Service Learning Project

The German political philosopher, Karl Marks, one day said that, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people”. This well-known quotation defines religion in such a way, which is acceptable for both religious and nonpracticing religious people. Notwithstanding the fact that nonpracticing religious people do not pray, do not participate in religious rituals or do not go regularly to Church, they believe in God, or more precisely, they believe in the highest power that leads them throughout their lives. Lifestyle of the true religious believers differs from that of nonreligious people. They regularly go to Church, pray and observe fasts. They have traditions and moral standards, which sometimes seem conservative and outdated. Such attributes of religion as sacred time, places and objects are of immense significance for devout people. Historically established procedures must occur at a special time, in holy places with the use of sacred objects. Such rituals maintain traditions and unite members of the religious community not only with each other but also with their ancestors. Caused by the presence of sacred objects, in holy places, at a special time, “religious feeling” conveys a sense of mystery and veneration; it makes the air of ritual almost magical and provides the feeling of close presence of Deity. True religious people believe that only in such atmosphere their prayers will be heard by the Devine beings. Nonpracticing religious people do not need sacred places and objects to believe that the Deity is near. Although they respect religious traditions and do not deny their importance, they do not need the “religious feeling” and sense of community in order to be consolidated with God. They consider religious conservative traditions to be a historical heritage and stronghold of faith, which necessary to preserve for descendants that should have an opportunity to decide for themselves in which way they will express their faith and vocalize prayers.

The chosen project is about differences in traditions and points of view between religious people and nonpracticing religious people. The idea of believing in the highest power that leads people throughout their lives, as well as respecting and preserving historically established traditions is close and straightforward to me. I am pretty sure that faith in God or highest power that is just and omnipotent makes mankind more human. Without faith and ethical standards people are usually unhappy and aimless; in addition, they can demonstrate antisocial attitudes or even lack of conscience. Therefore, my point of view is that religion or believing in higher justice is necessary not only for a person but for the society in general, too; however, it is not crucial where and how people express or convey their faith in God.

It was a fascinating experience to spend some time with the person who is strictly religious. She is a member of the Catholic Church, and follows all the rules and traditions, which her religion enjoins. I also attended services in her church. There was a beautiful choir, solemn priesthood and stunning pictures of Saints; the entire ceremony was majestic and inspiring.

Faith comes in two concepts, religious and philosophical; it provides human beings with reasons to live, believe, dream and create. In other words, people believe in God; however, God has made mankind with the capability to comprehend to whom they should trust and why. Communication with a representative of the religious system showed that religion reflects knowledge, traditions and wisdom that were accumulated centuries before. From such a perspective, it is obvious that similarities that religious and nonpracticing religious people have are more significant and comprehensive than differences, because social and emotional understanding of moral standards and faith in God is the same for all believers. Therefore, every believer shares the similar conception of love for family and native country; they all care about preserving the legacy of ancestors and creating a better future for the descendents.

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