of both cultural/moral relativism within a given society ,this not only help us to separate the key differences between both of these definitions as well as their usage, but also helps researchers, scientists, students and the general public ,to become increasingly aware of how these “terms“ are identified within the context of a studied society ( on a daily basis) as well as well as how they function within a cultural (social group/context) perspective.
This essay will highlight the written work of Miner (1958) and his work on “Nacirema”, as it pertains to the concept of “Religion’i In addition, I will also examine my own culture from an “eLic” (outsider’s) perspective as well as the highly diverse culture of the Nacirema from an “Emic” (insider’s) point of view, in a better attempt to understand cultural relativism, previously held misconceptions and ethnocentric beliefs concerning each of these examined cultures From an Etic’s (outsider’s) perspective, my culture living in America (Western) would be considered a glamorous one at best.
Simply put, even the poorest in America still have excess to even some of the most basic necessities that many in both 2“d and 3rd world countries still live without. Here in America “In spite of spiraling inflation, and energy costs, socio-economic data now shows that less than 7 percent of all Americans live below the US poverty line, and even this 7 percent live better than 85 percent of the rest of the world‘s population”.
Furthermore, when it comes to the concept of Religion, The 2010 “ Gallup poll revealed a startling link between religious devotion and poverty citing that “places without strong social safety nets to provide people with opportunities for upward mobility, people are more likely to rely on religion for comfort” (Miller, M. (2014, August 27), America Culture (Concept of Religion) from the Perspective of an Etic, (Nacirema, Outsider) From the perspective of an Etic, (outsider) such as an individual from the Nacirema people, this phenomenon might not be so easy to understand since the Nacirema people of North America are deeply entrenched and subsequently apart of a culture which is based upon the fostering of highly mystical beliefs with corresponding ritualst The concept of mostly poor people believing and worshipping God, would be completely unheard of since all whom are part of the Nacirema ( no matter if they are considered rich or poor in the tribe) are still highly religious (superstitious) and partake in daily ritual with “Shrines” decorating each of the rooms in their homes to the Nacirema, the concept of God is rather sacred, to be revered by everyone (not just the working class or dirt poor) and God is all around them where ever they go no matter what they are doing.
Thus, a Etic may review western society as rather “superficial” and “decadent” for turning to God for salvation and the answering of prayers (as supposed to not talking the “good” with the “bad“ and believing in God no matter the outcome of any given situation), Culture of the Nacirema From an “Emic” (Insider’s) Point of View In the culture of the Naciema and from the perspective of an “Emic” (Insider’s) Point of View, the body is seen as ugly and always a heartbeat away from diseases and potential life threatening illnesses. Consequently, the people of the Naciema, have turned to God” as well as the need for elaborate rituals to prevent the demise of their bodies their tribe and their way of life itself. In the tribe of the Naciema, “God” is expected to be feared as well as respected, and his messengers in the form of Witch Doctors, Shamans, and other spiritual/religious officials are deeply venerated and cherished yet feared at the same time. Furthermore and all members of the Naciema have shrines dedicated to their rituals, God and mystical beliefs. These religious officials also protect the populace of the Naciema through their magic works. The rituals, the presence felt and the overall results of the rituals performed (science may contribute it to the power of wishful thinking) all give credence to an all mighty powerful source, that cannot be readily (easily) seen or easily felt without the “gift” (or rather consciousness) that somehow knows what science and other more current fields of discipline are just starting to become aware of from a more modern and “scientific” approach. Conclusion The concept of religion in intertwined with the realms of both spirituality and mysticism. Consequently this topic deserves our empathy but also our devotion and study. In the case of the Naciema and in contrast with modern day Americans across the country these aspects are just beginning to intersect. The power as well as knowledge that could be learned, studied further practiced and consequently revealed to the general public could benefit society in many way both
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