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In our modern, digital world, the way we understand and talk about religious issues has changed. Though religion is still defined by belief systems and social expectations, the way these beliefs should play in life looks different today than it did in decades past. Communication between individuals from vastly different cultures now happens instantaneously. We can share ideas related to science, politics, and religion with an immediacy that can present interesting challenges to our individual worldview.

For this week’s Reflection, watch the three TED Talks from prominent figures (located in this week’s Resources). Each video presents a specific religious topic in a way that reflects contemporary considerations.

By Day 6

Submit a 1-page Reflection paper in which you identify the main religious idea from one of the videos and then discuss how that idea is shaped by a consideration that is not religious. As you write, consider the following:

  • In what way does the globalization of communication affect the way we understand religion as a culture?
  • How do the ideas in each of the videos relate to your own religious identity?
  • How have actions and/or events in your own life challenged “traditional” ways of thinking about religion?
Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the  Reflection Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the  Week 1 Assignment link.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the  Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click  Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for  I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the  Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria


Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:
Submit your Week 1 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 6

To submit your Assignment:
Week 1 Assignment

Project: Final Project—Introduction

For your Final Project, you will pick one of the three pillars of analysis and complete a research paper on how that pillar can help you understand a religious tradition of your choosing in the context of a globalized culture. Your research paper will be the culmination of smaller projects you will work on in each week of the course. As you work through these small milestones, you will be asked to consider and respond to questions such as: What elements of your chosen tradition or pillar of analysis are most important? How has this pillar changed over time? How does this pillar relate to some of the key themes you will examine throughout the course?

To help you prepare for your Final Project, throughout the course you will be asked to complete sections of the Final Project Worksheet. You will return to the worksheet during various Discussions and other activities as you progress through the course. By the end of Week 4, you will have a complete worksheet, which will be a solid foundation for the development of your final research paper that is due in Week 5. Your Final Project milestones for this course will be as follows:

  • Week 2: Select the religious tradition on which you will focus.
  • Week 3: Select the pillar of analysis from which you will critically research your selected religious tradition.
  • Week 4: Explore how a specific ethical dilemma was resolved or appears to be intractable for your religious tradition, from the perspective of your chosen pillar of analysis.
  • Week 5: Your Final Project Research Paper is due.

Week in Review

This week you developed a definition of religion and analyzed the relationship between your religious background, your identity and life experiences. You also evaluated elements of the religious marketplace in society and related the globalization of communication to the concept of religion as a cultural phenomenon.  Next week you will explore the first of three pillars of analysis – beliefs.

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