range of beliefs

Today I made the drive back home after finishing my freshman year of college! Pray that my GPA was high enough to keep my scholarship. College was amazing and I miss it, but I’m happy to be home. I always visit my best friend from high school, Eliza, when I come home and her college best friend, Kelsey. Today we did the normal catch up on drama in our lives, visit taco bell, and talk about boys, but after we caught up our conversation found its way to religion. Eliza and I went to the same private Christian high school. Now, Eliza and Kelsey attend a Christian college and I’m at a public college, so we’ve all been involved in religion courses. We started off just talking about how professors we took all taught from different perspectives. For example, we discussed Martin Luther and how some professors taught that his nailing of the 95 Theses to the door of the Wittenburg Castle Church was fact and others taught that depending on how you look at the evidence it can be debated whether or not Martin Luther was the one who posted them. It was interesting to me mainly because both professors were people I considered to be highly intelligent, but why did they not agree if they were both “experts” in their field? It got me thinking about religion in a general sense.

I have never met two people who agree on absolutely everything. Ever. I do not think it’s possible to find two people who have the same values, beliefs, morals, political views, etc. There are just too many options for people to decide on. Someone once described modern religion to me to be similar to a buffet line. Imagine the buffet line is all different religions: Hindu, Buddhist, Catholic, Mormon, Protestant, Sunni, Shiite, and all the ones you can think of. Then as you go down the buffet line, you pick out each thing you like about the different religions. If you like to have your sins forgiven through confession, then you choose that from Catholicism. If you believe in karma and meditation to channel the God within then you choose to have that from Hinduism. You continue down the table until you reach the end and you have your plate which is now your own personalized religion. Society has caused this mindset of “I do what is best for me and what works for me” and I’m not saying that is right or wrong. That isn’t the point of this post. I just think it’s interesting compared to religion over the past several centuries.

Egyptian Religion.jpg

I’ll start with the Egyptians (because for those of you who don’t know I have a slight obsession with Egypt and I have a lot of useless knowledge about it). The Egyptians were polytheistic, meaning they believed in more than one God. They actually believed in MANY gods and they were constantly changing depending on who was Pharaoh. The gods only communicated to the Egyptian people through the Pharaoh, which basically gave him all the power because who would know if he/she was lying? The regular townspeople of Egypt were not even allowed inside of the temples because they were the “dwelling places” of the gods. Egyptian history had different phases: The Dynastic Period, and Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. Before the Old Kingdom in the Dynastic Period, the gods were very often portrayed in animal form along with human form. In the Old and Middle Kingdoms the focus shifted from animal and human forms of the gods to the sun god Ra. Ra had temples built to him along with a small pyramid. While the other were still an important part of religion, it was the first time that a non-animal or human was the focus. Then in the New Kingdom, the Pharaoh Akhenaten decided to do away with polytheism and make Egypt a monotheistic society. However, this decision was not so popular and after Akhenaten’s death polytheism was immediately brought back. Tradition dies hard. I find it interesting because Egypt prospered for about 3000 years and their religion changed and shaped itself throughout that time and has now (to my knowledge) died out. So, what about all those people throughout the 3000 year period who devoted their lives to worshipping these gods that don’t exist in the modern world? Were their efforts in vain?

zoroastrianism.jpg

Another, more current, example is the Zoroastrians. Zoroastrianism is the pre-Islamic religion of Persia that has been around for 3500 years and is still being practiced today. I do not know as much about this religion as I do about the Egyptians, but I do know that they are having a problem because they are dying out. Traditionally, Zoroastrians only marry other Zoroastrians and they do not consider converts appropriate for marriage. From the information I could find there are only about 190,000 left around the globe. Considering there’s 7.125 billion people in the world (give or take a few) and we are constantly growing, 190,000 is not a lot. They have had to make to make changes to their strict rules in order for their religion to survive. The more traditional Zoroastrians are upset by the change in this ancient religion, similar to the anger felt by the Egyptians in the change from polytheism to monotheism. My question is will this religion die out like Egypt’s?

What happens to the people who dedicate their lives to worshipping gods, but then their religion dies out. Civilizations like the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians whose gods are no longer worshipped and only mentioned in history lectures. Was it all for nothing?

I’m not necessarily looking for answers. This was mostly just food for thought to get the gears spinning in your head. I’m not trying to offend anyone or make light of anyone’s beliefs. I highly respect what people choose to consider the truth and I have my own things that I believe. I just wanted to write about how religions have changed and morphed in different societies over the centuries.

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.

P.S. If you’re interested in what I talked about, here’s places where I’ve learned information from.

http://www.aldokkan.com/religion/religion.htm

http://www.religionfacts.com/zoroastrianism

I also have several Egyptology textbooks that I’ve bought off of Amazon.

Zoroastrianism picture: https://thenoblequranofallah.wordpress.com

Egyptian picture: http://cultureblogmrbz.weebly.com/

 

 

do I really have my life together?

Sorry for not posting last week! My life was INSANE. I went on a trip to visit some of my high school friend and I had 2 exams. College is crazy haha. Which brings me to my topic for this post! One of my friends recently dropped out of college because she felt like she was not as prepared for college as everyone else. She said that she did not know what she wanted her major to be and she did not have her life together like everyone else did and she wouldn’t believe me when I told her no one really has their self together.

Let me just set the record straight here. If any college student EVER tells you that they have their life together…they are lying to your face. Most likely if you ever hear those words come out of a college student’s mouth, they are trying to convince themselves more so than they are trying to convince you. I have a theory that schools use freshman year to weed out the people who shouldn’t really be in college. Like they just assign a crap ton of useless work so that you spend every waking hour devoting your life to a paper for a class that doesn’t even count towards your major at the time (because your major will change). You think college will be all partying and some learning and then they make you work so much you can’t eat, sleep, and any chance you even have a possibility to go out you take a nap instead. Freshman year is basically The Hunger Games school version and those who can’t survive off of coffee and Hot Pockets are left behind 😉

college stress

Then there’s the matter of majors. I can count on one hand the amount of people I know who haven’t changed their major at least once. You’re not supposed to know! I started off Undecided because I really had no idea what I wanted to do. Then I declared Strategic Communications because I wanted to do Event Planning. Well then a month after I declared Strategic Communications I really wanted to transfer to Brown to go into Egyptology because I’m super strange and I buy old textbooks about Egypt off of Amazon and I read them. But then I realized that I was insane and I can’t actually get into Brown (who has an acceptance rate of like 6% for those of you who didn’t know) and I didn’t want to devote my life to Egypt; I just liked to learn about it as a hobby. Well now I’m going through this phase where I really want to be a high school English teacher. I would love to teach, but I have a problem with where the education system is going (but that’s a whole different topic that I will save for a different post), but I’m still thinking about majoring in English. So, that’s where I’m at right now. Haha I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, but I also know that it’s okay because I’m a freshman!

So here’s to those who seriously do not have their shit together at all 🙂 It’s okay because that’s life and what needs to happen will happen! I apologize if there are any misspellings in here or if it rambles too bad! I am sitting in the hallway outside my next class trying to get this posted to get this posted before class starts.

If anyone else has any stories about them not having their life together, I would love to hear!

I love you all. Be adventurous. Chérir la vie.

Ellie X.