Modern World Religion

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The Impact of Religion on Society

The subject of religion is complicated since the modern world, in its self-awareness, appears to be the result of the separation of the secular from the holy. However, notably during the history of the Western civilization, the denomination has occasionally eclipsed the secular. As a result, the current faiths are heavily involved in religious affairs and have an impact on legal, political, and educational matters. This is evident in the public as they live under religious dominance (Germano, 2012).

Visiting St. Joseph's Church and the Buddha Tooth Relic and Museum (BTRM)

However, I've made the decision to travel to Singapore in order to see St. Joseph's Church and the Buddha Tooth Relic and Museum in order to gain a convincing grasp of many religions (BTRM). I arranged a personal visit to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum on Friday 24th March 2017 around 1400hrs. I choose to have a trip at BTRM since relic of Buddha is greatly venerated across the world and I believed the tooth artifact must be kept in a sacred place that presents the Buddhist Principles. However, the BTRM is open to the community and it was amid the interesting places to explore. When I reached this place, I located several courtyards within the premise and all of them contained special features. For instance, on the first floor, I saw temple bell which significantly represents Buddhist's culture musical instrument. This attribute signifies wisdom, a clear mind, sanctions and it rung annually hence symbolizing an act of welcoming and appreciating Chinese New Year (Rachlin, 2013).

The Buddha Maitreya in BTRM

Inside BTRM, there exists a Buddha Maitreya in the center of the idolized Maitreya Trinity. On the right side, this feature has a Bodhisattva Great Wondrous Appearance whereas on the left it has a Bodhisattva Dharma Garden Grove. This structure was potentially modeled resembling statue that was made after Tang period statue that is on Mount Wutai in China. The Buddha Maitreya is seated in an archetypal posture with feet on lotuses thus denoting loyalty. This feature represents Bodhisattva, whom Buddhists believe will come to the earth and achieve absolute illumination and teach the unadulterated dharma. Correspondingly, Maitreya is envisaged to be the 'world-ruler' who will unite those shall be under his dominion (Germano, 2012).

The Yellow Dzambhala in BTRM

Moreover, there also exists a Yellow Dzambhala inside the BTRM. This structure is a tummy and small bodied casing with golden skin and strong arms. His left-hand holds a mongoose discharging jewels from its mouth, whereas the right-hand grasps a prized 'mani' of citron produce. He is dressed with a five-leaf crown slightly higher than his hairline, symbolizing desire satisfying jewels accompanied with a jeweled headband. He has heavenly ribbons wrapped around him and he is also clothed in his lower body. The main function of this structure is to present prosperity to emotional beings hence making a follower have monetary resources needed for a happy living (Maud, 2016).

Exploring St. Joseph's Church

On 30th March 2017 at 1630 hrs, I also paid a visit at St Joseph Church. This cathedral is situated in the middle of central business district in Singapore. This church is built by Portuguese Mission and it looks similar to Gothic. This place of worship is recognized for its Portuguese-spirited religious norms including the yearly Good Friday festivities. I observed that this church was structured based on a plan with a shape of a cross, that is, 'Latin cross'. The nave of this building ends with the outline of five sides constituting of the partial hexagon in the west which encloses the Chancel, whereas the main access to the east is traversed with transept (Hackworth & Gullikson, 2013).

The Altars of St. Joseph's Church

Amid core features in this church are five marble altars where the main altar is devoted to St Joseph and the other set aside for Our Lady of Lourdes. These two altars were made in an Italian industry owned by Fratelli Barttarelli. However, the altar of 'Our Lady' resembled Fatima statue and it represents the pilgrim sculpture from Rome that went to Singapore in 1950. These figurines signify homage to the various individuals who have participated in the establishment of the St Joseph Church (Lim, 2013). Moreover, I also saw a host of saints in the form of sculptures as well as stained glass windows that are skillfully demonstrating Italic styles of decoration. These structures stand in canopied positions around the church's walls and also alongside the altars. Indeed, these figures represent former believers who need to be emulated by the followers (Bell, 2012).

Impact of Buddhism and St. Joseph Church on the Community

Indeed, they are diverse ways into which these two religions impact the surrounding community. For instance, the Buddhism is teaching acceptable qualities including brotherhood, compassion, non-possession and peacekeeping courses. All these virtues are helping in establishment and maintenance of suitable human character, the creation of healthy society as well as motivating the society to prosper (Germano, 2012). The St Joseph Church has greatly laid emphasis on non-rivalry living, equality, and love. For example, this denomination has helped people to realize that they are artifacts of their personal destiny. Correspondingly, this religion has contributed to effective interaction amid community members through pressuring them to be assisting each other being filled love of God (Lim, 2013).


Bell, G. F. (2012). Religious legal pluralism revisited–The status of the Roman Catholic Church and her Canon law in Singapore. Asian Journal of Comparative Law, 7(49), 49-84.

Germano, D. (2012). Embodying the Dharma: Buddhist relic veneration in Asia. SUNY Press. New York.

Hackworth, J., & Gullikson, E. (2013). Giving new meaning to religious conversion: Churches, redevelopment, and secularization in Toronto. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe Canadien, 57(1), 72-89.

Lim, F. K. G. (Ed.). (2013). Christianity in contemporary China: socio-cultural perspectives (Vol. 5). Routledge. New York.

Maud, J. (2016). Buddhist Relics and Pilgrimage. In The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Buddhism (p. 421). Oxford University Press. New York.

Rachlin, H. (2013). Jumbo's Hide, Elvis's Ride, and the Tooth of Buddha: A Marvelous Tales of Historical Artifacts. Garrett County Press. New Orleans.

April 13, 2023

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