A world religion paper can seem intimidating at first. Simply break the religion down into smaller elements can help. One is an overview of the origins. Then, address the "three Cs": Creed (teachings and meaning of life), Code (ethical standards, rules and customs), and Cult (worship methods and rituals). Sticking to the three Cs makes a religion essay of any length more manageable.
Write about the origins of the religion. Every religion traces itself back to a particular founder, a particular people or the religious experience of a particular person. All religions have a history. Explore that history in the first section of the religion paper.
Write about the religion's major beliefs: creed. All religions have developed doctrines, which shape the methods for teaching, studying and passing along the religion. Some of these doctrines are written down in books, like the Bible or the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Others are passed down orally from generation to generation. In the second section of your religious essay, explore some of the major teachings of the religion.
Write about the religion's ethical code: code. Most religions have concerns about the behavior of followers. Codes direct right ways and wrong ways to act. Sometimes, acting correctly brings benefits and acting incorrectly brings punishment. In the third section of your paper, explore the religion's approach to morals.
Write about the religion's major rituals: cult. Rituals reinforce the community's sense of purpose and also help people get through crucial times in their life, such as the birth of a child, puberty, marriage, and the death of a loved one. In the last section of the religion essay, explore two or three of the religion's characteristic rituals.
- The Study of Religion in an Age of Global Dialogue; Leonard Swidler & Paul Mojzes; 2000
- Remember that different religions originate in cultures with different languages. It's important to get the names of historical figures and rituals right, to spell them correctly, and to not make assumptions about meaning that can't be substantiated by the texts.
- To avoid accusations of plagiarism, cite all your sources.