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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Monday, November 30, 2009

Religious Philosophy

Master of Religious Philosophy                                                                                                                  
Rev. Andrew Manley
Lesson 9 ~ Religious Expressions

Q.1.) Consider your own religious path. What stories are told that serve to enlighten and educate? In other words, what stories are mythical?

As I studied and searched the New Testament, I found this question to be very challenging in order to seek out a statement in Christ's own words that fit the question asked. In return for my effort the lord and the Holy Spirit led me to Matthew, Ch. 5. Verse 3 ~ 16; The B- attitudes, as well as the proceeding verses. (Mythical) in the since that something good comes from what may appear bad. (Mythical) is the promise that is perceived for a devotion to such an idea or perception when put into action as a life style. (Mythical) is the faith that must be endured to achieve such reward.

Q.2.) Are any of these myths thought to be actual historical events? Is that important? Would it matter if it was proven that they didn't really happen?
 2a. thought to be historical (Yes) many were supposedly present when Christ gave this inspirational talk.
2b. it is only important to those who hear and through faith, act on it with their whole self being.
2c. I don't feel that it would matter to the faithful, because it is such a strong moral and ethical behavior that it implies as to (how to live) one's life.

Q.3.) Can you think of a non-religious myth? Perhaps political, or economic, or ethnic. What is the telling of this myth trying to convey?
A political experience that had a profound religious effect and yet there are those, liken to the Holocaust, say it did not happen or that it was a conspiracy of the government. I am referring to the events of (9/11/2001) that took place in a historical content, but however, due to attitudes since the event have taken on a more self-centeredness perception of the event. The final outcome as to the actions taken will not be settled for years to come. One might even say that it is also true that it too is a day that will live infamy.

Q.4.) The Yoruba religion of West Africa tells the religious myth of a fawn named Nala who goes to the water hole at night to get a drink. When she arrives, a hyena corners her and threatens to eat her. Nala points out that she is small, and would never be enough to satisfy the ravenous hyena. She then points out a large wedge of cheese floating in the waterhole that would clearly satisfy him. The hyena dives into the water to get the cheese, and Nala quickly scampers off to safety. However, the hyena quickly discovers that the "cheese" Nala pointed out turns out to be the reflection of the moon on the water. What do you believe is the ethical message that this religious myth is conveying?
In a weird way of looking at this story I noticed a hidden message that would suggest that it is ok to "deceive" in order to save one's life. That it is ok to manipulate the niveness of individuals that might be gullible and or lack significant knowledge to discern a situation.
However, on the other hand the message or story conveys an insight to the mental psyche to the perception of survival and the circumstances of the environment may be used to one's advantage. When I look at this story from the point of view of the "hyena", I feel that not only was the hyena possible thinking how lucky the little "fawn" was, but also how foolish he must have felt being duped to such a trick.
From a Christian point of view I see the "fawn" as being a new Christian in the faith and as a meek or childlike / young individual, yet wise enough and carnal enough to pull off such a deception and that the "hyena", signifies "Satan", and how nice it would be to be able to pull one over on him and escape unharmed.
Yet, the ethical message is lost here because of its deception in the way it conveys the outcome. I recon the best thing the "fawn" could have done is to be patient and wait until daylight or have other fawns go to the watering hole, because there is a general since of safety in numbers.

Reverend Father Andrew R. M. Manley


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