You have read and discussed FTs’ criticisms of traditional religions, both about concepts of “God”/the sacred, the symbols, and the effects on individuals and societies. You have considered FTs’ suggestions for change, both reclaiming traditions and envisioning new religion/spirituality. Now, in conversation with FTs and your own religious tradition, what is your direction—reclaiming by reform or envisioning something new? And how? Also see all the questions below.
Consider what is good about your tradition, an authentic “norm”/vision/message/model of reality/”God”-sacred concept and good effects for society even if there are contradictions. (There are resources for this in the work of those reclaiming/ reforming, and use your own experience and/or observations.)
Or why do you think tradition cannot be reformed (resources to be found in Units IVB and V).
What are your sources and methods, and your norm (on “norm” and “sources,” see reading notes for Patriarchy and “some points” below).
You may not have come to a firm direction; you may have more questions than you have answers. Informedquestionsare key. This essay is about the process of your reflection. This is doing theology, and yes, you can do it, have been doing it. The top criterion for grading is your engagement with FTs, selecting and understanding main points, as you reflect on your tradition.
Some may ask, what if I see no need to change my tradition? Are FTs’ criticisms (summarize them) not legitimate or just not applicable to your tradition? For either reason, explain why not. Consider:
Can there be a difference between branches of your tradition ( sikhism) and/or between your experience within your tradition (sikhism) and others’ experience?
Do you think societies are fine or not? What part does religion play in the rights and wrongs of society?
What is the vision/norm of your tradition and how do you experience it being carried out today?
Others might ask, what if I don’t consider myself religious or have no tradition? Consider a spacious view of religion as a world view and concern with ultimate questions (the “Ps”). And is it possible that the dominant religious world view of your culture has had no effect on you?
Look at effects on society, for good and/or ill, for example in ideas of right and wrong, for values and policies.
Address the issues FTs raise, whether you think there’s a need for changes or not, what kind you think preferable, and your reasons.
Or, what if my tradition is different from the ones we have focused on? Consider the issues raised by FTs in relation to what you know about your tradition (from experience, observation or hearsay). You may expand knowledge from talking to family and community (as well as research). The FTs’ issues, questions and methods you would bring to examination of your tradition could be a good essay. And contact me.
Some points to consider about FTs:A religion’s core principles or norm/vision (which is the basis of a theologian’s truth claim, ask how you understand yours); contradictions of the “norm” in the history/life of the tradition; patriarchy’s world view, its distortions and its effects for everyone, not just females; interaction between symbol systems, social facts, individual sense of self; political consequences of different theologies; how to deal with the tension between any theology’s particularity of cultures, experiences and perspectives, and its quest for universal truth; the variety of sources and methods for doing theology.
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