phil paper

Your final project is to “experience” a contrasting religion from the one in which you were brought up, and to compare it to what you are accustomed to. If you grew up with more than one, “it’s complicated,” you’re an atheist, etc. understand that the point of this assignment is for you to experience something different. That might mean something like you were raised Mahayana Buddhist and visit a Theravada temple, (smaller difference) or it might mean you are Evangelical Christian and go to a Hindu festival (bigger difference). What this is, and how you will accomplish it, is very much up to you. Write 500 words about what you experience and how it compares with your faith (or lack of).

I want you to do something like:

attend a religious service:

  • meditate at a temple (Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Japanese Buddhism), like the Seattle Betsuin Buddhist Temple
  • take a bead-making class (Tibetan Buddhism), like at the Sakya Monastery of Tibetan Buddhism
  • visit a mosque (Islam), like Idris Mosque
  • (Links to an external site.)
  • attend a mass or service (Catholic or Protestant or Orthodox), like St. James Cathedral or Mount Zion Baptist Church (big on music and preaching) or St. Spiridon Orthodox Cathedral
  • visit a synagogue (Judaism), like Temple De Hirsch Sinai
  • attend Evensong (vespers–a medieval Christian tradition that has choral singing) at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church (the big one on the hill). This is only on the first Sunday of the month at 4:30 and gets very crowded. If you are unfamiliar with Christianity, this is a great choice
  • if you happen to attend a wedding or other religious event that is not your faith, you could do a write-up of that
  • meditation of a different kind: a float/sensory deprivation tank experience (non-denominational, costs $), like (Links to an external site.)

do a book report:

  • It must be something of decent length, like The Bagavad Gita (Hindu) or The Gospel of Mark (Christian) or Things Fall Apart (African Indigenous)

watch a religious film:

  • I don’t like this as much because there is minimal commitment, but it is accessible. As I am a film critic and scholar, however, if you do this it needs to be good. Watch something epic from the following list. Only these movies will count–no exceptions.
  1. The Ten Commandments (Judaism) note: does not count for Christians
  2. The Message (Islam)
  3. The Gospel of John (Christianity)
  4. Wheel of Time (Buddhism)
  5. Ghandi (Hinduism)
  6. Black Robe or The Mission (American Indigenous) note: depressing
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