Religion in Joshua and The Children

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Religion in Joshua and The Children Herm’s question, “Josh, what do you think of Religion?” becomes the beginning of a period of both joy and conflict for Joshua as he is then often encountered with many related questions and, later, contradiction from the Church. These questions all lead to similar answers, in which Joshua expands on his ideas. And because of this further discussion, it’s important to read all of his responses throughout the book in order to understand his reply and to intelligently decide to agree or disagree. Therefore, my reaction to Joshua’s reply is based on everything he said concerning religion. The question arises from a discussion between Pat, Herm, and Joshua concerning his lifestyle. They are walking home from breakfast at the diner and the other two are interested in why Joshua doesn’t mind living alone. “Don’t you get lonesome living by yourself?” Herm asks (72). But Joshua explains to them that he values the serenity of living alone. He tells them that he can peacefully enjoy the beauty of nature outside and the animals also keep him company at times. But the main reason why Joshua never feels alone is that God is always with him, loving him always, and will never abandon him: “No. I like being by myself… God is with us all the time” (72). Pat and Herm agree but still can not imagine living alone without any feeling of loneliness and this discussion of God leads to Herm’s question. Joshua’s response is similar to a sermon or speech, and is over a page in length; he is firm in these beliefs and reiterates them several times throughout the book. He is very prepared for the question; before saying a word he asks, “the way it [religion] is or the way God intended it to be?” (73). And when he is sure of the latter, releases everything inside him, as if he was just waiting to explain what people had been doing wrong. His main point is that Jesus wanted to free those under the pressure of rules in their religions and offered a comforting God who loved them, asking only for honor and worship in return. Joshua is also disappointed in the way the clergy preside over their congregations: “Jesus did not envision bosses… He wanted his apostles to guide and serve, not to dictate and legislate” (74).
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