Author Archives: sbutler12

Lesson Five- The New Testament and The Koran

1. How do Islamic perceptions of Heaven and Hell differ from those of Christianity and Judaism?

Both Islams and Christians believe in the idea of heaven and hell but their perceptions differ a little when it comes to what they actually look like and when they came to be.  This Islamic believe that in order to get to heaven one must do an assortment of good deeds to earn the right.  Even after completing the acts of good deeds, one may still not make their way into heaven.  The Christians believe that one must accept Jesus into their life as their lord in order to get to heaven.  The Christian story is one that revolves around a theme of forgiveness much more than that of the The Koran.

2. Although Jesus was a Jew, the religious institutions created in his name proved difficult for Jews to embrace but attractive to Greeks. What elements in the Nativity and the Passion narratives seems particularly and culturally familiar to a pagan audience?

The Nativity story is revolving around December 25th or the winter equinox.  This is to  allow an easier transition from being a pagan to christian. The four stories of the Nativity in the new testament are all slightly different but non are in argument with one another.  Parts of the Nativity and Passion narratives that are close in relation to the pagan audience are the basic ideas such as the manger and wise men in the Nativity story, or the death and resurrection in the Passion story.  These types of things were used in Pagan literature especially when referring to gods.

3.  Jesus claims the redeemed sinner is more precious to God than the righteous person who never sinned. This implies a conception of God unlike that found in the Old Testament or in The Iliad. How does this emphasis on human repentance and divine mercy change human relations to God? What different aspects of the divine/human relationships were emphasized in Gilgamesh, or The Iliad?          

   Through my own journey of faith and religion I have too learned that God knows that we are of sin and he is the ultimate in forgiveness so that we may still have an opportunity to join him after our time here on earth.  I think when a human sins but then turns to God for forgiveness he is ecstatic that we have turned to him in our time of need.  I think this allows our relation to God the ability to get closer to us as people because instead of being perfect and never having to turn to him, we are now asking for his help, which is what he wants.  In the Greek religion and all their crazy/still kind of cool gods, it seems they have a more direct relationships with the people on earth and use the people for their own gain. Or vice-versa, the humans on the ground use the Gods as an excuse or rely on them for anything to happen in a major event.                                            

Week 4- Medea and Job

1.  First off, I would just like to say that Medea was a terrible person.  The fact that she made the choice to kill her two kids when she could have taken them with her should speak for itself that she is not a hero.  Also, the fact the she was always plotting revenges to kill people and full of jealousy and envy are serious negatives when it comes to traits that define a hero.  When in comparison to Achilles, no I do not think that they compare.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think Achilles was a textbook good citizen, but at least he only harmed others when it was to protect people he loved and his city.  I do think Achilles was very arrogant but even he was able to work out his problems somewhat in the end.  Medea was so set on getting her revenge that it drew her to drastic actions such as killing her own children.  For this reason, I do not believe that she should be classified as a hero.

2.  Job had a very deep and meaningful faith and beliefs in God.  He was virtuous and always believed that God would carry out for him.  This is shown in the instance where he asks God for an explanation on the bad events happening in his life and he is not given an answer that he can accurately interpret.   Even though he is not able to get the new he wants, this does not alter or even really shake up Job’s faith.  He doesn’t ask for more because even though he is distraught, he still knows that God will come through.  He is satisfied about the events and how things ended up because he knows that God will provide for the for the righteous and he is given twice as much as he originally had.  I think the end of the story was satisfactory because I am a christian and I can understand this thinking.  I do not always think that I am as patient as Job was but I still try to have the same principles.  I liked that in the end, Job was rewarded for staying true to his faith.

Discussion Question 3- Iliad

1.The biggest similarities between Hector and Achilles are that they are both the biggest and best warriors within their respected parties.  They are both highly respected leaders within their armies and want them to be the best as well. The differences start occurring when Achilles decides to leave his army after getting in an argument with the leader of of his army. He then goes as far as wishing bad luck upon his own army because he wants to make a glorious comeback and be a big hero.  This behavior kind of went along with his attitude though, as he is a arrogant and cocky type of person.  Hector, on the other hand, just wants whats best for his army and will honestly do anything, it seems, to accomplish that goal.  Hector’s army respected him so much that they followed his every order. When he sent them behind the Trojan wall to protect Troy, he stayed out to fight Achilles one-on-one.  This is where the similarities come back together for when they started fighting, the two realized that they were equal matches for each other.  Their power and skills were equal but they realized one of them was going to have to die.

2.After Achilles killed Hector and defiled Greek laws by dragging the body around and humiliating Hectors name, Achilles found himself in quite the predicament.  He finally seemed to settle down and figure some of his stuff out. During this time he listened to his mom when she said that he had been directed to return Hector’s body to his father so that it can be given a proper burial.  I found it quite smart actually what we learned, in that the government was able to stay in control of its people simply by mentioning words from the “gods” and the people obeyed mostly out of fear and respect for the gods.

3.The Familial Code and The Warrior Code go hand in hand in this instance I believe. For instance, even though Hector would have much rather stayed home with his family, whom he loved a lot, he knew he had to go out and fight for his people.  This shows that the two codes can happen together instead of having to be “one or the other”.  Ultimately, Hector chose to leave his family out of it and chose the battle. The same scenario applied to Achilles.

Discussion Question 2 – Gilgamesh

1.I did not see a real defined Journey in the story of Gilgamesh but I do think there are certain aspects of the story that can be compared to the story line of a Hero’s Journey. Gilgamesh, who has the attributes to be a hero I thought, befriends Enkidu who seems to be almost the exact opposite. The story unfolds and the two become good friends fighting off the evil Humbaba together.  The two conquer triumphs together but in the end, Enkidu chooses to sacrifice himself when the gods punish them and I thought that this was fairly admirable or heroic.

2.I thought that the four functions of mythology were very alive in the story as this is a very old read and it still is able to capture people today. The transformation of the characters was easily identifiable as the story progressed and we saw the characters grow into more admirable people.  I think this makes it easy to relate to as people as we go through struggles in life as well and we are either able to accept and grow from them, or let them define and ruin us.

3. I find Gilgamesh’s journey to be a success even though it was he did not return with the Plan of Everlasting Life but he did not come back completely empty handed. He returned as a grown man in attitude that developed a sense of humbleness and learned that swallow his pride. He gained a loving friend and brother in Enkidu and learned that there was way more to life then just thinking about himself all of the time.  I thought this story had some very good life lessons that almost everyone would be able to relate to at some point or another and showed some good traces of a Hero’s Journey in it.

A Hero’s Journey in Finding Nemo – Discussion Question 1

1. When I think of the Hero’s Journey, the movie that comes to my mind is  Finding Nemo (2003).  The movie is a fun family orientated show that follows a a clown fish family on their journey of a lifetime.  The main character “Nemo” has his struggles defined in the beginning of the movie as he was slightly paralyzed with a birth defect of a small fin.  His struggles also include a sense of not belonging because of the birth defect and an overbearing father “Marlin”, whole ultimately just wants the best for his son, but comes off too strong.

Marlin allows Nemo to start attending school, against his opinion, and within the first day of class Nemo gets into trouble by accepting a dare from his new friends. The infamous dare is to swim out past the safety of the reef and touch the “butt” which is actually a boat. Nemo completes the challenge but is then taken by divers and is brought back to the divers office.

There are sort of two calls to action in this movie. The main one is when Marlin accepts the call to action to swim throughout the open ocean in an attempt to find his son with only the clue of a pair of goggles with an address on them.  The movie then follows his journey as he travels along and befriends a distorted fish named Dory. The two make it their mission to find Nemo or die trying.

Nemo’s call to action comes when he is put into captivity in a fish tank at the office and befriends the other fish inside the tank.  They devise a plan to dirty the fish tank which will result in the dentist to remove them in order to clean the tank.  Nemo is given the job of plugging the fan to the cleaner as he is the only fish small enough to fit, failing at first but succeeding his second try.

Both Marlin and Nemo think that they fail their calls to action right when it is about to work, but as the events happen, everything ends up panning out in the end.  I think that both of these journeys were good example of the typical hero’s journey.

2.  In recent times and movies made, I feel like cinema is moving further away from the four functions of mythology and more towards the idea of just pure entertainment.  However, with this being said I think there are certain movies that can grasp at least one of these methods very well.  For example, the recent movies  Divergent (2014)  and  The Giver (2014) are good examples of a picture of our universe where each person belongs. Both movies are stories of “perfect” communities in which everything is set equal but in return the loss of basic humanity and feelings of life have left the people.  Both of these movies also contain the need for mystery as both shows’ journeys include finding out the truth about their lives.  There are many examples of a movie showing one example of the mythology’s but as a whole I believe the cinema industry has not been capturing the functions lately.


Introduction Post

Hey there everybody, my name is Soren Butler and I am a junior here at UAF. I’m from the small town of Casselton, North Dakota which is about twenty miles straight west of Fargo.  I grew up working on a ranch/farm where there are no hills or trees. Moving to Fairbanks has been quite the scenery shock!

I am a student athlete here at UAF and I compete on the rifle team. Go Nooks! I consider myself an avid hunter and fisherman and also enjoy playing and watching many other sports. College football and the MLB are among the favorites to watch where as golf, fly fishing, and bird hunting are my favorite hobbies to do.  I also love to travel.

As far as this class is concerned, I have taken a few English courses and I am excited to take this one as I enjoy online classes and I don’t mind reading intensive classes.  I have taken a class with Jennifer before and I must say she is very fun to work with. Here’s to a good semester everyone!