William A. Young, The World’s Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues

  • TEXTBOOKS
  • William A. Young, The World’s Religions: Worldviews and Contemporary Issues, Fourth Ed. (ISBN: 0205917615)
  • Harry R. Moody, The Five Stages of the Soul (ISBN: 9780385486774)
  • Reflection Paper, Assignment  Instructions:Reflection Paper, Assignment #5

Prompt: (Write on 2 of the 5 questions below, OR, you may write about two of your own questions, from the chapter on Judaism, that were of particular interest to you.)

  1. In broad terms, how does the monotheistic worldview of Judaism differ from the worldviews of Eastern religious traditions we’ve already discussed (in particular, Buddhism, Daoism, and Confucianism)?  How does the idea of a personal Creator God in Judaism differ from Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian ideas about the sacred/ultimate/spiritual?

2.     Do you think the stories in the Hebrew bible are “true” literally or symbolically? Can stories which may not be true in every literal detail still be morally edifying? 

3.     Think about and reflect on some of the most important themes discussed in this chapter in regard to Jewish history—covenant with a transcendent and personal God, exile, suffering, and messianism.  How does this history serve to inform the Jewish worldview and experience of faith?  

4.     According to Judaism, humans are not inherently sinful (as they are understood to be in the Christian worldview), but rather, we as humans have a tendency to “miss the mark.”  What in human nature causes us to “miss the mark”?  How do we get back on the “right path”, according to Judaism, and what role does free will/choice play in this?

5.     Reflect on the following saying by 20th century writer of Jewish heritage Franz Kafka: “The messiah will come only when he is no longer necessary.”  What do you think Kafka is suggesting here?

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