As a group today we thought that there was enough there for pilgrimage but overall we weren’t sold that it was a religion. In the article it talked about Elvis be more then human but not divine, if he isn’t divine then who or what is? There was nothing that stood out to me as the Ultimate reality and that means it can’t be a religion. This whole thing is just extremely loyal and loving fans of Elvis. Death week is a ritual but that is really the only ritual that clearly stands out. Overall I don’t think this is a religion, there are elements lacking.
Since we did not do anything learning wise during class this week I am going to blog about a conversation I had with my grandpa. My grandpa is an 87 year old deacon and this last week we talked about what it meant to be a christian. We talked about the importance of the Sabbath but he didn’t want to focus our conversation on that he was talking about outside of the church how are you being a faithful christian. This got me thinking, going to mass every sunday does not make you a good christian you have to take the things you have learned from the scriptures and put them to practice in your everyday life. Here are some things we thought to be important: set time aside for prayer and talking to God, put others first, have good morals, thank the people in your life who have had influences on you, and use what you have learned and pass it on to others. These are just some things to think about for everyone !
Part of what we talked about today was the elements of religion. These elements are needed in all religions. These elements include: rituals/rights, myth/sacred stories, community, cosmology/world view, material expression, and taboo/moral code. If a religion does not have these elements then it technically isn’t considered a religion. This year we have talked about westerner religions and eastern religions. Western religions have monotheistic god and eastern religions believe in deities both religions are very different but both have all the elements of religion so they are considered religions.
Last class period we talked about Easter Religions, these religions are monistic meaning they believe in one nonpersonal, ultimate reality. Everything is nonlinear in these religions that is the opposite of the Abrahamic religions believed in heaven. Instead of going to heaven our hell you are reborn and this continues as you try to better your life every time you are reborn. Since everything is one that means nobody or nothing is more important then somebody else or something else it is simply all one. This is a very simple idea but it is something that none of us are use to which makes it very hard for us to understand and make sense of it.
Today our guest speaker talked about what pilgrimage meant to him and his experiences on them. He was very passionate about this topic. I am going to talk about a few of the things that I took from his lecture. First off he stressed community; while on a pilgrimage people go through hardships such as walking long distances and while doing this people must work together to complete the pilgrimage. While working together this brings people together and gives a sense of community and his example was talking about those who were stronger would take a load of those who were struggling. Once the hardship was completed which could have been climbing a large hill, mountain, or a long walk there is a sense of accomplishment and brings the people feel closer to God.
If you are on a pilgrimage this means that you are obviously in a foreign place and while on the pilgrimage this gives you a chance to start over and be a new “you.” For that reason I believe people feel closer to God and spiritually grow in their faith. He talked about a girl who had drug problems and was in trouble with the law and she joined him on a pilgrimage and it was life changing. She turned her life around and changed for good and surrounded herself with new friends.
The last point he made was powerful to me; he said that the pilgrimage does not start until you return home. Meaning that the real journey starts when you get home and you start over with a new perspective on life. I can see how people use their experiences and totally change and come home a new person and find meaning in their life and become a better person.
Today we talked about and acted out the Hajj. Actually acting out the Hajj gave me a lot better understanding of what actually goes on when Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca. I learned a lot about the Hajj and what people feel spiritually and emotionally while making the pilgrimage. To Muslims this is a once and a lifetime opportunity and is a life changing experience. While preforming our version of the Hajj I noticed everything was done in 7s, which shows up a lot in religion. I also learned that there is a sense of community and unity while preforming the Hajj, it does not matter where you are from or your ethnicity you are treated as an equal human being.
After learning about Judaism this week I have noticed that Christianity and Judaism stem from much of the same things. Both religions recognize the stories of Abraham, Moses, David, and Noah. Both religions are monotheistic and textual. However Christianity and Judaism recognize different rituals and rites this is what I believe really separates these religions. Jews belief of who Jesus is far different from Christians, they believed he was a great man but not the son of God.
Lately we have been reading the Unlikely Disciple which surprisingly I enjoyed reading. The book is based on Kevin Roose who attended Brown University. Kevin decided to transfer to Liberty University for a semester so he could write about his experience going to a Christian school that was extremely strict.
I was surprised about how well Kevin kept an open mind throughout the book and did everything that a Liberty student would, since he came from Brown I think that would be an extremely hard thing to do considering his lifestyle was completely changed. After last class period I was thinking about if what he did was ethical or not and I do not think it was ethical at all. The reason I believe this is because he was living a lie and pretending to be someone he wasn’t, he did however he did follow the Lincoln Way that must have been tough because his regular lifestyle went against everything the Lincoln Way stood for. Because all of this was for his book and his gain I think his friendships and relationships he made were fake because it was all part of him acting and lying about being a practicing Christian.
Eliade talks about how people believe the world kind of revolves around their center. Their center is the place that makes them feel secure, comfortable, and means a lot to them and this place usually refers to people’s homes. I think everyone can agree that there is nothing like being home and having privacy from the outside world. For me, I would have to say my room is my center; it is the place I sleep, relax, and just escape from everything.
For a long time people believed that the world was flat. They also believed that the highest point of the earth was the axis mundi. The axis mundi was the center of the earth and connected earth to heaven and hell. The axis mundi was different for certain groups of people; it could be a tree, ladder, mountain, pyramid, or steeple. People believed the closer you lived to the axis mundi the less chaos there was so many people would live as close as possible.
In the last two class periods we have talked about the four theorists Frazier, Freud, Marx, and Durkheim. These four men were unique in the way they thought about religion and what it meant to them in a spiritual way and as an outsider looking in. I believe the reason Frazier, Freud, and Marx have such unique thoughts about religion is that they were either atheist or at one time an atheist so it allowed them to have an emotional attachment to a religion and they could look at it for what it truly was. I went to a catholic school for K-12 so I agree with Durkheim over the other three theorists.
I can see where Freud is coming from when he said, “religion is an illusion that we desperately want to be true” because everyone at sometime in their life wants to believe in something. I don’t agree with Marx at all when he says that religion “provides reasons for keeping things in society the way that oppressors like them.” Frazier talks about religion being an intermediate step towards science, which is a touchy subject when you talk about religion, and science together. I do not think science will ever take the place of religion because it is a large step to take.