You may choose any combination of the questions on the syllabus to


You may choose any combination of the questions on the syllabus to formulate your own prompt, or you can organize your midterm essay around the following key question:

What way should we define religions, and how do they help and/or hinder? 


Due Sunday, 3/28 successfully uploaded to Blackboard in proper file type by 11:59pm

You must use some material selected from Comparing Religions Ch. 1-3, as well as some from Ch. 4-6.

You must also demonstrate two main things:

  1. Have you read and understood a significant amount of course material, especially the textbook? (at least a week and a half’s worth)
  2. Have you thought about that material carefully and critically for yourself?

1500-1800 words

Though you should deal primarily with the Comparing Religions textbook, your discussions also will be greatly enriched by material from the supplemental section, tradition summaries, I am pages, and From East to West.

Below is a good writing process and structure for the essay. See the Writing Help section under Readings & Resources for more help and sample outlines.

Summarize, Criticize, and So What?

1) Summarize–Show that you read and understood the text (or texts). What is it about? Main idea(s)? Key point(s)? Explain key quote(s) in your own words.

2) Criticize–Show that you thought about it for yourself. Demonstrate critical thinking in regard to the reading. What values does it uphold and what or whom does it devalue? What is at stake in the reading, tradition, or story? What’s to be gained or lost? What work is this story or dynamic doing, and for whom? What or who is excluded from this story or marginalized by it? In whose interest was this story formed?

3) So what?–After you’ve done steps one and two, now clearly explain to your reader why that preceding discussion matters. What difference does it make to your life? To the world? What should the reader do differently or think about differently after reading your essay?

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