The function of religion

AUSTIN KRIEGER \ krieg004@rangers.uwp.edu

Religion, in some form or another, has permeated into human existence and culture since the first anatomically modern humans, our ancestors, inhabited the Earth. In its earliest forms, people looked to the stars and celestial bodies to track the seasons and patterns of the world, such as the tides shifting with the moon. This observance translated into characterizing the stars and planets as gods in the heavens. A brief glance at the world history of religion would show a strong progression and evolution of ideas starting from simply looking to the sky.

As civilization progressed, so did religion. Different cultures from around the world formed their own beliefs that were rooted in a story told across the planet. In religion’s infancy, these beliefs gave people what seemed to be the means to physically manipulate the world around them by appeasing higher beings—the stars and planets which seem to look down from heaven. In the twenty-first century, in much the same way, religion allows people to believe that with thought and devotion to a higher being, the world will be changed dramatically.

Religion gives hope, security, and social solidarity. Whether or not any part of religion is truly supernatural, the consequences of its communion and their actions are real. If one chooses to be kind and give to others because of what they believe, religious or not, they have made a tangible difference in this world. It does not matter if religion was created by a god or by humans, but it matters what we do with it.

 

Experience the outdoors

Nature-ViewBRYAN MALEK JR. | malek003@rangers.uwp.edu

In this day and age, we are constantly bombarded with social media notifications on our phones, tablets and laptops. We seem to always have a screen illuminating our faces and showing the blank expression of disinterest. Sure, we may enjoy seeing pictures of your aunt and her new dog, watching videos of pointless acts, and hours of T.V. shows without commercials or lag-time between episodes, but are we really engaged? Have you ever been so engulfed into your screen that when you look away you feel as misplaced and perplexed as if you were just staring at a wall for hours? Well, you are not alone, because it turns out that you have the same amount of brain activity watching a screen that you do staring at a wall. I have found myself in this predicament, and I have found ways to disconnect from the screen and reconnect with nature.

Going outside gives a person a natural feeling of being content and happy. Even if it is an ordinary day with the sun shining and a sky of blue, you could go for a walk or bike ride and find yourself feeling engaged and connected with the world around you. If all you want to do is just sit and relax, go do it outside in a park or in your backyard and I guarantee you’ll feel more relaxed than if you sat inside on your computer all day. These are some quick and simple solutions to detach from technology, but I will recommend to do something more fascinating.

The United States of America offers some of the most beautiful lands in the world. From mountains to valleys, prairies to forest, there is nothing more astonishing then being engulfed in them. At the moment, every state has places set aside that are dedicated to conserving and preserving the natural beauty for your viewing pleasure. So take a road trip somewhere! Get friends and family together to go camping and hiking; close or far, plan it out and do it. The feeling of hiking up a mountainside or waking up and seeing a quiet pristine lake is sublime. Sometimes just standing and looking into the openness can be enough to feel empowered. The connection between you and the wilderness can only be experienced by being physically present. Disconnect with technology and reconnect with yourself in nature.

Bryan Malek Jr. is a senior majoring in liberal studies and is the Public Relations Officer of PEC.

Community Connections | Stress: Kick it to the curb

KRYSTAL DODGE | thorn008@rangers.uwp.edu

Being a college student can come with a range of stressors, such as academics, homesickness, parental expectations, social relationships, dating, sex, uncertainty about the future, self-image and finances. Stress is a normal response, but it becomes a problem when it is chronic. That is when it can start causing mental and physical harm. There are many ways you can try and alleviate some of your stress.

There are at least three different types of stress. First is routine stress, and it is related to everyday life. Second is stress brought on by sudden, negative change. Third is traumatic stress that is related to a traumatic event, and it can develop into Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The stress response is natural, and it can even save our lives. However, it becomes an issue when it is chronic, and it can even cause physical symptoms to manifest. Some these symptoms are digestive issues, sleeplessness, headaches, depressed mood, irritability and anger.

There are simple steps you can take to help reduce your stress. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercise are a good start. Relaxation can be facilitated by meditation, yoga, deep breathing, tai chi, and time in nature. Identifying your triggers and trying to limit exposure is important. Stress will always be there, but by learning how to cope and how to reduce it, you limit its effect on you.

According the Mayo Clinic, “Exercise in almost any form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good endorphins and distract you from daily worries.” UW-Parkside has many activities sponsored by different organizations on campus to provide a fun way to get that exercise in. There is free membership for full time UW- Parkside students at the Sports and Activity Center (SAC) on campus. The hours are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., Friday 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., and Sundays 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters.

Now if your stress is becoming chronic, meaning that there are physical symptoms associated with it, and you need help dealing with it there is help for that as well. UW- Parkside has counseling services available to students. Sometimes just talking to someone outside of the situation can be helpful. The Student Health and Counseling Center is located behind Talent hall. The number there is (262) 595-2366. The services are free and confidential to students.

Only you can manage your stress and take the action needed to get it under control. As a student at UW- Parkside there are numerous services, activities, and tools available to you. In the words of Bruce Lee, “It is not daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”

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A generation taking a stand

high school protestsALYSSA GOROSKI | goros001@rangers.uwp.edu

While high school may not be a pleasant time for most students, it is at least supposed to be memorable. For most people, the clearest memories that come to mind are dances, sporting events and cafeteria squabbles. For others, it is unwarranted and horrific violence. Spurred by memories of students that have passed due to school shootings over the decades and the recent shooting in Parkland, FL, students have begun protesting and pushing for change.

Why is it that the generation that has been dubbed the “New Silent Generation” are the ones that are speaking out against such a pressing issue? In a world where older generations often accuse the younger ones of only caring about avocados and smartphones, it is those same avocado-loving generations that are speaking out, and ultimately, walking out. With all of this attention that students are getting, it should make the rest of the country wonder what we are doing to support what we believe in.

Students are taking a stand about what they think is important by walking out of classrooms during the school day in protest. Some of them have been personally affected by gun violence, whether they have lost a friend or a family member, and others are walking out because they do not want to be a victim of it.

The concept of walking out in protest is spreading to other political ideas as well. Students in California wonder why they could not protest abortion just as others across the country protested other types of violence. This type of political action, while on a small scale to the rest of the world, promotes speculation in young people. It could encourage new, revolutionary ideas that older generations claim that the younger ones do not, and perhaps should not, have.

Whether you agree with the various high school students’ opinions or not, it is notable to mention the action they are taking. Often times, the intent of making a difference only goes as far as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram newsfeeds that fill up with articles and opinions that one could “like”, “heart” or “share”, crossing fingers and toes that someday, somehow, it will make a change somewhere.

The opinions of a new generation is generally a prickly topic, but when the nation’s up-and-coming generation is standing up for what they believe in, whether it be an anti-gun stance or a pro-life opinion, then there has to be hope for America’s future. I suppose the question is, then, if high schoolers are speaking out, then what are you doing to support what you believe in?    

 

The Conservative Ranger | The benefits of the GOP Tax Plan

JIMMY GRAHAM  | graha028@rangers.uwp.edu

In late December of 2017 the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, also known as the GOP Tax Plan, was signed into law. This policy so far has helped put more money in the pockets of hard working Americans. It also has helped businesses in raising wages and expanding.

How individuals are affected

Under this new tax plan, individuals are taxed less on their wages. This plan lowers taxes roughly 2%-3% for most tax brackets. For instance, a married couple bringing in $77,400-$165,000 a year in 2017’s tax rate would be 25%. Under the new tax policy that rate is lowered to 22%. A 2%-3% decrease in income taxes may not seem like a huge change, but that amount that is saved in wages in just one year adds up to a significant amount of money. For Example, a family making $80,000 a year will save $2,400 a year. This amount that is saved can mean a lot to hard working Americans. Many can use this extra money toward things such as rent, utility bills, or even toward their children’s education.

How businesses are affected

Prior to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the corporate tax rate for most businesses was at roughly 35%. Currently under this new plan it has been lowered to 21%. Due to this large cut to many large companies have used this as an opportunity to give bonuses to their employees. Companies such as AT&T, AAON, and American Airline have awarded many of their employees with $1,000 bonuses. Many companies have also used this tax cut to raise wages for their employees. One instance of this is Associated Bank raising its base wage from $10 to $15 per hour. On top of raising wages and giving bonuses many are also using this tax break to expand their businesses. Boeing and Comcast for example are using $100 millions of its tax break to expand their infrastructure and facilities.

How to make these cuts permanent

Unfortunately, because this bill was passed through congress with only a slim margin, it can only be in effect until 2025. In order for this to be permanent congress would have to get a wider majority of votes. The only way for there to be a wider majority would be for congress to put aside partisan differences and give this bill bipartisan support.

Jimmy Graham is a sophomore majoring in business management and is political director of College Republicans.