So yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting 10 houses of worship along Laurel Highland Council's Jewish Committee on Scouting's Ten Commandments Hike. The basic premise was to travel around Oakland visiting the different churches and learn three things: 1) about the architecture of the building 2) about the commandment they were assigned* and 3) about the denomination that the church/house housed. I did this back in 2010 in this post here, and I decided that I wanted to do it over again. I enjoyed learning about the denominations, and where I fit, and the whole idea of "duty to G-d"**
|Holy Spirit Byzantine Catholic|
The whole hike's mission was to answer that, and I think I may have an answer. I'll wait until the end to answer, though.
|Trinity Evangelical Lutheran|
(Sidenote: roughly 40% of Pittsburgh is Catholic. It's certainly not the case everywhere, but whatever)
From there, we went to Saint Paul's Roman Catholic Cathedral. I won't include a picture simply because of that figure above. This is about the same idea that the pastor there had, and didn't bother to explain Catholicism.
|The Crew at The Christian Science Church|
My personal thought is that if you want to learn about yourself, have someone else of the same quality or better explain your position and allow you to examine it through a microscope. Granted, I'm not Catholic but I kind of want to hear from a semi-expert what it's all about.
|Saint Nick's Greek Orthodox|
From there we visited Saint Nicholas (Greek) Orthodox Church. I put Greek in parenthesis because I am of the opinion that we should become a Holy, Catholic[in the universal sense] and Apostolic Church again and create an American Orthodox Church with all the ethnicities Hopefully this could happen in my lifetime, but that is another post for another time.
|Heinz Chapel Exterior|
We then visited my all-time favorite stop, Heinz Chapel. Heinz Chapel is this cool little non-denominational chapel on the grounds of the University of Pittsburgh. I say all-time favourite because it has beautiful stained-glass windows, high ceilings, the whole thing is Gothic-style awesomeness.
|Heinz Chapel Interior|
|Islamic Center of Pittsburgh|
We finally went to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh. This was not a stop in the previous year that I had gone, but it was something I wanted to see. I wanted to hear what Islam was about simply out of curiosity.
Let me get this across clearly: the media paints one picture. I wanted to see another.
The Imam was a nice gentleman who explained the Islamic faith to a room full of Christians, Jews, and the sort. He gave the side of his faith, and dispelled some things. He also talked about his faith and the Five Pillars of Islam* and the duties of those of the Islamic faith. I tread carefully here, but I feel that he represented well, and gave me much to think about.
So again I present the original question: "What does Duty to G-d** Mean?" I'll answer with this: It's first recognizing that there is a higher power (the proverbial Something-bigger-than-Phil) and having a relationship with that higher power. It's understanding and respecting ("tolerance") other religions, as well as your own views. Take, for example, I am an Orthodox Christian. I don't identify fully with those of the, say, Lutheran faith, but I can respect their beliefs as theirs, and can fully say with an open mind that this is my stance. These are my views. Having a duty to this higher power comes with the territory. It's knowing right from wrong in my case, may be different in others.
*The BSA isn't a Christian Organization, and the BSA has only the requirement to believe in a higher power. Some, such as Buddism and Islam, fit this criteria yet do not recognise the Ten Commandments. They instead talked about their faith.
**This isn't a typo. In the Jewish faith, they don't type out the full word with the "o" as a sign of respect. The idea is that the name is sacred, and if something is printed out and then thrown away, it's like throwing away the name of G-d. I did this for this post because I thought it was a pretty cool idea
Note: I feel the hate mail coming already. It's good to learn about other faiths, my mission was awareness and education, NOT CONVERTING YOU OR I!!!! - AP