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Quiz One Essay Question (worth 25 points)


Choose one of the following options.  Your essay should be three to five paragraphs (1.5 to 2 pages).  Please use a word processor, double space and use a 12 point font.  Although you will not be graded on spelling and grammar, you will be graded on clarity and accuracy.  The essay must be turned in at the beginning of class on February 6.  You may submit your essay as an e-mail attachment



OPTION ONE: Beliefnet has developed an interesting survey that helps us to clarify, classify and understand our beliefs.  Although the survey is somewhat light-hearted (notice the disclaimer at the beginning of the survey), it is a helpful and insightful tool. Take the survey at Beliefnet. com and pay close attention to the types of questions that are asked as well as the results of the survey.  Then write an essay that considers the following questions:


What do the questions suggest about the author’s understanding of religion? Is it too narrow or too broad?  Does anything indicate that they believe that religion is primarily concerned with what it is (substantive) or what it does (functionalist)?  Most importantly, what did you learn about yourself? Do you agree or disagree with the results?

The URL For the survey is:


OPTION TWO:  In Unit 1 we reviewed several definition of religion.  Go to  Irving Hexham's Concise Dictionary of Religion.   (URL:

When you scroll down the page you will see several possible definitions of religion. Choose one of the definitions that you think is adequate.  Then write an essay explaining why the definition “works.”  Be sure to demonstrate that the definition broad enough to encompass all aspects of religion.  Indicate whether the definition is primarily substantive, functionalist or both?


 OPTION THREE:  Chapter two cited some Biblical examples of the phenomenon that Otto classified as mysterium tremendum et fascinans  Find one additional example from the Bible or from the scriptures of any religious tradition.(Do not use the examples from the in-class worksheet).   Explain how your example illustrates the concept of mysterium tremendum. Assume that this concept is entirely new to your reader.  In other words, you will need to introduce and explain the elements of the response to the sacred. Then show how each element is present in the example you have chosen. (Don’t forget the concepts of propitiation and/or expiation).