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"Terrorism and persecution, rising out of misunderstanding" Common App Personal Essay


acrayan 3 / 7  
Dec 19, 2010   #1
Prompt: Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

I've decided to write about the way religion has been used as a drive towards conflict (Terrorism and other forms of persecution) Please tell me if I properly address the topic, feel free to critique harshly or even suggest a rewrite if need be.

Terrorism, and persecution often seem to have religious drives. But I do not understand our capability to alienate each other on the basis of religion and try to press our "correct" religion and views onto others. Religion should be a binding force among humanity , not one that causes wars like the one in Afghanistan. This exploit using religion as an excuse for violence disturbs me deeply.

Religion is the belief in a God or Gods and rules of moral conduct and tradition of a region. Each individual perceives this God in a relative form and relative attributes depending upon his or her level of knowledge, both true and false, and the environment and culture in which he or she lives or has lived. When asked, almost all of us will say that our religion is correct. But a problem arises when some start proclaiming that only their religion is correct, their God is the true one and that only their religious laws and way of life is correct. This disturbs me deeply, for it causes unnecessary harm and bloodshed. The activities of religious extremists are often as violent as that of criminals, the only difference being these "religious" people use their religion as an excuse for their activities. Too many people have died due to misunderstandings of religion, in the middle ages it was the crusades, now it is the activities of religious terrorists. None of the people I know have been direct victims of such activities, but that is not cause enough for me to brush it off as unrelated to me. We are not the people of a village, city, or nation. We are all people of this world. It hurts me deeply that we kill each other over petty squabbles caused by misunderstanding.

What misunderstanding you ask? It is simple, we do not realize that if our religion can be true and correct in our eyes and serve our spiritual needs, why cannot another religion be true and correct in the view of someone else and equally serve them? If God, Allah, Brahman, or any other name given to the "Supreme God" of a religion is all powerful, then what is there to say, this God could not create other religions in other regions of the world, with different rules, traditions and forms? There is nothing in any religion that states such a thing is impossible for God. In such a case why do we limit the power of God by saying that only the form and ways that was revealed to us by him/her or formless being is the only right way? Why do we not see the possibility that maybe, just maybe, that this God we believe in is but the form of that one God that we with our limited perception, can see?

As a result, when I view religiously motivated harm or killing of fellow global citizens, it is as if one is killing the other because one calls an object a flower and the other calls it flor. What is it within us that drives us to even kill simply because what we know by one name is called in a different name? To this day I cannot understand, and I continue to think about this matter, still hurt by the loss of innocent lives. I will strive for a solution, but it cannot be more war, for as Mohandas Gandhi said: "An eye for an eye, makes whole world blind."

580 Words

Thanks in advance for your revisions.
LedZeppelin 5 / 8  
Dec 19, 2010   #2
"This exploit using religion as an excuse for violence disturbs me deeply."- Maybe "This exploitation of religion" insteadThen be sure to have some sort of closer, maybe something like "I seek to change it", just something to make sure it flows

" in which he or she lives or has lived"- a little heavy on the "he and she" by this point

"almost all of us will say that our religion is correct"- This is one of the more tense topics without a doubt, so try to stay away from almost all of us, anything like "some people will say that their religion is correct"

Good message at the end of the second paragraph

"What misunderstanding you ask?"- Nice way to relate, but a little to formal here, how about "A misunderstanding can be ..." then jump over to religion

Third paragraph you get your point across without having to say it so many times, move to your more universal topic at the end. This is a good topic, but make sure you don't hammer your topics in, it's a little touchy at times.

Add a bit more of a hopeful tint to the end, and with your great quote, you should be good to go
OP acrayan 3 / 7  
Dec 19, 2010   #3
I've made some corrections to what you pointed out, please tell me if they fix the issue, thanks.

"This exploit using religion as an excuse for violence disturbs me deeply."- Maybe "This exploitation of religion" instead Then be sure to have some sort of closer, maybe something like "I seek to change it", just something to make sure it flows

This exploitation of religion disturbs me deeply and has driven me to search for a solution.

" in which he or she lives or has lived"- a little heavy on the "he and she" by this point

Each individual perceives this God in a relative form and relative attributes depending upon his or her [his] level of knowledge, both true and false, and the environment and culture in which he or she [he] lives or has lived.

"almost all of us will say that our religion is correct"

Many people will say that their religion is correct.

"What misunderstanding you ask?"- Nice way to relate, but a little to formal here, how about "A misunderstanding can be ..." then jump over to religion

The misunderstanding is simple, we do not realize that if our religion can be true and correct in our eyes and serve our spiritual needs...

Third paragraph you get your point across without having to say it so many times, move to your more universal topic at the end. This is a good topic, but make sure you don't hammer your topics in, it's a little touchy at times.

Not exactly sure how to proceed with this, could you tell me what parts i could remove or change to make it less touchy?

Add a bit more of a hopeful tint to the end, and with your great quote, you should be good to go

To this day I cannot understand, and I continue to think about this matter, still hurt by the loss of innocent lives. There is always a solution, where there is a will, there is a way . I will strive for a solution, but it cannot be more war, for as Mohandas Gandhi said: "An eye for an eye, makes the whole world blind."
LedZeppelin 5 / 8  
Dec 19, 2010   #4
Very good modifications, it gets the message across well. I think the thing that threw me off about the third paragraph was the fact that you asked three questions in a row, all pertaining to the same subject, if you can only ask one question there and sum up everything else you're saying then it'll be awesome
OP acrayan 3 / 7  
Dec 19, 2010   #5
Okay, just tried to fix the third paragraph. I re-framed the questions as statements, let me know if this fixes the issue. Thanks again.

The misunderstanding is simple, we do not realize that if our religion can be true and correct in our eyes and serve our spiritual needs, another religion can be true and correct in the view of someone else and equally serve them. If God, Allah, Brahman, or any other name given to the "Supreme God" of a religion is all powerful, then what is there to say, this God could not create other religions in other regions of the world, with different rules, traditions and forms? There is nothing in any religion that states such a thing is impossible for God. We limit the power of our own God by saying that only the form and ways that were revealed to us by him/her or formless being is the only right way. We do not see the possibility that maybe, just maybe, that this God we believe in is but the form of that one God that we with our limited perception, can see.

As a result, when I view religiously motivated harm or killing of fellow global citizens...
nishabala 4 / 91  
Dec 20, 2010   #6
It's well written and everything, but it's like an argumentative essay or a newspaper article or something... I really don't think it's personal enough. And so, think you should either add another 300 words or so describing its effect on you personally, or rewriteif you can't feel the personal effect of terrorism. If you'r rewriting, keep the theme of the essay but slant it, towards religion or something, so that you do have a personal connect with the topic.

Good Luck!


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