Lutheran? Catholic?

I’ve come to notice lately, especially with Easter just passing, that there is a lot of diversity in religion. Now, this is an obvious statement. Of course religion is diverse, the Jewish do this, Buddhists do this, and Christians do this. Is that what you were thinking? I am not just talking about the obvious differences. Instead, I am talking about diversity within certain religions.

There are different branches within one religion. While these religions have the same main beliefs, there are differences within the religion. The difference that really hit me was those who participate in Lent. It is a common misconception that only Catholic people participate in this activity. I have noticed that people are surprised when they find those who are non-Catholic giving an item up for Lent.

I have also noticed conversation between people of different religions about what they do on a daily or weekly basis. One example is confession. I have heard some comments about how they do not think it is necessary to confess or how they think it is weird. There are people on the other side of the argument that find it necessary to confess in order for God to forgive them.

There are a lot of different ways to practice religion. Being nondenominational, we are more of a “laid back” religion and we are not a super involved branch of Christianity. On the other hand, there are private Catholic schools that students attend to not only get an education, but to deepen their learning of their religion simultaneously.

I found it interesting that there is so much variation within one religion.

I also have heard people describing themselves and others as a “good” or “bad” Christian. My question here is who gets to decide? What makes one person more qualified to judge another person’s actions and then continue to classify them as either good or bad at a religion? In reality, there could be a “bad” Christian calling a “good” Christian bad just because they behave differently from one another. Then again, why does it matter to anyone else who is or is not a “good” Christian? Isn’t that between the person and God? Isn’t that something they need to work on?

I also find it interesting how many people that attend Wartburg, a Lutheran college, are not Lutheran. I almost attended a Catholic high school, but I admit, it was a little bit intimidating since I did not quite fit in. I have not gotten that intimidation factor here at Wartburg at all, and I think it is because there is not just one religion across the entire campus. Obviously some are more common than others, but I know that there is a wider variety than the high school I almost attended.

I think it is fascinating, as I stated previously, that we all believe in the same overarching ideas, but there are still so many difference in what we do, not only in church or for holidays, but in our everyday lives as well. It makes me wonder if some parts of other religions mimic the same one as mine.

 

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Diversity of RE 101

As a religion major, I take many courses that focus on questions. Living with Death asks the question: What does our life look like despite the fact that we all, in the end, will die someday? New Testament Studies of Paul asks: Who is Paul and what does his identity mean in terms of Christianity and the Bible. While all classes start off with a question, religion classes have a knack for asking questions that make people uncomfortable.

RE 101 Literature of the Old and New Testament do this in a way that I think needs to be done in our society more often. I often explain that RE 101 is one of the most important classes for Wartburg students to take here. The Bible is everywhere. Throughout ones life they will encounter at least one person that has an intense relationship with the Bible or at least the God of the Bible (who is also the God of the Quran). Because of this I think it is so important that students learn about this ancient text and what it actually says.

Since everyone has to take this class here there are students from all backgrounds in the class. There are Christians of all sort, Jewish people, atheists, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus, etc, in this class. This makes for an interesting class period. Some come into it thinking they know everything about the Bible because they grew up heavily involved with their church back home. Others come into the class afraid to say a word because they know absolutely nothing about this book and the religion that created it.

This class makes one treat their belief system like a machine. RE 101 makes one take apart their machine, part by part, and examine the parts that comprise it. It makes them ask the question: Why do I believe this and what does that mean exactly? After the class is over the goal is that hopefully one has started from where they were and broken everything down to the bottom and then started to rebuild what it is they believe. Sometimes it is exactly the same machine, part for part. Sometimes it is a completely new machine, none of the same parts, Sometimes it is a machine that looks similar but has some new parts added and some old parts subtracted.

Everyone has to deal with religion in some way during their lifetime. I think it is important to try an understand where people are coming from since religion can be such a huge part of their lives a well as the whole society. Even though it is a Bible class, it allows for so much interfaith conversation to happen as well as shines light on a religion that many claim are ruining society while others claim will save the society.

DIVERSITY AND RESTRICTIONS IN GENDER ROLES.

Gender role is what society says its appropriate for male and females, including dress, behavior, hairstyle, speech, the way people walk or use their hands, and other different activities. When children encounter gender role restrictions that don’t make sense to them, they often conclude that they have a problem and begin monitoring themselves to make sure they don’t step outside the gender role considered appropriate for their assigned sex. For example, some boys try to hold back their tears as they go through tough times for example when their close relatives die, when they are heartbroken or when they are disappointed because the society says that strong boys do not cry. Most of the times restrictions for gender roles differ because of different cultural beliefs. What is accepted or considered appropriate in one culture or country is completely unacceptable in another culture or country. For example, in the United States, adult women are allowed to drive, they are allowed to join the army, while in some countries it is forbidden.

Also some religions they don’t think that a female can be a leader of a church for example being a pastor or a Bishop. In politics also, some cultures they do not want to be led by a female as they think that man can be better leaders than females. When people grow up they learn from their elders,  and some people tend to stick to what they only learn from their elders and not want to learn more and understand how today’s world is.  For example in my country, some people who live in  the countryside have less assess to social media, therefore, children  learn from their elders and they still believe that the role of a women in society is to have children and take care of the family whilist the husband goes to work and provide for the family. Unlike children who grow up having access to social media they are always updated and tend to understand how the world is changing. 2 1st-century beliefs about gender roles are different from the beliefs that people had in the 19th century. There is now gender balance, what men can do can also be done by females. Some of the most successful women such as Oprah have proved that.

The new doctor who female doctor Jodie Whittaker has also proven that people in the role don’t always have to tick the same box. Though the introduction of a new female doctor has led to fans of Doctor Who being divided as some fans says that the character has always been a man, therefore, BBC ruined the character by introducing a female in the role. Surprisingly some people started hating on the female Doctor before they have even seen how she plays the role, this is because of the restrictions that the society has when it comes to gender roles.

Religion and Doctor Who

Religion is one of those subjects that your mother always says not to talk about at the dinner table, but today we are going to about religion. There are many types of religion in the world, but Christianity seems to be the most prominent. Because of this the ideas of the religion can be seen in at least one episode we have watched.

The first time that religion is showed in Doctor Who is in the episode “Father’s Day.” During this episode there is a wedding that is interrupted by reapers. These reapers are monster who show up when a major change occurs in the past timeline. They attack and start to erase people from history. For this reason, The Doctor ushers the wedding party and guests into the church saying that it will protect them. This is a recurring theme throughout pop culture and Christianity.

Many television shows and movies show churches as a shelter/safe place just like in the episode mentioned above. In most media a church is seen as holy ground meaning that monsters cannot get in and attack humans. They are also shown as a place where people can go and confess all the bad things they have done in their life. This is not only true in the media because that still happens today.

Growing up in a Christian church I was taught that the church is a safe place. It was a place where I could go when I felt lost and where I would be forgiven. Not only that but the church brings a sense of community for people. That sense of community is what gives people a sense of safety. Although I don’t go to the church I grew up in I still feel that sense of safety. Mainly when I attend chapel services on campus every Sunday. The safety of the church is not a new thought because the idea has been around for hundreds of years.

An example of the church being a safe place for years is the reformation. Martin Luther nailed the 95 theses to the door of a church that was located in the middle of the town. Since the church is in the middle of the town it is seen as a fortress. Back then the church was literally a fortress. It was the last line of defense if the town was ever attacked by enemies. This brings us back to the episode where the church is seen as a fortress protecting the people from the reapers.

Diversity and Religion Exclusion

Growing up in a small town, I never really experienced religious diversity for most of my childhood. Although I knew other religions existed, nearly everyone in our town of three hundred people went to the same church. My parents were of different faith backgrounds, but my father was not very active in his church and did not regularly attend. It wasn’t until I was around the age of ten that I had my first experience with religious diversity and moreover, religious exclusion. In the fourth grade, students from our school could begin playing competitive basketball on a team, which was combined with students from a town several miles away. At one of the first practices, I remember noticing that a group of about five or six girls from the other town refused to talk to or even acknowledge two of the other girls from their town. As I continued to observe the practice, I noticed that there were no obvious reasons as to why the two girls were being excluded; they were both fairly friendly and athletic and one could even make reverse layups, which was an impressive skill at the age of ten. However, the other girls would not associate with them on and off the court, refusing to even pass them the ball. At the end of practice, when the girls who had been excluding the others were gone, I asked the friendlier of the two excluded girls why this was happening. I still remember the discouraged and embarrassed look on her face as she said, “We’re Mennonite. We don’t go to the right church.” This was incredibly confusing and frustrating for me, as I couldn’t comprehend how a group of Christian individuals could exclude other Christians because of their faith. The main goal of Christianity that I knew up until that point was to accept and love others, not to use religion as an excuse to disallow others the opportunity of friendship. To this day, I have yet to understand how people who consider themselves Christians use this title as a way to ostracize others of different faiths, pushing them out of their lives, and in more recent cases, out of the country. As a moral Christian, and moreover a compassionate individual, I believe we must come together as a country to curb the belief that those different than us are less than people. We must see others for what they are, human beings like ourselves trying to make a life for themselves and those who they care about.