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.
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 (sic Freud). 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.
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week 2 discussion
The Paths to God (graded)
The Bhagavad Gita states: "Whatever man give me / In true devotion: / Fruit or water, / A leaf, a flower: / I will accept it. / That gift is love, / His heart's dedication. / Whatever your action, / Food or worship; / What the gift / That you give to another; / Whatever you vow / To the work of the spirit: / Lay these also / As offerings before me." What do these verses say about Hindu ethics? Do you see any parallels between these and Jesus's sayings in the Gospels? Elaborate.
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.