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Discussion: Comparing Key Beliefs of Religious Traditions

As you have read in the course text, the foundational beliefs of all religious traditions include cosmogonies (the answers to the questions of how we came to be, why we are here, and what happens to us after we die) as well as theodicies (the reasons for why humans experience suffering).

What similarities do you see between this week’s highlighted religious traditions? How do the cosmogonies surrounding death and the afterlife differ? How a culture or religion prepares for and ritualizes death can give you a lot of insight into their beliefs about life and the afterlife. In this Discussion, you will consider the culture of the living practitioners of various civilizations based on their burial rituals and views on death.

 

To prepare for this Discussion:

·         Review this week’s assigned readings from the course text.

·         Explore the BBC Religions and Ethics resources from this week’s Resources.

·         Consider the similarities and differences between two religious traditions, specifically looking at their views on death, burial rituals, and the afterlife.

·         Reflect on what you can infer about the cultures that practice those religions based on your answers to the previous questions.

 

Post a paragraph comparing the two religions you selected, focusing on the tradition’s burial rituals, views on death, and views on the afterlife. In a second paragraph, explain how each religion’s views about burial, death, and the afterlife are reflected in their culture. Support your assertions by making at least 2 references, in proper APA format, to your course readings.

Be sure to support your ideas by connecting them to the week’s Learning Resources or something you have read, heard, seen, or experienced.

 

 

Assignment: Reflection: Religious Spaces

This week, you have considered how one defines the broad and varied concept of religious belief. In this Reflection, you will have the opportunity to explore several religious spaces and choose one to discuss in terms of how the religious space both supports and shapes the religious tradition’s belief system. You may wish to select from one of the religious spaces in this week’s resources, or you may elect to do your own research, finding out more about a religious space that is held sacred by the adherents of the religious tradition you intend to choose for your Final Project.

Questions about this Assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the Instructor’s response.

To prepare for this Reflection:

·         Review this week’s course readings, focusing on religious spaces. Consider not just religious buildings, but also other spaces such as family altars and sacred landscapes.

·         Carefully consider aspects of the belief system you chose with regard to how those beliefs both inform and support their religious spaces.

 

Compose a 1- to 2-page reflective paper in which you do the following:

·         Describe the religious space of the tradition you focused on, and explain how the belief system of that tradition supports and is supported by its religious spaces.

·         Be sure to cite your sources using APA format.

 

Project: Final Project—Week 2 Milestone

To help you prepare for your Final Project, throughout the course you will be asked to complete sections of the Final Project Worksheet. You will return to the worksheet during various Discussions and other activities as you progress through the course. By the end of Week 4, you will have a complete worksheet, which will be a solid foundation for the development of your final research paper that is due in Week 5.

1.    Retrieve the Final Project Worksheet from this week’s Resources.

2.    Select the religious tradition on which you will focus. Identify the religious tradition in the worksheet.

3.    In the worksheet, write a paragraph explaining why you chose this religious tradition.

4.    Submit your worksheet with the Week 2 sections completed.

 

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Kurtz, L. R. (2016). Gods in the global village: The world’s religions in sociological perspective (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

 

  • Chapter 1, “Religious Life in the Global Village”

o    “Three Pillars of Analysis: Beliefs, Rituals, and Institutions” (pp. 23–30)

  • Chapter 2, “A Sociological Tour: Turning East”

o    “Hinduism, or Sanatana Dharma” (pp. 53–62)

o    “Buddhism” (pp. 69–74)

o    “Taoism” (pp. 80–83)

  • Chapter 3, “The Tour: Western Religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam”

o    “Judaism” (pp. 93–99)

o    “Christianity” (pp. 101–106)

o    “Islam” (pp. 110–116)

  • Chapter 4, “Indigenous Religions”

o    “The Veneration of Ancestors” (pp. 140–141)

 

BBC. (2014). Mormonism. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/mormon/

 

BBC. (2014). Santeria. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/santeria/

 

Church of Scientology International. (2015). Scientology: Washington DC. Retrieved from http://www.scientology-washingtondc.org/

 

Light Planet. (2015). Mormon temples virtual tour. Retrieved from http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/temples/tour.html

 

Mahrashi Foundation USA. (2015). Transcendental meditation. Retrieved from http://www.tm.org/meditation-washington-dc/

 

The Theosophical Society in America. (n.d.). Retrieved January 4, 2016, from https://www.theosophical.org/

 

Document: Final Project Worksheet (Word document)

 

 

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