Judaism from a Baptist point of view
Religion is the belief in a superior being who on many occasions is perceived as the giver of life, protector, and punisher and finally the taker of life. There are many religions in this world due to the presence of many cultures. This type of diversity has created the provision for the various ideologies that guide us in our day to day life. What one religion perceives as normal may not be accepted by another religion. We thus have to be aware of the religions that we are exposed to so as to remove the ignorance we bear as a community. America is not a religious country in that it separates the government from the state. This means that most of the religious activities are not supposed to be conducted in public organizations such as schools and the places of work. This rules though intended to bring equality amongst different religions have led to the misconceptions about various religions which has spiraled into hatred. One of the main causes of the religious divisions is the level of ignorance that we have been brought up with. As a member of the community, my goal is to eradicate the growth of this issue by learning about the practices of a different religion (Miroshnik, 2001).
This research paper focuses on my experience from the visit of a place of worship that is different from mine. It looks into the misconceptions that I had about the religion and how the visit to the synagogue changed my perception. The paper discusses whether I believe the misconceptions of other peoples religions are common with an explanation of the position I take. The paper finally concludes by making recommendations on how to minimize the misconceptions explaining my reason.
Discus any misconceptions that you had about the religion
Judaism is one of the most influential religions in the country. The origin of Judaism is traced from Israel whose people are said to be Gods chosen people. Jews have for a long time fallen prey of the most inhumane attacks from time immemorial. There is no clear reason for this series of attacks on members of the communities. This has led to the creation of several misconceptions explaining the treatment of the Jews by the rest of the religions (Diamant, 2010). One of the misconceptions that I had was that the Jews are money minded. Most of the movies I watch portray Jews as accountants in that they are good with budgeting and controlling their finances. Some have gone on to make jokes about the securing ones future through marring a Jew. Although this is not a negative misconception, Jews have on many occasions been persecuted for their connection with being greedy and thus the stereotype has served as a disadvantaged to their community.
Another misconception that I had about the Jewish religion is that Judaism is an ethnicity and not a religion. For a long time I have always associated Jews with a certain appearance that matches the stereotypes that are shown in the movies. Most of the Jews are made out to have curly hair, with a distinctive nose and a thin face. This made me get the impression that to be part of the Jewish religion; one had to match 90% of these characteristics. Through these perceptions, I got the impression that Jews came from the same place and thus formed the Jewish religion forgetting the fact that there are many other nationalities that still practice the religion.
Analyze how your prior misconceptions about this religion was altered through this encounter
My misconceptions about this religion were altered when I visited the synagogue. On my arrival to the place of worship, I was welcomed by the usher at the door who ensured that I we were all sited so that I could receive the teachings from the rabbis’. The teaching of the Jewish religion originates from the books of Torah. During the teachings, emphasis was laid on the importance of practicing good deeds which would be rewarded by God who is the creator of all mankind. One of the most important factors to note about the religion is the fact that the Jews do not base the importance on the statement of the belief. This affects the way the Jews carry themselves on a day to day basis. The practice of the Jewish religions is thus a way of life from the preparation of the food to the way of worship which is all reflective of the teachings of the Torah (Diamant, 2010).
In the case of misconception about Jews being bright, rich accountants, this was changed when I interacted with most of them. I found out that there is more to the career of a Jew in that most of them ventured into other fields that were not related to financing. Some of them had mentioned that they practiced medicine, law and even took on careers that involved sports. The Jews have never been associated with being sporty individuals; they in fact have been at the receiving end of all the jocks showcasing the inability to participate in any sport. Having hands on experience in terms of the interaction with the individuals in the synagogue has exposed me to different features that were hidden from the public by the media.
The misconception concerning the appearance of the Jews has brought about my ignorance about the members of the religion. I noticed that there were Jews from other races who were active followers and participants of the Jewish religion. This exposure brought out the influence the media have on us as a community. Most of the misconceptions that we adapt are as a result of the movies, magazines and articles we read. These sources of information are always misleading to the extent that we form an opinion based on the information we get.
Discus whether you believe the misconceptions about other people’s religions are common and explain why or why not
I do believe that the misconceptions of other people’s beliefs are common. This can be proved by the stereotypes that surround the religion in question. When a person mentions that they are part of a particular group such as Islam, people immediately associate them with being terrorists. This does not give that person a chance to interact with the rest of the community due to the ignorance is perceived about that particular religion. Most of these misconceptions are common to the extent that they have been adopted by a large percentage of the population. These misconceptions have been passed on from generation to generation to the extent that we have made it part of the culture of the religion in question.
As stated earlier, most of the misconceptions that we have about other people’s religions is gauged from the media. The media has the ability to reach a wide array of people due to the advantage of distribution. This has made me come to the conclusion that the misconception that we have as a community are common. Some of them are so common to the extent that if one does not fit into the description of the stereotype they are ruled out as part of a group (Miroshnik, 2001).
Recommendations of the step to take to minimize the misconceptions people have about their religion and explain why
One of the recommendations that I have come up with as a concerned member of the society is the introduction of forums in which we can all represent the religions we practice. Most of the misconceptions that we have adopted have come up as a result of the refusal of people to share our religious practices in public. Although the removal of religious studies in public schools has its advantages, it also makes us ignorant of the different religions we have. Students should thus be encouraged to be inquisitive about different religious practices in the community. Through the constant interactions, members of the community will have the opportunity to form their own perceptions of other religions (Colin & Bahn, 2008).
Educating people about the religions and cultures we practice brings forth a certain level of respect and understanding about the various religions in our society. This in turn is removes the hatred that we have become accustomed to due to the stereotypes that we form due to the misconceptions by inaccurate sources.
Colin, Renfrew, Colin., Bahn, Paul. (2008). Religious Archeology: Theories, Methods and Practice Fifth edition. New York: Thames and Hudson.
Diamant, Anita. (2010). choosing a Jewish life: A handbook for people converting to Judaism and fro their family and friends. New York: Thames and Hudson.
Miroshnik, Victoria. (2001). “Culture and International religious Management”. Journal of Management Development.
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