Religion: The Welcome Or UN-welcome Mat Essay, Research Paper
Religion serves to both exclude and include other people based on their willingness to accept or adopt that religion. When people are within the religion, they are already part of a community of others sharing their beliefs and including each other in their rituals. When a subculture or secular belief meets a religious assembly, the religious assembly separates the subculture into two collections: those who can and will be converted and those who will not. Of those who can and will, the religion will try to include them into their routines and make them feel welcome in order to convert them building larger membership and power. Of those who will not, they are certainly excluded and sometimes harmed in order to separate their own followers from the disbeliveers and, hopefully, cause tension and feelings of isolation within the subculture or secular group to cause them to fall apart. With creating difficulties in the subculture, the religion can also create a greater sense of pride with their own followers.
Recently, a Southern Baptist campaign to pray for the conversion of Jews during Judaism?s high holy days has set off a ?furor that threatens further fray already tattered relations? between U.S. Jewish groups and Baptists, one of the largest Protestant denominations (Sheler, 60). In this case, religion proves to exclude a group that strongly identifies itself as another religion. The Baptists, although they argue that they obligated to pray for those who do not know Jesus as the Lord, are making a move to exclude those who are Jewish. Instead of the act being one that includes an individual or a group, as ?praying for someone? tends to be, it becomes an act of contradiction and pity. The Jews do not gain a sense of appreciation for the Baptist?s actions; instead, they feel, according to Jewish leader, Richard D. Heideman, ?[their actions are] not merely insensitive but hostile.? The Baptists then gain two things by their movement. First, they create a divide between the two religions making those who do not follow their beliefs feel detached. Second, they create a sense of collectiveness making their own religion stronger.
Religion, as it seems, is an extension of a majority of mankind?s need to solidify within a normal group. However, religion is not only the need to feel ?part of something.? Religion serves as more outlets. It is the tool to control morals through fear or understanding, to insure hope and continuity, to record history and folklore, among other things. Unfortunately, religion, as it emerges into a world entrenched in capitalistic values, is morphing into a competitive and profit driven part of our cultures, much the way corporations work. With that includes a free market condition between other religions, causing a more worldly rivalry between beliefs. The world, inadvertently, becomes the playground of exclusive organizations and its outsiders.