Assignment #1: Personal Reflections on Religion
DIRECTIONS: In this assignment you will have the opportunity to reflect on your own experiences with religion, as well as your worldview, assumptions, beliefs, and ideas about the transcendent. I hope this assignment accomplishes several goals, including the chance to explore your "biases" and your background, and make some implicit ideas that you have about religion explicit. Below is a suggested format, but if you want to express yourself in another format, please feel free. The primary grading criteria will be that you clearly articulate your own personal perspectives on religion.
1. Define Religion - In this first brief section define what you think religion means. You may make this very personal or more general (like a dictionary definition).
2. Important Experiences with Religion - You may have a little or a lot to write in this section depending on your own experiences. (If you have a lot, you might want to highlight the most important ones. Keep this section somewhat brief).
3. Beliefs and Biases about Religion - Coming in to this class everyone has their own personal ideas. I shared mine with the class on the first day. This is your chance to explore your own ideas and beliefs. What do you believe about the transcendent (spiritual reality, God, values, etc.)? How certain are you about these beliefs? What biases do you have about religion, religious people, religious groups (its ok, we all have them)? What has most significantly shaped your beliefs (personal experience, reading, family, other authority figures, etc.)? Push yourself to think deeply about those beliefs that you hold. Try to uncover at least one or two that are new to you, something you believe to be true, but you didn't even know you believed.
Typed and stapled papers are required.
2 pages (double-spaced)
Creative, thoughtful responses are encouraged.
Worth 20 points