8 PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS:
1. Information: Iana Parong
2. Posts: How many posts did you complete? Give the “exact dates” of each when you posted them on the discussion group. (Make sure to copy/paste your post work onto your website; number and date them.)
3. Reading: What reading did you complete in full in this course thus far? Be specific? What reading did you NOT complete? Be very specific. Do you highly recommend a particular reading…and is there a reading that you think should be replaced?
Week 1: Baraka, Nicholas of Cusa, Evolution without God, God is Dead, The Myth of Eternal Recurrence, Susan Blackmore on Memes, and Islam and Memes.
5. Lectures: Yes, I listened to all of the audio lectures. I would listen to the audio lecture first, then read the material. I believe that listening to the audio before reading gives me a little idea on what the reading is about. Therefore, not all readings will seem that new to me. Yes, your audio lectures are very helpful.
6. Field Trip: What field trip do you plan to complete? Where and when? (Remember that week 4-6 you should be working on your field trip to an Eastern religious center and attending a service of some kind; make sure you have a picture in the report of you at the religious center.)
7. Hours: Honestly, I wasn’t able to put that much time and effort on the first two weeks of class due to some personal issues. So I’m procrastinating on this third week to finish most of the readings, posts and the midterm.
8. Favorite: Of all of the Eastern religions (5 total) which religion do you identify with the most and why? Is there a specific idea or reason why? Explain. Offer insight.
8 ESSAY QUESTIONS:
Midterm Question 1:
From an academic view point (utilizing the reading week one) answer the following (you might want to write it up in sections):
- what is “religion?” (offer 3 definitions and then which is the best one we will use in this class; also very briefly compare cult, sect, established religion)
- how should we study it? (be clear and use terms from book; which method(s) does the reading advocate?)
- how did religion start? (discuss and define the main theories of the origins of religions as presented in the reading; this is covered in post 1 as well)
- what is the social function of religion?
- and, finally, what is the future of religion? (discuss how do baby boomers and modern religions trends impact religion and its future)
Midterm Question 2:
According to the reading for Lesson Plan 2,
- what are cults, who joins them and why? how should scholars study them?
- what are memes: define meme theory, the rules of how it works, the implications of it for religion?
- how does developmental psychology apply to meme theory?
Midterm Question 3:
A. Reading: Among the eight Indian gurus in the text (read about all of them) choose five to discuss.
- Explain in depth who these gurus were (one paragraph for each).
- Do you see similarities among them?
- Any significant differences?
B. Films: Now discuss the films on the two gurus: as presented in the videos what is the message of Faqir Chand and of Ramana Maharsi? Discuss what you learned from their film clips? What other guru video did you watch…who was it and and describe it.
Midterm Question 4:
A. Readings: For this essay you will be offering a “summary”of the material from the Hinduism reading (sections A-F). The key is that I need to determine based on your writing if the material was read and analyzed in some way. Use Indian terms in writing your essay.This essay takes a bit more time than the other exam essays.
- First, define what Hinduism means?
- What are the origins of this religion?
- What are the beliefs and religious and societal practices of this religion?
- What are the main scriptures of this religion?
- What are the views of the Divine and the various forms? What is the view of the self and how it relates to Brahman?
- Who are the major players or teachers of Hinduism?
Midterm Question 5:
A. Reading: Utilizing the BBC website on Jainism, give a brief description of this religion:
- what do Jains believe and what are their ethics;
- what is their spiritual goal and who are their religious heroes;
- what are the main branches/subdivisions of this religion;
- what is its history;
- what is the role of women;
- what are the customs, worship, etc.;
- offer any other details and Indian concepts from the BBC website assigned that caught your attention;
- finally, does this religion seem similar to another Indian religion…briefly explain how.
B. Films: Finally, discuss briefly each of the four short films assigned on the Jain religion. Do you have a favorite…explain.
- first discuss why it is important to study Sikhism despite a bias against covering it;
- how did Sikhism start (from a scholar’s point of view, specifically McLeod’s);
- what are the main beliefs
- offer a few of the key historical events of this religion.
- next, give a few examples of how a scholar’s view point can challenge a more traditional view. Specifically, offer some examples of how McLeod’s research challenged a more orthodox perspective.
- from the website the BigView discuss the life of the Buddha, the four noble truths and 8 fold path, main precepts, and other key Buddhist ideas in this essay;
- next, use the BBC website on Buddhism to discuss all of the subdivisions in Buddhism;
- also, choose two more links to investigate on the BBC website (different topics than covered in “the bigview”) and discuss them.
- what are the different meanings of the Tao;
- what are the three types of Taoism and give examples and specifics of each;
- and what are Taoist values.