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RELI448 Comparative Religions Entire Class

RELI448 Comparative Religions Entire Class



devry reli448 week 1 discussion dq 1 & dq 2




Religious Experience (graded)

Have you ever had an experience that you could properly describe as religious? I have in mind not only dramatic experiences like visions and conversions, but also more commonplace, socially-embedded experiences such as receiving communion, becoming bar mitzvah, serving as a godparent for a young relative, or even simply attending religious services. Think about that experience and ask yourself: Did it put you in touch with the infinite? How would you describe the experience? Was it transcendent? Monotheistic? Elaborate.


dq 2


The Origins of Religion (graded)


Imagine that you are in a comparative religions class and your professor argues that all religious experience is false. It is nothing more than a projection of childhood fears (sicFreud). How would you answer your professor? Use one of the authors studied this week to counter this claim. Use specific details to support your answer.


devry reli448 week 2 discussion dq 1 & dq 2


dq 1


The Faces of God (graded)

Hinduism offers as one explanation for its many gods that humans need concrete representations of the formless absolute. Also, finite minds can perceive the infinite only in a limited way, according to taste and temperament, cultural background, and other factors. Religions such as Christianity or Judaism view God in carefully defined ways that restrict the names and personality that reflect the divine. Yet even here, the way that God is pictured varies. Reflect on the images you have had of the divine, and interview friends about images they have had. How have these pictures in your mind changed since you were a child? Is it possible they will continue to change as you age or as you study religion more deeply? How do you account for this process, and how would you attempt to measure the correctness of one image over another?



dq 2

Jainism and Ahimsa (graded)

Jainism has five ethical principles, the first of which is ahimsa, or, nonviolence towards all living creatures. Some Jains sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing small insects. Jains are also strict vegetarians, and some reject the use of any animal products such as leather and jewelry. Do you think this kind of ethic is reasonable for all people or only a minority? Argue the case for or against such strict principles.


devry reli448 week 3 discussion dq 1 & dq 2




The Four Noble Truths (graded)

The most important of the Four Noble Truths is the fourth, the Noble Eightfold Path. Did anything in particular strike you about these “paths” (e.g., the idea of “right thoughts,” that we should always try to act with pure motives)? Do you see any similarities between the Noble Eightfold Path and Christianity? Did Jesus say anything similar to Buddha in this regard? Elaborate.





Two Parables: The Prodigal Son (graded)

Read the Buddhist and Christian versions of the prodigal son story:

What do you see as the main difference between these two stories? You can start by simply taking one element of the parable and discussing how this element differs in the two parables. For example, how is the role of the father different in the Buddhist and Christian versions of the story? Elaborate.


devry reli448 week 4 discussion dq 1 & dq 2


dq 1


Confucius Says… (graded)

Confucius was once asked if there was one rule that could serve as the guide to one’s whole life. He replied: “What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.” How does this rule compare with Jesus’ teaching on the Golden Rule? Look at these Biblical verses to see if you can tell the difference: Matthew 7:12; Matthew 5:21-26, 43-48 (see the Webliography for an online Bible). Is there one rule that you live by?



dq 2


East Meets West (graded)

The ideas of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing)have been widely translated into English. Some might recall the delightful children’s version of The Tao of Pooand The Te of Piglet. Consider this saying: “The best man is like water. Water is good; it benefits all things and does not compete with them. It dwells in places that all disdain…The best man in his dwelling loves the earth…” What does this mean to you? Do you agree with this philosophy? Can you see any connection between Taoism and the environmental movement? Elaborate.


devry reli448 week 5 discussion dq 1 & dq 2


dq 1



Judaism and the Prophetical Tradition (graded)

The prophet Amosspoke out against the injustices of the Northern Kings of Israel. He set the tone for centuries of prophetical figures in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A central theme of the prophetical tradition is social justice. Read Amos 2:6-16; 5:14-15 in this regard (see the Webliography for an online Bible). Do you think churches have done enough with regard to social inequality, poverty, injustice, and so on? What one issue do you think churches should address today?



dq 2


Biblical Themes: The Problem of Evil (graded)

Epicurus is generally credited with first expounding the problem of evil, and it is sometimes called “the Epicurean paradox”: “Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?” The problem of evil poses this question: how can a God who is all-powerful, all-wise, and all-good permit so much pain, suffering, and evil in the world? How would you answer this question?


devry reli448 week 6 discussion dq 1 & dq 2


dq 1


Jesus and the Kingdom of God (graded)

Describe some of the values Jesus had in mind when he used the phrase “Kingdom of God.” One scholar has called Jesus’s message “ethical apocalypticism.” What do you think this means in light of our discussion of apocalypticism in the text? (You might want to relate this to the Beatitudesin Matthew 5:1-12.)



dq 2


The Proofs for the Existence of God (graded)

Read through the Proofs for the Existence of Godcarefully (in the Webliography tab above). Do any of them convince you? If the answer is no (and it usually is), then what purpose do you think those proofs serve? Would it make a difference to you if the proofs were somehow made better? How would Jesus have responded to attempts to prove the existence of God?


devry reli448 week 7 discussion dq 1 & dq 2


dq 1

The Five Pillars of Islam (graded)

In that it recognizes one God who rules the entire world, Islam may be called a universal religion. However, although Islam grew out of a particular seventh-century Arabian context, Muslims claims that its central document, the Qur’an, must be read in Arabic in order to be fully appreciated. How can Islam or any similar religion resolve the tension between the universal and the particular? How can it (or any other faith) be a religion for people of all races and nationalities without giving up its distinctive cultural heritage?






Indigenous Religions (graded)

Indigenous religions, such as those of Native American traditions, claim a special relationship with nature. Give an example of this relationship. Some have said that urban people in the modern world romanticize the attitude towards nature held by indigenous peoples. Are there any examples of unnecessary damage made to the environment by native groups of the past?


devry reli448 week 2 quiz


  1. 1. Question : (TCO 1) Among many reasons, religions exist to help people:

deal with the certainty of death.

find ways to express themselves in art.

select careers that are socially redeeming.

have valuable texts to study.

Question 2. Question : (TCO 1) The Way of Action is characterized by:

a strong emphasis on faith.

an intense personal relationship to the deity.

a practical approach that emphasizes traditional prayers and rituals.

some form of meditation practice.

Question 3. Question : (TCO 2) What psychologist saw religion as a way for people to find their fulfillment as unique individuals, a process he called “individuation”?

Sigmund Freud

Carl G. Jung

Alfred Adler

Erik Erikson

Question 4. Question : (TCO 4) The German theologian who held that religions originate in human response to the mysterious side of reality was:

Rudolf Otto.

Carl Jung.

Karl Rahner

Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Question 5. Question : (TCO 8) The word “moksha” means:


the moral law of cause and effect.

soul/deepest self.


Question 6. Question : (TCO 9) The word Vedas is related to the English word:





Question 7. Question : (TCO 8) Bhakti yoga is:

the path to God through knowledge.

the path to God through loving devotion.

the path to God through work.

the path to God through meditation.

Question 8. Question : (TCO 8) A sannyasin is a:


nature spirit.


wandering holy man.

Question 9. Question : (TCO 10) Ahimsa is the policy of:






devry reli448 week 6 quiz


  1. 1. Question : (TCO 6) Judaism traces its origins back to this patriarch in the book of Genesis:





Question 2. Question : (TCO 7) What Jewish festival celebrates the liberation of the Israelites from Egypt (cf. Exodus)?

Rosh Hashanah

Yom Kippur



Question 3. Question : (TCO 6) The first kings of Israel were:

Saul, David, and Solomon.

Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekial.

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

James, Peter, and Paul.

Question 4. Question : (TCO 6) A well-known leader of Reform Judaism in America was:

Isaac Leeser.

Isaac M. Wise.

Abraham Cahan.

Mordecai Kaplan.

Question 5. Question : (TCO 7) The authoritative list of the twenty-seven books that make up the New Testament (Christian Scriptures) is known as:

the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Nag Hammadi Writings.

the Apocrypha.

the canon.

Question 6. Question : (TCO 6) Our knowledge of the earliest period of the Church’s history comes from this New Testament book:

Paul’s Letter to the Romans

The Gospel of Mark

The Acts of the Apostles

The Book of Revelation

Question 7. Question : (TCO 6) The bishop who is considered the leader of the Eastern Orthodox Church is the:

Archbishop of Canterbury.

Patriarch of Moscow.

Patriarch of Constantinople.

Bishop of Rome.

Question 8. Question : (TCO 6) This term refers to those Protestant reformers who taught “rebaptism” (e.g., the Mennonites and Amish):





Question 9. Question : (TCO 6) The most significant movement in religion since World War I is:






RELI 448 Week 4 midterm exam



  1. 1. Question : (TCO 4) Compare and contrast Sigmund Freud’s theory as to the origin of religions with William James’ theory. How does each of these psychologists view religion (positively or negatively)? Then analyze how the insights of Freud or James might illuminate your religious tradition or the tradition with which you are most familiar. How would Freud or James understand that tradition? Use specific examples to support your answer (e.g., a specific belief or ritual).

Question 2. Question : (TCO 8) Identify and describe three paths to God(yogas) in Hinduism. Make sure you use enough detail to support your answer.

Question 3. Question : (TCO 9) Identify and analyze the Three Marks of Realityin Buddhism. How do these differ from the Hindu concept of reality? Make sure you use enough detail to support your answer.

Question 4. Question : (TCO 10) Identify and describe three ethical mandatesof Jainism. Then evaluate the case for or against complete vegetarianism—eating no fish or animals. Is this reasonable for all people or only a small minority? Make sure you use enough detail to support your answer.



RELI448 Week 2 assignment



Homework: Reflection Essay

This assignment is due in Week 2 of the course. Scholars conclude that what we ordinarily call religion manifests to some degree the following eight elements: 1) a belief system; 2) community; 3) central myths; 4) rituals; 5) an ethical system; 6) emotional experiences; 7) material expressions of religion; and 8) sacredness.

Examine to what extent your religious beliefs fall into this pattern. Do some elements have more weight than others? If you do not have a belief system, interview someone who does and examine their belief system. Provide enough details to support your answer.

Then examine one of the “new religions” or alternative paths that are seen in today’s world and apply the same analysis to their beliefs. Do some elements have more weight than others? Are some totally absent? Provide enough details to support your answer. Please limit your analysis to no more than three elements for each section.

New Religious Movements: Scientology, Falun Gong, Cao Dai, Wicca and Druidism, the Yoruba Tradition (Santería, Voodoo, and Candomblé), Rastafarianism, etc. Feel free to choose among one of these alternatives or another approved by your instructor.

This essay should be 3 pages in length (1050 words). [Note the addition of word count to clarify how long the paper should be if formatted properly in APA.]

Submit your assignment to the Dropbox, located at the top of this page. For instructions on how to use the Dropbox, read these step-by-step instructions.

See the Syllabus section “Due Dates for Assignments & Exams” for due date information


RELI448 Week 6 assignment latest 2016



Field Trip Report

As part of this course in comparative religions, each student is asked to attend a religious service different from their own. Students are free to visit any church, synagogue, mosque, or temple in their locality. Please answer the following questions as thoroughly as possible in your own words. Since this is an informal report, it does not require documentation unless you use direct quotation within the paper. This paper should be 3 pages in length. Feel free to add any thoughts and/or feelings you had after the visit.

Did the exterior of the worship facility add to the overall religious feeling of the visit? Describe your first impression as you pulled up to the building. Did the architecture lend itself to worship? Add specific details to support your answer.

Describe the nature of the worship facility service you saw. This will probably be the longest section of the report, so be as thorough as possible. For example, what was the overall religious program? What was the theme of the message for that day? Were there any rituals that struck you as different from your own? Elaborate.

What was your overall reaction to the service? Was it positive or negative? Did any members of the congregation talk to you, and if they did, what was the nature of the conversation?

Please feel free to be personal and honest in this report.

Submit your assignment to the Dropbox, located at the top of this page. For instructions on how to use the Dropbox, read these step-by-step instructions.

See the Syllabus section “Due Dates for Assignments & Exams” for due date information.



RELi 448 Week 8 final exam



  1. 1. Question : (TCO 1) The word religion literally means:

: to bind.

meditate on.


rise above.

  1. 2. Question : (TCO 1) The position that argues that we cannot know whether there is a god or not is known as:

: monotheism.




  1. 3. Question : (TCO 2) Who was the German theologian who argued in The Idea of the Holy that religions emerge when people experience that aspect of reality which is essentially mysterious?

: William James

Carl Gustav Jung

Rudolf Otto



& Page 1 of 6

Student Gradebook Exam

  1. 4. Question : (TCO 4) Who was the Scottish anthropologist and author of The

Golden Bough who saw the origins of religion in early attempts by

human beings to influence nature and who identified religion as

an intermediate stage between magic and science?

: James Frazer

Rudolf Otto

William James

Wilhelm Schmidt

  1. 5. Question : (TCO 4) What is the name of the Austrian ethnographer and

philologist who argued that all humankind once believed in a

single High God and that to this simple monotheism later beliefs

in lesser gods and spirits were added?

: James Frazer

William James

Wilhelm Schmidt

Carl Gustav Jung

  1. 6. Question : (TCO 8) Vedic religion was:

: patriarchal and polytheistic.

matriarchal and polytheistic.



  1. 7. Question : (TCO 8) The power of a god is often symbolized by:

: lightening bolts.

rings of fire.


many arms.

  1. 8. Question : (TCO 9) Hinduism, as formulated in the Upanishads,

: encourages meditation to understand the essence of reality.

says we must honor our social obligations and roles.

rejected the authority of the Vedas in formulating new

religious insights.

advocates devotion to any of the many gods.

Page 2 of 6

Student Gradebook Exam

  1. 9. Question : (TCO 10) Both Jainism and Sikhism:

: practice vegetarianism.

advocate ahimsa.

are monotheistic.

view the human being as composite of spirit and matter.

  1. 10. Question : (TCO 8) According to the Buddha, his teachings must be:

: accepted on faith.

experienced by oneself.

memorized and chanted.

spread by missionaries.

  1. 11. Question : (TCO 8) Once a person reaches nirvana:

: suffering continues only for this life.

samsara is attained.

rebirth is finished.

the Pure Land is entered.

  1. 12. Question : (TCO 8 ) The Chinese word for “righteousness,” “benevolence,”

“humanity-at-its-best” is:

: Ren (jen).



Hsiao (xiao).

  1. 13. Question : (TCO 8) Confucius thought the most important relationship was:

: ruler-subject.




Page 3 of 6

Student Gradebook Exam

  1. 14. Question : (TCO 9) Which is not a Daoist value?

: Simplicity


Sensing movements of nature

Formal education

  1. 15. Question : (TCO 9) In Zhuangzi’s (Chuang Tzu’s) famous dream, he was not

certain that he was not:

: Confucius.

an ox.

a butterfly.

a Daoist.

  1. 16. Question : (TCO 5) All of the following ancient world religions are minor

religions except:

: Shinto.




  1. 17. Question : (TCO 11) Sikhism is charaterized by:

: special clothing and religious militarism.

special clothing but not religious militarism.

religious militarism but not special clothing.

special clothing only.

  1. 18. Question : (TCO 6) A contract between the Hebrews and their God was

called a:

: mitzvah.




Page 4 of 6

Student Gradebook Exam

  1. 19. Question : (TCO 6) The sacred core of the Hebrew Bible is called the:

: Torah.




  1. 20. Question : (TCO 6) A joyful spring festival that recalls the Hebrews’ exodus

from Egypt and freedom from oppression is:

: Yom Kippur.

Passover (Seder).



  1. 21. Question : (TCO 7) Jesus sometimes summed up his teachings in:

: ten commandments.

one commandment.

two commandments.

five commandments.

  1. 22. Question : (TCO 7) The most Jewish of the Gospels is:

: Matthew.




  1. 23. Question : (TCO 6) Muhammad’s job before he became a prophet was as a:

: merchant.

date grower.

caravan driver.

camel breeder.

Student Gradebook Exam

  1. 24. Question : (TCO 6) The month of fasting, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar, is known as:

: Id al-Adha.




  1. 25. Question : (TCO 12) The youngest alternative path studied in this chapter is:

: Santería.

Falun Gong.





  1. 1. Question : (TCO 4) Compare and contrast Sigmund Freud’s theory about the

origin of religions with William James’s theory. How does each of

these psychologists view religion (positively or negatively)? Now

analyze how the insights of Freud or James might illuminate your

religious tradition or the tradition with which you are the most

familiar. How would Freud or James understand that tradition?

Use specific examples to support your answer (e.g., a specific

belief or ritual).

  1. 2. Question : (TCO 9) Identify and analyze the Four Noble Truths, in particular,

the Noble Eightfold Path. What ideas from Hinduism did Buddhism

essentially keep? Describe them. Include enough details to

Page 1 of 4

  1. 3. Question : (TCO 3) Explain and evaluate Thomas Aquinas’ Cosmological

Argument for the existence of God: The first and plainest is the

method that proceeds from the point of view of motion. It is

certain and in accord with experience, that things on earth

undergo change. Now, everything that is moved is moved by

something; nothing, indeed, is changed, except it is changed to

something which it is in potentiality. Moreover, anything moves in

accordance with something actually existing; change itself, is

nothing else than to bring forth something from potentiality into

actuality. Now, nothing can be brought from potentiality to actual

existence except through something actually existing: thus heat

in action, as fire, makes fire-wood, which is hot in potentiality, to

be hot actually, and through this process, changes itself. The

same thing cannot at the same time be actually and potentially

the same thing, but only in regard to different things. What is

actually hot cannot be at the same time potentially hot, but it is

possible for it at the same time to be potentially cold.

It is impossible, then, that anything should be both mover and

the thing moved, in regard to the same thing and in the same

way, or that it should move itself. Everything, therefore, is moved

by something else. If, then, that by which it is moved, is also

moved, this must be moved by something still different, and this,

again, by something else. But this process cannot go on to infinity

because there would not be any first mover, nor, because of this

fact, anything else in motion, as the succeeding things would not

Page 2 of 4

move except because of what is moved by the first mover, just as

a stick is not moved except through what is moved from the

hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover,

which is itself moved by nothing–and this all men know as God.

Briefly explain and then evaluate this proof for the existence of


  1. 4. Question : (TCO 11) Identify and analyze three basic patterns in indigeneous

religions. Use examples from traditional Hawaiian religion to

support your answer.