“It’s Time to Reclaim Religion” (Ana Martinez, April 6th-April 12th)

While browsing through videos on TED Talks, I came across a very inspirational video called “It’s Time to Reclaim Religion” by Rabbi Sharon Brous. The rabbi talks about a torn world and how religion is what is causing the disagreements and war, but believes and lectures on how religion can also be the solution.


The issue addressed in her video is religious extremism and routine-ism. Rabbi Brous mentions that religious extremism and religion related violence has increased in the past few years and that now it’s almost normal or that no one is no longer surprised that someone has decided “to show his love of God by taking the lives of God’s children” and recalls the events of the shooting at planned parenthood and San Bernardino. She also goes on to mention that religious extremism justifies things such as racism, anti-Semitism, islamophobia, disgrace towards LGBT, and subordination of woman and concludes with calling it “a great failure of religion” Additionally, she explains that another problem is religious routine-ism in which religious leaders are stuck in routine and lack vision, soul, and life they merely do things out of routine and thus a lot of the younger generations are uninterested. She relates this to marriage, by explaining that the first couple of years it’s great and followed by traditions to celebrate the anniversary, but a few years down the road it’s just a “date on the calendar” with “no love affair” and that’s how it ends up in plain routine and the religious aspect it’s following traditions because that’s just what is has been.

She suggests that if we put into practice 4 key principles, perhaps they can revitalize religion. Now, she put these into play for her own Jewish tradition and goes on to explain that she in fact left her job to do so and called it “IKAR” or “the essence or the Heart of the Matter”.  Rabbi Brous explains that Christians, Catholics, and Muslims alike have done something similar. She suggests that the same way our religions can justify the negatives (violence and extremism) and it can justify the positives (love, compassion, coexistence, love etc.) These principles include Wakefulness, Hope, Mightiness and Interconnectedness. Wakefulness in the sense that we have access to the news almost immediately and instead of just shrugging it off, we should take action, as it is our responsibility. Hope in the sense that religion should make people feel like they have a purpose. The third principle was to acknowledge mightiness in a manner that we understand that we can’t do everything, but we can do something …almost a like feeling of empowerment. Finally, interconnectedness is how we connect as human beings.

This topic reinforces the some of ideas presented in our reading of Nostra Aetate. Nostra Aetate mentions towards the end of the chapter, “we cannot call upon God if we refuse to behave like brothers and sisters” and goes on to say that “whoever does not love, does not know God.” and concludes with stating that the church “condemns as foreign to the mind of Christ any kind of discrimination whatsoever between people, or harassment of them, done by reason of race, class, or religion…” The issues mentioned in this video are mostly caused because there are people who are extremely devoted to the word of God, but practice it with hatred. Additionally, if instead of looking on how our religions differ and we focus on what we have in common and can find value in other religions, we can surely overcome the harsh realities we see in our time. But we can only do this if our religious leaders inspire a change in our religions.

Discussion Questions:
Is there a way that the religions can keep their traditions without being so routine-like? If so, how?
As the younger generation, we are the voice of the future. What can we do to bring awareness to our religion and churches to revive our traditions and beliefs? Is it wrong? What about implementing or adding NEW traditions instead of wiping out the old?

7 thoughts on ““It’s Time to Reclaim Religion” (Ana Martinez, April 6th-April 12th)”

  1. I don’t think there is a way that the religions can keep their traditions without being so routine like. I think adding new traditions instead of wiping out the old, is not really good idea, we should follow the things listed on the Bible, because Bible is the words from the God, if we add things by ourselves it isn’t God’s word anymore, on the other hand, we should respect other religions as we keep ours as original.

  2. I think that traditions can still be within the church without routines. I would say that some people rehearse it too much. It should kind of flow, but I cannot describe how I would want it. I think tradition comes naturally throughout churches.

  3. Yes, I think that religions can keep their traditions without being routine like (within reason). For example at my church we have several “outreaches” a year where we invite people to our church for a certain events and many times have the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the visitors, if they want to hear. When we first started the outreaches we found that one outreach was better then the other as far as attendance ect, so we may either host the same outreach the following year or maybe have two of the one that we felt went well ect. This answer may not be exactly what you are looking for but, I think that ultimately we can keep traditions but tweak them a bit. As young people it is certainly our job to share our religion, especially if we truly believe what we believe in is the truth. No, it is not wrong for one to share their beliefs. Depending on the tradition, I do not think that we should totally wipe it away but, like you mentioned, maybe add new ones to the old ones.

  4. I believe there should be away to keep traditions but make them more accessible for the younger generations. I think the church should just promote open interpretation of the Bible.

  5. Personally, I feel like religion shouldn’t even be a thing that need freshening up, or changing the routine. Maybe it’s because from my perspective (a non-religious perspective) most of the routine is just praying and going to the house of prayer. So I don’t think that needs to be changed but I do think getting people and younger adults engaged and interested in religion is important.

  6. I do not think that traditions can be kept in churches without there being a certain routine to go along with it. Traditions aren’t meant to be changed or tweaked to appeal to younger generations. Traditions are passed down through generation to generation and are not meant to be changed.

  7. A religion with no traditions are usually nondenominational. Nondenominational churches follow the bible and nothing more, on the other hand traditions form once a church gets bigger therefore even nondenominational churches practice or induce some type of tradition. Religion with out tradition would not be the same for anyone as religion can also be shared through generations.

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