Religion in the U.S

Religion in the U.S
Please respond to each post separately, with a minimum of 100 words for each.

Instructions : Simply responding to a fellow student’s post with “I agree” or “Good point” or “Couldn’t have said it better myself” and leaving it at that is not acceptable and will not earn you full credit. Your postings should contribute something to the ongoing conversation. You are welcome to agree with fellow students as long as you add something of your own to the discussion; and you are welcome to disagree with your fellow students and argue a different point of view but this must be done respectfully and politely as would be expected in any classroom discussion.


Post 1

  1. A) The primary theme of the Passover, in which the Seder Dinner is a part of, is about remembering the Israelites escape from slavery in Egypt to come and have freedom. The ideas of liberation, freedom, and transformation are common ground and accepted by the Jews and African Americans. When it comes to the feminist Seder, the women’s experience has a large role and on top of that, Miriam’s experiences play a key role. For these women, the dinner represents the ongoing story of being free. It would appear that the feminists, African Americans, and Tibetans are all in sync with the idea of being free and liberated in the Jewish Seder.




  1. B) Dr. Cone spoke about lynching and that he believes it symbolizes a similarly to that of the cross. He spoke about the lynching African Americans after the Civil War and that since religion is often symbolized, the lynching tree is a symbol that spiritually, people are much stronger than physically on earth because the body can be killed but not the spirit, so those performing the lynching don’t truly win. He feels that this symbolism is similar to the cross in Christianity because he finds it to be a symbol of power. Dr. Cone believes that the spirit and humans can’t be killed and that the reason that God is love is because He gives people, the power to resist and people love the ability to resist. I can personally see where he is coming from, but I disagree with most of what he has to say about the cross and the lynching tree being related. The cross represents love and forgiveness and has nothing to do with lynching. From my interpretation, he seemed very against white Americans which even though white Americans are not a minority in America, it is still wrong to be racist against any group of people.



  1. C) Religion had an impact on the religious rights movement. People from all different denominations within the church joined this movement. Martin Luther King Jr. felt that he was a prophet like those in the Bible and felt that he was “compelled to carry the gospel of freedom.” James H. Cone came up with the idea of a “Black Theology” that combined particular aspects of “Christianity” with the sufferings of African Americans and the idea of “white supremacy.”




  1. D) The issues surrounding the role of women in religious organizations in contemporary America are definitely existent. Women in the past have normally not been allowed to be a “high” member of the church, but they have still been able to have large impacts in the church. What some women did to protest this is that they would change the traditional church services and they would progressively protest more from there. Earl G. Hunt mentioned that some of what the women had to preach may not have always been accurate. I would agree for the most part. Of course, most of what the women said was right and I am not taking away from anything that they did, but some of the extreme feministic ideas would find its way into the church which is not what the Word of God teaches. Some groups, such as Pentecostals and Quakers have usually accepted women having authoritative roles in the church. Currently, most religious groups have let women have a larger role in the church but as the Episcopal Church has said, this is more for social than theological reasons.

Post 2


According to the sources provided the Jews and African Americans shared a common root, and that is slavery. Though the situations, happened in different timeline, they aligned themselves as being weak and oppressed. On the other hand, the two groups both expected that God will never abandon them and will reward them for their faithfulness. The gender issues here are the superiority of men over women. In “feminist Seder”, the celebrants identify the power of women in Exodus. They mentioned Miriam, sister of Moses, the central figure of the “Feminist Seder”. There is a single connection to the African Americans, feminists, and Tibetans, they always fought for their rights and equal treatment. In many ways they were oppressed by other people. That is why the Jewish Seder is connected to each of them, it celebrated the freedom of Israelites from the Egyptians. It showed them that God will free them from these oppressions.


Dr. Cone used religion to show how African Americans coped with the lynching all over America. He believed that the whites may have broken their physical body but their spirit lives on, and it is something that the whites cannot take. This became an empowerment to the blacks, and these helped them in coping with the oppressive and brutal rule of the whites. Racism and violence is connected in a way that they were kept slaves due to their race, and they are being persecuted also because of their race. The connections are valid as Dr. Cone showed what the whites do not want to see. They wanted to forget the past, but Dr. Cone believed that they can only overcome it if they remember those events. In which they can talk to it openly, without contempt or any discrimination.


Religion became one of the defining aspects of civil rights movement. However, both the bad and the good are justified using religion. Slavery was justified by using the Bible while others contradicted it using the story of Exodus. Clearly, it played a large role in civil rights movement. It also includes the inferiority of women which is evidently seen in the Bible and other religious texts. They were being kept as a follower or an assistant, and they have a hard time acquiring higher position as religion dictates that men rule over women.





Post 3


  1. A) In the interview, “Globalization and the Rise of Religion”, Peter Berger makes an interesting point of opinion. He says that although the world may feel secularized, the reality is quite the opposite. He states that our world has perhaps never been so religious and full of believers. There has also never been so much religious diversity, especially in America. So many religions are booming and spreading across the world, even. I thought this to be interesting and somewhat refreshing because, like Peter Berger states as well, many times we may feel that the world around us is secularized, especially in educational environments such as Harvard, etc.


  1. D) It sounds like the labor standards set by the labor unions were a bit harsh in the beginning. For example, I believe one of the standards was that workers were required to give 16-hour days of work. I think currently there are different standards set in place, but these are standards that may be just as harmful in other ways. For example, the increase in the minimum wage, in my opinion, only hurts our labor force because it will force small companies to be shut down because of costs, which will therefore result in higher unemployment.


  1. H) I like that Dorothy Day focused solely on the administering to the poor and needy. She saw this as her number one priority. Because of this I am sure she eased much of the poverty in that time. Poverty is such a drastic issue in our day and age. I think this attitude is needed.


  1. G) I think that this shift of focus from foreign missions to “mission at home” mainly focused on the fact that perhaps one does not need to travel across the world to share the gospel with others. If everyone simply shares the gospel where they are at, then there will be tremendous results. Every church kind of sees this differently, though.






Post 4


  1. A) In the interview, they discuss how sociologists theorized the world would become secularized as it modernized (secularization theory), but how it has instead resulted in an explosion of religious growth and pluralism. Peter Berger theorizes that modernization has increased the ways to communicate which allows for rapid sharing of ideas, and religious messages. Dr. Kanter discusses the display of religion by business at the World Economic Forums, and the role religious leaders play in world events. According to her, many businesses talk about the “good” they are doing in the world. She also states that in order to achieve peace in the middle east or influence international cooperation you must not only approach the political leaders, but also the religious leaders as they can make the difference in swaying public opinion.


  1. D) James Gibbons and Walter Rauschenbusch argued against the exploitation of workers. At times, entire families were working up to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, in unsafe conditions and barely making a living wage. There was no insurance (workmen’s compensation), unemployment insurance, and no independent arbitrator to determine a just or living wage. They, as well as other groups, demanded labor’s right to collectively bargain, the abolition of child labor, a minimum wage, constructive care of dependents and social insurance for employment and old age.


I believe the standards are common place and widespread, at least in the U.S. I would propose that we have gone too far in some cases and are hurting the lower class with our current policies. For example, by increasing minimum wage we increase the cost of basic goods and services, and the only result is inflation. It seems to me to be a fruitless action that devalues our money.


I believe the unions served a purpose at one time but are largely detrimental to employers and employees today. With forced union dues and mandatory membership, the unions seem to be more in the business of helping themselves then their members. I think Wisconsin is a primary example; they recently passed a law against mandatory union dues and membership, and over half of the State’s union members left.


I believe American religion has embraced the “social gospel”. All though, I do not believe everyone agrees on how to carry it out. I believe there are some that think it should be addressed on the personal level and through the churches, while others believe it is only achieved through government, policy and mandatory participation.


  1. G) Many of the churches started to focus on “missions at home” to convert and assimilate the new immigrants. America is known as the melting pot of the world, E pluribus Unum (from many, one), and the churches saw themselves as playing a role in the acclimation and assimilation of the immigrants into the American culture. There were some that feared the protestants would lose the majority and were determined to convert those of other faiths.


  1. H) Instead of organizing a committee, Dorothy Day and her Catholic Worker movement fed and clothed the poor and hungry. She saw poverty as an urgent need that demanded immediate action, not policy and talk. The poverty levels have decreased since the time of Dorothy Day, but there will always be poverty.
Post 5
  1. A) According to the assigned materials, Christian fundamentalism, movement in American Protestantism that arose in the late 19th century in reaction to theological modernism, which aimed to revise traditional Christian beliefs to accommodate new developments in the natural and social sciences, especially the theory of biological evolution. They don’t like to compare science and religion because they believe Bible is perfect, even if science is objectively true. I am interested in why Christian fundamentalism so believe religion belief.


  1. B) I feel like there is no only one right answer. V. V. Ramen tried to explain that. He felt that both were important, and that truth could only be found while combining the two. Many people look at religion and science as two separate things. Although the answers are different doesn’t mean that one is wrong, just gives a unique perspective on the question.


  1. C) Buddhist history in the United States traces to the mid-19th century, when early scholars and spiritual pioneers first introduced the subject to Americans, followed soon by the arrival of Chinese immigrants to the West Coast. Interest in Buddhism was significant during the late Victorian era, but practice was almost completely confined to Asian immigrants, who faced severe white prejudice and legal discrimination. The Asian – American Buddhism is a stricter form of Buddhism, where eating meat and killing insects are not allowed. Adversely, the Non- Asian Buddhists concentrate on yoga and spirit and are not that strict.


  1. D) Hinduism in America is different from how it is practiced in India. Although America have freedom of religion, every religion has different festivals that are held on diverse ways. A Hindu believes there are many paths to God. Jesus is one way, the Qur’an is another, yoga practice is a third. None is better than any other; all are equal. The most traditional, conservative Christians have not been taught to think like this. They learn in Sunday school that their religion is true, and others are false. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.”


  1. E) Vatican II brought some major changes to the Roman church. Most obvious were changes in the mass, which had been said in Latin, with priest facing away from the congregation, often speaking quietly (even mumbling). It was impersonal at best, and for most, not understandable.







Post 6


  1. A) The conversation regarding Fundamentalism began in around 1983, when Charles A. Briggs was brought to trial and charged with “teachings that errors may have existed in the original text of the Holy Scriptures” he was found guilty and was dismissed from the church. After that, the idea that scripture withheld all else was on the rise. Fundamentalists are against the teachings of evolution. I found interesting that the view of Fundamentalism would be on the rise. In my opinion, Fundamentalism seems like a step back in the evolution of religion, therefore I would not expect that to have happened when it gained popularity.


  1. B) In the broadcast “The Heart’s Reason: Hinduism and Science,” V.V. Raman describes the relationship between Hinduism and science as being a distinction, but not a divide. He says that the reason for this so that in his religion there is an understanding of where the two meet and differ from one another, not overlap. In relation to their belief in numbers, Hindus believe that the goddess Saraswathi gave it to them. I thought it was interesting that they understand science, and they believe that it is different from their religion, but they believe that a goddess gave them something as complex as numbers.


C)There is mainly three types of Buddhism practices within the United States: Zen, Vajrayana, and Vipassana. There are more kinds, but not ones that appeal to converted Buddhists. Zen is a practice based mainly around meditation and is the most popular sect with Westerners. Vajrayana has more of a Catholic feel to the religion, with a “sharper division between monks and laymen; a greater emphasis on ritual practices of worship, chanting, initiation rites, healing, and empowerment ceremonies.” Finally, the Vipassana movement represents a different, more modern interpretation of Buddhist meditation. The divide between the Asian-American Buddhists and the non-Asian Buddhists has to do with the history behind the two groups. Where the Asian-American group has had a belief in the religion for many hundreds of years, the non-Asian Buddhists have no history with the religion. I think it is really interesting how much we may see of the Buddhist religion that we never realize. Now that I think of all the products and the trends that refer to Buddhism, it really is a staggering amount.


D)Hindus have adapted their religion a lot to fit the American context. One of the first reasons discussed was that in India, Hindus in different classes may never associate with each other, but in America they do. Other things that they have done are to apply their religion to the adaptions that they make and add new elements to the religion that they find in their American culture. They also question and test it in ways they may have never had to in India where their religion is widely accepted. It makes sense that religions adapt a lot when they move to another country. I find it surprising thought just how much trouble they have with acceptance and original cultures in America. It appears it is really hard to keep fundamentalist beliefs in America, simply because of our open-minded culture when it comes to religion and its fluidity.


  1. E) The changes that Vatican II brought to the Roman Catholic Church were immense. Sixteen documents were voted upon during this time. One of these documents was the “Document of Religious Liberty.” This document made a switch from the church valuing the religion of the church mainly, to favoring religious openness. Another change they made during this time was the limited use of Latin during mass. In summary, Vatican brought modernization to the Catholic church that it never had up to this point.

Last Updated on February 11, 2019

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