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Tag: reli 101 (page 1 of 2)

Religion’s Attempt to Rescue

While attempting to answer the God Question in our day and time is truly difficult, it is not impossible. Religion attempts to address the God Question and provide a belief framework by which a person can live.

Religion may be defined simply as “the center of life that gives meaning.” Religion is a framework for life. Each religion attempts to answer the questions conflicting the soul of mankind and provide a structure for how one should live.

Many people love piecing together complex puzzles. The more pieces there are, the more complex the process. The number of pieces within a puzzle normally signifies what age person should attempt each one. As a child matures, his parents expect him to solve more complex puzzles with smaller pieces.

Imagine attempting to put together a thousand piece puzzle. The pieces of this puzzle are small enough that each one does not immediately reveal its proper context. Now imagine attempting the puzzle without the aid of the puzzle box top.

Many people would quit at just the thought. The box top is essential to constructing a puzzle. From the box top, one receives clues that a green piece most likely belongs in the patch of grass in the painting or the white on blue is a piece of the cirrus clouds at the top. Without the box top, one is aimlessly guessing his way through one thousand pieces hoping to find something that goes together.

Religions attempt to provide a box top for life. The puzzle is not instantaneously solved, but an observing student knows where to begin. Piece by piece, the whole picture begins to take shape.

All the questions in the hearts of people throughout history could all be considered a piece in the puzzle. Why do bad things happen to good people? Who is considered a good person? How could a loving God allow natural disasters? Where does one go after death? Why does injustice exist for the oppressed and downtrodden people of the world?

These, and many more, are independent questions, but they are each pieces of the puzzle. Addressed independently, a person will go mad, but addressed as a whole, a picture emerges. Religions provide a framework from which to handle such questions. A religion’s theodicy (the problem of God’s and evil’s coexistence) has a lot to do with it’s soteriology (the beliefs concerning salvation).

Apart from the box top, one has difficulty constructing the whole picture, Without religion, one has difficulty making sense of all the elements of life.

RELI 101: Sacred Texts & Ideas (What Exactly Does That Mean? and Other FAQs)

01 - Introduction.001

I’m teaching RELI 101: Sacred Texts & Ideas at Lander University again next semester.  The time for the class is Tues-Thurs from 1:15-2:45.  I’ve had some questions about the course, so I thought I would provide some answers this morning.

  1. What does “Sacred Texts & Ideas” mean anyway? I didn’t come up with the title, in fact, before me, no one had ever taught the class at Lander.  It’s basically an introduction into religion, faith, and the scriptures of differing faiths.  Its an intro to fundamental religious thought.
  2. Is it easy? That depends upon how you define easy.  I am fair, and the class is spelled out.  I used to hate classes where I didn’t know what to expect from professors, so that is why I spell everything out in the beginning.  My two previous classes would say it was interesting and you know what’s expected of you.  Most people got really good grades.
  3. What do you cover? In addition to faith, the concept of God, arguments for the existence of God, the nature of Scripture, we also look at five major world religions and their scriptures: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
  4. What does it count as? It can be a general elective, but if you get a course substitution form and work with your advisor, it can count as a humanities elective.
  5. I don’t know if I can take it this semester, will you teach it next year? Possibly.  I didn’t teach it this semester due to Lander having to cut most adjunct faculty due to budget reasons.  So if they ask me to teach it again, I will teach again.  If they ask me to teach something else, I’ll probably do that as well.  As long as its not math.  Wouldn’t be too good.
  6. Is there a project? The big assignment of the semester comes towards the end of the class, and its very simple.  You must answer the question “Why do you believe what you believe?”  You don’t receive grades due to what you believe, your grade will come out of can you articulate why you believe that way.  Answers such as “that’s what my mom taught me,” or “I grew up that way” do not suffice.  You have to really do some soul-searching and some study for this deal.  Students love this project.  It is challenging, but you come out way stronger in the end.

Hope that answers your questions.  If you have any more, feel free to comment and I will answer them for you.  Hope to see you there!

Final Exam

Its 8:10.  I am giving my final exam for RELI 101 at Lander.  Don’t the students look so studious.  They have worked so hard, they are all going to make A’s on this one.

Well, maybe not everyone…

It’s been an honor to teach this crew this semester.  They have really thought through some sacred texts and ideas this semester.

I had the greatest compliment by Dee this morning.  When we got to class, the door was locked to the room since we were first today.  They still haven’t given me a key to the room yet to which I said maybe they don’t trust me with one.

Dee replied, “Maybe its because you look like one of us.”

She’s getting an A+.

Looking forward to a new group in the Spring (TR 9:45).

Last Fall Class (Exam Time…)

I taught my final class for the Fall semester at Lander today.

It has been a whirlwind of a semester.  I haven’t posted a ton on the class, because honestly I have been so busy just preparing for the class!  That’s why I was crushed to find out the other day that my lecture notes were lost when my computer crashed.

As an encouragement, I got a student’s notes that were so good, I think I have all the necessary information.  I just have to redo the presentations now.

I have to give a final exam on Tuesday morning at 8:00 that focuses on Christianity and Islam with some content from earlier in the semester.  If a student is looking in, you get some hints to the first couple of questions.

I am teaching that class next semester again, and while I was originally hoping to teach an alternating class in the Spring, I think I am pretty excited about not having to create new material for next semester.

So, how would you do on the first question:

  1. Judaism, Chrisitanity, and Islam all claim to have which mas man as the first person in their spiritual heritage?

Leave a comment on your answer…

This Week’s Happenings

This week is busy.  Its busy with good stuff though, but alas it is still busy.  Here’s just a rundown of the stuff that’s keeping me alert this morning:

  • CD Duplication – The company mastering our CD and duplicating them is deep in the process of it now.  North Side Worship “The Time is Now” album is in mass production as we speak.  They had to fix a couple of the fade spots from track to track so they sent me a new copy this week, I approved it, and they are making them now.  Many of the songs fade into each other cause the keys are the same and that type of stuff, so I had to have it just right.  We are hoping they will be here, Sunday, Oct. 12th!
  • Lander BCM – I am speaking the next two weeks at Lander’s BCM.  I am doing a series entitled, “Make or Break” on the two relationships that can make or break your walk with Christ.  I am excited to be doing BCM’s first series, and I hope to see a bunch of you out there tonight as we jump into this topic.  See you at the Baptist Student Center at 9pm (man, I am old, this really seems late to me now…)
  • Harvestfest – Harvestfest is going down this Saturday at 7pm at the Connie Maxwell farm.  Gates open at 5 for free food, and then a concert at 7 by Todd Agnew.  Todd is not a family member of mine, but he was my worship leader at my first Centribreak camp that I went to when I was in seventh grade.  I was a bowlcutted hair-wearing lanky fella back then, and Todd really inspired me concerning music and worship in a church setting.  He was the first person I had ever seen use a guitar in a worship service, and it had a tremendous effect on my life.  Since I am helping with some of the production end of the Harvestfest, I intend on seeing Todd, and saying, “Hey Todd, remember me Travis, when I was in seventh grade, and we had the last name, and we thought that was cool?”  And Todd will answer, “Of course I remember you and your bowlcutted hair-wearing lanky fella.  You were the coolest seventh grader I ever met.”  It’s gonna be sweet.
  • Grading Papers – The first paper is due for my RELI 101 class today.  The majority of the class did really well on the first test, I am hoping they do well on the paper too.  I told the class that they either did really well on the test cause:  a) I am that good of a teacher, or b) the test was too easy.  Man, you should have heard the brown-nosing that took place after that one.

Those are the big boys right now.  Actually, this is a lot more manageable than what it has been.  I am excited to be doing so much right now.  Hope your day goes great!