Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lemon tree

Thus far in my university experience (6months, 6 classes), I have found the faculty to be fair and knowledgeable when it comes to Christianity as an influential world religion. Being exposed to favorable attitudes toward Christianity from non-believers (most of whom seem to be devout pluralists who will treat any other religion with equal respect) I have noticed how limited my own religious knowledge is outside what I specifically believe.
For instance, when discussing a book’s religious references in a small class group, a Mormon classmate knew quite a bit, but wasn't familiar with the specifics of Catholicism. I knew a little bit of that, but for a separate class project (which I got to use my religious beliefs in) I found I didn't know how to spell Protestant and didn't know what it meant!

Do you know the origin and meaning of Protestant?
Seeing as how I am one, this was a problem. There’s a good article (meaning well designed and understandable) in the online Catholic encyclopedia if you google Protestant.
Basically, during the Reformation the groups formed around teachings against Catholic Church practices of the day were ‘in protest’ to it, so they where the protest-ants. I didn’t realize till I had to spell it that the regional pronunciation of is Prod-ist-ent not Pro-test-int. It’s became a label not a descriptive word.

It was kind of disappointing to be named in opposition to the existence of some other group. I’d rather have a group name that stood on its own principles. Oh well. What I should be more active in is learning the formal positions of other sects and faiths. Within the specific band of Christianity I adhere to I feel well educated. There is lots of historical teaching and evidence to be learned for other positions as well. Some education minded Protestant Evangelical American Christians may know our own beliefs and doctrines well, but it would be good to know other things, such as the religious history of America’s Revolutionary war. I heard an interview on NPR of a book on this topic, and it sounded quite interesting in that a lot of common assumptions about the constitution, the founding fathers, and England aren’t correct. Should I believe that author’s analysis of the origins of religious freedom in America? Not without reading his book, and looking for myself at the original documents.

We should be carful in what we say and believe if we haven’t studied a topic in depth.

Grady Houger - know thy origins

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