Question #1: Jonathan Z. Smith Quote
Smith’s assertion in the quote illustrates that the existence of religion has been reliant on the advancement of academics. In his quote, Smith notes that “religion has no independent existence apart from the academy” (Smith, 1982). This means that for religion to exist, the academia must prevail and continue in its course of expanding knowledge and awareness regarding religion. The academy is the body that exalts the existence of religion through various discourses that have developed for hundreds of years (Rodrigues & Harding, 2008). The discourse of religious knowledge promotes the understanding of faith, the existence of God or rather supernatural existence and diving power, the problems of evil, among others (Rodrigues & Harding, 2008). The distinction of denominations in which religion thrives is enhanced through academia, where scholars commit time, resources, and intellectual capacity to create an understanding of different religions, their history, applications, and how they have impacted the changes in the world/universe. The philosophy of religion is the epitome of the scholars’ advancements of academia on religion. Thus, Smith implies that for religion to prevail – academia must prevail similar inducing effects in religion.
The students of the history of religion must be “relentlessly self-conscious” to differentiate the metaphysical and ontological realities. The understanding of religion, in which the students of the history of religion seek to purport, suggests the need to understand reality. This is fundamental to know the limits of the human mind in which the metaphysics seek to complement through believing in a higher power that is greater than the physical. The clear understanding of the notion of metaphysics is crucial to differentiate reality as it is in what one can explain through the basic understanding of our intellect and what goes beyond. This is fundamental for the students of the history of religion to avoid entangling themselves into the confusion of seeking the understanding and explanation of what their intellectual capacity lacks the knowledge and understanding to denote. This is vital to maintain a sanity point of reality in which one can understand ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ in the reality of the world.
The application of ontological knowledge is essential to understanding the reality of nature. The understanding of nature is fundamental to the connotation of being, becoming, and existence. The reality is fulfilled by the three aspects that guide an individual’s consciousness (Rodrigues & Harding, 2008). As presented enables the pursuant of self-consciousness, which is critical to the realization of self-awareness. That is, the knowledge of oneself and the capacity to self-reflect to understand what is real and the limits of our minds. This is fundamental to enable the student of the history of religion to build the capacity to “articulate clearly why “this” rather than “that” was chosen as an exemplum.” Thus, it presents the capacity to make informed decisions.
Hence, the capacity to sustain being “relentlessly self-conscious” depicts the ability to continuously understand who you are, face yourself, reflect upon your failures, accept your mistakes, and learn from them. The continuity of the knowledge on self-awareness motivates an individual towards change and accepting reality. Therefore, it maintains a high degree of understanding reality and making the best use of it as the capacity of an individual allows.
Question #2: Clash of Darshanas
The strained relationship between the Outremont Hasidic Jews and their Gentile neighbors follows years of suspicions and hatred between the communities for decades. The denial of an opportunity to come together into a consensus promoted the continued strained relations between the communities. The chance to quell the differences is limited, and rare opportunities that exist appear to create further rifts and differences in the communities (Arnold, 2018). To iron out the differences, communities must be willing to set aside their differences and combine towards common interests for the future of the communities and their generations. The developments of the relationship between the Hasidic community and the non-Hasidic members in Outremont borough is a result of various concerted efforts.
The visit of Belzer Grand Rabbi Yissochar Dov Rokeach from Israel after more than two decades was a symbolic event for the Hasidic community as well as the Gentile neighbors. The historical event provided an important symbolic event that could bring the two rival communities together. This is similar to other cases of clash of the darshanas, which illustrates the lack of trust between rival groups. For instance, the line-of-business managers (LOB) and the chief information officers (CIO) are likely to prolong the clashing points without having a common objective they have to tackle together. The visit by Belzer presented a rare opportunity in which the rival communities could come out strongly for a common objective.
The role of leadership is critical towards mediating on the animosity and differences between the rival groups. The mediators often the top leaders seek to create an environment of understanding and cooperation to which differences can be solved. The continued role of the council to convince the rival communities that they “live in one of the best areas in the world and the privileges they have – led to calling for unity on matters that bring them together and diminish issues that divide the communities” (Arnold, 2018). This is a profound role in which the leaders enable call for a truce and ceasefire of rivalry and hatred between the communities.
The class of leaders such as the LOB and CIOs requires the interventions of the CEO to iron out the differences between the two departments and call for a truce, which is essential to advance that which is of core importance to the company. The community is required to work together for the growth and development of their areas. The capacity to maintain good relationships is fundamental to building a lasting relationship between cooperation and collaboration in many more areas. The future generations of the rival communities are bound to live a better life than the current state, which has been advanced by decades of animosity and rivalry. This is fundamental to enhance the safety and conduciveness of the neighborhood of Outremont borough. Thus, each community member has a responsibility beyond the self to look for what brings them together than what divides them as a community. Therefore, seek the establishment of good relations in the community and maintain a safer future for the generations to come.