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Differing Cultures, Similar Beliefs

            We all live with the objective of being happy; our lives are all different and yet the same.
             Each individual who walks this earth represents a unique system of beliefs. Western and Eastern ways of thought differ in specifics, yet require one to do the good and attempt to live a life in harmony with one's surroundings. In Black Elk Speaks and Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit differing views of beliefs emerge, yet both works contain striking similarities.
             In Elizabeth Johnson's book, Women, Earth, and Creator Spirit she presents a very systematic approach to understanding theology. Johnson discusses the concept of three specific relationships and states that, "These three relationships- human being to the earth, among each other, and to God- are profoundly interconnected," (3). She further discusses the concept, extending the importance of each relationship in order to balance out the other two. The focus on the reprioritization of these relationships is crucial if society desires the avoidance of extinction. For instance, the greenhouse effect is a result of the lack of respect for the earth, an abuse of the human-earth relationship. If individuals correctly prioritize these three relationships, society will successfully avoid its own destruction as well as gain a balance amongst people, places, and things. Elizabeth Johnson's discussion of these relationships is critical because it allows the reader to examine one's personal values, as well as the values of one's society. .
             John Neihardt's Black Elk Speaks seeks to carry on the sacred history of the Lakota people. In telling Black Elk's story, Niehardt also conveys the unique beliefs of the culture. Black Elk describes many of the traditions of his culture, including the "Horse Dance," (162) in which Black Elk performs a ceremonial ritual calling for the intercession of the "Grandfathers," (163). This ritual attempts to bring peace to Black Elk and to gain peace in his relationship with the Gods.

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