Cara P.
11 min readDec 19, 2020


Intro To Rels UH Medium Posts

Aug 31- Sept 2, Lesson 1.3 :

I have always been aware of how other religions outside of Christianity have sacred holidays, however, I was unaware of an entire population of people who seemed to be ignored when it comes to these practices. Often Christians are burdened with superfluous obligations with the church such as church anniversaries, pastoral anniversaries, different group activities, and traveling to different churches for a specific reason. On the other hand for example in Jewish cultures, their religion has many sacred holidays that are listed in an order of importance and those students have the burden of choosing between their religion or their education. Although participating in church activities is pleasing to God, they are not necessary and most of the time it’s an easy decision for Christians.

My thinking became challenged when I felt as if Christianity was being attacked, but upon further reading, I realized that America and the majority of the world are based upon different denominations of Christianity. This often leaves minority religions on the back burner and their customs go ignored when it comes to school and overall cultural norms. This has made me realize that there needs to be a space created for other people to practice their faith without the guilt of putting school above their higher power. Although students can miss school for sacred holidays it would be easier if the holiest ones are integrated into school calendars to ensure all students have a fair and equal chance. For example, each independent school district can construct a calendar based on honoring sacred holidays by issuing a survey to ensure no one is left out. I believe that school officials can cultivate a calendar that will appease the masses with little to no interruptions of the student’s education if the effort is put into it. Another religion that is left out Hinduism. Diwali is a festival of lights that takes place over five days to celebrate the defeat of good over evil. If this takes place during the school year students risk missing vital information or test.,the%20two%20days%20of%20Divali.

Sept 2–4 , Lesson 1.4:

Before this lesson, I was not too familiar with the World religions outside of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. But on the surface, although they make up the majority of the global population and society. A lot of places in the world are heavily influenced by these major world religions, like some governments being theocratic. Although here in the United States we are not a theocracy, a lot of our values and society itself are heavily influenced by Christianity. For instance, the majority of laws in this country have had some outside religious influence, like abortion.

Sept 14–16, Lesson 2.1:

I think the emphasis on belief in the study of religion can be problematic because sometimes certain miracles happen that defy the laws of science, and people can question why certain rituals are performed. Also, one’s beliefs can cloud our judgment and can cause the mind to be closed to other’s beliefs. Although both Jews and Christians read the Hebrew bible both interpret the scriptures differently and their belief in the Messiah is vastly different. This can emotions to get in the way of one’s study and not allow a full understanding of the content being presented. When beliefs are involved people often become emotionally invested which can lead to more problematic outcomes and discussions. It is important that during the study of multiple religions one remains neutral and open-minded to fully understand each one.

The word belief has had a negative connotation throughout history. The word was used to separate people from different denominations of Christianity and caused numerous churches to form. It also showed how people viewed themselves amongst others especially when it came to Native American religions. The word belief was used to further the idea of superiority amongst the colonizers. People’s basic beliefs caused them to be persecuted which led to them wanting to escape persecution and this problematic history is why it is suggested that one is careful with the use of this word when discussing religion. Since the use of the word belief is problematic another way to discuss religions and their practices without using the word could be customary. I do not find the word problematic and nowadays beliefs have a positive connotation to go along with it rather than negativity.

Sept 21–23, Lesson 2.3:

An assumption is something that we believe reality to be. It is whatever we believe to be real. To grasp and traverse this universe, we make use of our values. To keep us safe, we also need our convictions. That is why, after they are created, we usually strive to protect our values and guard them carefully. Our values serve to act as our autopilot subconscious. These beliefs, once formed, become ingrained in us. We take them for granted, and we still believe that our convictions are truthful, whether or not they are indeed valid. If we deem something or someone good or evil, right or wrong, lovely or hideous, attractive or unsafe, safe or harmful, deserving or unworthy, or reasonable or unacceptable, is decided by our values. Our values often determine what we believe is plausible or attainable.

Sept 23–25 , Lesson 2.4:

The hypothesis that a behavior is “ritual” is raised where the behavior seems to be irrational, such as when resources are sacrificed or actions are carried out for little apparent benefit. This may range from sacrificing animals or even persons to giving away (or destroying) gifts on a wide scale at the potlatch ceremony, to sacrificing time in worship or even sports activity. And a great deal of human conduct comes to look like a ritual with this in mind; it’s far from the extraordinary event. The human order is therefore a ritual order, not a logical one. Language is not our only signaling mode; signaling is a great deal of human conduct, and especially that which is called ritual.

Sept 28–30, Lesson 2.5:

Judaism and Christianity are closely related, but different when it comes to the context of the bible. Jews focus more on the Old Testament while Christians focus more on the New Testament. Each scripture alone does not mean anything without the full understanding of each chapter, and they are open for interpretation. Christianity is more focused on Jesus and how his work on the cross gave us salvation and the belief in him will guarantee us everlasting life. However, even in this context Christians still argue over this concept when it comes to living under grace and the new covenant or the law which is mostly found in the first testament. Although both religions use the bible as a central moral compass, I think Jews have more of an emphasis on it. I always found it interesting that Jesus is a prominent figure in Judaism despite the fact Jesus is Jewish himself and Jews are God’s chosen people.

I enjoyed how the article described the readings of the Christian and the Jewish readings of the Hebrew Bible are driven by external forces and how different prophets influenced each section of the bible. However, Jews were forced to reorientate after the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem which lead to the bible being used as a moral compass for living in the present versus waiting on the future of the world. I also found it interesting that some Jewish groups are still waiting on some form of divine intervention which leads me to question what type of divine intervention they are looking forward to. Are Jews waiting for a rapture like divine intervention or do they want their version of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I also wonder why there is little mention of salvation with Jewish teachings.

Oct 12–14, Lesson 3.2:

I understood that race divided us as humans before this tutorial, severing the future connection that we could build by sharing our many similarities with each other. Then after reading Ibram X. Kendi’s excerpt only confirmed what I first felt. Kendi says, “Race creates new forms of power: the power to categorize and judge, raise and downgrade, include and exclude.” In religion, race matters because it has traditionally been used to abuse and persecute distinct persons. The only thing is, it must have been disguised as religion back then. It is all pure bigotry and prejudice nowadays. Race should never be used for comparing or contrasting entities. Obviously, the planet will be much better off for that.

Oct 19–21, Lesson 3.3:

I did not see gender as a major problem or anything meaningful until I began this class. After this lesson I learned that gender plays a major role in the lives of people and even has a role in the personalities of people. Sex is more than either male or female and may also apply to features. Scholars in social studies research gender by studying the positions of gender, and the impact religion has on it. Sex can impact how someone else performs a community. Furthermore the ideas of gender conforming or nonconforming and the influence it has on culture as well as how gender fluidity is not a new phenomenon were two aspects that intrigued me from this lecture. I believed it was and it taught me a lot about the role of gender in our culture.

Oct 21–23, Lesson 3.4:

I also learned a lot about sexuality and its effect on the personalities of people, just like the previous lecture. Sexuality is an important theme in many religions as well. We can see it with evangelical Christians who think that sinners are the whole LGTBQ+ community. In religious studies, this is one explanation why understanding sexuality is significant. Sexuality also plays a significant role in the identification of individuals and educating ourselves will make each other feel more secure in their own skin. Additionally, two things that fascinated me about this lesson is that the norm for sexuality has changed throughout time and that sexuality is a topic often discussed and debated in religion. Even within politics, sexuality is a debated topic. I used to think it was not a big issue but I have come to realize that I have much to learn.

Oct 26–28, Lesson 3.5:

Throughout history, class has been a leading problem. Class plays a major part in religion as well. It is used to organize people and also oppress individuals in certain situations. In social studies, the caste system is an indication of status being a concern or incorporated within religions. For them it separates individuals and decides their lives. The class question is a recurring topic in history and is something about which we must learn to develop and strengthen our culture.

Oct 28–30, Lesson 3.6:

I had never spoken so much about intersectionality before today’s lesson and what it meant. In this lesson, however, I learned that intersectionality contributes to the intertwined concept of social categorizations as they relate to a particular category, such as race, class and gender. Kimberlé Crenshaw speaks about how African American girls are more likely than white girls to get suspended and that comes down to a matter of race and gender. That was good, I thought, and we ought to look at it so that we can be better as a culture. Another element I learned in today’s lesson was in the Holding it 101 episode when Megan Goodwin said the most crucial thing to note is that intersectionality isn’t only about difference, but it’s about access or lack of access to power and privilege that fascinates me because it is so real. Up until now I have never talked of it that way, but now it’s something I’ve been dreaming about. When learning religion, I think this stuff is interesting to look at because much of it was about white men in the history of religion and it gave them a kind of strength. In a sense, all of the things we learned in Unit 3 link back to intersectionality.

Nov 9–11, Lesson 4.1:

I had never even spoken of religious freedom before the lesson and what it meant. The right to follow your religious convictions, whatever they might be is religious freedom. The first amendment under RAPPS, which is faith, assembly, newspaper, petition, and voice, also states it. However, particularly lately, the issue of religious freedom has become very controversial. For instance, there have been occasions where corporations have declined to service those persons who are contrary to their views. Colorado, which was Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was the most remembered moment that occurred. This instance was when a cakeshop refused to make a cake for a pair of the same sex. And others may see this as freedom of faith, but Americans are divided over what freedom of religion entails. In the lesson, I discovered that for many years, religious freedom has been a contentious topic, which I found was fascinating because if you actually look around, there are so many more cases that are brought to the media and public.

Nov 11–13, Lesson 4.2:

I discovered in the lesson that for many years, religious freedom has been a contentious subject, which I found was fascinating because if you actually look around, there are too many more cases that are introduced to the media and public. It is important to read and understand that tolerance is the entire concept of how individuals are exclusive and removed from some classes because they only accept others. We see in the lesson that sexual rights and freedom of faith both go together. Tolerance shows hate and strengthens structural injustice. We ought to look at our public lives and see how we have built a space for hate as a culture and individuals that I found was fascinating.

Nov 16–18, Lesson 4.3:

I uncovered the facts about the nature of anti-Judaism, anti-Semitism, and the KKK’s history through this lecture. For anti-Judaism I have always been fairly educated about it and my parents always want to make sure that I and my family are aware of problems that are going on within different faiths. For antisemitism, I always knew that some people would try to use the bible to justify their wrong doings, but I never knew that they were an actual term for it, and I never knew the extent of it. I would see in movies how the racist bad guy tried to use verses from the Old Testament to justify his horrible actions, and I heard about it happening once or twice in real life, however I never realized the extent. It is disturbing seeing people using any religion to blame other people for their negative actions, but it happens all the time and history is riddled with it. As far as the KKK was concerned, what I heard was what they taught us in kindergarten. I have started thinking more about a lot of stuff, like the KKK, with the new race trends. I never suspected that the trump slogan was similar to the KKK slogan, but I am not at all surprised.

Nov 18–20, Lesson 4.4:

I was conscious that Islamophobia was a bias towards Islam and Muslims until Lecture 4.4. In public places and even on social media, where they are viewed as militant and untrustworthy, Islamophobia triggers bigotry against Muslims. Not only does the dislike of Islam and Muslims influence Muslims, but also people viewed as Muslims, such as Sikh men wearing turbans. I noticed something disturbing after reading Liz Bucar’s article was how individuals who refuse to wear face masks during this pandemic are still making assumptions on the face and head coverings of Muslim women. The explanation that some people do not like to wear a face mask is because they think it is un-American and that their privacy is messed with.

Nov 30- Dec 2, Lesson 4.6:

I discovered in this lesson what a cult truly is and what the distinction between faith and society is. A cult is like a sense of reverence that can be used to explain different objects in various ways. There have been different cult examples and how this term is used, but it generally boils down to the following. For starters, if there is a big group following anything like a single movie, people would say they are cult followers. That is the first thing that pops up when I hear the word. The most common way people think/use the word cult is for extreme cults or incidents such as the temple of the people established by Jim Jones. This is not, however, a suitable way of describing a cult. He explains why for brunch, this would mock religions of religion and then lump other new religions against other extreme ones. This makes it seem like new religious movements are dystopian or extremist.