You must write a research paper between 1250-1500 words in length (roughly five to six double-spaced pages in length). Your paper is to be no longer than 1500 words, since I will not read past this limit. Please provide a word count at the end of your paper.
Choose one of the following topics:
1) Compare and contrast two religions studied this term which share a similar feature (for example, (i) the idea of “God on earth” in Hindu traditions and Christian traditions, or (ii) the importance of scripture in Jewish and Islamic traditions). Point out any differences regarding this “similar feature.” Concentrate on this one issue alone; do not just “compare two religions”
2) Compare and contrast two religions which take opposite positions on a specific issue (for example, (i) any religion which encourages its members to be fertile and any religion whose members practice celibacy, or (ii) Islam which claims that the Qur’an is a text that contains the words of God and Zen Buddhism which says the truth is “beyond words and letters”). Concentrate on this one issue alone; do not just “compare two religions”
3) Compare and contrast Christian and Muslim understandings of Jesus.
4) Compare and contrast Hindu conceptions of atman with Buddhist conceptions of anatman.
5) Compare and contrast the understandings of “monasticism” in the Christian and Buddhist traditions.
6) Compare and contrast the understanding of “salvation” in the Christian tradition with the idea of “liberation” in Hinduism.
7) Discuss the evolution of the idea of the “messiah” in the Jewish traditions.
8) Discuss contemporary Jewish understandings of kosher food laws and how they relate to the older religious origins of these laws.
9) Discuss the historical rise of “fundamentalism” within modern Christianity, and why some Christians are attracted to it.
10) Discuss the Christian belief in the “incarnation” of Christ. What does it mean to say that Jesus in the “incarnation” and how was this belief arrived at?
11) Discuss the issue of women’s rights within the Muslim traditions.
12) Discuss interpretations of jihad within the Muslim traditions.
13) Discuss contrasting ideas of the feminine and the status of women within the Hindu traditions.
14) Compare and contrast the different conceptions of yoga in the Hindu traditions.
15) Compare and contrast the different conceptions of the bodhisattva in the Buddhist traditions.
16) Discuss the meaning, practice, and potential of “engaged Buddhism.”
17) Choose your own topic. However, it must deal with either a topic or a religion(s) covered in the course, and you are required to hand in a first draft. Your topic must be approved by the instructor before you begin your first draft.
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