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An Experience That We Practice: Religion in Culture

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An Experience that We Practice: Religion in Culture

As we discussed in class, religion is both filled with experiences and carried out through the daily practices that religious people partake in. It is easy to say that any religious experiences are indescribable and even easier to quickly link back a person's mannerisms to their religious background. In detail a religious experience is more or less defined as a personal occurrence that brings with it an awareness of something beyond ourselves such as a certain god or deity. Those who have had such an experience count it as the ultimate proof of the existence of God. Religious practice is defined by the continuous activities one partakes in that are based upon the beliefs of the religion.

Babbet's Feast

In Babbet's Feast, we are able to see both religious experience and religious practice. Throughout the movie we see that religious practice is at the center of this small town's existence. Although the group of followers dwindles down after Martine and Filippa's father, the founder of the religion, passes away, there is still a small remnant of followers who devote their life to the religion. Leading up to this point at which Martine and Filippa have now taken over the group, we can point out a few things that have influenced their living and daily practices as a result of their religion. One important experience that left an impression on Filippa was her encounter and moments with the opera singer, Achille Papin. In a film so much about art, Filippa's eventual rejection of her talent is somewhat of a tragedy, but it also underlines the specificity of the message: neither her unexpressed talent nor M. Papin's fame bring happiness, or counteract loneliness and the search for meaning. Similarly Martine's experience with General Lorens ended with a pair who in the grand scheme of it could and should have shared their time together but due to the father's indirect religious influence this experience also ended in tragedy. Due to this rather religious experience, both women ended up living and practicing exactly what their father had practiced on a daily basis. They led very simple lives, unmarried with no children and tending to others before their own needs. Their daily practice was not only directly linked to their decisions in life but also their deep religious roots.

In this I am able to deduce the power religion can have over a person. Religion not only enables someone to have experiences but them in turn influences what they practice on the daily. If the girls' father was not the man he was and had not so deeply involved the girls in the religion he founded their lives would have been totally different. Filippa would have most likely been a famous and rich opera singer. If Martine would have given General Lorens a chance, they may have been married and with children living well offs somewhere, anywhere. Both women would have lead different lives but would have been doing that many people would say they truly loved but who's to say that they did not love the life they ended up living. Filippa and Martine are the perfect examples of how religious experience and practice go hand in hand.

Towards the end of the movie we are able to see not only the influence of religion on something as simple as a meal but the influence from the supposed "evil" outside world. The sisters are scared about the feast that Babbet is to prepare for them and ask the fellow followers for their support and advice. They are surprisingly supportive and do not try to persuade the Martine to call off the feast. During the feast we also see the heavy religious influence by the constant mentioning of God or Jerusalem. General Lorens, unknowing to what the followers have decided to do, simply partakes in the feast as if it were any other grand feast. The followers are changed by this new overall experience they have and in turn change their practices. The couple shares their first kiss in what seems to be a long time, General Lorens opens up to Martine, the two men confess to their wrongdoings and are able to move on instead of fighting. The overall mood changes in the town after that



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