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Religion & Theology
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Religion And Theology: Conflict Between Faith And Reason (Term Paper Sample)


Respond to each prompt in roughly 2 pages of thoughtful, substantive, good writing. Note: Your answers need not be written like essays with thesis statements, but they should be clear, reflective, Well-written, and have a coherent flow.
1. The theme of our course was the so-called conflict between faith and reason. We examined this conflict from many different perspectives (I. theological/philosophical perspectives on doubt and faith; 2. The problem of evil; 3. Science and religion; 4. Religion in the public square; 5. Oppression and disrupting theologies). Please write a coherent narrative of our course, explicitly addressing the ideas of at least one thinker from each of the five units.

2. Feminist theologians such as Barbara Hilkert Andolsen and Elizabeth Johnson, writers on race such as James Baldwin, and disability theologians such as Nancy Eiesland and Julia Watts Belser all speak of ways in which members of marginalized groups have privileged knowledge or access to certain knowledge that to which members of dominant groups don't have access? Provide a well-chosen quote from one representative of feminist theology (Andolsen or Johnson), from Baldwin, and from one representative of disability theology (Eiesland or Watts Belser) (in total: 3 quotes from 3 different thinkers) that illustrate this concept. Explain the 3 quotes. Compare and contrast the ways in which women, persons of color, and persons with disabilities are said to have privileged knowledge over dominant groups in each of these quotes. Reflect on why we might see this theme repeat itself across different marginalized groups.

3. Note: This prompt has two parts, each to be answered in one page (total: two pages):

a. In one page, summarize the central claims of chapter 1 ("Son") in Andrew Solomon's Far From theTree and explain how these relate to a conflict between "faith" and "reason." Be sure to cite 1-2well-chosen, brief passages to illustrate your points,
b. On one page, compare and contrast the arguments in chapter 2 ("Deaf') with the arguments in anyother chapter of your choice from chapters 3-11, and briefly explain how these relate back to the central claims of the book.

4. Write a two-page journal entry in which you reflect personally on how this course as a whole, or a particular reading from the course, has had an impact on your thinking about religion and theology.
Note: Since this is a personal question, there is no right or wrong answer. You will be graded based on the thoughtfulness and substantive nature of your journal entry.






Religion and Theology

Prompt #1: Conflict between Faith and Reason

Religious beliefs have always been justified through faith and reason. Owing to the fact that both sources can allegedly serve the same epistemic purpose, many theologians and philosophers have been intrigued by the relationship between the two and how the claims of faith and reason should be handled by rational agents. Some philosophers and theologians claim that there can be no conflict between the two, since once faith is properly understood and reason is properly employed, then there can be no contradictory claims. The central claim of faith is that God exists. As claimed by Descartes, it is impossible for me to exist with the kind of nature that I have . . . it is clear enough that He cannot be a deceiver. From Descartes argument, only a supernatural being can create mankind and all that exists around since humans are incapable of doing so themselves. God’s existence forms the very basis of religion and this is the reason why scientists have contradictory views concerning religion since their claims are based on empirical truth. However, faith and reason are interdependent since some scientific claims are supplemented by valid theological claims and vice versa. As stated by Einstein, science is lame without religion and religion is blind without science. Proving that God exists then brings the topic of evil. God gave humans the freedom of choice, meaning that they can decide to do good or evil. Atheists argue that evil cannot exist with God, since God is righteous and their claims disapproves the Christian faith. However, Augustine of Hippo claimed that evil comes from original sin and that it has nothing to do with God, but rather, human beings have the right to decide between good and evil. According to the argument, it is not God who created evil, instead, evil originated from sin which was committed by mankind.

The issue of abortion also provides proof of the relationship between faith and reason. Religion goes against abortion since it is considered as murder. Since God is the giver of life, then he alone has the right to take it away. Nonetheless, on a reasonable point of view, it is also immoral to abort since it would deny the baby a right to life, which is constitutional. As stated by Thompson, the woman carrying the child has to accede to the situation since it would be morally incumbent. Oppression has also been an important part of the course since it touches on marginalization, exploitation, violence, and imperialism. However, although the dominant groups are more superior and have liberty over the marginalized groups, the marginalization enables the groups to gain access to knowledge that is inaccessible by the dominant groups. For example, although women are discriminated and face oppression in the society, Johnson states that being bearers and sustainers of life, women found new meaning in God as a God of life. This means that amidst all the oppression and discrimination, the oppressed find solace and comfort in God through the revelation of knowledge that is only available to the weak. Such an understanding is only possible through faith. Overall, the course has vividly examined the concept of faith and reason to distinguish the conflict and relationship between the two. The theories, hypothesis, and beliefs created to understand the relationship between the two have proven to some degree that there is no conflict between faith and reason.

Prompt #2: The Concept of Privilege for Minority Groups

Justice has always been a burning issue for most societies in the world. Whenever matters of inequality arise, there are always disadvantaged groups that are the main focus of attention. Such groups normally include minority races, disabled persons ...

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