Religion at Urbana High School

Alice Ramos, Entertainment Editor, Photographer

Each individual in Urbana has values that they live by. As a diverse school that has so many people of different cultures and religions, these values tend to differ. Despite all these differences, it’s rare to find discrimination in Urbana. In a world with wars caused by people who follow religions that preach about peace, what is Urbana’s secret to little, if any, discrimination? Islam people follow a monotheistic religion with one God who spoke wise words to the prophet Muhammad who, in turn, shared these words with the world. The message was written down in the Quran. Rafay Khan, a UHS Muslim student, follows his religion through the Five Pillars of Islam: declaration of faith, praying five times a day, fasting during Ramadan, charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca. Khan believes religion and government should be separate because many wars begin by using religion as a front when it’s about something completely different. This is why he “wouldn’t change the religion so much as [he] would change the situation in Saudi Arabia and the way the government controls the way people follow it. They don’t practice it right because you’re not supposed to impose the religion on anyone.”

Baptists believe in one God as well as the Holy Trinity. They also believe that the Bible contains the ultimate truth and its teachings should be followed. For Baptists, baptism is something that should only be performed when one can decide to become a believer. Baptists
agree with missionary work and peaceful conversion. Maria Reyes is a member of a nondenominational church, who identifies as Baptist. Reyes believes in spreading love and the teachings of Jesus. When asked about religious conflicts she said, “I think it’s because as humans we’re always offended and always want to be right. So when people tell others they’re wrong, which can inevitably happen when you try to tell them about your religion, they get upset. You have to be humble when you talk because if you’re proud people won’t respect your opinions. I think just putting ourselves in other people’s shoes and trying to see how they’re feeling would help.”

Catholics believe in the Holy Trinity as well as saints and the Virgin Mary, but only worship God. Catholics follow the Bible and believe that Heaven, Purgatory, and Hell are the places a human’s soul can go once their body dies. They have all the books in the Bible and trust that the bread and wine in Communion transform into the actual body and blood of Christ after the Priest’s prayers. Julia Laug is a member of the Catholic Church and is very open about her beliefs, as it is a huge part of her life. She loves talking about Catholicism, but she also believes that “if someone clearly tells you they don’t agree with your beliefs then don’t make them.” The world would be much more peaceful if “everyone did their own thing and didn’t try to convert each other.”

Judaism is a monotheistic religion. Jewish people believe in the prophets’ words inside the Torah, which contains the Old Testament of the Bible. They believe their savior or Messiah has yet to come. Emma Shankman, a Jewish UHS student, interprets the Torah to say that their savior will be a group of humans saving themselves and others, as opposed to a single holy person. Although there are no specific denominations of Judaism, there are different ways to follow it, which differ in how absolute the laws in the Torah are. Shankman is more Reconstructionist, believing the Torah has guidelines on how to live life and teaches lessons through the stories. “A big part of the religion is inner reflection on how to be a better person and discover what the religion means to you personally,” said Shankman.

(To read the rest of the article, pick up a Hawkeye near the main office or the media center.)