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What is religion? (Where do you find "ultimate value"? "Who are you"?)
- Throughout The Long Search, the word ‘religion’ was never defined. Religion can be thought of as a bunch of creeds, articles and statements, but this does not quite explain the whole meaning.
- Religion can be an anesthesia – it can completely soothe one’s mind to make one believe that there in nothing but good in the world. Ronald says, “There’s such a thing as committing suicide into religion, shutting your eyes, shutting your ears, switching off your mind, denying your feelings, trying to shake death off your back, running for cover. I wouldn’t deny any of that. But as I see it, that’s not what The Long Search is about, and it’s not the feeling you’re left with when you have certain unforgettable experiences.”
- All religions have truth and people searching for that truth.
- Religion can be thought of as a devotion. Or if one wears a cross, it ca be thought of in what you wear, but this is not a complete definition. People are devoted to their jobs and some people are devoted to sports –
- not expressions of religion.
- But in the religion of Zulu Zion dancing is part of religion, and to the Japanese
- tea-making is part of religion – both give meaning to life.
- It is basically a state of being. It is the realization of the divine being a part of you, immanent, or being a greater being, transcendent, than what we understand and converse about.
In Judaism, discuss Israel, struggle, music, discussion of the Law, prayer, Talmud, and Elie Wiesel.
- Israel is a people, and an actual nation; it is a secular state. Israel is struggle, because the people in Israel are in a struggle. Isra-el means he who struggled with God.
- Struggle. You have to search and strive for the truth of meaning. A struggle makes you strive for truth; or it makes you realize what is truly right. This can be done by prayer. Prayer is sometimes a struggle or challenge in itself, as in you may be praying for something you are struggling with, or suffering.
- Music is up for interpretation. How do we know what the composer intended to portray through their music? Music can get your attention and portray anguish – which represents suffering/struggle.
- Discussion of the Law: They believe that the law is more about listening and understanding than reciting or memorizing. It is like an ocean, not ‘a western book’ that you can simply read; which ties into
- the Talmud – is not something to be seen as simply written out. It is more about living out
- Elie Wiesel is a Jew that suffered and experienced immense struggle. He was a victim of the Holocaust and was one of the few survivors of the terrible concentration camps.
Discuss the definition: "Judaism is a system of communication."
- This means both vertical and horizontal communication. It is vertical from God to humanity. It is also vertical from humans back to God in the form of prayer.
- God provides the Torah, which is the law. Jews follow the Torah, and this is the vertical form of communication. In return, humans perform 'works' as a way to fulfill their Jewish duties, which is another form of vertical communication. Jews communicate horizontally amongst themselves by working for social justice and forming a community that is conducive to learning.
Define, explain, and give an example of the five pillars of Islam.
- The five pillars are Creed, Prayer, Fasting, Charity, and Pilgrimage to Mecca.
- The Muslim Creed is very short and meant to be taken literally. It leaves no room for any sort of confusion. It shows the authenticity of Muhammad and the Koran, and reads: “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet.”
- Prayer: Muslims pray five times a day facing towards Mecca. They literally face Mecca, geographically, and are morally reminded to align their lives towards Mecca. The path to Mecca is considered the ‘straight path.’ An example of this would be a business man stopping his work temporarily to pray in the direction of Mecca periodically throughout the day.
- Fasting, otherwise known as Ramadan, which is having no food or water from sunrise to sunset. This is meant to show the Muslim how frail he or she is, and how distant they actually are from Allah (transcendence). It is also meant
- to teach how people need each other for support.
- Charity, or almsgiving, is the fourth pillar. Muslims are supposed to give 1/40th of their total income per year to charity. This is viewed as a humbling sacrifice, which brings the Muslim closer to Allah.
- Pilgrimage to Mecca. Muslims must travel there at least once in their life. This is viewed as a purifying journey of worship. An example of this pilgrimage would be, as seen in the video, when many Muslims are flying on a plane together to Mecca. They are all in deep prayer, telling Allah that they are present and responding to his call to make the sacred pilgrimage.
What does a Muslim mean by "shirk"? Interrelate with "sufi."
- Shirk is in a way polytheism -- the belief in multiple gods. To shirk is to make anything associated with God/Allah. It is a verb and a noun,to shirk (the action), which is some times like putting too much emphasis on your job or on money -- for example. And then there is to be a shirk (the noun) -- some Muslims think of sufis as the noun shirk. You can be a shirk if you do not believe that Allah is the one and only God.A Sufi, to some Muslims, embodies shirk -- they are seen as radicals. This is because Sufis want to be seen as close to Allah as possible -- which is why some Muslims think they embody shirk -- because of how immanent they strive to be. The word Sufi comes from the word 'wool,' and means simple garments of ordinary people. Sufis protest luxury. When Sufis die they can become mediators, like a saint in Catholicism.
What is a Sufi and what is its significance for Islam?
- A Sufi, to some Muslims, embodies shirk (which is to make anything associated with God/Allah). They are seen as radicals. This is because Sufis want to be seen as close to Allah as possible – which is why some Muslims think they embody shirk – because of how immanent they strive to be
- The word Sufi comes from the word ‘wool’ and means simple garments of ordinary people. Sufis protest luxury. When Sufis die they can become mediators like saints in Catholicism. Sufis are Islamic revivalists – their life’s goal is to be closer to Allah. They have Islamic Mysticism in their teachings. They use parables and stories to illustrate their faith, and they are very dedicated in prayers and to the Koran. The pediatrician from the film is like a Sufi – she goes to work and serves her
- community – who needs her. Her constant job is her family, however.
- Sufism is known as Islamic Mysticism, which is the experience that one is the divine presence. Islamic Mysticism is
- when Muslims seek to find divine love and knowledge through direct personal experience of God.
What does it mean to typify Orthodoxy by Right Ritual and Right Worship? How does it presence the Triune God?
- The right ritual is based off of self-governing churches. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy does not recognize the pope as the official head of the churches, so each church is self sustainable. However, they are united amidst the seven sacraments. Regarding worship: Doctrines are to be interpreted, not initiated. They are set in place by concensus. The
- right ritual and right worship is based off of the last three years of Jesus’ life teachings. Regarding the Triune God, the Father is the personal and the relational, he is Tri. The son is incarnate and rationally present in Jesus of Nazareth. The
- Holy Spirit, embodied in the church, is the ongoing presence in human Christianity. They firmly believe that through their rituals and worship, that every Holy Liturgy is a recurrence of the actual Last Supper, procession to Calvary, Resurrection, and Pentecost.
How is Orthodoxy Right Ritual, community, and Icon?
In Orthodoxy, the community is the corporal mystical body of Christ. The lay people/community choose their Bishop, as opposed to the hierarchal system found in the Roman Catholic religion. By following the liturgy, the Orthodox religion believes they are following the right worship. They believe that the liturgical celebration is the recurrence and practice of the real events (the real last supper, crucifixion, resurrection, etc). They incorporate icons and pictures into their practice, because they believe that words do not suffice in order to explain the true meaning of a phrase. The veneration towards a certain idol is not veneration towards the painting, or the mediums used to create the depiction of the idol, but rather what they come to represent. The icons are used to remind us of God and his teachings. It also helps teach the faith. “We do not worship the matter, rather the creator of the matter,”
What relation does Roman Catholicism see between "Incarnation" and "Sacrament"? Why must "Incarnation" precede "Teaching"?
- Incarnation – the transcendent God becoming immanent. Jesus is the incarnate.
- Sacrament – 1. An outward sign, 2. Instituted by Christ, 3. To give grace.
- A sacrament is seen as ongoing incarnation. The incarnation continues in the life of the community. Sacrament is the continuing presence of the risen Christ.
- -There are 5 realities of sacrament:
- 1. The Jesus himself, who is “the” outward sign – he initiated it – is the reality of God’s life.
- 2. Is the Church
- 3. Are the 7 rituals (all outward signs)
- a. Baptism
- b. Confirmation
- c. Penance/reconciliation
- d. Holy orders
- e. Marriage
- f. Anointing of the sick
- g. Communion/Eucharist
- 4. Is the human person
- 5. Is the universe
- All 5 of these are the incarnate Christ – presence of Christ. Through Christ we have the sacraments, and the church teaches people with the sacraments. The Church is a teaching authority, and they have infallibility, which is when the Holy Father is Protected when teaching faith and morals. Incarnation precedes teaching because Jesus is the one that inspired the sacraments. Jesus taught by moral example – he taught Peter (the 1st pope), and this was passed down to present day
- teachings of the church. If the Church is the risen Christ, then the Church teaches with the authority of the risen Christ.
How are religious experience and theology related? How are faith and reason related? How is religion about moral accountability?
- Faith is not a spontaneous emotion. It is a response of the whole person and is an umbrella for all. You can be faithful to a friend or spouse. You can also be unfaithful to those same people. Reason is used for understanding – it is a justification of what we believe in. Reason is how we live out faith. The best example of how conservative, ‘faith-only’ people must be persuaded that reason is part of our faith is by moral accountability. Reason is essential to moral
- accountability. Moral accountability is the statement of the whole person and reason is a part of the whole person. Moral
- accountability=statement, reason=part. Moral accountability is like keeping the commandments (the best way to
- do so is with reason).
- We use reason and faith in order to trust others. Trust is to commit beyond evidence – which is very similar to faith. We trust other individuals while driving – that they do not come in to our lane and cause a wreck. Spontaneous emotion is what religious experience is about. (Ex) The little boy who survived 2 years with TB when it was only estimated he would live for a day or two – the zooming in of the camera on his face when he successfully walked. (Ex) The old mathematician who was asked if he was afraid to die…he said, ‘yes’ but that he would be ready when the day came.
- Theology is rationalized faith. Theology and religious experience go together because there are many parts of faith that are spontaneous or ‘miracle-like’ and there are other things that need to be rationalized and need to be thought out.
- Religious experience is dynamic, but the mind cannot handle it, so we rationalize/reflect/reason.
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