While religion may be something one would closely associate with England, religious diversity usually doesn’t follow closely behind. Growing up, school kids in America all learn the stories about how England split from the Church, and then America split from England separating Church and State. It’s a timeless tale that possibly not so inadvertently ingrains the idea of the evils of combined Church and State, along with a permanent association of England and religion. The fact of the matter is, though, while the Church of England may be the officially recognized religion of the State, with the monarch as its head, the majority of the English are not actually Christian. There is a huge amount of religious diversity around London from Catholic to Atheist, Muslim to Jediist. As mentioned in class, walking down the street one can see a Christian church, Jewish temple, and a number of other places of worship all relatively close to each other. There are regions of the world, and possibly inside the UK itself, where such close proximity to other religious beliefs would present problems, but here in London, the city residents pride themselves on their tolerance for diversity. It puts London in a unique position to be able to showcase their religious and cultural tolerance and diversity to the entire world with the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics. Hosting athletes from all over the world will result in athletes of all sorts of religions. In my opinion, though, I believe London will have no issue hosting people with such diverse backgrounds simply based off of my limited experience in the city. Every tour I have been on has made some mention of the large spectrum of people living inside the city. While my visit to Paris proved the French were clearly uncomfortable with Muslims – one of the most controversial religions with racial profiling apparent in all parts of the world – London, only a two hour train ride away, obviously embraces them and has no immediate issue with the culture. In fact, London has even introduced Sharia courts to help accommodate the most devout Muslims that try to consistently live their life by the Qur’an. This is just one of the many ways that London helps celebrate their religious diversity, which results in a positive environment for all faiths. Overall, London certainly has an atmosphere of positive religious diversity. While other regions of the world have a hard time embracing so many different cultures, or struggle with not discriminating against at least one, London makes an active effort to embrace everyone.
London is home to two of the most famous places of worship in the world: St Paul’s Cathedral and the New West End Synagogue.
Starting from an early age I never really had a grasp on religion, what it was and what it meant to me. When asked what religion I was I would respond with a hasty, “Catholic? Christian? I suppose either of those.” Confused by not fully belonging to either it took me nearly twenty years to deem myself as not a religious person but a spiritual one. I do believe in God, but I don’t follow a church or a specific set of commandments. With that said, religion does not play a role in my life but God does.
Traveling has played a minimal part in my life, similar to religion. I did not leave California until I was 14 and I went to New York City for five days. The next time I left California was when I was 18 and I went to Mexico for 5 days. Once starting college, my traveling increased and I’ve been to Seattle, Washington and Canada. The most impactful traveling experience I have had was to New Orleans, Louisiana. Seventeen Cal Poly students and I went to the South for six days to volunteer with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. New Orleans holds a very, very special place in my heart and a motto I do my best to follow is to “be a New Orleanian wherever you go.” It is the most rewarding experience I have had and is what has pushed me to travel more. With coming to London I am most excited to be out of my comfort zone, meet new people, and explore as much of London and the surrounding
cities as possible. The London guards are what I have been highly anticipating because I have always heard so much about them and am just intrigued to witness their stern expressions.
-Tayler (Fourth Year, Journalism Student with News Editorial Concentration)
I’m Julia and I’m going to be a 3rd year. I’m a psychology major (hoping to go all the way to a PhD). My concentration is in counseling and family psychology.
I was raised in a Christian home, but always given the choice to believe what I felt was best for me. When I was younger, I never questioned what I was told about God. When I got to junior high I started going to a non-denominational Christian youth group called Young Life, that is not associated with a church. I was involved with Young Life throughout junior high and high school, and through this connection I grew in my faith, asked questions, and developed an amazing community. When I got to college I started to question my faith a lot and spent a quarter with very little focus on God, if any at all. After this time of questioning, I realized that my relationship with God and my faith are extremely important to me. Now, I am a leader for Young Life in SLO County. We have events for high school kids every week where we just give them an excuse to have fun and be themselves. I love being part of Young Life so much, that when I was offered to work for them, I jumped at the opportunity. I would never define myself as religious, but rather a follower of Christ. My faith is part of my identity, guides my life, and I am always happy to dialogue about it, but I don’t believe that anyone should ever force their beliefs on anyone else. I love learning about other religions and perspectives, which is one reason I am so excited to be so far from home. I’ve built houses in Tijuana, backpacked in Canada, and been all over the United States, but I’ve never been to Europe. I’m so excited to explore, be exposed to new things, and see all the places I’ve only seen in pictures.
Hey everyone, my name is Kyle McDonald and I’m a senior at Cal Poly. I am currently majoring in Agriculture with a double minor and an emphasis in Engineering. I spend most of my time creating music videos, and music productions with my friends back in Santa Cruz, CA. I also enjoy hiking, dirt-biking, surfing, karting, and sleeping on the beach.
I have had relatively few world travels over my lifetime. The furthest i have traveled out of California before coming to London is Bermuda. I have also been to Hawaii a number of times and taken a cruise to the Caribbean.
I consider myself an an agnostic. I don’t choose to believe in one specific religeon because i feel that most organized religions all carry the same message. ”Do good deeds and be nice to other people,”. I was raised as a christian early on but my parents soon decided to attend catholic curch instead. I recieved my first communion when I was ten years old. My parents then enrolled me in a Christian middle school, which pushed me further away from organized religion, due to the fact that it was being thrown at me nearly 24 hours a day. Ever since I leaft that school I have considered myself an agnostic. I believe there is a higher power, but I don’t know what it is and it doesn’t bother me know knowing.
Oops, wrong UK territory. Cheers! I’m Alex, I’ kind of an oddball. This sentence is me trying to not start a sentence with ‘I’. As a philosophy major, my department is generally hated by most students around Cal Poly; so, just as an American claims to be a Canadian while abroad, I dance around my major when others inquire into it. I’m adding a poll to this to see how people react to philosophy.
About my religious status, it is more of a lack of religious status. I used to be adamantly atheist, until I realized that forcing non-belief on people was as bad, if not worse, than forcing belief on people. As much as I enjoy a friendly debate about religion, at the end of the day, it is nearly impossible to change a belief, even if I wanted to. Nowadays, I maintain that I am not “religiously musical;” by that I mean I am interested in it, but my religious following matches my musical talent, which sounds like a dying elephant.
With respect to travel, I have traveled to the far land of San Diego, named after the famous and very punctual Saint Diego. Realistically, I’ve been to various regions in North America, from British Columbia to Florida. This is my first time to Europe, which I’m ecstatic for. Chip-chip cheerio, friends!
Hey everyone, I’m Tyler and I just finished my 4th year as a Liberal Arts and Engineering major. Within my major I’m concentrating in audio engineering, with minors in music and humanities, so I am very much looking forward to exploring English musical theatre in MU 324 overall experiencing the British culture. Of course, I certainly can’t complain about being able to travel and spend time outside of the US. As far as religion goes, I’m excited to be able to learn about religious history in England and how the various religions have helped shaped culture in this area. While I personally am not religious (which isn’t to say I don’t hold my own views on religion), I am very interested in the different facets on religion and its impact as civilization has developed and progressed over the centuries.