Religion is the people's beliefs and opinions concerning the existence, nature, and worship of a deity or deities, and divine involvement in the universe and human life. This is my definition of religion before I started this class. On the first day of the class, a young man walked inside the class room. He has dark hair, facial hair, not really tall but good looking. I thought he was one of our classmates until he introduce himself as our professor. My jaw dropped and was at awe. I was expecting an old, grumpy, nerdy looking professor to spend my eight weeks learning something about religion. Little did I know that I will learn a lot from this young, good looking guy that knows a lot about religion; human experience. I learned that religion addresses the issues of origin, purpose and destiny. Religion also impacts the whole person in three ways: It influences the moral ethos, as well impacting human action; it creates, not only deep-set dispositions, but also a worldview; and it presents an aura of factuality which goes beyond the individual. Humans are religious because it is a distinguishing element from animals. I also learned on the first day the meaning of transcendence which is the ability to visualize from distance, the ability to stand apart and being above and beyond material experience. It also allows people to ask fundamental questions. Thomas O’Dea also suggests religion is intricately connected to three things which are powerlessness, scarcity and uncertainty. There are 4 reasons why people study religion. First, it is part of the human experience. Second, it helps overcome human ignorance. Third to achieve global perspective and lastly, to help understand one self and formulates one’s own belief. This is some of the most striking topics that I learned in one day. It was also surprising that most of my classmates are open talking about religion, and noticed that one is offended. Everyone is encouraged to say what they think and feel. I enjoyed listening to other people’s perception about religion regarding how they understand it and how it’s affecting our daily lives. I felt this class is very diverse and don’t get offended or upset. I don’t know if they are just hiding their feelings towards the topics or they are just there to listen and learn. I can’t forget the time when my other classmate said, “I don’t know anything about going to heaven or hell but I know that when I die, I will become a fertilizer.” It was funny at first, but it is actually true. She is right, who knows where are we going when we die? It’s funny to know the real name of Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. All along, I thought it was just Buddha! The group projects were also a fun experience. I have never been to a group of men who knows more about religion.
On the following week, our professor talked about the sacred and the holy, and the sacred symbol, myth and doctrine. I learned the sacred place for all the five central religions. Buddhism considers Bodh Gaya the sacred place because their leader experienced enlightenment there. Islam considers Mecca because the Ka’ba is there and their founder made pilgrimages there. Judaism considers Jerusalem, because Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac there and their temple was also located there. Christianity considers Relics, because there were objects that belonged to saintly men and women. I have learned a lot of information in just two weeks that made me more eager to come to class. I noticed that some of my classmates really take this class seriously and most of them are just going with the flow. I enjoy listening to my classmates debating about the topics. I also learned a lot from them as well as from the members of my group.
Third week in religion class, the topic is about ritual and society. This week, I have learned about the three life types of sacred rites which are life-cycle, seasonal and life-crisis. The four life cycle rites are Buddhist tonsure (shaving of the head), foot...
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