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Answers Cebu

Page history last edited by Ria Kattevilder 12 years, 3 months ago

Rachelle - Madagascar:

Does your spiritual belief contribute to your personal growth? If so, name 3 specific ways. If not, why is it so?

Answer from EFS5

Does your religious leaders have a say in the formulation of laws in your society? If yes, cite one law that is grealtly influenced by these leaders.


Since independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has been a democratic republic. Since independence, while the country has struggled with economic and political insecurity, Madagascar has moved from post-colonial democracy, to a transitional military government, to a socialist regime, to a parliamentary democracy. The current constitutional framework was approved on 19 August 1992. Currently the president is elected by universal suffrage to a five-year term with a two-term limit. The bicameral parliament is comprised of a senate and national assembly. The prime minister is nominates by the parliament and approved by the president. The system is one of proportional representation which has resulted in many independent parties. Given with this political structure, there is no way that religious leaders contribute/influence in the formulation of laws in our country.


Answer from EFS6


Yes. As an Indian  history teacher It is my belief that it is impossible to know India  without understanding its religious beliefs and practices which have a large impact on the personal lives of most of us Indians and even influence public life on a daily basis. Let me give you some examples:


1.   I respect my status being a married woman by wearing a vermilion on my head. Wearing such is my visible expression of my desire for my husband’s longevity.


2.   I also consensciously practice my yoga. It is a practice amongst us as a way of cessation of all thoughts and activities of our mind. Practcing yoga is a sum total to all my physical, verbal, and mental activities.


3.   My eating habits are laso guided by my faith. I always practice to eat only food that is within the mode of goodness like fruits, vegetables and grains. Such foods will keep me healthy, increase the duration of my life and keep my mind pure t focus on higher goals in life.


Answer from EFS7

Yes, my spiritual beliefs contribute to my personal growth.

3 specific ways:

1.) I wear a Buddhist amulet around my neck to ensure good fortune, provide me protection and enhance my wealth. I believe that my state of fortune now is being enhanced by this amulet.



2.) I have a best friend who is a Buddhist monk. He serves as my spiritual adviser especially in terms of leading a modest life, e.g. resisting temptation by crushing it through meditation.


3.) I also share my fortune to the less fortunate ones by going around my monk friend when he goes around the village asking for alms. I generously share my wealth with this friend.


Answer from EFS8

Yes, my Jewish spiritual beliefs greatly contributes to my personal growth. In Judaism, we are taught that all people are created in the image and likeness of God. This is the reason why I treat my fellow beings with dignity and respect. My Jewish religion teaches us to be fervent in our prayers. I believe that my prayers to Yahweh have greatly helped me in my everyday living, especially when I have to make important decisions in my life. Lastly, my spiritual beliefs taught me to be obedient with the commandments of Yahweh as written in the Torah. These commandments has been my guide in my thoughts, words and deeds.

Ruby - Israel

- Mention one cultural practice in your country that is influenced by your religion. Describe the role of religion in the example given. 


Answer from EFS5

Mention one cultural practice in your country that is influenced by your religion. Describe the role of religion in the example given.


We, the Malagasy, believe that our beloved dead play a role as intermediary between our supreme Zanahary (God, the Creator)  and humankind. We believe that our ancestors have the power to affect the fortunes of the living for good or evil. Thus, they are considered the most important members of the family, influencing lives on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we place them in burial tombs with prominent features.The materials used vary depending on region, but the time and money used to construct and maintain them is significant and in many cases more costly than one's own household. The degree of elaboration of tombs reflects the level of privilege of the dead. Some of us often live and work quite a distance from their ancestral tombs ( tanindrazana ) with the latter maintaining strong sentimental attachment and a desire to be buried in their natal tombs. Ancestral tombs are considered sacred places


Answer from EFS7

It is a custom in my country that the Buddhist males over twenty  be temporarily ordained as Buddhist monks, generally during the annual Rains Retreat. My good friend (Buddhist Monk) Put Nam Tai is temporarily ordained.  He works in the Thai Government office and because of his temporary ordination, he gets a three-months’ leave with full salary. This makes the government grant of temporary ordination easier.

I think the role of religion here is giving a temporary economic relief to the one who has great trust in his religion, that of being a Buddhist. And I think this is a great help in which the government and other private companies exercise their being true believers of our religion.


Answer from EFS8

We, Jews, put so much importance to the 7th day of our week: The Sabbath. In the Book of Genesis, after Yahweh created the world in 6 days, He rested and marveled His work of creation on the 7th day. The seventh day of the week is the Sabbath, a biblical ordained day of rest. No work is permitted, except that connected with worship or the preservation of life and health. Central to the observance of the Sabbath is the morning reading in synagogue of the week’s portion of the Torah.Sabbath is my most favorite day of the week because I have more  time to pray to Yahweh and thank Him for all the graces and blessings He gives to me every single day of my life. 


Mussy - Thailand

Are people in your country discriminated because of a different religious belief?
What was it like in the past? in the present?
Predict what would it be like in the future.

Answer from EFS5

Are people in your country discriminated because of a different religious belief?
What was it like in the past? in the present?
Predict what would it be like in the future.



The Constitution strongly provides for freedom of religion, prohibiting, "all discrimination based on race, place of origin, religious belief, education, wealth or sex." In practice, the government’s respect for this right was inconsistent. Small religious organizations are banned from holding public worship services and there are reports of serious police violence against certain groups.

It has been like this in the past, it is unfair to say that there is no hope for a brighter future with regard to religious freedom, but I can say that it is still a long way for my country to reach that goal. Lastly, we believe that our ancestors will intervene for us on this matter.

Answer from EFS6


              Yes.  Though my country was known as the “Birthing Spot of Great Religions,” it also has stories of religious problems from past to present.


            In the past, Hinduism (the oldest religion in the country is widely spread all over India wherein people are divided into the different Caste System. The Brahmans being the highest group composed of the priests and the elites and the lowest class were known as “Sudras” or they were called the untouchables or the unclean group who perform unsanitary activities like butchers and waste collectors. People with unknown illnesses were also part of this group. It is disappointing to know that faith decides where to place a person in the system. It is a status given to a person even before birth.



                      Watch a video on the Hindu perspective of the Caste System:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15elGwkFUYE


               Another example is  a cultural practice that is influenced by religion is the dowry. Dowry continuously  existed across India despite laws and arguments about it. This cultural practice maybe have been for a good cause but the effect is tremendous. Dowry’s and wedding expenses sends family to great debts. And to some point families in the rural areas do result to land selling or house selling just to meet the demands.

To curb the practice of dowry, the government of India made several laws detailing severe punishment to anyone demanding dowry and a law in Indian Penal Code (Section 498A) has been introduced. While it gives boost to a woman and her family, it in the same time also put a man and his family in a great disadvantage. Misuse of this law by women in urban India and many incidents of extortion of money from the husband done by the wife and her family (this is called sowry).


          Communal conflicts have periodically plagued India since it became independent in 1947. The roots of such strife lie largely in the underlying tensions between sections of its majority Hindu and minority Muslim communities, which emerged under the Raj and during the bloody Partition of India. Such conflict also stems from the competing ideologies of Hindu nationalism versus Islamic fundamentalism and Islamism; both are prevalent in parts of the Hindu and Muslim populations.



            At present there is a strong constitutional and legislative protections for freedom of religion and belief in India. There are some cases wherein no matter how strict or strong a law is problems do still exists. Like last 2007, record showed  a  consistent pattern of religiously-motivated violence against Christians was recorded throughout 2007, particularly in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.


            With the rise of new thinking and with the expansion of the horizons of my people, I remain hopeful that peace amongst inter-faith will flourish. I believe that India being the birthplace of great religions is not out of luck…this was a gift of faith through fate.







Answer from EFS8


Yes, we Jews are also being discriminated. The struggles of our people in being steadfast to our Jewish faith have been through a lot of ordeal all through out the human history. Our experience in the past was horrible and unforgettable.


When Judea fell under the authority of the Seleucid Empire, the process of Hellenization was enforced by law. This effectively meant requiring pagan religious practice. In 167 BC.E Jewish sacrifice was forbidden, sabbaths and feasts were banned and circumcision was outlawed. 


Though not part of Roman Catholic dogma , many Christians, including members of the clergy have held the Jewish people collectively responsible for killing Jesus


Over the course of time, Christians began to accept... that the Jewish people as a whole were responsible for killing Jesus. According to this interpretation, both the Jews present at Jesus Christ's death and the Jewish people collectively and for all time, have committed the sin of deicide, or God-killing. For 1900 years of Christian-Jewish history, the charge of deicide has led to hatred, violence against and murder of Jews in Europe and America. 


As the Black Death epidemics devastated Europe in the mid-14th century, annihilating more than a half of the population, Jews were taken as scapegoats. Rumors spread that they caused the disease by deliberately poisoning wells. Hundreds of Jewish communities were destroyed by violence.


In the Papal States, which existed until 1870, Jews were required to live only in specified neighborhoods called ghettos. Until the 1840s, they were required to regularly attend sermons urging their conversion to Christianity. Only Jews were taxed to support state boarding schools for Jewish converts to Christianity.


It was illegal to convert from Christianity to Judaism. Sometimes Jews were baptized involuntarily, and, even when such baptisms were illegal, forced to practice the Christian religion. In many such cases the state separated them from their families.


And the most horrible of all is the Holocaust.

Persecution of Jews reached its most destructive form in the policies of Nazi Germany, which made the destruction of the Jews a priority, culminating in the killing of approximately 6,000,000 Jews during the Holocaust from 1941 to 1945. By 1942, the Nazi leadership decided to implement the Final Solution, the genocide of the Jews of Europe, and to increase the pace of the Holocaust by establishing extermination camps specifically to kill Jews.





In the present, there is still what you call as the Antisemitism. This denotes racial discrimination and all forms of hostility and violence against Jews. In some parts of the world, some groups still practice this to show their social, economic, and religious protests. Many Muslims that pro-antisemitism still attacks many Jews and Jewish sites worldwide. Many Arabs would claim ha they have nothing against Judaism or Jews as a faith, race or people but rather on our country and Zionism.




I still believe that discrimination will still be there in the future but with fervent prayers and education to all people in the world about our Jewish faith, we could more or less, minimize the violence and discrimination against the Jews. Our faith is beautiful and we believe that all religions are our brothers and sisters. If we keep this spirit of brotherhood, we can live in harmony despite the diversity of our religion.

Marnie - Israel:

- Does your religious leaders have a say in the formulation of laws in your society? If yes, cite one law that is grealtly influenced by these leaders. 


Answer from EFS6




          Yes. Mahatma Gandhi became the pioneer in the art of the strict adherence to “ahimsa’ or the art of non-violence and civil disobedience. This allowed common individuals to engage without employing violence or distasteful means.

          Gandhi's equally strict adherence to democracy, religious and ethnic equality and brotherhood, as well as activist rejection of caste-based discrimination and untouchability united people across these demographic lines for the first time in India's history. The masses could participate in India's freedom struggle for the first time, and the membership of the Congress grew over tens of millions by the 1930s.  


See Mahatma Gandhi's Speech on Peace:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SakitCoNYc



Answer from EFS7


The Buddhist Monks are considered as important religious leaders in our country. One such law is "Everything that has been created is subject to decay and death. Everything is transitory. Work out your own salvation with diligence".

That is why with my good fortune I share to others because I know this is temporary. I do alms giving when I go around the village with my Buddhist monk friend and he teaches me a lot of ways of meditating so I can work my way for my own salvation.


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