Religious people have used, understood, and constructed sacred texts in multiple social, historical, economic, political, and cultural contexts. These texts transmit foundational myths, central beliefs, and provide significant information about religious practices and ethical obligations. Using four of the core courses, explain how these various contexts shape and are shaped by sacred texts.Question #2
Mircae Eliade argues that what is sacred to religious folks is for them manifested in space, in the land, in nature. For example, some space, some land is more sacred than others and thus provides an orientation to their lives.
How has this consciousness of the sacrality (or non-sacrality) of land or nature been expressed theologically, experientially, ritually, and ethically in different traditions. What bearing have these attitudes had on social, economic or political structures at different points in time and in different traditions?
You should bring your understanding of material in your core courses to bear on this question.Question #3
Hulrich Zwingli, one of the founders of the Reformed branch of the Protestant Reformation in the early sixteenth century, wrote, Faith is from the invisible God and it tends toward the invisible God, and is something completely apart from all that is sensible. Anything that is body, anything that is of the senses, cannot be an object of faith.
A generation later John Calvin, the great systematizer of Reformed Protestantism, wrote in a similar vein that the essence of God cannot be perceived, and therefore cannot be described: All the signs that he has ever chosen for showing himself to people had this feature, that they made people aware of the imperceptibility of his being.
Many others, however, including theologians, philosophers, prophets, devotees, ethicists, and hymnists, both in the Christian and in other religious traditions, have advanced very different positions. They have either explicitly said that God (gods, the divine, the sacred) can be perceived, described, and understood, or implicitly acted and spoken in ways that assume this.
In your core courses you have studied a range of positions on this issue. Based on the core courses you have taken, write an essay that answers the following question.
How have the ways that people have answered the question of whether or not God (gods, the divine, the sacred) can be perceived, described, and known shaped the ways that they have acted in the world ethically and morally?