I’ve taken 2 history courses this semester, and in one of them, I’ve learned a lot about other religions. Growing up, I’ve heard briefly of other religions, but never knew anything about them. This class really made me realize how going to a school based on one religion, like Catholic School, can really influence your knowledge of the rest of the world. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten until 11th grade, when I decided I wanted to go to public school so I could at least experience it once in my life. A lot of people would ask me why I would chose to put myself in a difficult situation, or make my senior year harder than it needed to be- everyone would already have established groups of friends, so where would I fit in? I realized this, but it just didn’t matter to me. The public school system was such a foreign concept to me and I wanted to be able to be a part of it. I think being exposed to different things makes you a wiser person and allows you to make well-informed decisions in the future. If I never went to public school, I would end up sending my own children to Catholic school, not because I feel strongly that it’s the best choice, but because I wouldn’t know anything else, so how could I choose otherwise? I wouldn’t be choosing the best school system for my children unless I could firsthand experience both. It is certainly better to hear what people say from both sides, but I think experiencing both first hand is the ultimate provider of background information.
Anyway, my point is, for 12 years I was exposed to absolutely nothing but Catholicism. I don’t think we learned about other religions, to tell you the truth. It was briefly mentioned in some history classes, but other than that, no. In my class this semester, we’ve learned about a lot of different religions, such as Judaism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. A few weeks ago, when we covered Islam, we learned that its extremely similar to Christianity. I was shocked. Then, thinking about how I was shocked at that, it made me realized how sheltered I’ve been, especially in relation to religion. A few kids in my class are Muslim, and they shared different details with us, and it was so fascinating to me how similar it is to Christianity. Just now I was going over my notes on Islam, and began thinking about that particular class. Isn’t it true that after 9/11 we’ve all kind of been pushed in the way of believing anyone “Indian” is the bad guy? I’m ashamed that most of us go along with what we’re told by the media, or whoever is in charge, without asking questions. Ignorance can cost so many lives! I’m just thoroughly appalled at that concept.
I would actually like to learn more about Islam, mainly just a few questions I had while doing these notes- mainly just why they practice certain rituals, because I’m not familiar with the reasoning behind them, the way I am with Christianity. For example, I read how there are strict behavior requirements: forbidden to gamble, to eat pork, drink alcoholic beverages, and engage in dishonest behavior. Aside from engaging in dishonest behavior, I’m just wondering why those actions are followed-like, why can’t they eat pork? Why can’t they drink? I actually am really intrigued and would love to talk to anyone who is Muslim, because I just know nothing about anything outside of my own Catholic, ritualistic, upbringing-and that’s pathetic. I almost feel jipped! I know Catholic schools instill different morals, etc. but looking back its like they also hide every other way of life from you! I guess it is better that I learn about life and diversity now rather than not at all, but it is safe to say I know where I want my kids to go to school- public school! Its just wrong to ‘’conceal’’ the rest of the world from people, because ignorance will end up leading to death of innocent people. Ugh. That’s all for now folks.