ASSIGNMENT: In this unit, you learned some of the reasons for studying religion. You also learned that religion is universally recognizable, yet difficult to define. A narrow definition of religion that ties it to a belief in and worship of a higher, supernatural power, can exclude religions like Buddhism. On the other hand, definitions of religion that eliminate mention of the otherworldly or divine by equating it simply with “faith” or “belief” yield an understanding that is overly-broad. Due to the challenges of studying religion, various methodologies have arisen including: phenomenology, theology, historical approaches, comparison, philosophy, and sociology. This Touchstone gives you an opportunity to reflect on these major approaches to studying religion. In a 400-600 word short essay, you will explain the difficulties involved in defining religion. Then you will select one method for studying religion that you believe to be most thought-provoking, and explain its strengths and weaknesses.
A. Assignment Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Explain, in your own words, two reasons why religion is difficult to define. Review the lessons in Unit 1 as you consider your response. Then, select one method for studying religion that you believe to be most thought-provoking and explain what you believe to be its strengths and weaknesses. Your short essay should include four parts:
- Explain, in your own words, two reasons why religion is difficult to define.
- Select one method for studying religion that you believe to be most thought-provoking and summarize the approach in your own words.
- Explain a strength of this approach to studying religion.
- Explain a weakness of this approach to studying religion.
The methods for studying religion discussed in Unit 1 include:
- Historical Approaches
- Comparative Religion
- Philosophy of Religion
- Sociology of Religion
As you develop your reflection, be sure to engage with the course material from Unit 1. You will use information from the Sophia tutorials to support your response. When citing material from a tutorial, please include the name of the lesson and use the following format:
- In-text citation: (Primal Religions, n.d.)
- Reference: (n.d.). Primal Religions [MOOC]. In Approaches to Studying Religions. Sophia Learning. https://app.sophia.org/spcc/approaches-to-studying-religions–2/unit1/study-guide/7845/primal-religions-2
Refer to the completion checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
❒ Have you explained two reasons why religion is difficult to define, in your own words?❒ Have you selected a method for studying religion from Unit 1 and summarized the approach?❒ Have you explained a strength and a weakness of this approach to studying religion?❒ Does your short essay demonstrate engagement with the course material from Unit 1?❒ Is your short essay between 400-600 words, double-spaced, and formatted in 12-point font?❒ Have you cited examples with in-text citations?❒ Have you proofread your short essay for mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and capitalization?