You have now carefully read and discussed the following readings: William Portier, Ch. 1 “The Great Questions” and Ch. 3, “Religion” from Tradition and Incarnation; Steven Prothero, Introduction from God Is Not One; and the Vatican II document, Nostra Aetate. In this first written reflection, you are going to bring these various perspectives into dialogue.
This assignment must take the form of a paper. The length should be at least 2-3 pages but no longer than 5 pages. The paper must be typed, using Times Roman 12 pt font, double spaces, one inch margins. It should be submitted as a hard copy in class on the due date and be submitted to Turn-it-in via Isidore.
The paper must address the following questions/prompts and be clearly based on the material covered thus far in class. You may need more than one paragraph to answer each part adequately. Cite all sources accurately.
Before you write, think about how each source (William Portier, Stephen Prothero, and the Catholic Church) understands “religion” (the purposes, starting points, and definitions of religion, etc…)
The paper itself with address the following four questions:
First, what are some of the most important similarities between how each of our sources understand religion? (Its purposes, starting points, definition, etc…)
Second, what are some of the most significant differences between our sources’ understandings about religion?
Third, given these similarities and differences, describe two possible approaches one might take to the study of religion. For each approach, describe what one might learn about religion from that approach. The approaches may be taken directly from a reading as long as you cite your source and are able to say why that approach makes sense. You are encouraged to offer an approach that combines what is found in the readings.
Fourth, what questions does thinking about these various perspectives on religion and approaches to the study of religion raise that require further study.
- Use of Sources: Inclusion of all four readings, accurate accounts of the content of each reading, and the proper citation of your sources. This is not a research paper. You should not need any additional sources beyond what we have read in class.
- Content: Responses to each of the questions/prompts that demonstrate critical reflection on course material and class discussion. “Critical” here means being able to make distinctions that help you to compare and contrast the various ideas. Responses to each of the questions/prompts that demonstrate creative reflection on course material and class discussion. “Creative” here means bringing these various perspectives into conversation in ways that further our understanding of the study of religion.
- Structure: Clear Introduction, Body, and Conclusion that helps address the prompts
- Grammar and Mechanics – Clarity and quality of writing, proper format, proper use of grammar, correct spelling, etc… In other words, yes, spelling counts!