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Religion

Question 1. Jewish and Buddhists both cultivate moral conduct depending on what they are taught to do by their faith. While Shema and Ten Commandments guide the former, the latter rely heavily on the Four Noble Truths and Eight-fold Path. The fundamental truths of both religions can be found in these sources, which have something in common even when they come from different origin. Main similarities between the Jewish and Buddhist doctrine lay in the main precepts for their believers. One of the practices of the Eight-fold Path is right action, which consists in living an ethical life according to the precepts (Plamintr, 2011). The first Buddhist precept to abstain from harming living beings is similar to the sixth commandment “You shall not murder.” Second similarity can be found between avoiding taking the not-given and the eights commandment “You shall not steal.” Third similarity implies the third Buddhist precept of avoiding sexual misconduct and the seventh commandment “You shall not commit adultery.”

The fourth similarity is about the fourth precept of abstention from false speech and the eights commandment “You shall not steal.”

At the same time, Shema and Ten Commandments are quite different from the Four Noble Truths and Eight-fold Path. First, Shema and Ten Commandments do not mention the human suffering. Instead, God promises his people they would live longer and better, especially if they honor their parents. These words constitute the fifth commandment as following, “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Deut 5:16). Meanwhile, Four Noble Truths reveal that life is suffering and if people put into practice the Eight-fold Path, they will cease the suffering. Second, breaking Jewish precepts and breaking Buddhist precepts result in different kinds of punishment. Jews know that God’s commandments are essential from the words of their main prayer, Shema, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut 6:6-7). When one breaks the Ten Commandments, he or she will deal with God’s anger. It is written in the Bible, “Then the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and he will shut up the heavens so that it will not rain and the ground will yield no produce, and you will soon perish from the good land the Lord is giving you” (Deut 11:17). Meanwhile, Buddhists are not afraid Buddha will punish them. Their five precepts are kind of advice but not laws to fulfill. The absence or presence of punishment creates another difference between the Jewish and Buddhist morality. Buddhists do not experience feelings of guilt as much as Jewish do (Plamintr, 2011). Instead, guilt is mental anguish from the Buddhist point of view and is a hindrance to their peaceful mind. Finally, Jewish behave well for the sake of God, and Buddhists behave well for the sake of ceasing their suffering. Hence, they treat precepts found in Shema, Ten Commandments, the Four Noble Truths and Eight-fold Path differently (541 words).

Question 2. As anti-Semitic flavor is still present in the modern world and American society, creating videos that address this topic are of great relevance today. Two videos “Anti-Semitism Today!” and “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” present the typical prejudices Jewish people face in the modern reality. Both videos have similar arguments relating to the Jewish. First, people often blame Jewish people of economic crisis in the country. One of the main arguments of the video “Anti-Semitism Today!” is that all Jews are bankers and all Jews love money. Similarly, the “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” video lays claim that Jews control all the banks. It shows that for some reason people believe that Jews grab the financial power in the United States and consequently make other people poor. That stereotype is deeply rooted in the American mentality and leads to the anti-Semitism. Second, people believe that Jews threaten the political stability of the United States of America. “Anti-Semitism Today!” presents the viewers the argument that all Jews are communists and anarchists. At the same time, the authors of the “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” reveal that Jews are responsible for the war in Iraq in the eyes of non-Jewish people. Third, both videos present the arguments that all Jews are alike, and they are all the same. This prejudice allows people treat all Jews equally but not in the positive meaning of the word. On the contrary, it presupposes equally hostile attitude to the Jews even if they did nothing wrong. It is especially noticeable in the video “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” where people blame young volunteers seemingly of all deadly sins of society. Finally, Christians blame Jews of being Christ killers. This idea was especially popularized by the film “The Passion of the Christ” by Mel Gibson (Patterson, 2000).

 

On the other hand, each video presents the arguments that are unique in every given case. In particular, “Anti-Semitism Today!” claims that all Jews are clannish. From that point of view, Jewish seem to be an integrate community that contradicts the rest of the world and step-up for one another. Thus, others view Jews as the threat to the integrity of Christians, for instance. That is one of the common beliefs hold by non-Jewish, and the one that constitutes the ground for the anti-Semitic views. Comparing to that, the video “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” shows that anybody can step-up for Jewish, be it a man of faith or unbeliever. When it comes to unfair treatment, many people can step-up for the Jews for the sake of justice. Another argument found in the video “Anti-Semitism Today!” is that the Jews are everything that threatens one. Comparing to that, the video “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” shows that the Jews are not a threat. Here, people do not accept Jews Presented the young volunteers as a threat but rather as the victims. The bystanders in the video have a pity on the Jews and want to help them. Even those who spoke nothing in defense did something for protest. Next, the video “Anti-Semitism Today!” holds the view that anti-Semitism is not a problem in the US. Comparing to that, “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” reveals that anti-Semitism is a problem. Finally, the former video insists that all Jews are loaners, and the latter states that Jews are pushy and dominating. These arguments are unique to each of these videos (561 words).

Question 3. The authors of the videos “Anti-Semitism Today!” and “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” use different methodologies to appeal to the audience. First, “Anti-Semitism Today!” looks like a compilation of different opinions and facts. The video presents information in a rather chaotic way and presents the data from the different historical periods of time. Comparing to that, “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” is presented in an organized manner. The data are presented in a logical sequence and then analyzed with great attention. Second, “Anti-Semitism Today!” does not present an author of the video. Although the viewers meet Sander Gilman, the professor of Human Studies from the Cornell University at the beginning, none of the experts are presented in the video further. The viewers may observe Walid Shoebat, the former terrorist and Franklin Roosevelt at some point of the video, but that is all. There are no references to the people standing behind the data collection. As a result, one can only guess who made the montage of the video. In comparison to this video, it is clear that ABC company created the video “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?”

This video is a part of a series prime time show “What Would You Do?” Ann Sorkowitz is the producer of the video, and the editor of the show is Jack Pyle. Third difference consists in the research design of both videos. The video “Anti-Semitism Today!” does not have an introduction and a conclusion. It does not present the research question and the thesis of the plot. Therefore, another video “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” looks like a well thought research. The question of this video is how people react when they see the displays of anti-Semitism in their everyday life. The thesis of the author’s research is that bystanders would not step-up for the Jews but the Jews would. However, the experiment refutes the hypothesis. Finally, the video “Anti-Semitism Today!” does not seem to imply any methodology at all. It does not display neither qualitative methods nor the quantitative ones. Comparing to that, “What Would You Do?” refers to authorities and statistics. Hence, the viewers can verify the information they receive from the video by themselves.

At the same time, two videos have similar methodological features. First, both videos use interviews as the form of obtaining data. “Anti-Semitism Today!” presents the interview with the abovementioned professor Sander Gilman and other interviewees. Similarly, “Anti-Semitism on the Rise?” demonstrates the interviews with the ABC psychologist Dr. Kathy Keating. At the same time, other people become the interviewees of the correspondent of the show John Quinones. Second common feature of the videos’ methodology is the message both videos try to send to the audience. This message is that Anti-Semitism should be a call to action for all those who care about human rights. The problem of anti-Semitism is not a problem of particular group of people. It is the problem of a global scale. Finally, both videos prove that anti-Semitism is evil and people should do something with it (500 words).

Question 6. The visual text relating to Steve Jobs in heaven has an interesting relationship to the study of world religions. The argument of this text is that Buddhists deserve respect from Christians. The assumption of this text is that Steve Jobs deserves to go to heaven even if he does not believe in it. Another assumption of this text is that Steve Jobs should go to heaven because of his contribution to the world even if his behavior is immoral. This is clear from the God’s amusement by the Apple’s iPAD. The organization of the text is logical as the readers learn that certain actions lead to particular results.

At the same time, this visual text reflects the main tendencies in the relation between the world religions today. Unfortunately, the notion of sin disappears in the modern world. This idea is has been voiced by the pope Benedict XVI and other theologians (Grossman, 2008). If there is no sin, then Christians can do whatever they want. They know that God loves them and will forgive them. On the other hand, this text shows that money create the new gods nowadays. It shows that people are ready to forget about one’s mistakes or immoral behavior when one makes a lot of money. The author of this visual text reflects this tendency by the God’s behavior. He is ready to take Steve Jobs to heaven because he established the Apple Company and invented many useful technical devices (Ellur, 2011). However, when Jobs reject to be in heavens, God immediately remembers of the way Apple workers in China are treated and punishes Jobs with reincarnation in the average Apple Chinese worker. According to different sources, there are many abuses of Apple workers in China including “draconian rules and excessive overtime to meet western demand” (Chamberlain, 2011). Christian harmful tolerance is highlighted when God LISTENS to Jobs’ demands. God should not listen to human desires where they would like to be after the death. People should listen to God but not vice versa. Therefore, it looks as though the natural balance of the obedience is broken. People are not close to god anymore and their pride and disobedience increase constantly.

I do not find this visual text funny. It shows the sad reality so it is rather laughing with one eye and weeping. I think many Christians should reconsider their views when such visual texts appear. Steve Jobs cannot be adored like God because only God is worth adoration. Meanwhile, this visual text is accurate and true-to life. This caricaturist noticed what lies behind the modern face of Christianity and depicted it the best way possible. Steve Jobs believes he can do whatever he wants today. He is like a new God and technology is like a new religion. Unfortunately, Christians have not come to the conclusion something should be changed yet. I hope that visual text like this one would contribute to the gradual reconsidering of the previous outlook and restore the natural balance again (501 words).

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