Throughout the relevance box, I will be discussing the separation between church and state as well as the separation between the rich and poor. I feel as though these two topics are directly related as it is possible for anyone to have a relationship with God if you believe. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, where you come from or your skin color. In the end all that matters are if you have put your faith into a higher power, which in this case is God. The main question being asked is, “Can we have a relationship with God?” The recurring question is if an individual can or cannot have a relationship based on faith with a higher power. It needs to be taken into consideration that not everyone believes in God, while others may. Everyone’s connection or relationship with God or a God is all perceived differently. It’s all in the believer or non-believer’s point of view and how they carry out their religion. Not only is there a gap between religions and faith there is also a gap shown in society between the rich and the poor. The rich are often referred to as the “haves,” who can provide for themselves and indulge in luxurious-materialistic items. While the poor, also referred to the, “have-nots,” tend to live paycheck to paycheck, or are unable to live freely as the rich can do. Amongst the rich and the poor-the people who make up these categories can and tend to have a religion. However, alike the school systems, who is going to get the better education? The poor school or the rich school? This applies to the idea of religion as well. The “haves,” will attend church services typically every Sunday or at least have access to information from the Bible. While the “have-nots,” may attend the service however, it may not be as informational as the “haves” service was. On top of that, the poor may be unable to attend church, especially if they are homeless. Although, these people may believe, they do not have the same resources to further their understanding and relationship with their God. However, the haves and have nots are very similar when it comes to an education and religion. They both do not equally receive the same supplies or even the same information. However, in the end a kid who has graduated is a kid who graduated. Therefore, someone who believes, no matter what religion you are, can still obtain the information they need to have a healthy relationship with God and to understand the true meaning of the bible. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, having a relationship with God has no money value to it.
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The separation between religion and school is a highly controversial topic being dealt with in today’s school system. While in school, it is deemed inappropriate to discuss religion. There is a fine line separating the school and religion itself. Found in Sharp’s article, there was a photo hung in a high school. This photo was hung for over three decades, it was recently removed as it was noted as “inappropriate”. This photo of Jesus should not have been an issue, I understand the whole idea and issues that surround the separation between church and state however, to the believers this is Jesus, a holy and highly worshipped figure in a lot of religions around the world. To those who do not believe, this is just a man. I honestly, think it all depends on how you were raised. If there is such an issue with including Jesus in the classroom than why are the public schools still teaching about other religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. If the public schools are eliminating or not discussing all religions in depth than why are we even teaching them? In this situation and with the issues presented between the church and state it should either be all religions discussed and talked about or none. Why should the school and education system get to pick and choose what the children learn? The importance of teaching all religions in school enhances the knowledge of the students. “Children should learn about the growing diversity of religion within their own country” (More religion). Just because the lessons in school are teaching different religions does not mean you must necessarily follow that specific teaching. It only allows the children to understand other religions around the world besides their own. Found in the article written by Linda Wertheimer, she mentions that an increase of bullying has been shown in schools. Muslim children will wear headscarves in school and the other children will make fun of that child because they do not know what it is or the meaning behind it. The Jewish children may wear a kippah to school because that is what they believe. Yet again, the other children will not understand the religious background of this and continue to make fun of that child. This makes the individualized child feel ashamed for who they are and what they believe in. Speaking your ideas or beliefs does not convince someone that they must be the same religion as you, it just is a new opening for the individual to learn more. An example shown in the classroom is that, “One teacher described how a child might recognize the Star of David in a nearby cemetery and understand that it is there to remember a Jew. At the minimum, children realize that the world has many religions other than their own” (More religion).
Having faith and believing in God or a higher power is typically seen as a sign of hope, as it helps deal with and manage emotions. A relationship with God is always able to be achieved, if you believe. God is a sign of Hope. However, statistics do show that when it comes to wealth, the richer people in society are less likely to have faith in God. He represents that things can be better than what they are now in time. The rich already have everything, so what more do they need? It is said that, “the more money and education that we obtain, the more our relationship with God suffers.” However, this does not mean that this stereotypes all “rich-people,” to not have a relationship with God. It is directed more towards the fact that those with nothing will typically pray more, as prayer to a higher power gives that individual a hope that things will soon get better. Not only is prayer used as a sign of hope but it is also used to release emotions and frustrations. Scholars have found that, “75% of Americans reported that they pray daily or weekly” (Sharp 1). Dr. Tom Rees states that, “…people are more likely to rely on religion for comfort. As contradictory as it may seem, when someone is suffering it may console him or her to think that the end of the world is near- that God will bring it to a close and reward the faithful with everlasting joy” (Why are the poor more religious). However, this is still questionable if prayer really helps deal with emotions. A study was done using participants who had been through domestic violence. Many of these people who have gone through this trauma put their faith into God or a higher power to remove or at least try to forget the events that took place. Prayer would help them express their emotions rather than keeping it in. One of the women who was interviewed was Monica. She had described herself as a non-practicing catholic however when it came to express her emotions and trying to cope with the events that had happened, she looked to prayer as a way out. She had expressed that this helped with anger that was built up. Monica had liked to “voice her opinion,” to God to keep the negative emotions out and try to stay somewhat positive (Sharp 8). I feel that it is important that these victims had used faith as a way out. They could have looked to anything else, such as finding a hobby or keeping themselves busy to try not and think about all their emotions. However, they looked to God for their answer. The results from this study were clear. “By using prayer this helps individuals manage negative emotions because it is an imaginary social support interaction that provides individuals with resources-such as having someone to express emotions or interact with during trying times” (Sharp 17). The victims who had been abused were able to release their emotions and try to live more positively even with such a strong event weighing down on the individual. “The findings are based on data from individuals who experience a stressful negative life event caused by significant others. It is very possible individuals interact with God for different emotion management resources for events perceived as happening naturally, by chance, or by one’s own actions” (Sharp 18). Essentially, it all comes down to that, individuals will find resources or other ways to help manage certain emotions. Some will go towards faith and religion, while others may find another way to balance the stress and negativity. Not everyone is the same and neither is the way that they cope.
Relationships with God or a higher power can be seen as highly beneficial, however relationships between anyone is also seen as beneficial for the mental and physical wellbeing of an individual. Throughout the idea of, “Can we have a relationship with God,” there is a recurring idea that keeps being addressed. It is the fact that not everyone believes in God, while others may. Everyone’s connection or relationship with God or a God is all perceived differently. It is all in the believer or non-believer’s point of view and how they carry out their religion. Not only how the individual carries out their own religion, but how the believer or non-believer lives their everyday life. A relationship with God is possible if you believe it is. Having a relationship, no matter who it is with is very important. “Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and wellbeing. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long healthy and happy life” (Why personal relationships are important). There are health risks that can occur from being isolated. Relationships can help with the longevity of one’s life, dealing with stress, and to be healthier in general (Why personal relationships are important). However, having a relationship with God, in my opinion is the greatest thing. It eases your mind in believing that a higher power can ease stress and help in times of need no matter who you are or what you have.
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