Option One: Choose one philosophical issue you would like to discuss. Examples: free will, the self, punishment, the afterlife, the soul, faith, morality, identity, etc.
Choose one or two different religions, and examine their beliefs on your topic. You can either choose one religion and really get into a detailed analysis of where they stand on your issue and why, or you can choose two religions and do some sort of compare and contrast between the two. I would not recommend discussing more than two religions. I would much rather have you spend a lot of time talking in-depth about one or two than to only write a few sentences about a bunch of them. You could also choose two different denominations of the same religion if you wanted to (for example: Catholicism and Mormonism are both versions of Christianity, but their viewpoints on all these things may be very different).
Choose something you are interested in exploring, thinking about, and talking about. And keep in mind you can analyze/criticize a belief in a respectful and professional manner. Your paper shouldn’t read like an onslaught against the religion you’ve chosen (though you are allowed to disagree and be critical if you’d like).
Option Two: Choose a topic/religion that was discussed briefly in your book that you would like to learn more about. This will be more like a research paper than the other options. A lot of the religions from the Primal Beliefs, Ancient/Classical Beliefs, and Modern Religions chapters would be good to choose since your book only devotes about a page to them, and there is a lot more to learn!
Choose one religion you want to learn more about. If you do this, I would recommend focusing on one of their beliefs (like how they view the creation of the world, their rituals, the afterlife, etc.). I would much rather have you get into a detailed discussion about one of these aspects of a religion than to try and cram in everything they believe and do. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do a research paper on more than one religion, since you will not be able to get into much detail in 4-6 pages. Make sure you use reputable sources if you choose this option. There is more information about sources and citation below.
Option Three: If you have thought of something related to one or more of the religions we have discussed (or even a religion/denomination not dealt with in the book) that you think would be interesting to explore further, here is your opportunity. I strongly recommend checking with me before you begin working on this option so that I can express any concerns I may have about your topic and to give you some helpful advice. You can compare a few different religions in a specific way, discuss historical/political influences on a religious shift/belief, the role of women/minorities/disadvantaged in religion, talk about the body count most religions tend to have, etc. What you DON’T want to do here is just rehash something you have already written for a quiz answer, though there are ways you can expand on some of those questions/topics. The goal of this paper is to go above and beyond what we have been focusing on in class.