The Mission Inn Quaker congregational visit was different and interesting to know because I didn’t have any idea of that religion since it is not really heard of. I thought is very ironic how the building for the church was a small house-based congregation in downtown Riverside. I was unusual to hear that the décor of the church looking like a living room and the chairs were set up in a square shape that way everyone is facing each other. The point of this arrangement was to let the members know about their surroundings. The Quaker religion doesn’t have a set scripture or bible type of layout for a tradition service where the is a priest or speaker because their type of worship was to sit in silence until someone had the urge to stand and speak or say a message. Other wise during the service that our classmate attended didn’t experience anyone speaking thus it felt like a type of meditation but still being aware of the others in their square set up.
Another congregation presentation that I found interesting was The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah Witness because I didn’t know that they offered a Spanish service. The service was interactive and majority Hispanic during the Hispanic mass. Also, to learn that active members at the church combine their religious and social life together. For example, they wont date anyone else who aren’t Jehovah witness because to them it is considered a sin. But for personal experience they are a welcoming group of people who are willing to help new comers join their congregation.
My second congregational visit was at The Rock Church, which is a Christian church. My first impression of the church was the massive size and I did notice that they had a donation center which I can imagen is where they collect food or necessary item to help the less fortunate. Walking into the main entrance I noticed the beautiful and clean architecture as well as the spacious quad area where there was a type of youth group taking place before the service. I also saw a map where the church was split into various buildings according to age group and events. For example, the was the A building that were for kids which I figured would serve as a day care or a type of youth group.
I am not religious as it is and the fact that I was excited for the visit was unusual for me and I did not feel as much as an outsider as I expected. When I walked through the door for the 9am service I was not greeted but the mass started off with Christian songs for about twenty minutes. In my opinion when I walked in to find a seat no one seemed to notice and continued listening to the singers and singling along and within 10 minutes of listening to everyone sing along I got overwhelmingly emotional. The room where the service was taking place looked like a school auditorium and surprisingly the walls were plain and there was live recording to the entire mass on a projector on the stage during musical performance and while the pastors were speaking. Over all the service was very interactive and the members seemed to be spiritually in tune and enjoy the service.
The article on “Religion and Spirituality” were describes to be different concepts although they are similar in the way that they correspond to each other depending on similar aspects. One example is a life changing experience from an individual where they were drawn spiritually and then that will eventually lead to religion. The term for someone being considered religious is based on the amount of church attendance. A social experiment was made where a large number of participants from various religions including: first Baptist, Pentecostals, evangelicals etc who varied from different age groups and ethnicities to a survey. This survey consisted of 5 questions that consisted on asking the participant what their definition of religion and spirituality are followed by statements that they believe match their definition best. The third questions was to distinguish whether they consider themselves to be more religious or spiritual followed by an explanation that supports their claim. These surveys were split into categories that included church attendance, education, age, demographics, ect. The article then concluded that religion and spirituality very distinctly different concepts spirituality being the highest dependent on the results from the surveys taken by the participants. Which I found interesting because I though that in order to be spiritual you needed to follow a religion or philosophy, but in fact gaining spirituality comes first then the individual can decide on a religion to follow.
There are six sociological narratives for the views and aspects of religion. There is the idea of secularization which is the idea that religion is becoming less valuable and disappearing from modern world. Some examples include the decline of church affliction, and church attendance. This idea of secularization is being brought up by structural differentiation, politically, socially, due to privatization and also the decline of believe.
The second sociological narrative includes conservative resurgence that dominates the growth of Evangelical Protestantism as well as non-affliction. Also taking into consideration the increase of radical Islam in the Middle East As well as practice in the United States. The third is religions as local communities where for example teens look up to their congregations and adults to build a familiar community of people who practice the same religion, but also having a decline in denominations.
The fourth sociological narrative is religious individualism which is the idea that your actual religion is practiced. For example social relationships culturally and seeking individual meaning in a society that does not provide lasting roles. Also includes religious markets which change the religious structure who see religion as more of a business and members representing customers. So their idea is that the more member in a congregation then the more business produced and market their religion as well as religious products sold to members. In more of an economic point of view includes the sociological narrative of Globalization where the world is now more interconnected compared to past years. A major role that is played is the traditional approach where religion is seen as a safe sanctuary and source of faith for large numbers of immigrants who come to the United States?
Since the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 2001, Americans have gained a hate for Islamic states in the Middle East. The media has portrayed Muslims as terrorists under the influence of their prophet Muhammad and his teachings of the Qur’an. However, Americans have not considered the idea that Islam is not as foreign as they think it is. From the interpretation of the of the Quran, Muslim culture and Christianity have similar beliefs.
Today in time Muslims are looked down on due to the overgeneralization done by social media as well as terrorist acts organized a recently and well known terrorist group, ISIS. This does not correspond to all Muslims because just like other countries, a vast majority of Muslims from third world countries like Iraq and Syria are threatened and at times killed by their own race which also follow the same religion of Islam. Regardless of anyone’s background it is good to be informed about international news by facts and not only see the broad picture but notice the small details and look at Muslims’ situation from their perspective.
American Christians are not as different from Islamic Muslims because in the end they follow a religion with the same ideal of being a follower of God. The only reason why the West distance themselves from Muslims is because in their vision they are terrorists, but Americans should stop using the Middle East as a scapegoat and stereotypes about Muslims who follow the Islamic religion. Although Muslims are brought up with different customs they have the same faith as those who follow any other religion one can think of, from Islam to Christianity to Mormon and even Buddhism. Religion is simply a way to have faith in God and dedicate their lives to following his teachings.
I grew up in a predominately catholic house hold which also include many similar beliefs as Christianity with the belief in God and follow the bible and holy scriptures. These churches ethically are made up Hispanics, Caucasian, African Americans or Asians, but what caught my attention was the religion of Judaism because this is a Jewish based religion. It would be am interesting experience for me to be in a different cultural environment that I am not accustomed to. Although Judaism is a part of Christianity, I would have somewhat of an advantage for having a basic background of religious knowledge to understand the scriptures possible read or translated in Hebrew.
The Rock Church was also another interesting congregation that I found interesting for the reason that it is commercialized on a huge billboard off the 10 freeway, which I not a normal act from a church. I have noticed that it is a well known church and was drawn to by the photographs of the layout of the institution with bright light to attract new members in my opinion while also keeping the interest and faith from current members. Hopefully I am drawn in during the service and not doze off or get bored like I normally do in a traditional Catholic church that I am used to.
Also, the other congregation that I found interesting was the Salvation Army, because the first thing that I connected this church to was the salvation army thrift store that are located around the Inland Empire. I am curious if there is a correlation with the two and why or not. If not, why was the congregation named “Slavation Army”?
The presentation that stood out to me the most was the “Religion has no Passport” because it is a recent issue that is happening at this moment with the immigrations policies changing. Not only are immigration policies a major factor in today’s society but also the values, customs and traditions that these immigrants cherish when they migrate into the United States. It was interesting to see the perspectives from other immigrants from different countries like Muslims from Pakistan, Protestants from Brazil, or as far as Hindus from India rather than from the only perspective that I am more used to seeing with are Catholics from Mexico.
The act of immigrants that bring along their culture and religion from their home countries has developed the idea or syncretism of religious rituals and beliefs. That means that there are carious ways of practicing religion or adapting a certain idea from different religions and connecting them morally depending on the person. When these immigrants are aware of the American law from the constitution that allows for the freedom of religion they see this opportunity to create a good society by accepting different religions.
What I found most interesting and stood out to me the most were the Muslims from Karachi, Pakistan because they migrate into the United States already fluent in English, come with money, already educated with college degrees and have businesses, but choose to come to another country to offer their family better opportunities for their future. Although they still chose to stay close to practice their religion as Muslims as self faith to be able to achieve personal happiness and peace. Even though the Muslim community from Islamic countries are not respected in the United States they form a brotherhood and acceptance amongst themselves and delay the ignorance from the rest of the world.
The presentation on the Lincoln square synagogue and the bais chana was interesting to learn about because of the perception of this religion seen as a cult by nonmembers. The bais chana consisted of young woman and teens who needed to fin their true identity. The fact that women who start attending the Bais Chana religion encourage Jewish women to continue their education. From the description given in the presentation it gave the sense that this synagogue was more strict on their women due to the fact that they were sent to institutions and are removed from society. The organization of this institution does imply their ideals rapidly but does provide the needs of their members. Since these women were removed from society it is difficult for them to date someone out of their religion unless they are of the same religious belief.
This “cult” ideal religion does have the similarity of only having people of the same religion to date or even marry like in Christianity and Catholics when a couple wants to get married by church.
While the Lincoln square synagogue shared more of a modern value when contact with secular society. Thus being the complete opposite from the Bais Chana. It is not a religion where conversion is rapid and strict but rather consists of a limited commitment from their members. This religion does have less social pressure but more resistance for gradual conversion.
In conclusion this presentation was interesting to learn about more of the brighter internal view of the religion from the members perspective instead of the cult view of that outsiders describe the religion as.
As my family was having a serious discussion about religion and how they enjoy when church speakers go to their homes once a week to talk about a bible version or any thoughts about the word of God. Hence the majority of my family is Catholic they really implement religious figures and tradition in everyday life like praying before a meal, praying and confession or talking to God. I was targeted by my mom saying that I was atheist for the reason that I didn’t like going to church and doubted the image of God. So I looked up the definition of an atheist and I found this article on the types of non-believers and listed some alternatives. Atheists is the lack of a God concept with no moral core. I somewhat believe that there is some energy, but I don’t necessarily identify an image of a God like person.
The second “non-believer” on the list was agnostic which represents various perspectives on the importance of one’s own right. In other terms they don’t know if here is a God but believe there will be an answer in the future.
Third on the list is a skeptic which is someone who doubts a religious concept and will believe based on evidence. Another non-believer is a “freethinker” which I didn’t know was a classified groups but are those who oppose the church and the literal biblical idea. There will only believe the logic and with evidence and will decide on what is real or not.
Next are “humanist” who are set on ethical values like compassion and self-determination. It dwells on the concept of inner peace and spiritual connotation like recognize the benefits of a spiritual community and having rituals instead of the supernatural. “Pantheist” do not believe in a person-god but rather in the idea of natural order who see humans as a small grain of said in a whole universe and what exists.
It is obvious that Islam and the West many differences and reasons for conflicting issues that do not allow them to create a stable alliance. Actions from Islamic history from the past, present and future have affected the perception of how the West sees the Islamic world in the Middle East.
Today in day the Middle East is associated both good and evil in the eyes of the Western perspective. The good aspect is strictly associated with their resources of Oil. In which the Middle East has peacefully agreed to trade their oil because it makes them feel that the Middle East still has some power in the world because other countries rely of them for their oil. On the other hand the majority of other populations that do not see the political benefit of the Middle East judge their religion of Islam. This is to the point where countries like the United States, Britain and France who had been affected by Islamic influence that have resulted in terrorist attacks.
Since the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York on 2001, Americans have gained a hate for Islamic states in the Middle East. The media have portrayed Muslims as terrorists under the influence of their prophet Muhammad and his teachings of the Quran. However, Americans have not considered the idea that Islam is not as foreign as they think it is. From the interpretation of the of the Quran, Muslim culture and Christianity have similar beliefs. That include the act of being a faithful and good person in the eyes of God with the idea that their souls will enter heaven after death. Although after the over generalization of Muslims has shifted from a christian like religion to terrorism, fear and violence due to social media and the news. This is only a constant recurrence because of political and religious barriers in the Middle East.