Religion Interview Term Paper

Pages: 6 (1886 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

Religion Interview

I interviewed a good friend and neighbor of my grandmother who is 65-year-old. Since she often visits with my grandmother and the two of them talk about all kinds of topics, my grandmother said she would make a good subject for my research, and she did make a good one, since she was friendly, outgoing and frank about her beliefs. I was able to interview her twice in her living room, where she felt comfortable and I was treated to snacks and coffee.

This woman, whom I shall call Carol, is pretty well-known in the community for serving on the School Board and the Town Council. She was raised in a fundamental Protestant family, and is still an active member of the Baptist Church. When she was growing up, her father was one of the deacons of a small Southern Baptist Church that was struggling to gain members and build church buildings during her childhood. They attended this church three times a week during her entire young life - on Sunday mornings for Sunday School and "Preaching Service," Sunday evenings for "Training Union" and another evening church service, and on Wednesday evenings for "Prayer Meeting," which sometimes included a potluck meal.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Religion Interview Assignment

When Carol's family first went to this church there were only 30 people attending, five of them being members of her family. There were a couple of children her age in the congregation when she was a child. Because there were so few people, she often had to lead small groups and was expected not only to lead meetings of the children, using Robert's Rules of Order (as Baptists are democratic in the way they hold meetings), but to sing solos and eventually play the piano for the services when the pianist was absent. "It was good experience for becoming a leader in my community," she said. The church grew greatly from the time she was small and now has several hundred in the congregation. When she was a teen-ager, it numbered about 100 people, and had approximately five teen-agers in it. Today the Southern Baptist Convention numbers "over 16 million members who worship in more than 42,000 churches in the United States. Southern Baptists sponsor about 5,000 home missionaries serving the United States, Canada, Guam and the Caribbean, as well as sponsoring more than 5,000 foreign missionaries in 153 nations of the world" (SBC 2007).

Carol said she used to be a fundamentalist when she was young. "Fundamentalism" was originally coined as a description of a certain type of Protestantism when a series of booklets were published in the early 1900s entitled "The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth." Authored by evangelical churchmen, they were distributed for free to clergy and seminarians. They were a response to the Protestant Revivalists' loss of influence when the revivalism of the 1800s in the United States began to die out and other liberal trends began to encroach, bringing with it the theory of evolution and demythologizing of the Bible. A Baptist named Curtis Lee Laws referred to their advocates as "those who were ready 'to do battle royal for the Fundamentals,'" and the name "fundamentalist" for these avidly fervent Christians was coined (Jones 2).

Fundamentalists are characterized by their "Bible thumping" (referring to the actions of preachers as they point and thump the fronts of their Bibles as they preach, indicating that they are referring to the Holy Scriptures, said Carol) gospel-singing, lengthy sermons (anywhere from one to six hours long), and rigid beliefs about who is going to heaven. The most revered item in the Christian fundamentalist belief is the Bible. It is the one thing that binds all types of Fundamentalists together: their belief that the (preferably King James Version) Bible contains the ultimate, indisputable truth and it must be guarded against any other interpretations than theirs. This is a belief shared by approximately 30 million Christian fundamentalists in the U.S., and millions of others in countries where missions have been founded (Jones 9).

Carol grew up in a strict family. Religion influenced every part of her life as a growing child. Her parents did not allow liquor or tobacco products in the home and they were seen as "evil." Why they were evil was never explained to her, and she grew up fearing them. When other teen-agers bragged about drinking and/or smoking cigarettes, Carol looked upon them as tampering with things not only dangerous to their health, but dangerous to the fate of their souls. She feared getting involved with other youths who drank or smoked who attended the public school in her town. Her parents once told her to never see a young boy again that she liked who showed up at her church on a motorcycle one Sunday. One of the men in the church had spoken to her father about him and for some reason he was not acceptable to her father. Right after church, as she was going out to the parking lot to see him, her father took her aside and strictly forbade her to have anything to do with him. This scared her so much that she didn't go outside and the boy went home, bewildered. Carol never knew what the objection to the boy was.

She joined a Young Christians youth group that became popular in her town and groups of the teen-agers held meetings where there was preaching by young, visiting preachers. Then the young people attended a conference in a neighboring town and a big concert was planned in yet another town. Carol was beginning to meet other teenagers who believed as she did, or were becoming converted to fundamentalist Christianity. She looked forward to attending the concert of gospel music where hundreds of teens would gather from all across the state. At this point her parents stepped in and forbade her to go to the concert. Again, she did not know why and was heartbroken that this tie to others like her was broken.

She once bought a popular record, as the girls at school had birthday parties where they played "45's" and this was her record to bring to the parties. One day the record mysteriously disappeared from her closet shelf and she suspected her parents had destroyed it, though they never admitted it.

Carol was smart and made good grades in school. She won a small scholarship to a local college, which she anticipated attending when she graduated from high school, thinking that she would be able to major in Psychology, which was her passion. But her parents decided that she was to go to a religious college and sent her to Greenville, South Carolina to attend Bob Jones University. Again, Carol was bewildered at their decision, which they never explained and which kept her from pursuing her chosen career, as the college her parents chose had a very weak Psychology department. They told her they expected her to find an equally religious boy to marry. Evidently, this was their only purpose in sending her to a college so far away.

Fundamentalists believe that religion is being eroded by contemporary society and culture. They preach against it and guard against it in their own lives. True adherents are selective about what part of modern culture they accept or choose to react against. They believe in moral absolutism (the belief that there are principles that should never be violated) and that their source of revelation (the Bible) are inerrant (Pojman 19). Some of them, like Carol's grandmother, are strong Millenialists (believe that Christ will return to the earth and Christians will rise from their graves and live in a perfect, peaceful world for a thousand years) (Robinson 1). From the beginning fundamentalists have not believed in the theory of evolution (Strong 20).

In the book the Battle for God, Karen Armstrong tells about the rise of fundamentalism in the world among the three monotheistic beliefs (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) and of its being a threat to contemporary society. The book tells how secularism has not found solutions for the psychological uncertainty and "emptiness, a void that rendered life meaningless," poverty and homelessness that many experience in today's society. Yet fundamentalism, which is a reaction against secular society throughout the world (and which threatens us now in the form of Islamic revolutions in Iran and Iraq), is flawed in its extreme narrow-mindedness and in its imposition of absolute and rigid standards of behavior on the society it influences, sometimes arbitrarily imposed by a current religious leader, which few can live up to in daily life (Armstrong 224).

However, I was impressed by Carol's ability to incorporate modern cultural advances with her fundamentalist beliefs. She lives in today's world and is an influential person in the community. She is able to incorporate her belief system into her activities in all areas of her life. She believes that she should influence the lives of children and adults because she knows what they should do morally. She is not… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Religion Interview" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Religion Interview.  (2007, July 28).  Retrieved September 28, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Religion Interview."  28 July 2007.  Web.  28 September 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Religion Interview."  July 28, 2007.  Accessed September 28, 2020.