Report on Religious Field Research

Course Name
Report on Religious Field Research
Abstract
In this paper, I took a religious field research on the missionary
Baptist faith which I conducted by speaking and listening to the
followers to develop a more objective understanding of the missionary
Baptist faith. This research helped me to dissolve some of the many
misconceptions that people have about the missionary Baptist faith. The
paper covers four major discussion aspects of the misconceptions. The
paper discusses the misconceptions that I already held against the
missionary Baptist faith. The paper also takes a critical analysis of
how my prior understanding of the missionary Baptist faith was altered
after the completion of this field research. In the paper, I will also
discuss whether people have misconceptions on other religions are common
and recommend the steps that can minimize such misconceptions.
The Misconceptions
The first misconception I had on the Missionary Baptists Faith was about
their characteristic baptism. I believed that they do not baptize people
for real because they baptize people at old age. I believed that the
Missionary Baptists Faith churches baptize people not as a formality and
not for church orientation. I have always hated to see old people being
baptized when they should have been dedicated to God early in life.
The second misconception I had was that Missionary Baptists Faith women
are always looked down upon by the churched as well as the men. I
considered a Missionary Baptist woman as underpowered woman and a woman
of lower socio-economic status which was evident in 2000 when Jimmy
Carter left the Southern Baptist church due to it bad treatment of
women. According to Carter (2009), Southern Baptist Church and the
general Missionary Baptists faith has been responsible for the belief
that women should be dominated by the wishes of men and men dominance,
violence and near slavery treatment. This made me take a very poor
perception about the church and the entire Missionary Baptists faith.
Altered Misconceptions
Conducting this field research, attending the Missionary Baptists church
services and listening to Missionary Baptists Followers living in the
community, are the activities that enhanced my understanding of who
Missionary Baptists Faithful are and what they really believe in. The
first misconception to be altered by this research is that of Missionary
Baptists Faith baptism process.
One of the respondents I interviewed stated that to comprehend the
misconceptions surrounding Baptism, it is important to understand the
related history of the Missionary Baptists Faith. The missionary
Baptists are a group of protestant churches that grew out of the
controversy that divided Baptists between the missionary and the
anti-missionary in the United States in early 19th century. While the
anti-missionary did not show any support for missions, the Missionary
Baptists supported and followed the movements with mission positions
(Garrett, James 2009). The anti-missions or the Primitive Baptists were
those who were against new Christian innovations and since the early
19th Century, their influence declined and they became the mainstream
Missionary Baptists churches (Garrett, James 2009). Baptism was one of
these innovations that the mainstream maintained the traditional dipping
of the whole body into the water just like in the times of Jesus. The
other group of the churches adopted the innovative sprinkling of water
to represent the dipping of the body into the water. This explains why
the Missionary Baptist faith only baptizes the adults, those who have
learnt the true practice of Christianity and made a conscious decision
to follow Christ.
My next misconception to be altered is that of oppressing and looking
down upon women as inferior. The typical Missionary Baptists church
communities are dominated by male characters and women are regarded as
second class citizens is a commonly spread misunderstanding. After my
thorough research to understand, I found out that the Missionary
Baptists as a religion does not oppress women but ordinary Christian men
do. After the Carter incident, I always have known that in Missionary
Baptists churches, women were meant to follow their husband’s thoughts
(Carter, 2009). This is a misconception because in many Missionary
Baptists churches communities, not many women are visible in church top
leadership. However, there are a number of Missionary Baptist women who
are well educated. Actually, women and willing men like Carter have
become dynamic participants in recent attempts to merge Missionary
Baptists faith views with existing human rights and democratic system.
In my research I was able to speak to Missionary Baptist women who
helped me realize that they can make life choices independently. This
helped me to know that Missionary Baptist women can work to attain good
modern life and are not oppressed.
After my research, I have found out that in evaluating both of the
abovementioned misconceptions and other religions objectivity needs
objective perception. I found out that the media has created some of the
misconceptions that have influenced our view of other religions as well
as cultures. Particularly, it is very improbable for the media to report
in full and objectively to the public on Missionary Baptists faith and
how it followers actually live. Instead, the media emphasizes on
reporting about the few cases of Missionary Baptists faith incidents
involving acts of controversy. After the thorough field research, I have
the capability to inform other people who have similar misconceptions.
The main corrections being that Missionary Baptists faith does not
baptize old people only, nor does it commit oppression to women. It is
now possible to understand and evaluate the focus of devoted Missionary
Baptists faith followers and their families who are true to family and
community values.
Other people’s religion
It is imperative to discuss in detail whether or not people believe in
common misconceptions of other people’s religions. I highly believe
that there are common misconceptions about other people’s religions.
In evaluating Missionary Baptists faith, people will always be inclined
to think of old age baptism and male chauvinism. For instance, if people
look at single Missionary Baptist women and compare them with the
celibacy of a Catholic Nun, it is possible to conclude that they are
both are religious. However, there are different stereotypes referring
to the Missionary Baptist women as being looked down upon due to male
chauvinism. But the same people have a different perception about the
Catholic Nun’s celibacy as a sign of dedication to God and are
respected by all. This is just an example of the many cases of the many
common misconceptions by people of other religions.
The example also illustrates the extent of discrimination that a section
of the world can impose against any religion that is not conventional to
the belief of the perceiver. People should understand that the personal
choices such as women living single may be part of the religion or
culture and not any less of the person concerned. This evidently shows
the need for the establishment of a mutual respect and comprehension of
among all religions so as to ensure the togetherness and harmony in
society. Such mutual respect could be for example respect for Missionary
Baptist women and not to be regarded as oppressed by the church. The
underlying fact is that our views are general and are only based on mere
choices, appearances, veils and coverings.
After completing this field research on the Missionary Baptists faith, I
have expanded my understanding of the church and I can now comprehend
their cultural beliefs better than I had previously. I recognize that
knowing the basis of Missionary Baptists faith is on God and that they
do not deny young ones baptism is a great relieve to me. We need to
understand and assist others to understand the same in a bid to finish
the stereotypes. To know that true Missionary Baptists faith do not
oppress women and that Baptist women are as intelligent any other women
is imperative in exploring gender equality issue. Therefore, all people
need to work collectively to build a world that is more appreciative and
understands religious differences to ensure a society of peace and
harmony.
Minimizing Misconceptions
I would give a strong recommendation that ought to be taken to minimize
misconceptions people have regarding some religions. People should
mutually engage to create social respect for religious freedom. I
believe that such engagements must begin with education and creating
awareness about different religions in order to establish receptiveness
by all the members of the society (Depeza, 2012). People can work in
unison to build a better understanding community focused on uniting
communities. People should establish stronger communities that will
develop understanding and more appreciative religious societies.
International organizations and events should also be organized to build
and strengthen relations with each other.
We can also work to create a clearer understanding of all our
communities by establishing the integration of communal services
involving all the denominations and religious communities. People should
understand more of each other in order to realize the level of reverence
that is necessary for everyone to live and work together (Depeza, 2012).
It is imperative for all of us work together to teach people about
different religions so as to reduce religious conflict and build a
religiously stronger society together. Organizing and establishing
outreach and mission programs is a good way to get to the people and
interact with the aim of supporting universal religious education.
In addition to educational mission and conventions and outreach
programs, we can also institute services that will be accessible to the
public freely and regularly over all the media available including the
internet. With the advancement of technology which has made the world a
global village, communication around the world, can be used to promote
better understating the different religions in the world. These ideas
are better said than done since for them to bear fruits we should
understand that everyone should be involved (Depeza, 2012). In order to
progress, everybody should be ready to contribute in order to achieve
the goal of recognition and understanding of other people’s religion
and religious beliefs.
Conclusion
In conclusion, the four main findings of this research are key in the
understanding the concerns surrounding my misconceptions of Missionary
Baptists faith and different religions. For instance the misconceptions
that I had against Missionary Baptists faith covered by the report were
nothing but a collection of stereotype I got from all over the modern
media. From my analysis of how my incorrect understanding of Missionary
Baptists faith was altered by the research, it is clear that other
people’s negative perception of any religion can change. As I
discussed whether or not misconceptions of other people’s religions
are widespread, I noted that almost everybody has a stereotype against
one religion or another. Finally, highly recommend several steps that
people should embrace to minimize misconceptions that they have
regarding other religions.
References
Carter J. (2009). Losing my religion for equality. Retrieved From,
http://www.blogher.com/frame.php?url=http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/lo
sing-my-religion-for-equality-20090714-dk0v.html?page=1 9 June 2013.
Depeza, H.G. (2012). Correcting Misconceptions: The Spiritual Baptist
Faith. Trafford
Publishing
Garrett J., James L. (2009). Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study.
Mercer University Press
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