Thematic Final Report
As we have journeyed throughout the semester we have focused our studies on identifying major themes and different teachings of the religions of Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. We have either directly or indirectly focused on developing a deeper understanding of each religions’ theology, sacred scriptures, code of ethics, prayer and worship rituals, and a brief history of the religion. For the most part, we have looked at each of these religions independently, but now as we begin to wrap up our course we will revisit these religions and begin to examine them critically and ask the intriguing question: What similarities (and differences) do these religions share amongst each other regarding their teachings of a specific topic?
For your final written report, you will select a theme, from the list below, and recapitulate each religion’s teaching on that particular theme. You will then complete a comparative analysis on the significant similarities that each religion has with Catholicism specifically – not just Christianity in light of the topic as well as delineate their distinct differences. Once you have completed the comparative analysis, you will reflect on the following question:
How can (or how has) the knowledge gleaned in this report and in this course change(d) your perspective/outlook on dialogue with people of other faiths?
You can share a personal experience that you have had with someone of a different faith background or how you think having a better understanding of these different teachings will help shape your future interactions with people of different faiths.
List of Selected Themes:
Religion’s Understanding of God
Metaphysical and Supernatural Beings
How is salvation achieved?
Eschatology – End Times
Death and the Afterlife
Of the Universe
Pain and Suffering
Freedom and Free Will
Sin and Forgiveness
Treatment of Women or Marginalized People in Society
Prayer and Worship Practices
Celebrations of Life Events or Rites of Passage
Initiations into the Religion
Instructions: Adhere to the outline and page length requirements below.
Introduction of the Selected Theme (.25-.5 page)
Identify the selected theme
Describe the theme is in general – not related to a specific religion
Explain why you selected the specific theme
Ex. You find the theme intriguing and you wanted to learn more about it
Explanation of the Theme in Catholicism (.5 page)
Explanation of the Theme in Judaism (.5 page)
Explanation of the Theme in Islam (.5 page)
Explanation of the Theme in Hinduism (.5 page)
Explanation of the Theme in Buddhism (.5 page)
Similarities with Catholicism (1 page)
Identify and describe at least one similarity that each religion (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) has to Catholicism in the context of the selected theme.
These similarities can be vague or extremely specific as long as it relates back to the selected theme.
Differences with Catholicism (1 page)
Characterize at least one difference that each religion (Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism) has to Catholicism in the context of the selected theme.
These differences can be vague or extremely specific as long as it relates back to the selected theme
Concluding Reflection (.5 page)
Answer the following question: How can (or how has) the knowledge gleaned in this report and in this course change(d) your perspective/outlook on dialogue with people of other faiths?
No citations needed for this section
When completing this written report, the following guidelines must be followed. Failure to do so will result in points being deducted from your grade.
This report must be typed in any 12 point non-ornamental font and double-spaced.
Each section of the report must include a section title on a separate line (ex: Islamic Symbols, Beliefs, and Practices, etc.).
Each section must incorporate at least 2 direct quotations with appropriate footnotes from the course text (World RELG4: Introduction to World Religions) or one of the databases/encyclopedias available through Saint Thomas University’s Library. You may also find it beneficial to refer to the resources posted on Canvas.
The report should be formatted per current Chicago-Turabian (CMOS) style and adhere to the page length requirements outlined above.
Your work will be assessed through Turnitin.
For the final week, you will begin working on the Final Thematic Report. This report will be based on the topic you selected and provided sources for in the Module 7 Discussion.
For this report, you are being asked to review the various religions that were covered throughout the course and then identify and explain similarities and differences between the religions based on one given topic of your choosing (the topic you selected for the Module 7 discussion). As you compose this report, I would advise that you review previously completed assignments and discussions for this course because you can utilize some of the information in the previously submitted work.
Introduction of the Selected Theme
The theme selected for this report is “Virtues.” Virtues are defined as positive traits or qualities that enable individuals to behave in a morally good and just manner. In general, virtues serve as guidelines for human behavior and moral decision-making. The reason for selecting this specific theme is to explore how different religions view the concept of virtues and how they encourage their followers to cultivate and embody virtuous traits.
Explanation of the Theme in Catholicism
In Catholicism, virtues are classified into two categories: theological and cardinal. Theological virtues are faith, hope, and charity, and they are believed to be gifts from God that enable individuals to have a closer relationship with Him. Cardinal virtues are prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance, and they are considered essential for moral living. The Catholic Church emphasizes the importance of virtues as they serve as the foundation for moral decision-making and behavior.
Explanation of the Theme in Judaism
In Judaism, virtues are referred to as “middot.” Middot are character traits or ethical values that serve as guidelines for proper conduct. Jewish tradition identifies thirteen middot, including love, humility, generosity, and kindness. Jewish teachings emphasize the importance of cultivating these virtues to achieve a closer relationship with God and live a morally good life.
Explanation of the Theme in Islam
In Islam, virtues are referred to as “akhlāq.” Akhlāq encompasses a wide range of virtues, including honesty, humility, patience, and generosity. Islamic teachings encourage followers to cultivate these virtues and display them in their daily lives, as they are essential for achieving spiritual growth and becoming a better person.
Explanation of the Theme in Hinduism
In Hinduism, virtues are referred to as “gunas.” Gunas are qualities that shape an individual’s personality and behavior. Hindu teachings identify three gunas: sattva (goodness), rajas (passion), and tamas (ignorance). Hinduism emphasizes the importance of cultivating sattva guna, which enables individuals to behave in a virtuous and righteous manner.
Explanation of the Theme in Buddhism
In Buddhism, virtues are referred to as “paramitas.” Paramitas are qualities that enable individuals to achieve enlightenment and liberation from suffering. Buddhist teachings identify ten paramitas, including generosity, morality, patience, and wisdom. The cultivation of these virtues is considered essential for spiritual growth and the attainment of inner peace.
Similarities with Catholicism
One significant similarity that all the religions share with Catholicism regarding virtues is the emphasis on cultivating positive traits to achieve a closer relationship with the divine. In all these religions, virtues serve as guidelines for moral decision-making and behavior and are considered essential for spiritual growth and becoming a better person.
Differences with Catholicism
One significant difference that each religion has with Catholicism regarding virtues is the classification and emphasis on different types of virtues. For example, in Judaism, the thirteen middot are considered essential for living a morally good life, while in Hinduism, the emphasis is on cultivating sattva guna to achieve spiritual growth. In Buddhism, the focus is on the cultivation of paramitas for the attainment of enlightenment.
The knowledge gained in this course has provided a deeper understanding of the teachings and practices of different religions. Through this report, it is evident that despite the differences in their beliefs and practices, there are significant similarities that exist between these religions, particularly regarding the importance of virtues in guiding moral behavior and spiritual growth.