My Antonia Religious Differences University Essay Example

During the 19th century, Bohemian immigrants sought better lives for their families by leaving their homelands. However, their religious beliefs caused conflicts within communities. The majority of citizens in the United States during this time were Protestants/Lutherans, while Catholics practiced their religion differently. Consequently, these religious differences led to many issues.

In terms of religious beliefs, disagreements have arisen between Catholics and Protestants/Lutherans. The Catholic perspective deems suicide as a transgression against god, with the belief that the soul would endure suffering in purgatory. Additionally, they believe that prayer through icons can assist the soul. Conversely, Protestants/Lutherans do not regard suicide as severely sinful and do not subscribe to the concept of purgatory. They place emphasis on direct prayer to god. In Willa Cather’s novel My Antonia, the Burden family, who follow Protestant/Lutheran faith, struggle to accept the Shimerda family’s Catholic views encompassing suicide, purgatory, and iconography.

The topic of suicide was controversial in their area due to religious differences. Most of the citizens were Protestant, while the Shimerda family was Catholic. In their article “Religion and Suicide,” Daniel Doyle, Jesse Rushing, and Rodney Stark discuss the Catholic belief that suicide is a mortal sin (p. 121). According to Catholics, taking one’s own life signifies a belief that life is meaningless and not worth living.

According to Doyle, Rushing, and Stark (p. 121), many Catholics believed that individuals who committed sins would be condemned to eternal damnation. The Catholic Church considered suicide a serious sin and prohibited the burial of any suicide victims near the church. In My Antonia, the Catholic citizens shared the belief that Mr. Shimerda’s decision to take his own life was a sinful act. Anton Jelinek acknowledged this belief by stating that their father had committed a great sin by committing suicide (Cather, XV, p. 85).

The passage highlights Jelinek’s suggestion that suicide is seen as a serious offense against God in the Catholic religion. In My Antonia, the Shirmerda family discovers that they cannot bury Mr. Shirmerda in a Catholic cemetery because “a man who killed himself could not be buried in a Catholic grave” (Cather, XV, p. 88). On the other hand, the Protestant/Lutheran faith does not view suicide with the same severity as the Catholic faith. According to an article titled “Religion and Suicide” by Daniel Doyle, Jesse Rushing, and Rodney Stark, “The Protestants/Lutherans also considered suicide to be sinful” (Doyle, Rushing, and Stark, p. 21). However, Protestants/Lutherans have a more lenient perspective on individuals taking their own lives since they lack the concept of mortal sin (Doyle, Rushing and Stark p.121). Because of this difference in belief about suicide as a mortal sin or not , Protestants/Lutherans hold a more tolerant stance towards it. Several Protestant/Lutheran characters in My Antonia exemplify their attitudes towards suicide; for instance,the Burden family demonstrates this when Grandfather Burden tells Anton Jelinek that “we believe that Mr.Shimerda’s soul will come to its Creator.”(Cather,p85)

According to Grandfather Burden, suicide is a tragic event, but he believes that the soul of the deceased will find peace with God. The Burden family is understanding and does not condemn the Shimerdas for their father’s suicide, as they have strong religious values. Some Catholics believe that those who take their own lives will endure suffering in purgatory. In the book “A Reading of the Development of the Doctrine of Purgatory” by John E. Thiel, it is mentioned that purgatory was considered a realm where the deceased would undergo trials that could be shortened through prayers and spiritual assistance from the living (p. 42). Purgatory was believed to be a dreadful place where souls were tormented until their families prayed for them. Catholics sought to help souls in purgatory by praying for forgiveness from God. In “My Antonia,” Jake Marpole expresses his belief that Mr. Shimerda’s soul will suffer in purgatory as a consequence of his sin of suicide. He states that it would take years of constant praying to release his soul from torment (Cather, XIV, 82).

This passage discusses the contrasting beliefs about the afterlife in the Catholic and Protestant/Lutheran faiths as portrayed in the novel My Antonia. The Catholics believe that committing a great sin would result in suffering in Purgatory until forgiveness is granted by God. In contrast, the Protestant/Lutheran faith does not believe in Purgatory and holds that suicide leads to a new life beyond death. Some Protestants/Lutherans view suicide as a desperate plea for help. The protagonist, Jim, contemplates whether Mr. Shimerda’s soul is present in his house and questions the validity of the Catholic belief in Purgatory. Furthermore, Jim wonders about Mr. Shimerda’s state of mind and if there was any truth to his Catholic beliefs.

In Jim’s religion, it is believed that Shimerda’s soul would eventually return to his own country after death. Jim Burden, along with many other Protestants/Lutherans, did not believe in the punishment of souls in Purgatory like the Catholic Shimerdas. The Catholic belief was that communication with God could only be achieved through praying to specific icons such as trees, priests, candles, and other spiritual objects. This is discussed in the novel titled “Iconoclasm and Iconoclast: Struggle for Religious Identity” by Daniel J.

Sahas discusses the concept of iconography, which is the act of breaking physical images as a way to counter representation of the divine (p. 578). These objects were considered important for Catholics as they allowed closer communication with God. In Sahas’ novel, he states that iconography is essential to the identities of Catholic faith (Sahas, p. 578). In “My Antonia,” Mr. Shimerda kneels before the Christmas tree with his head bowed down during Christmas time (Cather, 71). As a Catholic, this act holds significance for Mr. Shimerda.

Shimerda demonstrated his faith through the symbol of the Christmas tree, as described by Cather: “the candle ends sent up their conical yellow flames… against the green boughs” (Cather, XII, p. 71). Through his prayers to the Christmas tree and candles, Mr. Shimerda expressed his faith and drew closer to God. In the Catholic faith, priests serve as divine icons, allowing worshippers to communicate with God. In My Antonia, it is mentioned that “the Shimerdas were very upset when they could not find a priest to attend their funeral” (Cather, XV, p. 5). Without a priest present, the Shimerda family believed they could not pray for Mr. Shimerda’s soul and seek forgiveness from God. Anton Jelinek also expressed belief in prayers for the dead (Cather, XV, p. 85). Without a priest to pray through, the Shimerda family and friends would struggle to plead for mercy on their father’s soul, as priests are seen as the closest intermediaries to God. In contrast, Protestants/Lutherans do not believe in praying through icons; instead, Catholics pray through priests, candles, and Christmas trees.

In their book “Praying About Difficult Experiences as Self-Disclosure to God,” Mark Janus, James Pennebaker, and Bradley Binau discuss the Protestant/ Lutheran perspective on prayer. They explain that these faiths consider prayer to be a sacred activity, allowing direct communication between individuals and God (p. 31). Unlike Catholics who use icons for prayer, Protestants/Lutherans believe that God can hear their prayers without such intermediaries. Similarly, in the novel “My Antonia,” the Burden family also believes in praying to God but does not engage in iconography. Jim Burden recounts how his grandmother reacted with unease when she witnessed Mr. Shimerda praying to a tree (Cather, XII, p. 71). This incident highlights the discomfort that Jim’s Protestant grandparents felt towards the use of icons in Catholic prayer. The Burden family had previously found the tree unremarkable, but now saw it differently when they observed someone kneeling before it. Jim’s grandfather performed a Protestant gesture by bowing his head and touching his brow, thereby asserting their own religious beliefs (Cather, XII, p. 72).

The Burden’s grandfather is currently feeling threatened by the differences between Catholicism and Protestantism/Lutheranism. To maintain balance in the room, he bows his forehead. Throughout the novel My Antonia, the Catholic Shimerdas and the Protestant/Lutheran Burdens display various religious disparities. These include their perspectives on suicide, purgatory, and iconography. Catholics view suicide as a mortal sin against God, whereas Protestants/Lutherans do not perceive it as such. Additionally, Catholics believe that souls of suicides suffer in purgatory; however, Protestants/Lutherans do not acknowledge purgatory at all. Protestants advocate for a direct connection with God through prayer, while Catholics employ icons to communicate with God. The novel My Antonia by Willa Cather effectively illustrates these historical religious distinctions between Catholics and Protestants/Lutherans.

Work Cited Bradley Binau, Pennebaker James, Janus Mark-David, VandeCreek Larry. “Praying About Difficult Experiences As Self-Disclosure To God. ” International Journal For The Psychology Of Religion 12. 1 (2002): 29-39. Academic Search Premier. Web. Nov. 2012.

Cather, Willa. My Antonia. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1918. Print.

Sahas, Daniel J. “Iconoclasm And Iconoclash: Struggle For Religious Identity. ” Catholic Historical Review 95. 3 (2009): 578-580. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 Nov. 2012

Stark, Rodney, Doyle, Daniel, and Jesse Lynn Rushing. “Religion and Suicide. ” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion: 22 Feb. 1983: p 120-131. Print.

Thiel, John E. “Theological Studies”. A Reading of the Development of the Doctrine of Purgatory: 2008: p 741-785. Print.

How Have Transport Improvements Helped Build A More Interconnected World

During the 1700s, it would have required a span of 2 years to circumnavigate the globe. However, by the 1930s, this time had drastically reduced to just 8 days. In the 1990s, advancements in technology and transportation resulted in a significant decrease to a mere 31 hours. These improvements in transport have effectively contributed to the concept of a ‘shrinking world’, which consequently fosters a more interconnected global community. Among the prominent aspects of transport, goods such as food and objects play a crucial role, as they are traded with other countries. The noteworthy development in recent times has been the introduction of containerization within freight transport.

Containers are highly versatile and efficient, allowing for easy loading, unloading, stacking, and transportation over long distances. They can be seamlessly transferred between different modes of transport (e.g., container ships, rail, semi-trailer trucks) without the need for opening them. This system was developed after World War II and has greatly reduced transport costs while enabling a substantial growth in international trade. As a result, global relations have become more interconnected, leading to expanded trade opportunities.

Developing commercial air travel is another crucial aspect of fostering a more interconnected world. The production and capacity of faster airplanes have substantially increased, allowing tourists to enjoy cost-effective and rapid travel to different countries. An outstanding example of this growing industry is easy-jet, which offers numerous affordable flight routes across the EU. As a result, this improvement in inexpensive and efficient transportation has greatly facilitated global interconnectedness as individuals can now easily access distant destinations.

The blending of cultures, like in the United States, generates “multi-nations”. The global transportation system has had a significant impact on promoting interconnectedness. An important means for achieving this is through the formation of Transnational Corporations (TNCs). TNCs heavily depend on efficient transportation for different facets of their functions. Executives frequently require air travel for meetings, and their goods must be rapidly transported to various international destinations.

These transnational corporations (TNCs) contribute to a more interconnected world by sourcing product parts globally (with the help of efficient transportation). A Mini car, for example, involves contributions from approximately six countries in its manufacturing process. This approach not only reduces costs but also brings these countries closer together, fostering interconnectedness. Without advancements in transport quality and quantity, TNCs would not have been able to thrive and exist. Recent improvements in transportation have significantly enhanced global interconnectivity.

However, there is an argument that improving transport is causing remote places to become disconnected. As popular destinations improve their transportation systems, lesser-known places such as the Amazon appear to be losing attention. The interconnected world may actually be strengthening existing connections instead of creating new ones, suggesting that transport improvements merely reinforce existing links. In order for connection to be established, transport would need to start from scratch and create a new link.

The argument presented here suggests that the impact of enhancing transportation on the shrinking world is negative rather than positive. In summary, despite a few counterarguments against the improvement of transportation leading to a more connected world, it is evident that transportation enhancements have significantly improved countries’ ability to engage with one another and establish mutually beneficial connections for the future.

Violent Juvenile Crime

Negative Impact of Juvenile Detention Centers Juvenile Justice Program Analysis Today, violent juvenile crime is a major concern in the presence of the juvenile justice system. Over the years, juvenile crimes have been classified in four categories, violent crimes, drug and alcohol violations, sexual offenses and status offenses. Violent crimes committed by juveniles have included assault, rape, homicide, robbery, arson, vandalism, larceny, theft, and auto theft as well as possessions of weapons.

The increase in violent juvenile crime has been evident from the rise of handguns on the street and within schools to assault and rape. One area that has taken storm within the juvenile justice system has been the increase in the rapid growth of juvenile street gangs. There are several things that contribute to violent juvenile crimes. Research has shown where most violent behavior by juveniles is learned behavior. At some point in our lives we all have had some potential for violent behavior. Some juveniles have observed a tremendous amount of violence and know how to do it.

Juveniles in certain communities are committed to conventional norms and values that inhibit their use of violent behavior and they are embedded in social networks, like gangs. In these cases, violent behavior becomes irrational. From experience in working with juveniles violence has been a way of achieving status, respect, and other social and personal needs. According to Polsky’s Diamond, his hierarchy of needs is based on leaders, lieutenants, status seekers and scapegoats; whereas all four of them wants power that can come from violence at a certain extent. For juveniles this could possibly be their only form of power.

In juvenile detention centers when there’s a limited source of alternatives and a weak commitment to moral norms and little supervision of negative behaviors due to lack of staff, violent behaviors become rational for juveniles. During a juvenile’s development, the family could be the major factor because this is where the child begins their learning experiences. Things such as weak family connections, exposure to violence and how’s it tolerated when displayed can contribute in so many ways on how it will affect a juvenile later in life. Violence of juveniles can come from them witnessing it or being the victim.

Research suggests that early exposure to violence increases the likelihood and risk of violent behavior by as much as 40%. Throughout this learners experience television viewing is a factor as well. If it’s not monitored from birth, it could definitely have a negative impact. What’s being viewed in the home can desensitize the rationalizations on violence which interrupts the moral development of a youth. Youth tend to revert to what they know and not always what’s expected by society. The juvenile justice system battles with this especially since there’s a limited amount of alternatives for them.

Many youth are placed back into these same environments; therefore they revert back to their cultural norm majority of the time. Many communities have contributed to violence with juveniles. With the rapid growth of gangs and illegal drugs, it has brought about many negative issues. Instead of youth observing positive roles models, they’re being exposed to a violent atmosphere in which they are not aware it’s dangerous. They youth see what they feel as rewards, but in actuality they are being exposed to the potential of violence, poor role models and future ramifications within the juvenile justice system.

Single parent households are struggling with being proactive in these areas since there’s an influx of gang activity in about every community whether there’s poverty or wealth. When youth see where they can achieve more in one day on the corner of their neighborhood than what they see their parents make in a month you tend to see a rise in school dropouts, pregnancy, substance abuse, unemployment, violence in schools and turf wars. In these situations youth can become the victim of violence in which all of these interferes with their normal course of adolescent development.

No matter if it’s your neighborhood, detention centers provides these same types of environments due to overcrowding and having a mixture of different cultures within one area. When these environments are not properly managed, you’re open to disaster. A youth’s development is critical when it comes to violence. As a youth starts school they are trying to achieve some type of acceptance, belonging and personal worth. Therefore, peer groups can have a lot to do with violence in juveniles, especially if there’s a lack of connection within the home and with family.

If there’s lack of family control children may flock towards those who have no boundaries to be there friends. During stages of normal development according to Erikson, there are certain things to expect or look for. Adolescents tend to struggle with identity and role confusion at this stage of their life and if they are not given the opportunity to have a normal development, there will be some role confusion that may lead to further delinquent behavior. According to Bilchick (2000), from 1987 to 1994, while the juvenile population grew slightly, juvenile arrests for violent crime soared.

Then, as the juvenile population increased slightly from 1994 through 1997, juvenile arrests dropped precipitously. In fact, the magnitude of the decline in violent crime arrests in the 3-year period between 1994 and 1997 was greater than the projected growth in the juvenile population over the next 20 years. No one has been able to predict juvenile violence trends accurately. It is clear, however, that the Nation is not doomed to high levels of juvenile violence simply because the juvenile population will increase. As Attorney General Janet Reno has often said, demography is not destiny.

Most of the violent juvenile offenders in the year 2010 have not yet even entered grade school. Current and future social and policy changes will have more effect on juvenile violent crime and arrest trends than will population changes. Violent juvenile crimes over the past decade have made it very challenging for juvenile justice programs. Since the nineteenth century the philosophy has been to rehabilitate them, but with the rise in the criminal activity, society has demanded legislation to hold them more accountable.

According to CJCJ, in the 1950’s and 60’s public concern grew about the effectiveness of the juvenile justice system, not because of the rehabilitative philosophy, but because of its perceived lack of effectiveness and the number of juveniles who were detained indefinitely. Apparently, years ago juveniles were involved in many minor offenses, but in today’s society there’s been a major threat towards many communities unlike the traditional acts of delinquency committed years ago. According to Yeckel, Congress addressed violent juvenile offenders by enacting tougher laws that allow the criminal prosecution of juveniles in federal court.

In addition, legislation is pending in the Senate that would reshape federal juvenile law and encourage states to adopt a more punitive approach to serious juvenile offenses. Some states now are considering punishment over rehabilitation based on the seriousness of a juvenile’s charge. Yeckel mentioned that because of the perceived escalation of violent juvenile crime, some states have shifted the focus of their juvenile justice systems from rehabilitation to punishment. 77 States justify this shift on one or more of the following theories: (1) unishment will deter future juvenile offenders, (2) punishment will incapacitate juvenile offenders and prevent them from committing future offenses, and (3) punishment satisfies society’s desire for accountability and retribution.

References Cited Bilchik, S. (2000). Challenging the Myths. Retrieved on September 1, 2012 from https://www. ncjrs. gov/pdffiles1/ojjdp/178993. pdf Erikson, E. (nd. ), Erik Erikson’s Theory of Identity Development, Chapter 3 (pp. 51-55). Retrieved July 11, 2012, from http://www. aui. ma/old/VPAA/cads/1204/cad-course-1204-rdg-erikerikson. df Polsky, H. (n. d. ). Polsky’s Diamond. Retrieved from http://training. rameyestep. com/PolskysDiamond/Polskysdiamond. pdf Yeckel, J. F. (1997). Violent Juvenile Offenders: Rethinking Federal Intervention in Juvenile Justice. Washington University, 51, 331-362. Retrieved from http://law. wustl. edu/journal/51/Yeckel_. pdf Center on Juvenile & Criminal Justice, (n. d. ). Juvenile Justice History. House of Refuge. Retrieved July 20, 2012, from http://www. cjcj. org/juvenile/justice/juvenile/justice/history/0