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Assignment (taken from syllabus): Religion Paper: The student will write a 1000 to 1500-word paper (about 4 to 6 pages) that covers a religious topic from class from a pre-approved list. The student may also ask the instructor to approve another topic. There will be a handout in class to describe this in detail later in the semester. 20% of grade (80 points)

On Written Work (from syllabus):
Criteria for quality written work: Students must show a grasp of the general concepts related to their topic as it connects to class material. Written work will not be graded predominately on grammar and structure, although an excess of spelling errors, poor grammar (and overly poor structure) will result in a lower grade as this will diminish the meaning of the paper in the eyes of the reader. In other words, writing is not the focus, but it matters. Students must appropriately reference and cite their homework where necessary. I prefer Turabian: footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical citation.

Late Work Policy: Late work is frowned upon, but sometimes life issues come up and cause one to be forced to turn work in late. If you know in advance that you will need to turn in something late, please contact the instructor ASAP. Late work will lose 10% of the possible grade per class period late, starting after class begins on the day it is due if there is an appropriate reason. Late work will not be accepted without a proper reason due to the nature of the course assignments other than on the short paper.

What is expected on this paper:
Basically what I am looking for is a 4-6 page, double-spaced paper that engages one of the topics listed below, or a topic you approve with the instructor (I am quite open to letting you do topics that interest you, but they need to be related to the course). You should use 3-5 outside sources for the paper. This can include the textbook or readings from class. You are required to have a bibliography showing what sources you used.
If you are unsure how to organize the paper, I would suggest something like this
1) 0.5 page introduction
2) 2-2.5 pages summarizing the topic
3) 1-2 pages of reflection/critical engagement
4) 0.5-1 page of conclusion

You may share your own religious beliefs, but the majority of the paper should not just be personal reflection.

I realize that you all have different experience writing papers, but what I am mainly looking for is a deeper study/reflection on a religion that interests you. The requirement of the bibliography is partially for your own protection so that you can avoid plagiarism, but you also should use citations where appropriate.

If you turn in a proper length paper that follows guidelines you will most likely receive at least 80%. The idea here is for you to engage a topic and spend time with it. It is only when you start to cut corners that your grade may be substantially reduced. That said, to receive an A, you will need to do excellent work.

Approved Topics:

-A Comparative Paper Looking at Two Different World Religions (you may use Christianity as one of these religions, but be sure to write a balanced paper)
-Religion and Popular Culture (since we wont have covered this yet, you may want to talk to the instructor if you choose this)
-Native American Religions
-African Religions
-Cults and Alternative Religious Groups (try to take this out of just the Christian/American context)
-How Sacred Scriptures Are Developed and Interpreted/Religious Hermeneutics
-Religious Truth Claims
-Morality as It is Viewed in Religious Traditions
-Mysticism and Religious Experience (you can look at this through the lens of one or two religions)
-How Religions Deal with the Problem of Evil
-Feel Free to Submit a Topic to the Professor for Approval Also