September 27, 2016

Land of three faiths

With just one look around the room, the history, artistry and passion are evident. My hybrid course on Judaism, Christianity and Islam in Spain gave me a completely new outlook on religion. The travel aspect of the class took place over spring break, from March 7 to 14. My class of 10 and our professor Kyle Lincoln started in Madrid then traveled to Cordoba, Granada, Toledo, Avila and Seville, as well as a few other cities. In each city I discovered how devoted Spaniards are to their religions.

During the trip, there was one overarching theme that would come to mind during each cathedral or mosque tour: dedication. The people who constructed these grand buildings were dedicated to creating elaborate, three-dimensional ceiling art. They were dedicated to making intricate designs, engraving tiny scriptures and pictures delicately on each wall, one design symmetric to the other.

However, dedication to scenery was not the only passion I saw at these holy sites. There’s also a deep dedication to each respective religion, so much as to wish to be buried in, around or near a place of worship. In fact, dedicated believers were buried outside the walls of the mosque or under the floors of cathedrals. To these believers, the closer they could rest to their place of worship, the better.

If the hybrid course in Spain taught me one thing, it is if you believe in something, believe in it wholeheartedly, because only then will you be able to make a lasting impact. I believe this can be true for many things, not just religion.

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