Author Archives: kjs93

Jews, Christians, and Muslims

1. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam and believe that Heaven and Hell exist, but each of these faiths view these places in a different way. Muslims are told often in the Quran that God is merciful and that he knows their hearts. They attempt to live out the Five Pillars of Islam so that they will be assured a place in heaven. In our assigned text of the Quran believers are told “God has promised those that have faith and do good works forgiveness and a rich reward. As for those who disbelieve and deny our revelations, they are the heirs of Hell’ (1014). We see from this passage that salvation in the Muslim faith is based on good works. Hell is reserved for those who deny God.

Jews at Jesus’s time were split on the issue of Heaven and Hell. Some, such as the Sadducees did not believe there was an afterlife. Others believed in Heaven and Hell, and depended on sacrifices for atonement and following the law of the Old Testament. This was their hope of reaching heaven.

Followers of Christ believe that no one can reach the perfection which the Old Testament law requires. They believe that God is merciful and came to earth in the form of a man to be the final atonement sacrifice. Christians, therefore, believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, and that Hell is for those who reject his atoning sacrifice. Christians, unlike Muslims, believe that Heaven cannot be earned by good deeds, but is available for those who choose to follow Christ.

2. The Greeks were familiar with narratives about humans attempting to appease angry gods. They therefore would have been able to understand the need for grievances to be made right before God. They also would have been familiar with both human and animal sacrifices for atonement. They could have possibly seen Jesus’s death as a sacrifice for atonement.

Greek mythology is full of stories of children who are half god being born to humans. In such stories the god comes down and impregnates the women, allowing their child to be divine. This was the case in Achilles’s birth. Greeks would have been familiar, therefore, with stories similar to that of Jesus’s birth and would have more likely accepted it.

3. I disagree that Jesus claims a redeemed sinner is more precious than one who never sinned. In the assigned text there is a passage, which I assume this discussion question is referring to in which Jesus states “I tell you that thus there will be joy in heaven over one sinner who repents rather than over ninety nine righteous ones who have no need of repentance’(pg. 894). In this passage he says that there will be more “joy’ not that the redeemed is more “precious’, and I think the difference is worth noting. It is as if you had three children, two who loved you and never rebelled, and one who disowned you. Were the child who disowned you to ask for forgiveness, you would be filled with joy. They would not suddenly become more “precious’ to you. This fact is also demonstrated in the parable Jesus tells about the two sons. The father in the story said to the un-rebellious son “My child you are always with me and all that is mine is yours; but we had to make merry and rejoice because your brother was a dead man and came to life’.

In the Iliad the gods did not seek repentance from mortals, but instead sought revenge for wrongs humans committed against them. The gods also picked favorites among the humans and would use their divine powers to assist them. If a person believes that Jesus truly did see a redeemed sinner as more precious, then an argument could be made that he is similar to the gods of the Iliad in this point; they both have “favorites’. The gods of the Iliad did not show mercy on humans but instead would allow fate to overtake them.



Medea and Job

1.   From the beginning of the story Medea’s personality is in contrast to the personalities of other women. The nurse is depicted as a worrier, unable to alter the course of events which she finds herself in; Jason’s new bride has no say in the marriage, merely bowing to the wishes of Jason and her father Kreon. Media, on the other hand, is portrayed as strong willed, motivated, and tenacious. She does not lean on any man, or wait for fate to sway events to her benefit, but instead schemes and acts of her own accord. Kreon sees past the fact that she is a woman and fears her, understanding her capability for strategic thought and revenge. Jason, although he has seen Media act slyly before, does not recognize her as a threat. Media is similar to Achilles in that they are both driven by a fierce desire to revenge the honor stolen from them. They are also both driven by rage and have few friends. Their allies fear them, but would rather not chance making them an enemy.

I think that Media is meant to be a hero figure in this play. It is interesting, however that although Euripides wrote Media’s character as a hero, he attributed to her “man-like’ qualities. Media is hard, violent, analytical, and does not possess any traits that would be thought characteristic of women such as insight, empathy, and sensitivity. I think it was a big step for Euripides to write a character of this sort; Media, although a woman, is shown as powerful. I do wish, however, that Media had been given some more womanly characteristics. Euripides writes as if a woman must possess the attributes of men if she is to be seen as a hero.

2.   Once God begins speaking, it is made plain to Job how little knowledge he, as a man, possesses. God speaks of putting the winds in their places, of storing up snow and hail, and setting the foundations of the earth. Job had previously believed that he could predict the ways of God. He believed that evil only came upon the evil, while the righteous received only good things. When God speaks to Job, the man realizes how wrong he is attempting to cage God’s power. Job cannot even remove the woes from upon himself, much less create and order the world. For this reason he accepts God’s divine power. He realizes that a God able to order the universe must know better than he why the sorrows have come. Were Job to have pressed for an answer he would have shown himself as arrogant, thinking his plans more important than those of God.

We are not told that Job ever finds out even about the dialog between God and Satan. He may have never found out that by his actions he was proved faithful. I think that if a person does not believe in God then this ending is not at all satisfactory because it does not fully answer why men suffer. If a person believed in God, however, the answer given in this story would bring them relief; God’s plans are higher than their own, and although they may suffer, he will not leave them in their suffering.


Hector, Achilles, and the Battle of Troy

  1. As detailed in the ballad, the Iliad, the primary conflict during the siege of Troy centered around two mighty fighters, Hector of Troy and Achilles, warrior of Greece. Both of these men fought valiantly against the rival armies. Both were known as valiant fighters. They were highly respected by those who held greater power than themselves, as well as their fellow warriors and countrymen. The two men were able to command the attention and respect, of not only mortals, but of the gods themselves. This, however, is where their similarities ended.

Hector was able to achieve more than the respect of his people; he gained their love. As the prince of troy, he commanded justly and kindly. He led by example, heading battle charges and feeling guilty if ever he left the battle for even a short time. He was a family man, well loved by his wife and attentive to his child. At Hector’s death Hellen weeps while detailing the way in which Hector defended her and befriended her. Hector’s father goes to great lengths to reclaim Hector’s body. The city halts its defensive strategies for twelve days to lament the death of Hector, their hero.

Although Achilles was an esteemed warrior he was feared by those he commanded. Achilles, in the Iliad, is a slave to his anger and pride. In the beginning of the story he nearly kills Agamemnon, his king, and is only just stopped by the goddess Athena. When Achilles does not get his way he pouts and cries to his mother to fix it. Achilles is disrespectful to the messengers of Agamemnon, and ignores the king’s attempt to restore relations. After defeating Hector, he will not give the body up for honorable burial, but attempts at first to desecrate it. Although the fighting skills of Achilles are coveted, few wish to be around the man himself.

  1. Achilles is brought back into his balance when he sees Hector’s father lamenting over the body of Hector. During the battle, rage is the only god that Achilles submits to. Morals have ceased to exist, boundaries that once guided him have vanished. Achilles demonstrates his complete loathing for his enemy by dragging his body behind horses. Achilles is able to dehumanize Hector in his mind so that he becomes a symbol of his victory over the Trojans. Seeing Hector’s father however, he can no longer desensitize himself. He sees his own father in the man. As he remembers who he is in relation to other human being’s — outside of the law of war — he is reminded of the morals which guide this existence. He is removed from the normalities of war and remembers the true horror of death. His existence is once again, if only momentarily, guided by the normalities and morals which he grew up in.
  2. Hector demonstrates that it is possible to manage oneself in the home and the battlefield. He is able to generate love from his wife and from his soldiers. The risk is that in devoting himself to one, he may lose the other. In Hector’s case it is impossible to be devoted to his wife without entering the battle. As the battle itself is a siege against Troy, were he to stay home and refrain from fighting, he would show that he cared nothing for the livelihood of his family. Even if he had no family, in devoting himself to the battle he would be devoting himself to the protection of other families. In Hector’s case, the two responsibilities cannot be separated.

Achilles decision is different. He has the option to entirely give up the battle and all future fights, going “somewhere else’ to start a family. Although likely he could maintain his life as a fighter, while starting a family, in his mind these codes are mutually exclusive. He is not willing to take the risk of being dragged down by a family, unless he has already given up his life as a warrior.

Hero’s Journey in Back to the Future

1. One movie that I believe follows the Hero’s Journey is the movie Back to the Future. Just as Christopher Vogler described in the video The Matrix – Joseph Campbell Monomyth, at the beginning of the film the hero, Marty Mcfly, has a moment when he “knows something is wrong”. Marty’s family is dysfunctional; his mother in an alcoholic, his father is being bullied by his boss, and although Marty attempts to live life normally, he wishes it could somehow be different.

Back to the Future (1985)

The call to adventure comes when Marty finds out that Doc Brown has created a time machine in the form of a DeLorean. Marty is skeptical at first and refuses the call to adventure. Instead of trying the machine himself, he watches as Doc tests the car. As the two stand there, Libyan terrorists, from whom Doc had stolen some of the necessary components of the car, rush upon them and shoot Doc Brown.


In an attempt to escape Marty hops into the car, inadvertently activating the time machine, and finds himself transported to the past to the year 1955. In this way he is forced past his own fear and pushed over the threshold to accept the call to adventure.

While on this adventure he meets numerous challenges. After accidentally keeping his, as of yet, unmarried parents from meeting, he goes to great lengths to push them together. He also contacts Doc Brown, and together the two search for a way to return Marty to 1985. He learns the normalities of living in this decade. He also learns who his friends and enemies are and begins to better understand his parents.

Within this hero story there is a secondary hero’s journey which occurs within Marty’s father, George. George has been abused and bullied by Biff his whole life. After listening to Marty’s encouragement, he steps past his fear and is able to stand up to Biff’s bullying. His reward is that he meets the woman who would be his wife, and because he stood up to Biff, his future life is dramatically altered.

When confident that his parents have fallen in love, Marty proceeds to the clock tower where Doc has arranged a way for him to – hopefully – get back home in the time machine. This moment is a combination of a final test and a return. Marty gives Doc a note informing him about the way in which he will be shot. Marty is returned to his own time to find that Doc’s life has been saved, and his family life is drastically better. This is his reward.

I do not think that, were these two characters to be examined separately, their stories would fulfill all aspects of the hero’s journey. Together, however, the Hero’s journey can be seen perfectly. Any point of the Hero’s Journey which one character does not experience, the other does.

2.           I believe that cinema fails to meet human needs. Cinema, through carefully constructed storyline, is able to give an the viewer a glimpse of another relate able, yet fictional, individual whose needs and desires are being met.

Although the needs of the viewers themselves are not being met, by inserting themselves into the story in the role of the hero, they are able to taste what this sensation of victory over their personal struggle might feel like. The viewer might leave the theater full of hope that they can conquer their own giants, but when such struggles actually appear hope often fails them.

Although a movie in which all humans belong and, in which, transitions – although difficult – turn out for the best, might be uplifting, the reality in which the viewer finds themselves in is often far less hopeful. In the world in which the viewer finds themselves, some people never find their niche and transitions lead not to self revaluation, but to heartbreak. I believe that human needs can be met. I do not believe, however, that they can be met through cinema, or that needs will be met in the neat and tidy way in which the cinema displays.

Hello there!

Hi Everyone!

My name is Kelly Schmitz and I am a sophomore at UAF planning on majoring in Natural Resource Management. I’m a runner as well as a cross country skier and I enjoy doing anything and everything outside! I have traveled quite a bit outside of the USA and two of my favorite places which I have visited are Israel and the Galapagos Islands. Several fun facts; I really enjoy eating tortillas and I am terrified of balloon arches.

I am taking this class online rather than face to face because I am a school commuter and an online class will be easier to fit around my job. As an avid reader I am extremely excited for this class; it will motivate me to read books that I might never have picked on my own. I’ve noticed that books that I would never have read on my own tend to be the ones I learn the most from and grow to love.

Excited to get to know you all!

Kelly Schmitz