Islam students at LUC

Archive for February 4th, 2013

For last week’s lecture we had to come up with forty things which make up a religion and then we had to define “religion.”  I thought it would difficult to come up with so many aspects that can represent religion but it actually seemed easier than I thought, maybe because we worked in groups.  I was not only amazed at how many things were common among so many of the major and minor world religions but I was also surprised that most of the groups had many of the same aspects in their top ten.  Defining “religion” proved to be a much harder task than coming up with common aspects of religion.  While trying to come up with an original definition, we had to consider all religions throughout deliberation; making sure that the word choice did not contradict certain religions even if it agreed with others.  After coming up with ours and hearing other groups’, it was clear that most definitions were so broad that they could be applied to other social groups, such as veganism and people who watch the NFL.

In response to jpu1994: I agree that it is important to be open-minded when it comes to religion in general, but especially when it comes to religions that you are not a part of.  I, too, can identify with Christianity, though I rarely go to church and cannot remember the last time I prayed before a meal.  I was raised that way, and though I do not practice the faith often, I do sometime still say that I am part of that faith.  I have really enjoyed this course so far, I have learned more about the broad idea of religion as well as other religions I was not as informed about.  I was not expecting to learn much about so many different cultures in this class but I have definitely been pleasantly surprised.

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This week we went into the history of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.  I’ll start by saying that I’m a Muslim, and spent Kindergarten through 5th grade in a full time Muslim school, and then attended Sunday school for the following three years.  I already knew most of what was said in class this past week.  I grew up learning that Muhammad was an orphan and that he was illiterate.  The story of the angel and the cave is one most Muslims know.  However, I was never taught about what the lifestyle of Mecca was like before the Prophet.  All we were taught was that the Meccans were idolators and bad people because they tried to stop the message of Islam from spreading.  Obviously, being Muslim and looking back at what they did, they do seem like bad people, but when you’re given the context of the situation – that the people of Mecca had a way of life they held dear because it was the ways of their fathers – it makes sense that they were so opposed to Muhammad and the Muslims.  It doesn’t make the persecution, torture, and wars okay, but it gives some insight as to why it all happened.  I’m excited to learn more about my religion that I didn’t know before.

In response to : I found your point about what makes a person religious or not very interesting. I think in any religious community, there are always people who judge each other based on how “religious” they perceive them to be. Even though we defined “religion” as a group of people with a common belief, I think the definition of religion really does depend on the individual and what that individual values as important in his or her life.  One person may be more interested in the spirituality of a religion and the rituals while another person is less spiritual and more interested in the “rules”.  Both people can be considered religious, but to each other they may not seem to be.  Considering how religion is really based on a higher, unseen power, people should really be more open minded to how other people perceive that power.