Today's discussion surrounded an introduction to the unit on religion. Once again, its important to highlight the theme of the unit: "The way people construct reality." As we saw with the reading today, religion is a powerful force in creating for people a sense of themselves, so much so that it can cause people to act quite irrationally.
Bobby Griffith struggled so much balancing his Christian faith with the fact that he was gay that he ended up taking his own life. His religious beliefs had created within him a reality that simply didn't mesh with who he was, and Bobby simply couldn't handle it. Much in the same way, his mother's reality told her that prayer was the only way in which she could, in her mind, "cure" her son's "sickness." While those of us on the outside can see the flaw in her logic, especially as it relates to his first suicide attempt, it is clear that her religion created in her that sense of what was real. Prayer was going to solve the problem. When it didn't, her entire life was shattered. Think back to the reading from last night and the analogy with the pencil. What would happen if you dropped that pencil and instead of hitting the table, it just sat suspended in the air? Your reaction would probably be similar to Mrs. Griffith's when she realized that her prayer did not "save" her son.
And that scenario creates the theme for this unit. Religion has played an incredible role in the history of the world. Even though the very basic beliefs of each religion have changed and evolved over time, religion has continually guided people's sense of reality and given them justification for doing whatever they felt fit into that concept of reality. When people act on that reality, it changes the course of history. But, as a guiding force, religion shapes millions of lives and as such, has played an essential role in human history.
So, based on today's discussion, what are your thoughts about religion? About the story of Bobby Griffith? About the role of religion in history? Feel free to comment...
*NOTE: The movie "Prayers for Bobby," based upon the article you read in class today, will be showing tonight on the Lifetime channel at 8 p.m.