By: Christine “ECKO” Ho, Staff writer

Religion is one of the largest parts of our lives ― the part that can create or break the foundation that we stand on. Whether or not we follow God, a god, many gods, or no god, each religion (or lack thereof) has its rules and structure.

Religion has been the source of both creation and destruction throughout history. Religion creates faith, but the same faith is also what causes wars. There are people who believe in only one type of faith, and endorse it ― whether it is by word of mouth or through sword. Why does religion have such a big impact on life and culture? With so many existing religions and their denominations, I will only be talking about some of them that have made any sort of difference in sisters’ lives.

Rosalie “Micro” Zoleta has been Catholic ever since she was baptized — before she was even a year old. Without having chosen her own religion, she is still faithful to Catholicism to this day. A majority of her family is also Catholic, with an uncle who is a bishop and two other uncles who are pastors in their Catholic church in Chicago. Zoleta plans to continue her faith in her family, baptizing her children when they are born. She also believes in original sin, the idea that human beings are born without holiness and with the capacity to sin. Catholicism is steeped in tradition and history, and has a culture of its own. Zoleta particularly believes in the Ten Commandments — to not take God’s name in vain, and also in predestination. God has a plan — whether good or bad — and all are meant to follow that path.

Diana “Siren” Chanthaboury practices the Buddhist faith. Buddhism, having originated in Asia, is a major source of not only religion, but lifestyle for some. She went to the temple at least once or twice a month when she was younger, but cannot anymore due to her schedule. Although not as avid as she used to be, she still tries to follow the basic principles and lessons of Buddhism. Because the monks preach in Laotian in a more advanced vocabulary than she can understand, it is hard for her to ask her parents to translate while the monks are preaching. Chanthaboury wants to educate herself further in Buddhism in order to teach her own children the religion and the ways of being a Buddhist.

Nishita Lad wears traditional clothing in celebration of her Hindu faith.

Another sister, Nishita “Catalyst” Lad, has been practicing her religion ever since she was born. Lad’s entire family follows the doctrine of Hinduism, which makes it hard to learn about other religions. She said her parents would not approve of her changing to another religion. Being Hindu has influenced Lad’s life in many ways. For example, what she eats or cannot eat is mostly due to her religion, not personal preference. Red meat is not allowed in the diet, narrowing Lad’s choice of food. Karma is also a common word, used every day by people of other religious denominations. However, karma is a significant part of Lad’s belief, making each and every action potentially harmful or beneficial. Hinduism has a base of family; their ceremonies, rituals and holidays are about the family getting together, spending time with one another and bonding with the members of their families.

One might say that Catholicism and Hinduism are on different sides of the spectrum, and he/she would be right. However, every religion has some common factors with another religion. Both Zoleta and Lad have never explored the option of looking at other religions, because they are satisfied with their own. However, both are open to the option of learning, even if there is no option of conversion.

The purpose of this article is not to endorse any specific religions, but for sisters and anyone else to learn about different religions. Different religions exist in order to fit a person’s lifestyle, different beliefs and different families. However, it is only when we come to understand the structure behind different religions that we come to truly understand our own faith. It might be because you disagree with certain aspects of the other religions, or simply because you feel that yours is best for you. Religion is a sensitive topic and something akin to a ticking bomb, but being sisters has opened the path to learning about each other without the chance of offending others. I encourage every sister out there to get to know a religion that is not her own, to expand the size of her comfort zone and get to the root of people’s faiths.