Through the long, and complicated course of history, religion and the different aspects on it have been key to the way the world is today. Several people have different opinions on different cultures and populations, and how these conflicts affected, them; these people also include their own personal opinion. A couple of them, are authors, which use a made up situation, to express their opinions on the matter of religions, and the changes they have had trough time.
Three stories, which are told in different countries with different beliefs, all achieve the same result, though the setting and means by which they accomplish it is unique for each story. If not Higher, by I. L Peretz, a Jewish story in the late 1800’s, contrasts the different aspects of Judaism through an ironic story. The story puts together 2 people, a Litvak, which is a Jew that focuses specifically on the Law aspect of Judaism, and a rabbi, who believes and focuses more on the spiritual aspect of Judaism. The Litvak, who thinks the Rabbi is not accomplishing anything, secretly follows him.
He follows the rabbi, and finds out the rabbi is doing everything but taking personal time from the week. “The rabbi chops the tree into logs and the logs into branches… and returns to town”. Although this story is comparing 2 aspects of the same religion, there is plenty to be said. To the Litvak, order and law is key, and the fact that the priest is not following this law directly seems suspicious to him. Next, the Litvak sees the priest goes into a poor, worn down, humble household, speaking to a woman in the voice of a peasant so she wouldn’t know he was a rabbi.
How can I buy? How can a poor widow get money? ” The Rabbi responds by telling her he will “lend” it to her. “Who will kindle thee fire? My son is at work? III kindle the fire’ said the rabbi”. The Litvak was impresses, and humbled by a priest, that in addition to having to say the daily prayers, and it being the day before awe, helps the poor and needy, while keeping anonymity. This goes to show how even when one thinks one knows everything about something, there is always a great deal to learn.
Ultimately, whenever they talk about the rabbi going to heaven, he can’t help but say, “If only higher”. I’m telling you the truth, by Juan Jose Arreola, is a story written by a Mexican author, which mocks the idea of god, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. The author uses an experiment, in which he goes to great detail into, in order to distract, and make his point more subtle, but intriguing. Wealth is something that appeals to almost every human being in this earth.
Arreola shows the conflict between Christian morals and the modern world perception of wealthy. While before wealth wasn’t thought of by money as much before, the world, and people depend on it these days. Arreola keeps poking at this problem by writing, “The total capital necessary cannot be known until the predictable end [… ] the subscribers should pay out the investment quotas patiently over the years. “(157). this shows that the author is trying to specify that the money invested into this (most likely to the rich people) is uncertain, although it is definite it will be expensive.
The author expresses his opinion on this matter when he mentions, “But the possibility of a failure is even more attractive”(158) This is very interesting, since he is saying that even if the experiment fails, the people will go to heaven, because the wealth of people will have been lost, due to all the money invested in the experiment. Finally the author uses symbolism to show his outlook on Gods quote. The experiment represents this whole process, since the camel, which is the rich person can’t go to heaven; it is too full of money.
The experiment is the process by which people lose their money, and eventually, the money is drained, and people can go to heaven. The experiment was never meant to work in the way in which it advertised itself to, but rather by letting people go to heaven who might not have otherwise. Overall, this books general judgment on Christian morality is supportive, it does so by mocking the rich people in a very complicated, yet simple experiment. The Mark of Vishnu, by Kushwant Singh, contrasts old traditional Hindu beliefs with modern beliefs through people from 2 different generations, Gunga Ram, and the narrator.
All throughout the story, Gunga Ram believes that there is a snake that drinks the milk that he puts out every day as an offer, in return for sanctuary from the extremely venomous fangs of the snake. The young teenagers obviously think this is just superstition, and nothing else. They claim “You are a stupid old Brahmin’, I Said. ‘Don’t you know snakes don’t drink milk? “(77). the author adds to the notion of the Brahmin being full of superstition by describing several of the rituals that the Brahmin preforms.
Every morning he smeared his forehead with a V mark [… ] to him, all life was sacred. “(77). Thea author is describing these events in a negative connotation, because it is believed that the old Brahmin, like all old religious traditions, are no longer useful to the faith. However, when the snake gets captured and “killed” by the boys, the saucer full of milk is still full since there is no Kala Nag. This is when one can start to wonder, if this is really superstition after all, or if the old Brahmin is wise, rather than superstitious.
Next, a big turn of events happens when in the middle of class, the capture of Kala Nag turns sour. The supposedly dead snake escapes in class, but when Gunga Ram shows up offering him some milk, the snakes kills him anyways. This shows an interesting point of view that the author gives to the story. It seems as if it is a mystery whether the snake was really drinking the milk, and one will never know. All that is known is that the snake did not do what Gunga Ram supposed it would do, drink it in return for safety from the reach of its fangs.
Singh, takes a less opinionated view on the collision between these 2 far closely derived cultures, and decides that not one is more correct than the other, after all, its faith. All of the stories represent a similar conflict, between different aspects of faith whether it be traditional vs Modern, or different branches, or opinions of a religion. Although in the end they all explain the same concept, each is unique in its analysis between these conflicts, and their origin, depending on culture, and location. These issues will always prevail in religious matters, since there is no way at this moment