MaryKate Communion, and I have made my
8 January 2018
Every day we encounter many people. Each person we see may or may not believe in the same ideas we do, and this is what makes the world so interesting. For this paper, the four individuals I decided to interview were: My brother, My Mother, My Grandma and My friend. Three out of the four believed in the same religion which was Roman Catholic. However, the fourth person believes in a faith that I didn’t realize existed until the interview, and it is called Wiccan. These conversations really opened my eyes to different opinions and some fascinating information.
The first person I interviewed was my brother who is 21 years old. His answers to the following questions were: My religious background is Roman Catholic on my Mother’s side and Presbyterian on my Father’s side. However my parents decided to raise me in the traditions of the Catholic Church. I was Baptized, made my Communion, and I have made my Confirmation. I grew up in a Catholic household and attended mass on Sundays as well. I do not attend mass on a regular basis and I am not particularly religious. I feel if one is to be spiritual you don’t need to participate in religious services on a daily basis. I also find it hard to find the time time to be able to attend since I am a college student. I find it hard to be religious without being skeptical. Throughout my college career, I have taken various required religion courses, since I attend Fairfield University which is a Jesuit university. The core at Fairfield requires us to take three religion courses. The first one I took was an introductory course to the Abrahamic faiths. So I have an introductory level of knowledge when it comes to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. After that I took a class on Catholic Social Teaching. The final religion class I took was this past semester, Fall 2017, on the Hebrew Bible or Old Testament. On top of my experiences in college, I had attended Catholic Schools my whole life. Out of all of the world religions, I would like to know more about it would be Islam. I think it is one of the most fascinating faiths on the planet. The lore and history behind it are fantastic and how quickly it spread throughout the Near East and North Africa is impressive and even greater than the spread of Christianity during the late classical period. I find its traditions and the imposing role it plays in its believers lives is very interesting. I would like to ascertain further where this significance comes from and why it has endured to the current modern era as heavy religious custom in the other Abrahamic faiths has waned. Its necessary to have a healthy fear of all religions as they always breed radical outliers. The Jihadists of Islam are scary, but they don’t represent the grand majority of the 1 billion plus Muslims around the world. Their fundamental beliefs come from the frustrations they have in the current unfortunate situations they endure in their respective countries. However, these radical views are not shared by all Muslims. However, the demonization of the religion based on the unfortunate actions of a relative few is not right, and I do not in anyway condone these actions. I just wish to promote a more healthy understanding of something before jumping to incorrect conclusions. I have no real knowledge of the beliefs of Native Americans. The only thing I know is that they believe in the spirits of nature and ancestor worship. Beyond that, I have had little formal education. I feel like religion has its place in the world. However, it is not appealing to the younger generations who tend to subscribe to a different mode of morality. I think it is important to be raised in some form of religious tradition but what one chooses to do with it should their own choice. Three positives about Religion are that it gives you faith in something greater than yourself, it promotes charity and goodwill, and it offers those who have nothing hope in a better tomorrow to faith and faith alone. Three negatives about religion are the wars it starts to look at them to war on terror, the situation between India and Pakistan and Israel and its neighbors. Religion impedes scientific research based on strong beliefs of its followers. Another negative aspect of religion is that it holds the world back with outdated and irrelevant dogma if it wishes to endure it like society should grow and change to fit its needs. God to me is an old man in the clouds with a white beard. He is not an active deity he is there to prevent bad things from happening, but as human beings, he cannot be everywhere. I like to think of him as one who makes mistakes but still has the wisdom and moral compass to be better than all of us and he rewards for being mostly good in life, he recognizes our faults and misdeeds and forgives us since he too is like us. Religion like any other philosophy aids in our understanding of morality, and it plays an essential role in it. Morals are laws that we should abide by to be good people and religion offers people a deep semblance of it.
The second person I interviewed was my Mother she is 45 years old. Her answers to the questions were: My mother was Born and Raised Roman Catholic, and My Father was born and raised Jewish. However, when it came time for my parents to have my sisters and I they decided to raise us Roman Catholic. My families Catholic religious tradition revolved around the liturgy and the seven sacraments – Baptism, Confirmation, Communion, Reconciliation, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Holy Matrimony. I attend Catholic Mass on a regular basis often more than once a week. The serenity of the service and message through the gospel created an atmosphere of reverence and faith which helps to reflect on my deepest beliefs. I have been introduced to Judaism because my fathers who side of his family is Jewish. Even though we were brought up Catholic, my father still held on to his faith and roots in Judaism. So when any of the Jewish holidays came around my father would make sure that he would celebrate them and include us as well.I feel because he did this with us it has given me such a strong sense of religion. I would like to learn more about Islam. In addition to being a religion in its own right, is the parent religion of both Christianity and Judaism. However, I am also most fearful of the religion of Islam. They believe in terrorism and their reputation around the world for killing masses of people will never be forgotten. I do not know any religious beliefs of Native Americans. I believe we need a stronger sense of religion than is apparent now. Three positive ideas from religion are spirituality, being apart of a community of like-minded people, and having strong moral values. The negative aspects of Religion are religious groups taking issues too far, causing harm to society, and the cult-like tendencies that some religious groups practices. I believe that God is the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. I believe that religion helps an individuals understanding of morality.
The third person I chose to interview is my Grandma who is 68 years old years old. Her answers to the questions were: My religion is Roman Catholic. A fun fact about my church is I am Croatian, and the church I attend is Croatian, and the masses are said in Croatian. Croatian is my first language so for me it is an extraordinary experience to be able to do this here in America. However, I do not attend on a regular basis but, I go as much as I can. This is because my husband and I are always traveling and exploring new places so it is hard to attend mass. With that being said one of my New Years Resolutions is to try my best to go at least every other week because I enjoy the peaceful energy and the feeling that I have a close connection with God. Over the years I’ve been introduced to other religions by learning about them from people who I have met and from traveling the world. Having the experience of being around others who aren’t the same religion as me and learning their faith and culture has helped me to open my eyes to what other people believe and I have enjoyed this very much. I would like to learn more about the Jewish religion because I know it’s very dominant in my area and I feel that I vaguely know about it. The religion that I am most fearful of is the Islamic religion because of their reputation they have gotten for themselves after many awful situations have occurred. I do not know anything about the native American religion except for the fact that they believe in spirit animals. I believe that we have a strong sense of religion as it is now. Three positives aspects of religion in my eyes are it gives something for people to believe in times of need, it brings people together depending on their religion to be one , and it gives us the chance to believe in something. With this, it gives hope and faith to all of us to what may happen in the afterlife. Three negatives of religion are religious beliefs can be taken too far, people use their religion to hide behind something terrible they may have done, religion isn’t up to current date which can be difficult. God to me is a man who people pray to and go to when they need help, guidance, love, advice and so forth. He is someone who you can always talk to even though you may think he isn’t there he is in many ways. I believe that religion helps understand morality.
The fourth and final person I interviewed is my friend who is 19 years old. Her answers to the following questions were: I was born and raised in the Wiccan religion. This is rather uncommon in the Wiccan religion because a majority of Wiccan’s including my parents, converted from other faiths. Before becoming a Wiccan my parents were Protestant. Some specific religious traditions are prayer circles, casting a circle, Drawing Down the Moon, reciting spells, dancing, singing, sharing cakes and wine or beer. The religious services that I attend are “gatherings” and other community events, but I reserve my spiritual practices such as Sabbats, Esbats, spell-casting, worship, magical work for when I am alone. I have been introduced to the Roman Catholic religion because most of my friends are Catholic so they would explain to me what it means to be Catholic and what their holidays are about because we do not celebrate anything like Easter or Christmas. I would love to learn more about Buddhism because I have always been interested in finding my Zen. I would say that I am most fearful of the Muslim religion because there has been so much tragedy associated with them. I do know about the beliefs of Native Americans based on a class I took in college. I love the fact that they believe in spirit animals I found that so very interesting. Personally, I think that having a strong sense of religion is very important in today’s world because I find it essential to have something to hold on to that guides us through life. No matter what religion you believe it is always necessary to have something. Three definite ideas that have come from religion are charitable giving; religion brings people together in a community and faith provides inner strength. God, in my opinion, is more of a job title rather than an actual person. We honor many Gods and Goddess. I believe that religion hinders the understanding of morality. I think that having morality means doing what you think it right regardless of what religions say, I don’t like beliefs that tell you what to do.
After completing the interviews, especially the conversation with my friend who is Wiccan it had me think about the similarities between both Roman Catholics and Wiccans. Granted they are very different but realized that underneath those are very similar ideas. Christians believe in one God and that Jesus is the Son of God; Wiccans believe in a Supreme Being and that to reach Him/Her you can speak to other deities or the Gods and Goddess. This belief is not too much different from us Catholics and our Saints. Wiccans do not all doubt that Jesus is the Son of God or that He was a great Teacher and Prophet. But they also believe that Mohammad and Buddha were as well. When Wiccans pray to the Mother or Father they are wanting the same things that a Catholic wants and needs when praying to their God such as confession, guidance, and understanding. But unlike a Christian, they also take full responsibility for their actions. They will not use the term “The Devil made me do it” because They do not believe in Satan. These facts about the Wiccan religion were all explained to me while I was interviewing my friend. I enjoyed listening to what she had to say because it showed me that there is so many religions out there and deep down they are all connected. Growing up Catholic and attending Catholic school my whole life I never was exposed to other faiths expect Judaism, and when I started at Marist, I realized that there are so many non Catholics and being able to learn what other religions are about from followers themselves has been such a unique experience.
Over the course of the past few weeks I have gained this wealth of knowledge on religions I knew nothing about. When I first read the summary of this paper, I didn’t quite understand why we should do this until I conducted the interviews. Before I started them I thought my grandma was going to have so many interesting facts and comments, but it was my brother who had the most substantial interview. I didn’t realize how in depth he thought about religion and what his personal views about faith was. He has such a strong knowledge when it comes to religion that I didn’t even know existed. My favorite thing he said that clicked with me was “God is one who makes mistakes but still has the wisdom and moral compass to be better than all of us, and he rewards for being mostly good in life, he recognizes our faults and misdeeds and forgives us since he too is like us.” This quote is so accurate in my eyes because God is a higher power, but I like to think that he too has made mistakes in life and that it is ok to do so because it helps all of us be better versions of ourselves. Moving forward I am going to have a higher respect for all religions; not to say I didn’t before but now I know what they believe in and why they do what they do. Before this paper, I had no clue that there was a religion that believed in witchcraft, but there is and moving forward I can better understand my friend and her family because of this. Religions may be very different but if there is one thing I have learned is they all have a strong sense of community and that to me is the most important.