Starting Sentence Option 1: Many people who [are religious/believe in a deity/attend church] have specific beliefs that [lead them/control them]. Take, for example, [name a religion], which is known for [characteristic]. What conclusion can one draw but [second claim]?
Starting Sentence Option 2: Religions have existed as long as people have and [name a religion] is a good example of [positive or negative characteristic]. As we’ve seen throughout history, such as at [specific event], [religion name] has [caused/resulted in] [consequences]. This leads to the conclusion that [second claim].
- Religion provides motivation for people to do more good in the world.
- The belief in a higher power has led many people to beat their addictions.
- Throughout history, religion has marked moral advances in the world.
- Religion or the church, provide a solid base for drawing people together and binding them as a family.
- Religious people tend to be helpful and feel the urge to aid those in need.
- Religious people are more likely to be judgemental and immoral.
- People hide behind the church and use God as an excuse to do unspeakable things.
- Religion uses scare tactics to force people to act a certain way.
- Many who claim to be doing God’s will are really using religion to line their own pockets and steal from the naive.
- Many of the wars throughout history were started in the name of religion.
PEW Research Center
History of Religions
Religion at Psychology Today
Marked by clarity, rare philosophical depth and a truly global perspective, these 19 essays in comparative religion are filled with challenging ideas and bold speculations. Smith ( The Religions of Man ) argues that each of the world's three great civilizations has overspecialized--the West in natural wisdom, China in social ethics, India in religious psychology--with disastrous consequences for each culture. He looks to Taoism for guidance in solving the ecological crisis, faults postmodernism for its blindness to transcendent experience, and interprets Western philosophy as a great religious enterprise fueled by a thrust toward transcendence. On a more mundane level, Smith discusses spiritual discipline in Zen, analyzes Tibetan lamas' chants and offers insights on Japanese Shintoism, the Christian ecumenical movement, ancient Vedic priests' imbibing of soma (possibly a psychedelic mushroom, he concludes) and how to teach religion. These highly accessible essays previously appeared in scholarly journals or books.
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