Essay on Visiting Spiritual Centers

Submitted By toshpear70
Words: 1048
Pages: 5

Visiting Spiritual Centers As this class comes to an end, I have decided that I would like to continue my studies concerning the subject on my own. The information that I have been exposed to during the six weeks of this course has convinced me to be respectful and considerate in regards to the religious beliefs and practices of all religions, not just my own. This week’s application assignment gave us the opportunity to take a look at the places in which followers of various religions go to worship. In this document, I will describe the virtual tours of the Islamic, Hindu, and religious centers by providing details about the elements contained in them. I will also identify the similarities and differences between the characteristics of the spiritual centers and explain how these characteristics reflect each religion’s beliefs. I will conclude this document with a synopsis of how the visitation of these centers impacts my learning from this course.
My first tour was of the Hindu temples. I immediately noticed that statues of the Hindu gods and goddesses. Statues of Gita, Durga, Rama, Krishna, and Shiva have been placed at the front of the temple with Rama being in the center. Statues of Hanuman and Ganesh are placed on the left and right sides. One of the temples I visited even had a partition that separated the areas as if worshipers are only allowed to get within a certain distance of the statues. The back of the temple is allocated for people to pray and there is also an area in the back of the temple for literature. There are pictures lining the walls of the area allocated for prayer. These pictures are depictions of the lives of the Hindu gods and goddesses. I believe the statues of the gods are placed in front of the temple because Hindus pray to different gods for different things. “Rama represents the concern, sensitivity, and tenderness of a male lover,” Durga “is the destroyer of evil,” “Shiva, is thought of as the ‘lord of creatures’,” and Ganesh is “the god of good luck,” and Krishna is known as the reincarnate of the god known as Vishnu. (Nigosian, 2008)
Next, I toured the Islamic temples. The Islamic temples are very complex. I took a tour of the Suleymaniye Mosque. It consists of multiple buildings that include education and social service buildings and even a guesthouse. The main entrance is gated. The entrance itself is adorned with golden inscriptions from the Quran. The prayer halls are covered with domes. The main dome contains paintings and scriptures. The walls are marked to indicate the direction of prayer as Muslims should face the Kaa’ba, the holy cube that is located in Mecca. There are also panels inscribed with quotations from the Quran on the entrance walls. The floor in the prayer dome is covered with red carpet that is designed to indicate individual spaces for people to pray. There is also an area in the temple where tourists are asked to stand so that they do not interrupt any activity in the mosque. Our textbook World Religions: A Historical Approach reveals that Muslims are required to pray five times a day. Prayer is usually performed in a mosque or another place of prayer. The temple also has a courtyard with floors made of marble. More than likely, the courtyard contains places for Muslims to wash their hands and feet. Clean hands and feet are required to enter the temple to pray.
My final tour was of the Mormon temples. These temples have a few characteristics that are similar to the Christian churches I have visited. The exterior of the Mormon temple was grand. They have a baptistry where the living and deceased are baptized. The founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Later-Day Saints, Joseph Smith made claims of a revelation that deemed him to sanction “the ritual of baptism for the dead” (Nigosian, 2008). The Endowment room resembles the Christian church’s sanctuary, where the message of God is taught. The Mormon temple also has a room…