About Comparing Religion Class

Exploring Religious Meaning, Fall 2018 1 LECTURE #2 WEEKLY WRITEUP The write-up is not just about you, and it is not just about the readings. It is about your engagement with the readings. Please do not quote, unless necessary, and please keep summaries to a minimum.

1. Please explain your interpretation of William James approach to studying religion? What are the strong/weak points? What did you think of his view of the divided self, and the subliminal + divided self as an explanation for spiritual genius? 2. Please interpret, critique, and expand upon the following passage from Kripal’s Comparing Religions: “The critical study of religion is the most relevant, the most exciting and dangerous, and the most radical intellectual study presently pursued in the colleges and universities of the modern world. The so-called “hard” sciences in fact do the easy stuff: they study things that can be measured, that can be controlled, that can be predicted. We study things that cannot be measured, that cannot be controlled, that are fiercely alive, and that are ultimately about the “hardest” of all humanistic and scientific problems: the nature of consciousness itself.” Note: When answering these questions start practicing using the both-and approach Kripal highlights, meaning practice applying more intelligent, nuanced answers. Avoid one-sided dogmatism simply because it is almost assuredly incorrect, and it is also boring. For Lecture #2, please expect to be asked to demonstrate knowledge of evolutionary monotheism, counter- religion, 3 features of polytheism, pantheism, Axial Age, nonlocal self, theory as insight and/or as travel, difference between theology and religious studies, comparative mysticism.

Please do not over-complicate this assignment. The more you engage with the text, the more you will get from it. That is the point.

Formatting: Please include your name and class time on the top left (or right corner). Nothing else is needed. This should be the only single-spaced part of your text. The assignments need to be typed, and most importantly, they must not exceed one page. If you have too much, adjust margins, or change the font (Times or Times New Roman) from 12 pt, to 11 or 10pt. Or, change the line spacing to 1.5. Just no single- spaced, please—besides name, etc. Best yet, think long enough about the content to express a series of complex thoughts in simple, concise terms!