How do the major branches of Buddhism differ? What role do scripture and devotion play in the differences?
What role does culture play in the Buddhist religion?
How are Daoism and Confucianism similar? How are they different?
What role does nature play in the Shinto religion?
There are stories of sacrifice, bondage and exodus, and survival in the wilderness that are an integral part of the Jewish tradition. Compare and contrast the plots of these stories with secular stories that you are aware of with similar themes. In addition, discuss the significance of the secular stories for the intended audiences. What sorts of assumptions or biases might audiences who are not the target audiences draw from these stories (perhaps if they don’t identify with the main characters of the stories)?
How has the Christian movement changed from its early beginnings when the Church was holding councils and discussing the theology of the Holy Trinity, to the Church in modern times?
What major differences do you see in the denominations and is there any room for theological agreement?
What are the major similarities between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity?
There is often an assumption in the West that the Islamic religion is intolerant of other religions. Do you believe this to be wholly true? Why or why not? In what ways have the Muslims been treated with intolerance?
Syncretism is defined in the textbook as a combination of normally differing beliefs. This can mean the combination of religious beliefs or the combination of religious and cultural beliefs. Give two examples of religions, denominations, or sects that are either syncretistic as a whole, or have some syncretistic practices. (One example might be Benedicaria—the use of folk traditions in healing by Italian Catholics.)
Describe the purpose of ecumenical services and interfaith initiatives. What importance, if any, does dialogue between the various faith traditions have?