World religions is a category used in the study of religion to demarcate the five—and in some cases six—largest and most internationally widespread religious movements. Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism are always included in the list, being known as the “Big Five”. Some scholars also include another religion, such as Sikhism, Zoroastrianism, or the Bahá’í Faith, in the category. These are often juxtaposed against other categories, such as “indigenous religions” and “new religious movements“, which are also used by scholars in this field of research.
The world religions paradigm was developed in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, where it was pioneered by phenomenological scholars like Ninian Smart. It was designed to broaden the study of religion away from its heavy focus on Christianity by taking into account other large religious traditions around the world. The paradigm is often used by lecturers instructing undergraduate students in the study of religion and is also the framework used by school teachers in the UK and other countries. The paradigm’s emphasis on viewing these religious movements as distinct and mutually exclusive entities has also had a wider impact on the categorisation of religion—for instance in censuses—in both Western countries and elsewhere.
Since the late twentieth century, the paradigm has faced critique by scholars of religion like Jonathan Z. Smith, some of whom have argued for its abandonment. Critics have argued that the world religions paradigm is inappropriate because it takes the Protestant variant of Christianity as the model for what constitutes religion; that it is tied up with discourses of modernity, including modern power relations; that it encourages an uncritical understanding of religion; and that it makes a value judgement as to what religions should be considered “major”. Others have argued that it remains useful in the classroom, so long as students are made aware that it is a socially constructed category.
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Read/review the following resources for this activity:
1. Textbook: Chapter 1
Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing the world’s religions (6th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
2. Lesson (Attached)
3. Minimum of 2 scholarly sources (1 for the etic view, and 1 for the emic view. Your source for the emic view should come from someone who writes with authority in the religion you chose. For example, if you chose Buddhism, you could use a quotation from His Holiness, Dalai Lama XIV).
Make sure to read the lesson this week to learn about etic and emic perspectives so that you can appropriately apply them in this assignment. In an essay, apply the etic and emic perspectives to your own religion or a religion with which you have some familiarity.
How would your tradition be described etically? Remember that this is an outsider’s perspective of what can be measured, studied, or observed.
How would it be described emically? Remember that this is an insider’s perspective as seen by practitioners
Make sure that you are using at least one source for each approach and include citations from the assigned readings and additional scholarly sources.
Writing Requirements (APA format)
Length: 350-500 words (not including title page or references page)
12-point Times New Roman font
References pageADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CLASS
Discussion Questions (DQ)
Initial responses to the DQ should address all components of the questions asked, include a minimum of one scholarly source, and be at least 250 words.
Successful responses are substantive (i.e., add something new to the discussion, engage others in the discussion, well-developed idea) and include at least one scholarly source.
One or two sentence responses, simple statements of agreement or “good post,” and responses that are off-topic will not count as substantive. Substantive responses should be at least 150 words.
I encourage you to incorporate the readings from the week (as applicable) into your responses.
Your initial responses to the mandatory DQ do not count toward participation and are graded separately.
In addition to the DQ responses, you must post at least one reply to peers (or me) on three separate days, for a total of three replies.
Participation posts do not require a scholarly source/citation (unless you cite someone else’s work).
Part of your weekly participation includes viewing the weekly announcement and attesting to watching it in the comments. These announcements are made to ensure you understand everything that is due during the week.
APA Format and Writing Quality
Familiarize yourself with APA format and practice using it correctly. It is used for most writing assignments for your degree. Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for APA paper templates, citation examples, tips, etc. Points will be deducted for poor use of APA format or absence of APA format (if required).
Cite all sources of information! When in doubt, cite the source. Paraphrasing also requires a citation.
I highly recommend using the APA Publication Manual, 6th edition.
Use of Direct Quotes
I discourage overutilization of direct quotes in DQs and assignments at the Masters’ level and deduct points accordingly.
As Masters’ level students, it is important that you be able to critically analyze and interpret information from journal articles and other resources. Simply restating someone else’s words does not demonstrate an understanding of the content or critical analysis of the content.
It is best to paraphrase content and cite your source.
For assignments that need to be submitted to LopesWrite, please be sure you have received your report and Similarity Index (SI) percentage BEFORE you do a “final submit” to me.
Once you have received your report, please review it. This report will show you grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors that can easily be fixed. Take the extra few minutes to review instead of getting counted off for these mistakes.
Review your similarities. Did you forget to cite something? Did you not paraphrase well enough? Is your paper made up of someone else’s thoughts more than your own?
Visit the Writing Center in the Student Success Center, under the Resources tab in LoudCloud for tips on improving your paper and SI score.
The university’s policy on late assignments is 10% penalty PER DAY LATE. This also applies to late DQ replies.
Please communicate with me if you anticipate having to submit an assignment late. I am happy to be flexible, with advance notice. We may be able to work out an extension based on extenuating circumstances.
If you do not communicate with me before submitting an assignment late, the GCU late policy will be in effect.
I do not accept assignments that are two or more weeks late unless we have worked out an extension.
As per policy, no assignments are accepted after the last day of class. Any assignment submitted after midnight on the last day of class will not be accepted for grading.
Communication is so very important. There are multiple ways to communicate with me:
Questions to Instructor Forum: This is a great place to ask course content or assignment questions. If you have a question, there is a good chance one of your peers does as well. This is a public forum for the class.
Individual Forum: This is a private forum to ask me questions or send me messages. This will be checked at least once every 24 hours.