Last week in class we watched the film “Separate Realities” where two people who go to church across the street from each other lead completely different religious lives. I found two things in this movie to be quite interesting, first how differently they view religion and second what led them to their church. The woman in the movie goes to St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, while the man goes to First Baptist Church across the way. For the woman, her religious journey was focused on herself. She was trying to establish a relationship with God in order to help her figure out who she is as she felt she’d lost herself. She attended a woman’s retreat to help her connection with God, but even after that she still struggled with her faith and even being open to discuss her faith with others. She felt that religion was private and shouldn’t be talked about with others.
Across the street the man in the film had a completely different view. He believed God had “saved them” to tell people about their Christ the Savior, so that is exactly what he did. He went out and became a minister by teaching classes at the church and spreading his faith with friends and strangers. He turned to religion when he was having a drinking problem and was looking to quit the habit, he feels that his faith saved him. His experience with his faith was far more community and preaching centered than the woman’s was, but they had one important similarity. They both found their beliefs and religion when they were struggling. Their religion affected them in the same way as it allowed them to find guidance in their lives when they felt lost. I found this interesting because although they came from different religions, they were drawn to a faithful life when they needed it most. They both turned to religion, to their faith, seeking answers and guidance and I feel this is the case for many people.
There are so many religions out there because everyone relates to different things and is spiritually fulfilled in different ways. Religion allows people to form a community and find answers that they would not encounter otherwise. Although they practice their religions in different ways, they came to know their faith for similar reasons. As discussed in McGuire’s chapter 5, every religion differs based on their stance and the way they are organized. If all religions were the same and fulfilled everyone, then there would be no need for a variety. Religions evolve and change over time, but there will never stop being a need for a variety of beliefs.