Religion has been viewed as one of the most controversial topics in society. There are many different religious groups worldwide with even more subcategories within each religion. I would consider myself to be a part of the Jewish faith, but I do not practice my religion. Therefore I interviewed my girlfriend who is a part of the Christian belief system. Although she doesn’t claim to be a devout Catholic who attends mass every Sunday, she respects and acknowledges the traditions of her religion and observes the many holidays.
When belonging to a specific parish, it involves being an active member of the Catholic community. This entails attending mass on Sundays, as well as the holidays throughout the year. It also means partaking in activities, and donating money and services to a specific church. Often, a parish will have a school for children to grow academically as well as spiritually. My girlfriend growing up attended a private Catholic school from the age of 4-18. Throughout her fourteen years, she was actively involved in her parish, including receiving all of her sacraments. My girlfriend considered receiving the sacraments to be an emotional experience as well as a ritual.
There are seven sacraments in the Catholic Church that are not mandatory, but considered to be necessary for salvation. Many Catholics do not receive all seven. This could directly be an example of some Catholics having more weight towards one element than the others. The seven sacraments are as follows: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony, which is also known as marriage. My friend stated that she felt a special connection with God each and every time she would attend a mass and receive the Eucharist. It is a common ritual that symbolizes the “body and blood” of Christ and the sacrifices he made.
There are many material expressions throughout religions, whether it is a burqa in Islam or a yarmulke in Judaism. People often feel compelled to express them not only on paper or verbally, but by the clothing or garments they wear. Christians tend to display their faith by wearing a cross around their neck. My friend has several crosses from when she was younger that she still will wear around her neck on a daily basis. She stated that unfortunately that for many wearing a symbol of your faith around your neck has become a fashion statement for many, instead of recognizing for its true meaning. Rosary beads are used in Catholicism for prayer, however they have been seen in the media and on individuals as an accessory for style. Although this may express ones beliefs, it is not considered to be sacred. Sacredness is the actual oral teaching of traditions and of Jesus Christ.
Throughout her religious journey, she has come across many biblical teachings that have been considered to be literal and others to be myth. Such stories as Adam and Eve or Noah’s Ark have been the center of controversy. Regardless, these stories have provided meaning and purpose to their followers.
Christianity is a religious belief system that has been practiced for thousands of years. Today, there are religious movements that are new to society. Such belief systems have formed their own communities and are recognized worldwide. Rastafarianism has been stereotyped among many, as a group of individuals that have long braids and smoke marijuana. People fail to realize or educate themselves of their belief system, which has personally been an area of interest. “We should recognize that many of the major religions and denominations began in similar ways—as new, small, and sometimes persecuted religious movements” (Molloy, 2010).
Rasta’s, like Catholics, are also a community apart of the Christian belief system. Many individuals within this group consider being a Rasta a “way of life” rather than an actual religion (Rothstein, 2008). As stated in the New York Times, “Rastafarians stress contemplation, meditation, a