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A sadu sitting along the ghats of the Ganges River. Photo by Jen Goings, India Semester.

INTRODUCTION

Hello!

My name is Joi Sonime, and I am from Atlanta, Georgia. During holiday and summer breaks I live with my Mom (Yulanda) Dad (George) Sister (Faith) and my two dogs (Cosmo and Marley) and during the school year, I live with thirty-one girls in a dorm at the Thacher School. I am a rising junior and I transferred from a Catholic high school in Atlanta to Thacher my sophomore year. I am currently 15 years old and my hobbies entail typical things, someone, my age would do from scrolling through Instagram to texting friends to learning new things on Memrise or throwing stoneware I had seen on Instagram a couple of hours before. I have traveled quite a bit in my life but I have not been to a place with a culture as rich as India’s (other than my own). I look forward to meeting new people and building stronger bonds with the thirteen other people in my group.

  1. What is your understanding of religious plurality in India? How does that compare to where you’re from?

Disclaimer: I am obviously not an expert, I took one class of world religion.

Religious pluralism is the belief in two or more religious worldviews as being equally valid or acceptable. It refers to the idea that there is more than one path to get to know God rather than one religion is the only way to achieving enlightenment. This also means that religions can share the same doctrines or dogmas. For example, Muslims and Christians do recognize there is one God but both are fundamentally different. Despite this, religious pluralism goes against biblical teachings because the Bible enforces the belief of one God and denotes the idea of multiple views and many Gods. In addition, other Abrahamic religions do not promote the idea of a harmonious co-existence between adherents of different religious denominations. Considering this, my understanding of religious plurality in India is limited to a year’s worth of Religion in my Freshman year of High School. India is a diverse nation with a plethora of religions prospering throughout the country. India is home to the majority of the world’s Hindu population and is one of the largest religiously pluralistic and multiethnic democracies in the world. The Indian subcontinent is the birthplace of four of the world’s major religions specifically Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. It is to my understanding that within the major religions of India there is a strong belief of one truth that is not exclusive but, is interpreted differently. Because I am Christian the beliefs of my religion do not coincide with the beliefs of religious plurality in India for the reasons stated above. Although the religious views differ from the major religions of the United States and India I am excited to witness religious plurality first hand in a couple of days.

I am so excited to travel with you all soon!

Joi Sonime

4 June 2019

Alavida

 

P.S.

I am the one with the yellow and the one in the pink is my beautiful sister, Faith.