Psychology of religion

Psychology of religion: This assignment is to write a 5-7 page position paper, addressing one of the topics below. This is neither an opinion paper nor a theology research paper. You MAY state your opinion and your theological responses to the topic, but you must support any conclusions you come to with some kind of evidence (research). \

It is easy to say “I believe…” but for this paper you need to explain WHY you believe or think something and show that there is some support for this belief. You will note that the questions may be addressed from several different perspectives and will likely have evidence on both sides of the argument/issue. A good response will be to acknowledge the information or support for both sides and then assess which is the stronger position.

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Topics
Students may choose one of the following issues to discuss:
1. Are religion and science in opposition to each other?
2. Are certain persons predisposed to be (or not be) religious based on biological or psychological influences (like brain functions/abnormalities or personality traits, etc.)?

3. B. F. Skinner said religious behavior can be explained using the process of Operant Conditioning. Is this an accurate statement? Do the principles of operant conditioning run counter to religious moral teaching?

4. Religion has been defined as a “Meaning-making System”. Does this mean that religious people have an advantage (over non-religious people) in making a meaningful existence for themselves?

5. Can someone be a religious extremist and still “get along” with more moderate believers (or non –believers)?

6. What are the differences between healthy religious practices and unhealthy religion?

7. Do religious people have a stronger (more consistent) moral code than non-religious people?

8. What is the role of religion in the phenomenon of prejudice?

9. What is the difference between a religion and a cult?

Students may also construct their own position topic; however they will need to discuss their topic with me before beginning their paper.

Evaluation
I will grade this paper using the QEP grading rubric (discussed on the first day of class). As you write your paper you will need to make sure you have addressed the components of the rubric. Explaining what you have Discovered; how you have Engaged with the topic and with the reader; what effort you put into Analyzing the information to arrive at your conclusions and how you have Evaluated the relative strengths and weaknesses of your overall conclusions. (20 points for each component = 80 points total)

Because you must support your conclusions with some kind of evidence/research, you will need to cite your sources using APA citation guidelines in the text of your paper (author, date) or if it is a quote (author, date, p. #). You will also need a references page (in APA format) that lists your sources alphabetically at the end of your paper. I am not going to require a set number of sources to use for this paper, however, if you draw a conclusion and it is NOT supported with anything besides your opinion there will be point deductions. The References page is NOT included in your page total for the paper.

You will not need to do a title page or abstract and your pages will not need a header. You will need to have the title stated on the first page of your text. You will also need to use sound grammar, spelling and sentence mechanics.

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