Day #7 - Introduction to Religion

This will be the final day of our introductory unit. We'll start with Hinduism on Monday. Remember that there is a Reading Schedule that you should be following.

I mentioned this in passing, and I know it was running real slow for people who did check it out. So, I'll again link Belief-O-Matic's quiz, "What's your faith?" No, it's not intended to convert, but rather to match your answers to 20 questions against the "typical" answers from different religions. You might find it interesting and/or entertaining to try at some point.

We'll start off today talking about both your first Independent Assignment and the final set of readings from the introductory packet.

These were the articles for today:
  • "Books on Atheism Are Raising Hackles in Unlikely Places"
  • "A Modest Proposal for a Truce on Religion"
  • "When Atheists Have Their Say"
  • "Taking the Debate About God Online, and Battling It Out With Videos"
  • "Brawl Over Islam on Facebook"

Sacred Literature: We'll hear from you on the creation story accounts you took a look at last class period. You were asked to take a look at some of the creation stories from the packet you were given. (You were all asked to read the Genesis account.) Let's hear what you found.

* According to each passage, how did creation happen?

* Based on these accounts, what general conclusions can be drawn about each religion's view on the role and meaning of human life?

* How are the views of creation in the passages similar? How are they different? Do they imply different views of the purpose and role of humans in the universe?

Sacred Literature links: We'll obviously do more with the sacred literature of specific faiths. Here are a couple of more general links that we didn't get to last time.

You might also want to take a look at World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts. Pick a couple issues and see what various works of sacred literature have to say on the subjects.

Others of you might be more interested in this. It is a site comprised of texts from various faiths.

If you are interested in comparing various "editions" of a work of sacred literature, in this case the Christian Bible, try this site.

Alternatives to Religion: Some of you may disagree, but it seems reasonable to me to look a bit at some of the alternatives to religious faith in a class about religion. You were asked to consider these two questions in preparation for today.

  • Is religion a less powerful force today than it has been in the past? If so, why do you think it has declined in importance? If not, why has it remained strong? Be specific.

  • Do you think religion will ever become obsolete? Could human society and culture exist in a world without religion? Why or why not?

We'll build from here to do two things. First, we'll consider several terms used to describe those with varying attitudes toward religion and religious belief. Next, we'll think about non-religious activities that serve to fulfill some of the same functions that religion attempts to fill.

Here's an interesting set of resources linked to the concept of "agnosticism."
Here's the home page for the "Council for Secular Humanism."

Discussion - The New Atheism: Within the past few years, a number of widely-read critiques of religion have emerged from a group of what are frequently referred to as the "new atheists."  It's worth our time to take a look at some of what they have to say. Rather than be too prescriptive, I'm going to give you a number of resources to take a look at, and then we'll discuss what you've found.

HOMEWORK for Day #1 - Hinduism

We'll turn our attention to the religion of Hinduism for the next six sessions. You'll be expected to read in Huston Smith's The World Religions according to the schedule posted on the Reading Schedule - The World's Religions page. You'll also be expected to make a blog entry for this chapter after that is posted.

For Monday, September 15th, you should read Chapter 2, "Hinduism" (pp. 12 - 26).
Blog Entry #2 - Hinduism needs to be posted by Thursday, September 25th.

Your next independent assignment is due Thursday, September 25th. More specific information is available on the "pages" listed to the right on the blog itself.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Vergin published on September 11, 2008 8:00 AM.

Blog Entry #2 - The World's Religions - "Hinduism" was the previous entry in this blog.

Hinduism - Day #1 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.