RELI 448N Week 5 Assignment: Interview Essay

RELI 448N Week 5 Assignment: Interview Essay

RELI 448N Week 5 Assignment: Interview Essay

The person I interviewed is a close friend of mine who has been practicing Orthodox Christianity for over 10 years and identifies himself as a part of the Eastern Orthodox Church. As you know, Christianity has several directions: Orthodox, Catholic and Baptist. Today, only about 12% of Christians are Orthodox and occupy the third place in the number of followers among the directions in Christianity. Initially, the Christian Church was One, but in 1054 there was a split between Orthodoxy and Catholicism. For many centuries, enmity and mutual reproaches of hereticism reigned; the heads of the two churches anathematized each other. Unity within Orthodoxy and Catholicism also could not resist, since Protestants broke away from the Catholic branch, and the Orthodox Church had its own schismatics – Old Believers. It was then in 1054 that a branch of Orthodox Christianity was officially formed.

There are several basic beliefs in Orthodox Christianity that a friend of mine told me about. They include the following: God is seated in the faces of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit; the head of the church is Jesus Christ, not the Patriarch; baptism frees a person from sins; the believer will be saved and receive eternal life. Orthodox Christians believe that after death his soul will gain eternal salvation and for this, practicing Orthodox Christian believers devote to serving God and fulfilling the commandments. It is believed that the believer should accept any trials with meekness and even with joy, because despondency and murmuring are revered as a mortal sin.

As mentioned before, believing Orthodox Christians to confess their faith mainly come to services that are held in churches. The Orthodox Church itself in terms of society consists of priesthood (bishops, priests, deacons), as well as clergy (subdeacon, psalmist / reader, chorister, sexton / altar boy) and the believers themselves, who play the role of parishioners in the Orthodox Church. Every baptized Christian tries to follow the Commandments, not to sin, and in order to practice religion, he also visits the temple during services, and also studies the Holy Scriptures (the Bible) and reads prayers, psalms.

One of the main stories is the story of the birth and salvation of mankind from their sinfulness by Jesus Christ, who was sent by the Father to Earth. As the son of the Father, the Holy Spirit and an ordinary human woman, the Virgin Mary, who was later canonized, he lived an ordinary human life in which he preached, and in the end, he was crucified and died for human sins in order to save them and give eternal life to Kingdom of the Father.

Many different rituals come out of this, which are directly related to biblical stories and the practice of religion. For example, there are several basic ordinances, including Confession and Communion. They are tightly connected with each other and are just a direct connection with the events of the crucifixion of Christ and his Ascension into the Kingdom of the Father. Confession is the repentance of the soul, and during the Communion the Priest forgives sins, allowing the believer to taste the wine (blood) and prosphora (flesh) of Christ, as was done by Jesus himself with the Disciples on the eve of his crucifixion. There are also smaller rituals like the consecration of willow or fruit on certain days, the consecration of holy water, or the painting of eggs red for Easter, as a memory of a miracle that happened. Church candles made from natural materials (for example, beeswax) can be used for the sacraments and rituals. In addition, the Clergy use incense, censers, as well as various scriptures, they themselves wear different clothes (cassocks) by color for different holidays. In the temples themselves there are icons to which believers can approach in order to pray in person and “venerate”. Bells are often used to start a liturgy or memorial service. The altar in the temple is considered a sacred place. Only priests of the church can go there (and those who helps), mainly only men and, in rare exceptions, girls before their first menstruation.

The main laws that Orthodox Christians adhere to are the Commandments from the New Testament, which speak about how to lead a correct, godly life. A sense of God’s grace and love is what awaits godly Christians.

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Orthodox Christianity most likely refers to the Theistic theory according to the Bible, in which God created the Universe, people and those wished to establish contact with him and live according to his laws.

However, given the fact that all this time society did not stand in one place and the world was changing, conflicts arose to this day. My partner told me that the Christian Orthodox Church to this day imposes quite severe restrictions on the lives of people with whom she personally does not always agree. For example, the fact that women are forbidden to wear trousers or skirts above the knee, as this way they inflame lust in men. However, before the knowledge of nudity, people used to dress differently, besides, a person as a rational being can himself fight inappropriate thoughts. And this is the only example – there are a lot of such inconsistencies and strange inconsistencies. Basically, a large number of traditions focus on both faith and behavior. Jesus said that many believers will be rewarded with everything according to faith, but they must adhere to the correct way of life, which is what practicing Orthodox Christians follow.

My practice of traditions is noticeably different, because despite the fact that I also read prayers (mantras), I make offerings in the form of flowers, and in Christianity it is not very customary to do this. Moreover, we also pray for a sacred image (in Orthodox Christianity it is an icon), but we follow the “correct” behavior because of belief in reincarnation, while Christians believe in the second coming and the Day of Judgment, as well as Eternal life in Paradise or Hell.


This experience gave me an excellent opportunity not only to get to know and better understand Orthodox Christianity, but also gave me the opportunity to look at it from the outside, to better understand how certain rituals and foundations take place, as well as to hear the personal experience of a practicing faith; learn better about what causes conflicts between the modern realities of the world and Orthodox Christianity, and also helped to better understand what religions are similar to each other in terms of rituals and general philosophy.


Meyedorff, J. (August 20, 2020). Eastern Orthodoxy. Britannica. Retrieved from:

Required Resources

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

Textbook: Review chapters as needed


Link (library article): Talking about religion — at last: Old taboo is fading, but broaching the subject still requires restraintLinks to an external site.

Minimum of 1 scholarly source (in addition to the textbook/lesson)


For this assignment you are required to sit down for a conversation with someone whose religious identity differs from your own (this means that if you identify as Christian, for example, you should find a conversation partner who does not identify as such). The purpose of this exercise is for you to engage with someone else in a conversation about religion. That means that you will not only ask questions, but you will hopefully answer questions about your own beliefs, as well. Please note atheist and agnostic are not acceptable choices for your assignment as neither is recognized as a religion.

Before meeting with your partner, review the above article for this activity, “Talking About Religion – How to Do It Right” (link in Required Resources), for some guidance on how to engage in conversations about religion. You may also wish to share this information with your partner, if needed.

In this assignment, you will listen to the ideas of someone whom you identify as religiously “other.” You will share your own ideas (though to a lesser extent) and report on what you learned about this other religion, including your partner’s beliefs and how those beliefs compare to your own religious upbringing and/or current practice.

The report should describe the major topics of discussion (below) and a detailed summary of what you learned. Your final essay should include all of the following:

Introduction: Provide some cultural and historical context for the religious tradition of your conversation partner. Include why you chose this religion and person. (It is important that you do some research before you have your conversation so that you ask informed questions that come from genuine interest.) This should not be a long section of the essay.

Describe your conversation partner’s beliefs. Include the following 8 elements of religion from Week 1:

Belief system. Several beliefs fit together into a complete and systematic interpretation of the universe and the place of humans in it; it explains a religion’s worldview. Highlight the most important.

Community. How are the belief system and its ideals practiced as a group of believers who come together? How do they come together?

Central myths. Stories that express the religious beliefs and history of a religion and give it meaning through retelling and/or re-enacting (e.g., major events in the life of Krishna, the enlightenment of Buddha, death and resurrection of Jesus, Mohammed’s escape from Mecca, Israelite’s escape through the Red Sea, and so on).

Ritual. Ceremonies and/or Rites that enrich beliefs.

Ethics. Rules about human behavior which are often believed to be given by a supernatural realm (God) or socially generated guidelines.

Characteristic emotional experiences. Some emotions associated with religion are dread, guilt, awe, mystery, devotion, conversion, “rebirth,” liberation, ecstasy bliss, inner peace.

Material expressions. Physical elements like statues, paintings, musical compositions, instruments, objects like incense, flowers, clothing, architecture or sacred places.

Sacredness/Holiness. A distinction is made between what is ordinary and what is sacred through use of a different language or ceremony or clothing or acts of reverence. Certain objects, actions, people and places may share or express sacredness/holiness (e.g., receiving communion, Mecca, an altar, a shrine, the Dali Lama, menorah).

Identify any conflicts between the stated beliefs of their tradition and their personal beliefs.

After hearing your partner’s description, explain whose theory of the origin of religions (Week 1) you think offers the best explanation for his/her religion?

What challenges can your partner identify that their religious tradition faces in the modern world? Do they feel that their tradition is responding positively? Explain.

Examine if the tradition is focused on belief (orthodoxy) or behavior (orthopraxis).

Compare your partner’s beliefs and practices to your own religious upbringing and/or current practice. This is to be done in the report not as a debate with your partner.

Conclusion: Conclude with your personal reaction to this experience and any additional questions that came up after your conversation.

This is a formal academic paper, so pay careful attention to the basics of writing a good English composition, to essay structure, and complete APA.

In addition to outside sources, make sure to reference your textbook and/or lesson.

Writing Requirements (APA format)

Length: 1000-1200 words (not including title page or references page)

1-inch margins

Double spaced

12-point Times New Roman font

Title page

References page (Cite textbook/lesson and a minimum of 1 outside scholarly source.)

Page or paragraph for in-text citations


This activity will be graded based on the W5 Assignment Grading Rubric.

Course Outcomes (CO): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Due Date: By 11:59 p.m. MT on Sunday


The Record. (2014, May 1). Talking about religion – how to do it right.


W5 Assignment Grading Rubric – 125 pts

CriteriaRatingsPtsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeContent35 ptsAddresses all required elements of the assignment as per instructions including correct number of scholarly sources and use of text/ lesson.29.75 ptsAddresses most required elements of the assignment as per instructions including both correct number of scholarly sources and use of text/lesson.26.25 ptsAddresses some required elements of the assignment as per instructions, but not the correct number of scholarly sources and use of text/ lesson.19.25 ptsAddresses few required elements of the assignment as per instructions using only 1 source (either scholarly source or text but not both).0 ptsNo effort35 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAnalysis40 ptsThroughout the whole work, the submission shows evidence of original & critical thinking; research; use of detailed and persuasive examples.34 ptsThroughout most of the work, the submission shows evidence of original & critical thinking; research; claims that are supported with detailed and persuasive examples.30 ptsThe submission shows critical thinking but not original conclusion; research; some examples.22 ptsThe submission shows little depth of critical or original thought; minimal research; no examples or examples that do not support the claims made.0 ptsNo effort40 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization20 ptsAssignment is well organized and includes all of the following: an introduction that states what the paper will produce; headings; logical movement from one point to the next with good transitions; central idea that is developed and expanded; and a conclusion that summarizes submission goal and learning.17 ptsAssignment is organized overall and includes several of the following: introduction; headings; orderly movement from point to point; central idea that is obvious and developed with a minimum of non-related material; and a conclusion that summarizes submission goal and learning.15 ptsAssignment has several of the following organizational issues: uneven flow, lack of cohesion, no introduction or headings, content jumps from one point to another randomly without orderly transitions, central idea that is stated, but not developed; a conclusion that is not noted or does not refer to or support the purpose of the paper .11 ptsAssignment lacks organization including several of the following: no use of introduction and headings; difficulty staying on track because of too much irrelevant material; central themes that are difficult to identify; no conclusion or one that does not support the paper.0 ptsNo effort20 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeWriting20 ptsThe writing is free of errors in usage (correct word usage, tense, form etc.) and mechanics (spelling, punctuation, quotation, structure – complete sentences, etc.) that would detract from a clear reading of the paper.17 ptsThe writing contains a few errors in usage and mechanics but the errors do not detract from a clear reading of the text.15 ptsThe writing contains some errors in usage and mechanics that need to be addressed for a clearer reading of the paper.11 ptsThe writing contains several errors in usage and mechanics that impede a clear reading of the paper.0 ptsNo effort20 ptsThis criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAPA Format10 ptsThroughout the whole work, in-text references are consistently formatted using APA style, including page or paragraph; reference page includes complete bibliographic information for all required sources using APA style; format (margins, spacing font size) adheres to APA style.8.5 ptsThroughout most of the work, in-text references are consistently formatted using APA style, including page or paragraph; reference page includes complete bibliographic information for all required sources using APA style; format (margins, spacing font size) adheres to APA style.7.5 ptsThroughout some of the work, in-text references are consistently formatted using APA style, including page or paragraph; reference page includes complete bibliographic information for all required sources using APA style; format (margins, spacing font size) adheres to APA style.5.5 ptsThroughout the work, in-text references are seldom or never formatted using APA style, including page or paragraph; reference page includes incomplete bibliographic information for required sources using APA style; format (margins, spacing font size) is erratic and does not adhere to APA style.0 ptsNo effort10 ptsTotal Points: 125