Religion in Practice Paper
It’s one thing to study about a religion; it’s another thing entirely how people actually practice that religion. This assignment is intended to bridge that gap. Rituals are enacted meaning. They are how people perform or embody the truths of their religion. Usually, students would visit a worship service, but that’s not possible in Coronatimes. Instead you may choose one of two options: you may interview someone about their worship or you may watch a service on YouTube. You may not choose the religion that you practice. For example, if you’re Baptist, you can’t choose Catholicism. Also, it does not have to a religion we are studying. You may pick ANY religion, so long as it is not your own. The focus in this assignment is not on what people believe, but rather on what they DO. Try to relate the literature that you have read to your experience.
Prep assignment: due June 14. This paper can be written in any form, I just need to know that you have covered the following areas:
1. If you are going to interview someone, who are they and what is their religion? You need to have already asked the person if they will agree to the interview, but you don’t need to have conducted the interview yet. Note: it’s a good idea to record the interview so you can review it later BUT you must request permission before recording it.
2. If you’re going to watch a video, tell me which one.
Use the following outline for your paper:
1. Introduction 1-3 paragraphs describe the basics of the religion you chose to study and give background on the particular place of worship you observe/interview. You may use the textbook to learn about religions we have not yet covered in the class. Be sure to give the name of the place, the branch of its religion, and whatever information you are able to find about when it was founded, by whom, whether it represents a particular national or ethnic group, etc.
2. A description of the worship service 3-4 pages this is the bulk of your paper, where you will describe your experience, such as: sights, sounds, dress, manners, objects, time, and the usage of space, among other setting details of the building and campus. If you interview someone, ask them to describe a typical worship service and walk you through it. If you watch a video, describe what you’re able to see. What does the building look like, both inside and outside? How is it decorated? Is there any art work or religious items? What would visitors see, hear, touch, smell, and/or taste? What role do those things play in the service? What spiritual meaning/purpose do they have? What actually happens in the service? What is the sequence of events? Men and/or women leading it? Primarily silence? Talking? Preaching/praying? Music? Instruments? etc.
3. Conclusion 1 page What did you learn about that religion from your interview/video? How does what they did correspond to what they believe? What should people know about the place that you observed? What should people know about the people there? Most importantly: How did what you experience relate to what we have learned in class? I need you to describe constantly in the paper the significance of what you saw: what does it mean and why do they do it? How was this experience like or unlike the description of that religion in the book? How was this experience of that religion like or unlike other religions we have studied? Did this experience relate to any of the general religious questions we’ve discussed, such as the divine, the afterlife, the meaning and purpose of life?
4. Citation: You must provide the citation for the person you interview or the video you watched. For the interview, give the name of the person and the date you interviewed them. For a video, use MLA guidelines. You must, of course, cite any other sources you use.
The paper should be between 4-6 pages, double-spaced, size 12 font, with proper spelling and grammar. Due June 23.