Dr. Dell Belew
REL212 – Assignment 1
29 July 2012
To the Right Reverend Jules E.L.F., Planet Zero: please accept this report in fulfillment of my mission to visit Planet Earth to determine whether it is a religious planet. My mission trip was successful as I visited many cities and observed people both at worship and in social/family situations. I determined to visit their places of worship and their public and private spaces to observe their rituals, their clothing, and their interactions with each other. [Note this is the mission (purpose) and criteria.]
I found that Planet Earth has multiple religions and diverse attitudes within each religion. Three major religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have the same origin, so I will concentrate on these. [These are my three examples of rituals, clothing, and interactions mentioned above.] The meeting place for Jews is called a synagogue. There are basically two “forms” of Judaism: orthodox and reformed. As with other religions, there are many different expressions of Judaism even within those two forms. Sometimes the changes or differences depend on the country in which the Jews live.
The worship rituals for the orthodox Jews involve a strict adherence to their laws or covenants. The services take place on Saturday and as many as possible are required to walk to services as their fasting from food and work begins on Friday evenings and ends on Saturday evenings. The reason is that it is considered their Sabbath. In an orthodox meeting, the women are separated from men. The men congregate in the main sanctuary and attend to the reading of the Torah, their holy book, by their leaders who are called rabbis. The format of the service is a sacred occasion. There is music in which the congregants sing praises to their God, whose name they do not say or write as it is a sacred name, and they do not want to dishonor that name.
The dress of the Jewish people at worship involves a covering upon the men’s head and a prayer shawl. Women also worship with their heads covered. They do not seem to have restrictions upon dress when not in worship or celebrating their holy days. At home, the orthodox Jews practice very strict dietary and environmental laws in preparation for their holy days. They take these rules very seriously to the extent that preparation for Passover involves removing every single crumb that may have fallen from bread to commemorate the unleavened bread ordered by God for the Israelites before he delivered them from Egypt. This process involved removing everyday dishes and utensils and replacing them with special dishes for the Passover. These orthodox Jews are very religious, indeed.
One thing I noticed about Jewish people is that many, if not most, of them are in business for themselves. When a member of a Jewish family opens a business, he is supported by the Jewish community until he achieves success. There is a family feeling among all of the families in community. In one city I visited, there is a large education center not only for Jews but for anyone who wants to learn a wide variety of subjects. Especially do the Jewish people teach their children the Hebrew language and a love for the land they believe is God’s Promised Land, which is Israel.
Next I observed Christianity, a religion that grew out of Judaism, having a common deity, Yahweh, but believing that the promised Messiah of the Jews is Jesus the Christ. Though the Jews believe that the Messiah is coming, the Christians believe that he has come in the person of Jesus Christ.
The place of worship for Christians is called a church, worship center, or sanctuary. People who call themselves Christian, come together usually on Sunday mornings all over the planet. They congregate together, men, women, and children, and they are led by either a male or female person called a minister, preacher, pastor, or priest. The preacher also reads from part of