Many people often perceive diversity as racial, gender, age and sexual orientation; however, “diversity” also mean different economic backgrounds or one’s personal religious belief.
Currently, the world has 4200 different religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Muslim, Catholic and many more. Each of individuals shape their own religion from many diverse backgrounds and reasons. Undoubtedly, “Religion” has become the one of the most common way to identify oneself.
Due to religion being so diverse and complex, many people often decide to be careful or avoid the conversation of religion. Also, people can be discriminated or benefitted by religion or view a one universal topic in a unique way.
In the high school, many of the students have diverse religions and they shared their personal religious experiences and opinions.
Junior Libby Tritten is raised in the Christian faith by her parents and goes to a church part of the Lutheran Missouri Synod. She mentioned that they are very close to the catholic faith because of the founder, Martin Luther, broke away from the Catholic church.
Tritten said, “[my religion’s] core beliefs are: grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone.”
Being raised by a pastor father, Tritten has a deep, well-known knowledge about religion history which leads her explaining Theory of Evolution to her classmates.
“A lot of people get this notion that all Christians are hateful and will attack you for being different, and while some may be like that, the majority of us believe that we are to show others the love that Jesus showed us,” Tritten said, “it is important to note that we are all sinners and all need his forgiveness.”
Tritten personally never encountered a discrimination or bad experience after telling someone that she was Christian; she believes that everyone should respect and no one deserves to be judged for what they believe.
Senior Ayah Abukhaled practices Islam and was born into this religion; she was raised being a Muslim by my family and continues to pursue.
“I think one of the most perceived stereotypes about Islam is that it’s a violent religion and inequality between the gender, particularly that women are oppressed,” Abukhaled said.
Despite the stereotype, Abukhaled shared that her religion simply made her happier and gave the guidance to become the person she is today.
“I had many people disagreeing or having different beliefs and ideas than me,” Abukhaled said, “that is totally okay. If I was ever discriminated against I would most likely walk away but in some situations I would have to speak up, but also respect other people’s opinions.”
Abukhaled also shared that her individual self is not extreme religious of a person, but she celebrates certain traditions and cultural dates that are significant to her family.
“At the end of the day, we all have the same intentions but conflicting perspectives in life. So practicing a different religion doesn’t make me any different than anybody else,” Abukhaled said.
Not only does religion mean one’s belief, religion extends more to culture and life of individuals.
Senior Emily Moore is a Catholic raised in the church with the family. She mentioned that her religion has shaped some of her political views and gives her a sense of herself within her beliefs; moreover, her religion helped her to come out of her shell and make good friends.
Although many of the aspects of being religious were positive, Moore experienced stereotypes of being religious. “Everyone thinks that we hate LGBTQ people, which is a stereotype that is sometimes proven to be true, but not all Catholics believe the same,” Moore said.
Moore also encountered a stereotype that priests are all pedophiles and she heavily disagreed saying the claim is not true. Each time she faces a stereotype or misconceptions due to her religion, she tries her best to communicate with them and the misunderstandings were often cleared up easily.
Sophomore Sam Senderoff was raised in entire Jewish family, including both parents and relatives. She explained that not many people really know about Judaism well and receives questions about her religion. Sanderoff does not celebrate Christmas or Easter but still celebrates some holidays like Halloween.
“Most of the time when I tell people that I am Jewish, they think I am joking,” Senderoff said.
She experienced major misconceptions from people not believing that she is Jewish because of feature having blue eyes and blond hair.
“Jews are stereotyped looking in a certain way, even though that is not always the case. I have heard comments like ‘you do not look like Jewish’ or ‘you would have been safe so it is okay’ referring to my blonde hair and blue eyes,” Senderoff said.
Throughout her life, she has experienced stereotypes and comments but she thinks that the comments are not just directed at Jewish people but common with minority groups. Senderoff hopes to work together with different people and impact people positively doing such as community service.
Every religious students mentioned that the religion should not be a way to discriminate or differentiate someone. No matter how much religion is common or rare, all of them face stereotypes that may not be entirely true. Within the many diverse religions, individuals respecting one another’s belief will shape the world in harmony and become the first, forwarding step of peaceful diverse society.