The faith that closely reflects my cultural backgroundwould be Christianity; I grew up with parents that would wake me up everySunday for a church service no matter the circumstance, or how tired I was. Iwas taught to pray to God every night as tradition or at any point in which Ineeded guidance or advice. In order to gain knowledge on the religion I wasfollowing, my folks gave me a daily schedule on Bible readings so that I couldbe prepared for Sunday school the following week. My Grandparents had raisedall seven of their children, including my Mother, as Christians in a similarfashion as I have along with the other children in my family; they attendedSunday school in which my Mother and her four sisters would go around andperform gospels within certain parts of Guyana. In those times, Guyana wasconsidered a significantly poor country, and with my family being a part ofthat demographic, it helped to believe in a higher principle to get through thetimes.
The religion closest to Christianity would be the religionChristianity rooted from, Judaism. Christianity and Judaism have a closerelationship in history; the disciples of Jesus all followed Jewish customs,even Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament. Anyone who had any typeof relation with Jesus were Jews and whoever followed him, believed he was themessiah. Despite their similarities however, both religions have been in strifefor as long as Jesus’s existence has been preached around the world. They havebeen in constant strain because the Jewish faith rejects the concept of Jesusas the messiah even though Christianity rooted from Judaism. While there arecharacteristics that distinguish the two religions, what makes them quitesimilar is the concept of time that connects them. If one thing could connect thesereligions, it would be sin, as both would agree that it is defined asrebellious acts against God. The film that focuses on the concept of sin on theside of Judaism would be Kadosh.
The movie revolves around a set of charactersliving as Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem; Meir and his wife Rivka are a marriedcouple trying their absolute best to conceive children and no matter how manyrituals they perform or how many prayers have been said, nothing seems to workout for them. At one point of the movie, the rabbi instructs Meir to breakthings off with Rivka because they’re unable to produce children; Rivka’sunfortunate circumstance is considered a sin in the community. Kadosh relies heavyon the concept of sin as it is one of the main themes, Meir having to live upto the religion he adores no matter his heartbreak in order to be faithful as anOrthodox Jewish man. Another prime example in the film is Rivka’s youngersibling, Malka; Malka is in love with Israeli soldier, Jacov, but as one canpredict, that wouldn’t hold up too well within a community such as this. The rabbiinstructs Malka as well, to marry the ultra-Orthodox Jew, Yossef, who attendsthe same religious functions as Meir does.
Yossef is a bit unhinged because allhe knows is his religion, nothing on the outside world interests him unless itwas about Judaism; he goes about the streets of town in a truck with a speakerand does his best to urge every Jew in town to come together as one to fightoff against the enemies who have no God. Malka and Yossef are forced to wed,and awkwardly attempt to procreate. If they don’t do this or if Malka were tostay with Jacov, it would be considered sin as well because it’s against God’swishes. Jacov joined the military against the wishes of the community even ifit was for the greater good of his country, and although he’s still religious, hewas considered a godless man by going against the code of conduct. All of theirlives are practically ruined because they can’t live up to the standards ofcommitting no sins.The Mission is a Christian based movie that alsorelies on the concept of rebelling against God.
This movie focuses Jesuitmissionaries that expanded their mission to tribes in South America. A major part of the storyline was about a former mercenary turned missionary,Rodrigo; he worked for slave traders by means of capturing and killing tribesof Indians for money and reputation. He had a brother who he loved deeply, aswell as a girlfriend which he had strong feelings for; unfortunately for Rodrigo,his girlfriend and brother were deeply in love with each other and tried theirbest to hide it from him, which in hindsight was pretty easy as Rodrigo wentout doing mercenary jobs so often. The secrecy had ended when his girlfriendwould confess her love for his brother after he return from his previousmission.
Out of anger, he storms in on the couple making love then storms outand berates people of the town until his brother runs out, half naked,attempting to stop him. Rodrigo and his brother fight until Rodrigo kills hisbrother and sentences himself to jail. At this point in the film, Rodrigo knows he committeda pretty hefty sin, murder, and decides to punish himself by segregating andstaying in a jail cell. A priest who the audience, and ironically Rodrigo,meets at the beginning of the movie visits Rodrigo in the cell and states thesins that he has committed; he’s not only talking about murdering his ownbrother, but also the fact that he was a mercenary hunting down Indians likethey were wild animals. The priest, Father Gabriel, suggests that he join theirmissionary and free himself from the sins that weigh him down; Rodrigo alreadyaware the of the sins he’s committed, accepts his proposal and proceeds tojourney with the missionaries with weights that was tied to his body. Having struggledwith the heavy lifting, Rodrigo carried on knowing the reward at the end of hisjourney was bountiful and necessary to his being.
He completed this difficulttrial when he reached to the tribe that he had previously attacked, exhausted;the tribe informed on his task to freedom, forgave him graciously even afterthe horrible sins Rodrigo had committed against them. These examples show thatboth religions believe that God has mercy because he has love superior to sin.Judaism and Christianity are quite similar but what separatesthem is the concept of Jesus being the messiah; they both believe in Jesus butthe problem is that Judaism didn’t not see Jesus to be the messiah for one offew reasons, he worked on the Sabbath. The Old Testament prohibited working onthe Sabbath, however Jesus healed those in need on the Sabbath just like anyother day of the week. This had offended the Jews as Jesus had gone against thelaws of the religion which they believed was created by God. Jesus had alsoassociated with thieves and prostitutes which the Jews believed was completelywrong as Jesus should have been condemning them; this behavior led the Jews tobelieve that Jesus was not fit for the position of messiah.
As a child raisedby the values of Christianity, the religious quest matched my upbringing, notto judge those who don’t do right by the eyes of God but to help them in anyway possible to stray from the path that they were on.Even if the Christian and Jewish community disagreewith each other on what Jesus represents, they both agree that Monotheism is thekey to mankind; they both believe that God is the creator of everything and isall knowing. Daughters of the Dust is a film based on an African Americanfamily living on an island far from the North based on their past experiencewith slavery. A significant theme in this movie is religion as there are manybeing represent by different members of the family; everyone’s beliefs helpsthem as they struggle while preparing to migrate to the mainland.
The matriarchof the family, Nana Peazant, is the clan’s closest root to the ritual magic sheholds on to; she’s actually the only one holding on to that tradition and continuesto grieve its inevitable disappearance. Her daughter, Viola Peazant, is a Christian missionarywho had already migrated to the mainland but was called back for one last get-togetherwith her family before the major migration. Throughout the movie, she pushesher views of Christianity within her family in hopes of converting them beforethey reach the North. The battle that Viola faces is her mother’s tradition ofmagic, she tries to preach the idea of Monotheism to the children of the islandby reading the Bible and quoting scriptures. The idea of her doing this is to keepher family on the right path, unlike her cousin, Yellow Mary who works as a wetnurse and more importantly, a prostitute.
Both of their morals are in constantconflict with each other as they both try to preach their views to the island. Theconcept of a higher principle was used to keep the troubles of the North farfrom them as their aim would be to praise God, the all-knowing.A Serious Man is movie based on Judaism and a man that’sconstantly down on his luck; Larry Gopnick is a physics professor that facesmany problems including a wife that’s been cheating on him with an old friend. He’salso receiving anonymous letters sent to the tenure committee at the universityhe’s teaching which are completely negative, a brother that constantly getsinto trouble with the law, and children that are both obnoxious in their ownway which doesn’t comfort Larry at all. However, no matter the trouble he’s in,he remains a man true to his morals; Larry has a student that tries to bribe himconstantly for a passing grade then has his father come to his house andintimidate him. He also lives next to a neighbor that doesn’t favor him toowell, most likely because of his religion, which means Larry is living next toa potential anti-Semite. He’s a great provider for his family but that doesn’t seemto be enough to overturn his luck.
After all this is quite clear to the audience, themovie begins Larry’s quest for relief through his religion, seeking out anancient rabbi that seems to have the answers he’s looking for. This relates tomany people in the real world who believe in a higher power that can’t be seenwith the human eye; when problems arise and there seems to be no end to them,God is suspected to be absent during the tough times. This is a problem that peopleface in both Christianity and Judaism, and that I have faced as well, so whatdoes one do when this occurs? Larry decides to meet with a rabbi in training,and according to the rabbi, Larry thinks that God is not around to help himthrough these trials because he has apparently forgotten how to look for God. Larry finds no help within his meeting with the juniorrabbi so instead he locates the help of a senior rabbi; the rabbi decides totell Larry a story about a Jewish dentist that found Jewish writing on the backof his patient’s teeth. This bothers the dentist which then sends him on aquest to find out how this was possible, and after a while of searching thedentist does not succeed and continues on with his life; though that’s not the endingof the story because according to the rabbi, the ending doesn’t matter. There wasno moral to that story, nothing that would even be considered as help to Larryin his current situation, but the rabbi does state that the problems peoplehave with God are similar to those of people who have toothaches: they’ll haveits impact but will eventually go away. To no avail from that rabbi, Larry finally seeks thehelp from the rabbi he’s pretty much been wanting to meet with this entire time;unfortunately, the rabbi refuses to meet with Larry because he’s too busy.
The endingof the movie is just more bad news after another, no happy ending for theGopnick family. Those leaving the theater will wonder what was the point ofthis movie entirely; from a religious point of view, the answers to problemsthat people face, is to look for God. People who participate in a Monotheisticreligion are constantly reminded to look for God in trying times, especiallybecause of how difficult it is to do so.
As stated earlier, Jesus would hang around sinnersbecause he was looking to save them, instead of condemning them. In Christianity,the power of forgiveness supersedes any sin as long as it’s true to God. Thisis shown in The Mission when Father Gabriel helps Rodrigo free himself of themany sins he’s committed. Father Gabriel and the members of the missionaryaccepted Rodrigo as one of their own, let alone forgiving him; this film wastrue to its theme of Christianity especially against violence and judgement towardsothers. “His considerable burden is literally cut away, setting him free from apast that binds him.
” (Lyden, 115). Those in the Jewish community believed thatJesus should’ve behaved more like them, neglecting the criminals. This concept ofJudaism is in the movie Kadosh; Rivka’s younger sister, Malka was in love withan Israeli soldier, Jacov, that fought for his country.
However, when Jacovreturned, he was banned from the religion on the whole because it was forbiddento join the army within that community. Jacov defied the rules and participatedanyways which led him to be an outcast in his own town and religion. The ideaof Jacov being segregated and called godless is a perfect example of whyJudaism didn’t accept Jesus; instead of forgiving Jacov, who still is true toJudaism, they neglected him and broke off his relationship with Malka because itwas a code of conduct.This course opened my eyes to other religions and thevalues each one held. Every movie that was presented to us, gave a differentperspective into the religion the class was studying at the time.
What surprisedme most was how much Hollywood movies dove into religion; the films you showed weren’tall independent films as some of them were well known, directed by famous directorsand producers, as well as the actors that participated in these films. As formy own religion, the religion quest I’m on isn’t as extreme as portrayed fromother religions in these movies, even with Christianity.