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Discussion: Events of the Middle East

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share many similarities that are both historical and geographical. Yet, despite their historical similarities, these religions have also had historical conflict. Clashes over the Gaza strip and Islamic extremism have placed special emphasis on these religions and the interactions between cultures that practice them. In this Discussion, you are challenged to consider how your current knowledge of the core tenets and practices of each religion can smooth cultural misunderstandings and put current events in a more objective, less reactionary context.

To prepare for this Discussion:

·         Read this week’s required course text pages.

·         Consider how the media portrays the current events happening in the Middle East from a religious perspective.

·         Reflect on how your knowledge of the similarities between the religions of Abraham helps you to better understand the Middle East conflict.

Compose a 2- to 3-paragraph Discussion post in which you do the following:

·         Explain one particular current event or issue in the Middle East in which the religion(s) of the area affect other people’s perceptions of that religion in a negative way.

·         Contrast your perceptions of this issue and the religions involved before this course with your perceptions now that you know more about the religion(s) involved. Has anything changed? Why or why not?

·         Conclude with what you can do with your knowledge of these religions to put Middle Eastern events into a more objective perspective for yourself and for others.

Assignment: Reflection: Synthesis

You have accomplished a lot in the past 5 weeks of this course—exploring many fascinating faith traditions from around the world and from ancient history through to the modern day. You’ve learned to see religion not just as a fixed set of rituals, but as an interrelationship between people, religious spaces, religious actions, religious beliefs, and the earthly connection to the Divine in its many interpretations. In this Reflection, you will consider your whole experience in this course and what you will apply to your own life after this course concludes.

To prepare for this Reflection:

·         Consider how you have grown in knowledge and religious perspective since the beginning of the course.

·         Reflect on how this course impacts your own beliefs and identity and what perceptions and actions you will take with you once this course concludes.

Compose a 1- to 2-page reflective paper in which you do the following:

·         Identify three major concepts or perceptions about world religions that you have either gained or changed from this course.

·         Explain in detail how you viewed each concept or perception at the inception of the course, how you view them now, and how this impacts your identity, beliefs, and life.

Learning Resources

Required Readings

Kurtz, L. R. (2016). Gods in the global village: The world’s religions in sociological perspective (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  • Chapter 8, “Religion and Social Conflict”

o    “The Politics of Heresy” (pp. 293–324)







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