After much deep thought and brainstorming about this reflective statement for the monotheistic religions, I realized how much that I have grown intellectually since the beginning of the semester. It is evident that I truly put what Mr. K said at the beginning of the semester into theory: “don’t believe anything I say. ” Prior to taking this course I had very little knowledge about world religions, and the only knowledge I did have were taken from media sources. I was very eager to learn about Zoroastrianism, Judaism, and Sikhism, but not so much about Christianity because I am quite familiar with Christianity.
This assignment made me realize that I never took the time to think outside of the box, and I’m happy to say that I started, not only in this class, but in all of my other courses. The video “History on The Devil” was especially captivating because the word “devil” is synonymous with numerous religions, and used quite frequently in everyday life. I was raised Catholic, and I always associated the Devil with all of the stereotypical ideas and theories like: the fight between good and evil, and the opposite of God. After watching the movie, the meaning of the Devil changed.
Now it means anything that is destructive to one’s self. General examples include not losing 10 lbs. due to lack of exercise, a drug addiction, and abusive significant other, or not pursuing a life-long dream. Personally, the challenge or “Devil” that I face in my life is not completing my degree in a timely manner. I have allowed too many obstacles to come into my path, and delay my success. It is odd how a movie on the devil would offer me motivation to complete school. Chapter 8 Judaism was very intriguing to me because I wanted to visit B’Nai Israel Synagogue for my Religious Visit report.
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I did not want to attend the service without a basic knowledge of Judaism because I felt like that would have been somewhat disrespectful and in order to be fully immersed in the culture I needed a foundation. According to the text book Israel refers to “all those who answer the call of God and who acknowledge and strive to obey the one God, through The Torah, or teachings, given to the patriarchs, Moses, and the prophets. ” It is this aforementioned quote that intrigued me to learn more about Judaism.
It was a simple statement, but I wanted to learn more. As a child, I attended a Synagogue for a summer camp. I am not a practicing Jew, nor are my parents or any close relatives, so at times I felt left out. I remember taking Challah bread on Fridays, and reading out of what I thought was “The Bible, which is referred to as Tanakh, but I never learned anything about what Jewish people believed or their heritage. There is more to follow on Judaism in my report. I hate to admit this, but I had several stereotypical views of Islam.
The aspects of Islam that offended me were the treatment of women, how the institution of marriage is treated, the fact that it is a patriarchal religion, and its affiliation with U. S terrorism. After reviewing the text and videos, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Islam means “peace”, and that treatment of women has improved dramatically. Furthermore, polygamy is allowed, but rarely practiced. The spiritual practices and beliefs of Muslims can be summed up in the Five Pillars: belief and witness, daily prayer, zakat (charity), fasting, and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca).
The last religion I would like to touch base on is Sikhism. I grew up in Taos, NM and there was a Sihk temple down the street, and I was always fascinated by this culture. After researching Sikhism in NM, it is interesting to know that Epola, NM houses one of the world’s largest populations of Sikhs in the entire world. Sikhism is a monotheistic religion that originated in India in the 15th century. Their place of worship is called gurdwara. The Five K’s refers to the article of faith worn by the Sikhs which include: Kesh, kangha, kara, kachera, and kirpan.
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