Essay

Prompt: How, after a semester comparing commonalities and differences across time and clime, do you now re-read religions?

Due Tuesday, 5/3, successfully uploaded to Blackboard in proper file type by 11:59pm

1400-1500 words

To be successful, students should explicate the textbook and other course material, as well as demonstrate their own critical and creative thinking in relation to that material. Write not as if you are writing to me (e.g. “In this module, . . .), rather write as if you are trying engage, inform, and transform someone not in our class. You must use some material selected from Comparing Religions Ch. 10-12. You may also return to questions, themes, and ideas opened in your previous essay, but this final essay must be substantively different (i.e. no cut and pasting).

You must demonstrate two main things:

  1. Have you read and understood a significant amount of course material, especially the textbook? (at least a week and a half’s worth)
  2. Have you thought about that material carefully, critically, and creatively for yourself?

Though you should deal primarily with the Comparing Religions textbook, your discussions also will be greatly enriched by material from the supplemental section, tradition summaries, I am pages, and From East to West.

Below is a good writing process and structure for the essay. See the Writing Help section under Readings & Resources for more help and sample outlines.

Summarize, Criticize, and So What?

1) Summarize–Show that you read and understood the text (or texts). What is it about? Main idea(s)? Key point(s)? Explain key quote(s) in your own words.

2) Criticize–Show that you thought about it for yourself. Demonstrate critical thinking in regard to the reading. What values does it uphold and what or whom does it devalue? What is at stake in the reading, tradition, or story? What’s to be gained or lost? What work is this story or dynamic doing, and for whom? What or who is excluded from this story or marginalized by it? In whose interest was this story formed?

3) So what?–After you’ve done steps one and two, now clearly explain to your reader why that preceding discussion matters. What difference does it make to your life? To the world? What should the reader do differently or think about differently after reading your essay?

10) Faithful Re-readings: Exclusivism, Inclusivism, Pluralism, and Justice

The Task of Theology: Relating Reason and Revelation

Excluding the Other Religious Worldview from One’s Own

Including the Other Religious Worldview within One’s Own

11)   Rational Re-readings: Masters of Suspicion, Classical and Contemporary

When Religion Doesn’t Work

On the Heart of Reductionism: “There Is No Gap”

Sigmund Freud: Religion Is a Childish Illusion

12) Reflexive Re-readings: Looking at the Looker

The School of the More

Four Exemplars of Reflexive Re-reading

The Phenomenology of Religion: What Is versus What Appears

Reflexively Re-reading Miracle: The Man in the Door