Select one of the two following questions to write about. The minimum length is 1,000 words. There is no maximum. Place the word count on the front of the exam (five points deducted if this is missing).
You must reference the text in a way that demonstrates your reading of and thinking about the material; you must use MLA parenthetical documentation – e.g., (Hillesum 56).
Please save the exam and label it with your last name, middle initial, first name, and exam1. For example, Doe.M.Johnexam1.doc would be the exam file label for John M. Doe.
1. Respond to the following quotation: “The Holocaust shows not only that religious faith is untenable but also that life is absurd. A powerful and loving God could not create a world in which such events are possible. Religion is wishful thinking -- ‘Fear created the first gods’ (Caecilius Statius, 2nd c. BCE). Moreover, life itself contradicts the most basic of human aspirations: to live without suffering and cruelty.” Etty herself discusses these issues, so in responding be sure to show that you know how Etty would reply to this kind of position.
2. Discuss Etty’s spiritual response to her challenges and comment on how this relates to the challenges we face today. How did she find meaning in life, what were her spiritual practices, how did she integrate these into her life, what effects did her faith have on the way she lived, and which, if any, of these practices would be suitable for you?
Respond to the quotation below. Be sure to cite the book and to mention events and ideas in the book that would explain Sara’s views of these issues. Keep in mind that Jesus and his companions were not Christians, much less Catholic or Baptist.
Please save the exam and label it with your last name, middle initial, first name, and exam2. For example, Doe.M.Johnexam2.doc would be the exam file label for John M. Doe.
“Sara may be well-intentioned, but she and St. Gregory’s are going about things the wrong way. You’re not supposed to let just anyone who wants to, take communion, much less pray the words of consecration over toast when your friend and former lover is dying, you don’t baptize peopleafter they take communion, you don’t baptize children just because they ask, you don’t ‘marry’ a person of the same sex and you don’t ‘lay hands’ on people and pray for them without having received the authority to do so. And the pantry is not ‘church’; you need a valid liturgy and authorized clerics for that. Sara has simply allowed her leftist politics, concern for outcasts, and the ‘liberation theology’ of Jesuits like Martin-Baro to overcome her good sense. People need rules; that’s why we have them in the first place. If we don’t have rules, people will do whatever they want, and then where will we be?”
Please save the exam and label it with your last name, middle initial, first name, and exam3. For example, Doe.M.Johnexam3.doc would be the exam file label for John M. Doe.
What do you think of Paul’s responses to the challenges he faced so far in the story? Did he handle it well, did he “blow it,” did he do about as well as could be expected?
He was a child who wanted to be a saint, a blue-collar worker, a devoted servant of the urban poor, a journalistic success, and a dissolute libertine. To illustrate your view, select several events from his life. Be sure to cite the text to demonstrate your reading.
There are two basic kinds of challenge: his own individuality, and the historical situation. He – like the rest of us -- has to come to terms with bothof these. Personally, he’s unusually bright and talented, he’s attractive to (and attracted by) women, he has plenty of attitude, and he has strong religious interests. Historically, he’s a working-class Slovakian Catholic in a period when the whole cultural world – both the US culture and the Catholic Church (Second Vatican Council) -- was changing. Neither the US (civil rights, feminist movement, general questioning of authority) nor the Catholic Church (liturgical reform, individual dignity and liberty, social justice), has “recovered” from this upheaval.
(If you don’t share his religious interests, then simply look at the situation from a pragmatic, existential point of view: that is, what is one going tothink about life and its meaning, and what is one going to do?)
Remember, if you are inclined to be hard on him, that he had to work with the personality he had. Some of us are not alcoholics, for instance, but that is not a particularly impressive virtue: our own makeup is simply not susceptible to that; it’s not something to brag about.
REL 331 Online Research Paper
The minimum requirements are:
1,500 word count (no maximum)
Five sources cited
Word count stated on the first page (five points deducted if this is missing)
Refer to the Resources link for information on MLA style format.
The topics must be relevant for this course, but that is a very broad criterion.
Religion is a “field of fields”: it includes religious reflection, philosophy, history, literature, art,
music, and so on. For this course, with its premium on personal experience, you may wish to
write a paper on some meaning-related issue that is currently important to you. For example:
“How do I relate my faith in a good God with all the suffering in the world?”
“What about Christianity (or Islam, etc.) is most important for me?”
“What sort of religious experience should I give my children?”
“How can I as a gay person live a religious life?”
“I’m divorced and remarried; what place is there for me in the Catholic Church?”
In these examples there would of course still be a need to cite relevant sources, give reasons,
and try to justify your views.
There are the usual topics such as:
Meditation, mysticism, psychology, and religion (William James, James Fowler, Ken
Music (ancient or contemporary – Gregorian Chant, Negro Spirituals, Praise songs) or
architecture (cathedrals, Quaker meeting houses).
A time period: Florence at the time of the Renaissance, the Sixties in the US.
Individual persons and their challenges: Thomas Merton, Leo Tolstoy, Teresa of Avila,
John of the Cross, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, John Kennedy, Lech Walesa, John
McCain, Barack Obama.
Ethical and social justice issues: capital punishment, just war, stem cell research,
national health care, abortion, birth control, assisted suicide.Grading Criteria
Characteristics of a very good paper:
Integrates personal observation and knowledge in an insightful way.
Provides concrete examples from the sources to support observations and
Integrates prior readings.
Uses parenthetical documentation (MLA style) to show how the sources are being read
and to document sources.
Shows tolerance and humility.
Has correct spelling and grammar.
1,500 or more word count.
Characteristics of a good paper:
Integrates personal knowledge and observation in a relevant way.
Refers to examples from the sources to support observations and interpretations.
Refers to prior readings in a relevant way.
Has largely correct spelling and grammar
Shows tolerance and humility to authors, classmates, and instructor.
Characteristics of an acceptable paper:
Has a personal response to the sources.
Alludes to sources to support position.
Has spelling and grammar that need improvement.
Minimum of 1,500 words.
Characteristics of an unacceptable paper:
Does not have a personal response but simply repeats material from other sources.
Does not document sufficiently or at all.
Does not have minimum word count.
Is late without prior arrangements being made.