RELI448 Week 5: Judaism and the Prophetical Traditio
Week 5: Judaism and the Prophetical Tradition
The prophet Amos spoke 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 Web Links in Course Resources for an online Bible). Do you thinkchurches have done enough with regard to social inequality, poverty, injustice, and so on? What one issue do you think churches should address today?
All: Amos was a farmer who
set out on a second career as a prophet and spoke against social injustice. I'd
like to encourage you to read the verses before you respond in order to get the
flavor of Amos' message to the leaders and citizens of his country.
By the way, typical formatting for the Bible includes the chapter, followed by a colon and then the verses within the chapter. Amos 2:6-16, then, would be the second chapter of the Book of Amos in the Bible, verses 6 through 16.
Week 5: Biblical Themes: The Problem of Evil
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?
is one of the classic philosophical and religious questions, the problem of
evil. We'll tackle it in this thread, adding to the philosophy of the ages.
Epicurus (341-271 B.C.E.) was the namesake of Epicureanism, which people think
of as the pleasure philosophy. It's practical purpose, however, was to be free
of pain, suffering and fear.
So, why is there the problem of suffering, pain and evil in the world?
Week 5: Africa and the West
What accounts for the rather late emergence of African countries as independent nation-states? Is there something peculiar about Africa that delayed its drive for independence? (Begin with a specific African country, and argue your case.)
Week 5: Israel and the Middle East
Why has the Arab-Israeli conflict been so persistent? What religious and cultural factors have contributed to the persistent state of unrest in the Middle East and, in particular, in what some people refer to as the Holy Land?
Week 5:Case Study: Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech
There are many ways to get a feel for the events of the 20th Century. One way is through the analysis of primary source documents. Few documents set the stage for the second half than Winston Churchill's 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri. Officially entitled "The Sinews of Peace", it came to be known as "The Iron Curtain Speech", in which Churchill laid out the challenges for the West in general, and the US and Britain in particular, regarding what would soon be known as the Cold War. Your assignment this week is to not just read Churchill's speech, but read between the lines to answer the following questions in a well written 2-3 page document:
- Churchill believed the Soviet Union "desires the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines." How might those expansionist desires challenge the Western principle of national political self-determination, a cause it championed during World War 2?
- Churchill's speech acknowledged "Russia's need to be secure on her western borders," but at the same time it raises concerns about Soviet actions in Eastern Europe. Was Churchill being inconsistent? Or did he provide concrete justifications for those concerns?
- In his speech, Churchill asserted "There is nothing they (the Russians) admire so much as strength, and nothing for which they have less respect for than military weakness." If he wasn't advocating a direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union, then what is he saying?
- Churchill delivered this speech to an American audience, but after reading it one might conclude it could have been given in any western country. Why did he pick the US?