Seminary Program

This is where we post the essays from many of our Universal Life Church Seminary students. When students finish a ULC course, they write a comprehensive essay about their experiences with the course, what they learned, didn't learn, were inspired by, etc. Here are their essays.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Comparative Religion


The course study about the comparative religions was found to be very informative. This course provided a fine background on the development of religious doctrines and how many are formed and the basic tenants of the main religious entities in our world. It is interesting to see the various theological considerations and beliefs. The manner of comparison given was excellent in its presentation.

I gained insight into many factions of religions and the similarities and differences from the concepts that exist. It is interesting to think back of the readings and find that there are many means used to formulate the various religions and their main elements that comprise them. What is noticeable is the basic term in which religion is founded and how that effects today’s life for worship. Beginning with Shamanism to the theory for the future where the female may take new roles in the male dominated religious thought. Early religion started with the female as primary and evolved into a male dominated system. The use of the stories and lesson to show what is now the main principles associated with each of the various beliefs is unique.

I was surprised to learn about how the evolution of the religions sprang out of other practices. I begin with the Shamanistic theories of a basically unorganized singular precept, to the modern elements to make an organized set of standards or beliefs, come to pass.

I found that each of the developed religions started with some form of leader to be called upon to be the basis of worship and the values they instilled into their faiths.

I think it is important to understand how religion was transformed and progressed to modern day. The fact that our religions have so many similar starts is interesting and how they incorporated hierarchies within and who is revered as leadership and attributed to such belief systems. Each seems to have some person who is given the form of responsibility for further the belief system here on earth and how they related to a supreme being is validity for each group of practice.

I gained insight as to the means of the various religions that exist and how they progressed to their present state of being from the founder to the current status in our world. What is interesting is the differences that are thought to be as in essences, they all seem to have similar beginnings. And yet, they consider themselves different from one another. There is a centralized deity for all. Who is this deity that we all believe in if we follow a religion? I see that it is all one in the same and thus wonder how we can be so different and fight amongst ourselves to show dominance.

The concept of G_d and the messenger sent to create the religion is an odd issue to me. The various religions all seem to have G_d and then messengers from G_d to establish the values of that religion. And, again they seem to be so different and so alike. The teachings from the Torah and the Bible and the stories of religions feature the similar set of beliefs in an established faith. So how can it be that things are so different for people in the decision to worship as they do? Why is their such divergent thought of how to achieve religious faith and yet we basically can consider the final outcome as having a faith to worship under G_d.?

I am perplexed that we have such problems with allowing people to have their faiths and yet one seems to value their beliefs as paramount to others. To me, the religions are then influenced by man as they, the scholars or teachers of such values, seemingly sway persons to believe they are they true means in which to value our Lord. This Lord is the same for all, but the teachings give their messenger the value of the means to achieve the best that can come to them. I find it somewhat incoherent that faiths cannot co-exist without the feeling that there is one and only one means to achieve oneness with the Lord.

In reading these lessons, it becomes apparent that there are the faiths that people choose for whatever reason to follow to achieve that oneness. It is not wrong or right, it is that there are many roads to take to get to a destination. These roads lead to the same place in symbolism. Yet, acceptance by faiths has a tendency to show predominance when none should be taught to see that. I think it is relative that different means to get to the destination are all valid and each has their own positives and negatives. There are the intervening variables of time and the way that life has evolved and this gives us the idea of how we achieve a state of faith.

In comparing religious faiths, we see that one can follow directions to obtain our faith through different means. We see that one’s faith is influenced over time and sets of beliefs and values are taught to us as a manner of finding our faith. Thus, one has to be indoctrinated into a form of following to find that which is right for them to obtain security with their faith. The generations prior have influenced the direction each takes to find faith. Groups then evolve into other means to find this goal. But, ultimately is not so important as to which means or road one travels, but that they get there in the end through the system they choose to guide them their.

As a non-denominational Reverend, I find value in all facets of belief as long as others are given the rights to choose the course they wish to follow. This course has shown me the different means by which people may choose and how they came to be and the precepts that they have to get their beliefs. It is intriguing and also somewhat odd that so many roads lead to the same destination. Is it wrong? No, not at all. It is what route seems the most feasible to those that choose to use that direction and the comfort they derive from using that faith.

I enjoyed this course as it gave me a wide amount of things to see and think about. It provided the basic to understand how various religions serve their devotees. It also shows the origin of such for people to have come to a choice or manner of belief.

If asked what I didn’t like as is suggested, there is nothing I have found that was not of valuable to me. And as asked, there is no suggestion that comes to me for improvement.

If I was to make suggestion, it would be to chapterize and feature each major religion specifically to see what it is they each have to offer or for following and show how each is established singularly in future course. For example and chapter on each religion itself without the comparison to others. It would like to see the individual analysis of each major religion discussed with all that is basic to it particularly and solely devoted to the primary religion as the next offering of course work. I think then one could read of Christianity as a primer and Judaism and Hinduism and such in a singular chapter encompassing that which was covered in comparative manner in this course. It would then be helpful to study each one and all of its beliefs separately and then together in a full course. Additionally, it would be helpful to have a matrix of the similarities and differences for each as a guideline to see that which is in existence with each religious set of values.

All in all, I looked forward to each weeks lessons and how they are intertwine with each other.

I hope this provides the analysis that is requested and indicates my thought of how this impacted my belief that we must all be accepting of each other. After all, the road is not as important as reaching the destination, but, tolerance must be exercised to allow each person to find their road to faith and oneness with G_d.

Thank you for such and enlightening course and all the work that went into it. It is obvious that a great deal of time and effort went into this and I am so pleased with myself to have taken the effort to enjoy the scholarly manner it was presented in and how it was composed.


The Reverend Adam Rocke


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