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Religion
is often a topic that comes with controversy for several different reasons, one
being which religion is the one that has the most valid beliefs. Through
portrayals of media, misinterpretations of religion occur as television shows
often try to show audiences the most interesting parts of religion, which are
usually very extreme. “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” is an example of a
television show that educates people about religion and how religion approaches
different topics. In the first episode about death and the afterlife, Morgan
Freeman attempts to explain what exactly is the afterlife while also showing
how different religions understand the afterlife. Throughout the episode, they
imply that the essence of religion is that a strong belief in god will allow
death to be a peaceful situation as shown through different ways religions
represent their understanding of it, visual imagery that also contain hidden
messages, and lastly how these different interpretations can easily lead to stereotypes.        

Belief
is said to be a major function of religion, for it allows one to experience a
peaceful transition from living to death. Christians, Hindus, Egyptians, and
Aztecs all understand the essence of religion, belief, differently. There is a
common theme that a belief in God will either send you to a better place, allow
for reincarnation into a better being, or have the Earth continue to thrive to
help those still alive. For Christians and Hindus, they need to act without sin
while living, because they are aware that God is the one who will decide what
will happen to them after they pass. For the Egyptians and Aztecs on the other
hand, a strong belief in God was not necessary for them to pass peacefully, but
rather to protect them while still alive. Both groups interpret that belief as
having someone else ‘s death ensure for a well-off life for the rest of the
members of the religion. This was either done through sacrifice, as done by the
Aztecs at around 17:14 in the show, or by having the journey to the afterlife
be peaceful for the pharaoh. The differences in the understanding of the
essence of religion are connected to the overall concept of “circuit of
culture” in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices
(Hall 4). Those that belong to the same culture or religion share similar ideas
of a language that allows them to interpret the world in roughly similar ways
(Hall 4). Looking at these four cultures, it is evident that the idea of
“circuit of culture” as they all have different ideas as to how
belief should be interpreted. Only those that belong to the same religion would
agree that their interpretation is the correct one. This is due to the fact
that members of the same religion have the same lexicon and cultural codes, allowing
them to understand and interpret terms and situations similarly (Hall 4). They
are also able to communicate effectively due to this common understanding, thus
allowing them to execute their religions representation of belief. In the end,
there is no right way to act out the essence of religion as a cultures way of
representation will not be the same as the other, but rather it is a common
understanding of specific religious interpretations that allow them to continue
using it.

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Throughout
the show, various images help emphasize how important belief is to religion.
The first occurrence of an image that has religious importance are the
hieroglyphics that appear at around 11 minutes and 30 seconds into the
television show.  To anyone who does not
belong to the particular religious group would only know that the hieroglyphics
hold some sort of meaning, however, only Egyptians would be aware of what those
signs mean.  The images depict
incantations that a pharaoh would need in order to pass through to the underworld.
By reciting these incantations, it would him directions to where he needs to go
and tell him of any obstacles will eventually appear. To the Egyptians, the
pharoahs passing was important, since a pharaoh is a reincarnation of the
Egyptian God Luxor. This passing will not only result in another rebirth, but
it will also protect the Earth. The belief is that the Pharaoh needs to pass
peacefully and complete his journey to keep the sun rising each morning. It
will also give them the power to continue growing crops so they could continue
living. In Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices it
talks about the intentional approach, which could help further explain the
secretive nature to the hieroglyphics. The intentional approach is when the
author uses language to apply their own special meaning to the world (Hall
25).  The author usually intends for it
to be something that only they understand, however, that is not the case.
Language cannot be kept private as it will eventually enter into the lexicon
used by other members of the same culture (Hall 25). In the case of
hieroglyphics, they were a private language that was meant originally for only
the pharaoh to know. However, as time went on this private language eventually
became known to others who were initially not meant to know it. People
eventually did discover what these symbols meant, but it did not take away from
the meaning of the symbols. Instead, it helps spread knowledge about the way
Egyptians thought their belief could be understood. Overall, visual imagery is
very important for religion it is an easy way to show others your belief.Religion
is often a topic that comes with controversy for several different reasons, one
being which religion is the one that has the most valid beliefs. Through
portrayals of media, misinterpretations of religion occur as television shows
often try to show audiences the most interesting parts of religion, which are
usually very extreme. “The Story of God with Morgan Freeman” is an example of a
television show that educates people about religion and how religion approaches
different topics. In the first episode about death and the afterlife, Morgan
Freeman attempts to explain what exactly is the afterlife while also showing
how different religions understand the afterlife. Throughout the episode, they
imply that the essence of religion is that a strong belief in god will allow
death to be a peaceful situation as shown through different ways religions
represent their understanding of it, visual imagery that also contain hidden
messages, and lastly how these different interpretations can easily lead to stereotypes.        

Belief
is said to be a major function of religion, for it allows one to experience a
peaceful transition from living to death. Christians, Hindus, Egyptians, and
Aztecs all understand the essence of religion, belief, differently. There is a
common theme that a belief in God will either send you to a better place, allow
for reincarnation into a better being, or have the Earth continue to thrive to
help those still alive. For Christians and Hindus, they need to act without sin
while living, because they are aware that God is the one who will decide what
will happen to them after they pass. For the Egyptians and Aztecs on the other
hand, a strong belief in God was not necessary for them to pass peacefully, but
rather to protect them while still alive. Both groups interpret that belief as
having someone else ‘s death ensure for a well-off life for the rest of the
members of the religion. This was either done through sacrifice, as done by the
Aztecs at around 17:14 in the show, or by having the journey to the afterlife
be peaceful for the pharaoh. The differences in the understanding of the
essence of religion are connected to the overall concept of “circuit of
culture” in Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices
(Hall 4). Those that belong to the same culture or religion share similar ideas
of a language that allows them to interpret the world in roughly similar ways
(Hall 4). Looking at these four cultures, it is evident that the idea of
“circuit of culture” as they all have different ideas as to how
belief should be interpreted. Only those that belong to the same religion would
agree that their interpretation is the correct one. This is due to the fact
that members of the same religion have the same lexicon and cultural codes, allowing
them to understand and interpret terms and situations similarly (Hall 4). They
are also able to communicate effectively due to this common understanding, thus
allowing them to execute their religions representation of belief. In the end,
there is no right way to act out the essence of religion as a cultures way of
representation will not be the same as the other, but rather it is a common
understanding of specific religious interpretations that allow them to continue
using it.

Throughout
the show, various images help emphasize how important belief is to religion.
The first occurrence of an image that has religious importance are the
hieroglyphics that appear at around 11 minutes and 30 seconds into the
television show.  To anyone who does not
belong to the particular religious group would only know that the hieroglyphics
hold some sort of meaning, however, only Egyptians would be aware of what those
signs mean.  The images depict
incantations that a pharaoh would need in order to pass through to the underworld.
By reciting these incantations, it would him directions to where he needs to go
and tell him of any obstacles will eventually appear. To the Egyptians, the
pharoahs passing was important, since a pharaoh is a reincarnation of the
Egyptian God Luxor. This passing will not only result in another rebirth, but
it will also protect the Earth. The belief is that the Pharaoh needs to pass
peacefully and complete his journey to keep the sun rising each morning. It
will also give them the power to continue growing crops so they could continue
living. In Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices it
talks about the intentional approach, which could help further explain the
secretive nature to the hieroglyphics. The intentional approach is when the
author uses language to apply their own special meaning to the world (Hall
25).  The author usually intends for it
to be something that only they understand, however, that is not the case.
Language cannot be kept private as it will eventually enter into the lexicon
used by other members of the same culture (Hall 25). In the case of
hieroglyphics, they were a private language that was meant originally for only
the pharaoh to know. However, as time went on this private language eventually
became known to others who were initially not meant to know it. People
eventually did discover what these symbols meant, but it did not take away from
the meaning of the symbols. Instead, it helps spread knowledge about the way
Egyptians thought their belief could be understood. Overall, visual imagery is
very important for religion it is an easy way to show others your belief.

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