Religious affiliations have often been likened to thestaunch following of a cult. The ideology or belief in one supreme being who is mighty, all-knowing, and always present seems logically inaccurate. It is from this assumption, that specific individuals such as E. Mahatma Gandhi postulated theories about religion (Comstock 10). For instance, the religious war that occurred between Hindus and Muslims in the 20th century was profound to the extent that both parties saw each other as enemies to the truth as they differed in their perception of what is evil and good. From the premise that different ideologies do not necessarily mean that one party is correct while the other is wrong, Mahatma Gandhi stated that “all religions are true but, they have some error in them.” There are common occurrences that prove the Indian activist right. However, a broad spectrum of arguments also provesthat Gandhi’s sentiments about religion were inaccurate.
For the sake of argument, all religions are true as seen from the number of similarities in the different faiths that exist. For example, all spiritual ideologies contain a supreme deity who is preeminent and dominant. The only contradiction between the various religious beliefs is the ability to distinguish the characteristics, nature, and person of the supreme beingthereby creating a disconnect. Therefore, the followers of a particular faith assume that their ideologies are absolute truth and that any contradiction to the beliefs is false. For instance, Jews do not believe in a messiah and dictate that God has not yet sent a redeemer whereas Christians believe that Jesus is the savior of the world (Comstock 15). Therefore, it is essential for each person to acknowledge that all humans have a right to follow the religion of their choice and that everyone must be tolerant to avoid
Christians and Christian-affiliated denominationsbelieve that Jesus is the savior of humankind. However, the messianic belief is contradicted by Islam, which holds that Prophet Muhammed is the true redeemer. The disconnect between ideologies can be brutal and empowering at the same time. Nonetheless, all faiths have a common factor in the description of humanity. The different world religions believe that it is necessary to be equal to all humans and treat them with the dignity and respect commanded by the deities. It is, therefore, paramount that as humans to rise above the distinction of religious worship and synchronize on the belief that peace and harmony is an accord that unites humans around the world. Hence, in summary, Gandhi was right in indicating that all religions were true but, his concluding statement on errors can be arguable and questionable (Comstock 15). There are no errors, just a predisposed understanding from different spectrums including issues of same-sex marriages in church. Therefore, this is the reason I believe that Gandhi came up with such a statement.
The issue of same-sex marriage or the thought of ordaining gay clergymen and women has always been a point of contention in the Christian setting. The fact is that, according to the Bible, God only created man and woman and from their union, the world’s nations were birthed. For instance, according to Christians, Noah built an ark, and only two animals of the same species were allowed, and each of the two creatures was of the opposite sex (Sharma 360). From this perspective, the church inclusive of the Roman Catholics, and the Protestantshave been adamant and relentless in emphasizing that same-sex relations are not acceptable to God and thus not allowed among those that profess Christ. Individuals such as Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI both overpoweringly refuted the need to have same-sex marriages. The emphasis on the sin was considered an evil act and from time to time, including the Hitler massacres, led to the torture and death of such individuals. However, with the myriad of denominations in the protestant church, there have been severe deviations from the norm that gay marriages are not allowed.
To be clear, churches including Pentecostal, Anglican, Presbyterian, Episcopal, and Methodists are staunch against same-sex marriages. However, some protestant churches and their clergymen have been somewhat comfortable with the idea that the expression of gay or same-sex marriage is not in the bible and that it is permissible(Sharma 360). For example, Cannon Justin R. of the Episcopal Church is renowned for his belief that same-sex marriage is acceptable and that ordination of gay clergymen is permitted. Similarly, the Anglican church in the past years suffered a branch where some of the followers who believed in gay marriages in Australia and the United States of America thought that gay clergymen are similar to others. The controversy has been continuous with the mainstream churches indicating that the relations and unions are prohibited but, there have been overwhelming indications that ousted branches of the churches believe in the unions and declare their acceptance to the unions.
In my opinion, the need for the state to be neutral to the religious aspects is a gray area. The reason for my presumption is that, from a constitutional point of view, there is no statement, Act or Law that indicates that the state should be disconnected from religion (Sharma 369). Thus, the “no place” theory within the constitution has produced traditions that the state has to either stay neutral to or be disconnected from altogether. However, I would argue that there is nothing wrong with the idea that branches of the government including the president and others invoking religion once in a while. The American national anthem invokes on God to bless America and be part of the success.
Moreover, religion and the state has been involved in a mixed relationship with antiquities relating to political leaders claiming that monarchies were sent from heaven or were heaven blessed. In some countries, for instance, the United Kingdom, the king, and queen are thought to be the head of the church. However, it is crucial to know that religion should be protected from any political manipulation. But sometimes this is arguable. For instance, the Anglican Church has always been known to be a descendant of the Roman Catholic church whose political influence led to the alteration of some of the worship and faith beliefs(Sharma 369). Besides, secularists and pagans want total eradication of religion from politics, daily life, and socio-economic aspects. Therefore, the issue of religion in politics is often a gray area.
In summary, the claim is that political influence should always be neutral when it comes to religion. However, the relationship can be useful and appealing. There should be the freedom to express devotion or not which indicates a democratic nation. The question on whether morality and ethics arise from belief is questionable especially among atheists, but, with the segmentation that knowledge from a long time ago, has played a critical part in ensuring societies know what is right and what is wrong.
Ethics and Morality
For a long time, religion has set the platform on what is ethical and what is moral. For instance, man has always believed that killing is often against God provided commandments or based on other religions, and it is considered an evil act. Over time, however, man has influenced religion and as a result, has corrupted the essence of faith in the society. Presently, numerous stories show how man has diverged from the dogma of ethics and morality to seek justice. The elements of religion are meant to provide and improve on social standings as well as status. From time immemorial, Human beings have sort to enhance their quality of life as and the overall setting of the society (Sharma 389). These endeavors have rendered people immune to their own spiritual beliefsthus allowing humans to engage in deeds that can be considered evil. However, this retribution in seeking justice has allowed the man, as well, to argue that if one’s actions are to do good, then the ends justify the means. In the case of Bonhoeffer’s need to kill Hitler is one exemplary example. It is believed that Bonhoeffer’s desire to end the atrocities that Hitler created was not the main reason for his need to end Hitler’s life. In his argument, Bonhoeffer indicated that his main issue with the German leader was his insistence on influencing the church politically. The sense of social justice allowed Bonhoeffer to conduct his actionsaccording to his personal beliefs.The need to seek judgment on a human being is often known to be deity’s duty. Similarly, Zapata’s church regarded itself as the savior of humankind and began a revolution. The war started as a means to integrate the moral values and showcase the proper standards of societal engagements. Man, through social activism, has regarded themselves as the catalyst to ensuring that moral codes are instituted forcefully in societies by providing that moral decadence is eliminated.
Regarding social activism, there has been an intertwine with politics. In the beginning, religion has always served as the platform from which justice on what is right and what is wrong is understood. However, with humanity’s evolution, engagement in moral good and evil has separated man. At one point, religious’ involvement in politics has always ensured that people acted and enacted laws based on what was right and not what was evil. As such, the inclusion of religion improved on the level of governance among people. For example, Christianity has amended the welfare of people through the generational success of morality and ethics (Sharma 382). The works of Dorothy Day and Fr. Torres are explicit examples of where Christianity has shaped societies into adopting relevant policies that are morally based. The two individuals are renowned for engaging in social activism in modern politics to improve on how policies are framed, consequently, improving on humanity standards.
Controversies in the Catholic Church
Since its inception, the Catholic Church has always ordained male clergies as a result of the notion that Christ adopted disciples who were all male. With the recent evolution in churches, the involvement of women in the church has increased. As a result, the need for women clergy has also been raised(Sharma 379). The need for female clergy arose after the feminist revolution and gender equality. Improving human standards based on activists such as Fr. Torres and Dorothy have ensured that women have had a voice in relenting issues such as church representation. Social justice has transcended into the church and women especially in the Catholic church have grown since the ordination of other women in other churches. Categorically, women in the Catholic Church have always played a secondary role including nuns while the priestly function has been performed by men (Sharma 379). The current outlook is that women also have a great position to play in the church. According to the Bible, when Jesus was crucified the curtain at the temple tore into two. In previous times, women were not allowed to worship or enter the church. The symbolism of the curtain tearing indicates that women were now allowed to enter the church. The traditional take of women’s role in the church is now in question since man has always interpreted the bible to his doings.
The evolution in the church including the issue on women’s role in the church is based on the role played by theology movement for Christianity in the modern world. The primary purpose is the streamlined growth of society while maintaining the morals and ethical aspects relayed through religion. It is clear that society is changing especially when it comes to practices and conduct. The liberation of theology movements is to institute morality but, also engage in the integration of social values. The campaign, as such, has been pivotal in engaging people in proper values which are the essence of a society(Sharma 379). The liberation theology is sometimes characterized by the consistency in the incorporation of principles that are more refined to suit the current societies — for instance, providing an understanding that boosts the growth of values among people. Hence, the movement is part of the global need for change and succession of generations.
Christianity in the Modern World
Christianity has undergone numerous changes in respect to issues about the endorsement of various political and social agenda. Christianity in the past required a person to denounce the world: its actions, its misgivings and what society demands of a person and engage in what their faith and religion entailed. To be precise, Christianity is about piety and objectification as well as subjection to morality and ethical conduct. For instance, women were required to be submissive to their husbands which translated to the inability to engage in tedious work that entailed bread weaning (Sharma 407). The old testament and new testament had bold statements on what a human being especially those of Christian following were required to adhere to including prayer and keeping the Sabbath day holy.
The observance of a common sabbath day is all but a dream with the multiple denominations in modern Christianity. With the revolution in modern theoretical philosophy, people are engaging more and more with what society deems right than what the Bible considers correct. It is commonly known as modern Christianity. This form of civil religion is based on the ideology that one’s character is the only factor that matters and people are more invested in ensuring that living is about what people perceive. As a result, most of the present churches under Christianity sell the idea that ‘monetary’ investment is the best outcome. Investment in relationships all in the name of the deity is the major issue. The issue gravitates away from the ideologies that the Christianity of the past to the faith of today. In other words, the church has seen that investing in an individual and not a society is deemed the best direction (Sharma 410). The numerous books and innovation strategies that clergies use in the modern times target Christians who long for success from the financial perspective. The downside is that it does not dictate that morality and belief in the main God is the only way to salvation. The ‘down-to-earth factor’ has been the primary concern as to how to get followers to believe in their faith.
In conclusion, Christianity has changed over the centuries, and to some extent, it can be argued that it is not for the best. The reason is that corruption of the faith has been appreciated through the aspect of individualism among its congregation. Regardless, the alterations are here to stay, and within the distinct remaining times, faith in God remains the underlying factor that characterizes Christians against any other religion.
Question E: Diversity in Religion
Change in religion regardless of the denomination has created an influence among people. In most cases, it is common for people to engage in activities that are regarded as unwanted within a certain following. The following story is a depiction of that. Chaim is a Hasidic Jew who has no association or knowledge of pop music whereas Billy is the leader of a pop band. The two individuals lived in the same block within the same neighborhood. In the beginning, Neither Chaim and Billy knew about each other nor did they know anything about each other (Sharma 300). However, when they met Billy introduced Chaim to pop music. In times, Billy’s interests seemed to grow while Chaim grew to like the music culture he was added to as well as a liking to Billy’s band.
Consequently, Chaim grew interested in the group and evolved into the role provided to him within the band. He took up a new name: Curly Oxide. Soon, Chaim became a successful musician. The purpose of the story is to depict the essence of Hasidic Judaism. The natural spirituality allows them to live and grow in exotic experiences(Sharma 300). As a result, what they cherish and what they worship are a full dedication.
However, their historical outlook has not always been as beautiful as religion. In particular, one Jewish persecution b the Nazis is considered as the worst occurrence in history. Jews in particular during Hitler’s rule underwent inhumane and atrocious mistreatments. Mostly, Jews were persecuted by the majority Germans who viewed the Jews as vermin that needed to be eradicated(Sharma 300).Under the dictator, the Jews were placed in encampments where they were either subjected to forced labor or used for human experiments.
Samuel Heilman describes that during 70 and 135 CE changes in what would become the book of Torah was significant. This marked the historical and religious thinking of the Jewish people. It was during this time that monotheism became more apparent. Monotheist ideologies were substantial due to the establishment of the special covenant with God (Nasr 350). The contract drawn upon was an exchange between God’s laws and how to worship him only. Samuel Heilman indicates that monotheism was influenced by Zoroastrianism which was faith the Jews would have encountered during the Babylonian exile.
Issues with Judaic followers has been synonymous with them. For example, Judith questions whether her religion would be a continuous status in her life. She questioned whether she would continue pursuing the religious following and would it have an effect in her new-found land. At one point, she indicates that she did not believe anymore in the sanctity that Judaism brought. Through her memoir, she has been able to highlight her plight after the Holocaust (Nasr 350). As a result, her self-identity as a religious person provided her a positive outlook on the response the ordeal she went through. It gave her a new perspective about how others see Jews including when she relocated to America.
With Jews migrating to America, rabbis have had fears about their people’s assimilation into the Western nation. The main issue that the Jewish rabbis grapple with is the influence of the Western culture on religion. The religious leaders believe that American practices will erode the Jewish traditions and beliefs. Moreover, the Jewish leaders are wary of the effect of secular worship, dress codes and culture.
Comstock, GaryReligious Autobiographies. Wadsworth, 2003.
Sharma, Arvind. Our Religions: The Seven World Religions Introduced by Preeminent Scholars from Each Tradition. HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.
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