~ Topic Discussion ~ 201 ~ Religion and Belief Systems ~

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~ TLW ~ Topics for Discussion ~ Page Two

Theism, in the field of comparative religion, is the belief that at least one deity exists (could be one or more).

The term ¡°theism¡± derives from the Greek theos, meaning ¡°god¡±.


Monotheism describes the conception of a single God that is found in ChristianityJudaism, and Islam


Atheism is a rejection of theism. As such, it rejects the idea of a God or gods.


Polytheism is the belief in multiple deities, as in the Greek Pantheon, (Zeus, Athena, etc.) and Hinduism.


Belief Systems are sets of mutually supportive beliefs. The beliefs of any such system can be classified as religious, philosophical, ideological, or a combination of these. All of the above may be considered belief systems including Buddhism, which is considered a non-theistic religion.


There are many other means of exploring the universe and/or spirituality, for example, Sikhism or Pantheism.


One might imagine stargazing as a kind of religion, considering we, like some ship, are circling a star.

201Set ~ 1

1) What¡¯s the difference between a philosophy and a religion? Explain. Why do we make a distinction?

2) Most of the world¡¯s belief systems have been listed here. Which do you believe in?  Explain.

3) If you have a religion, why do you believe in it? What benefits/negatives are there? Explain.

4) If you have no religion, explain. What were the events that brought you to such a state of mind?

5) Describe your religion/state of mind. Is it unique? Is it possible to invent your own personal religion?

6) Which religious ideas appeal to you most? Explain. What role does nature have in your religion?

7) Can science take the place of religion. Think of evolution, cosmology, and/or neuroscience.

8) What is ¡°creationism¡± in the Christian sense? How do its proponents explain human history?



201Set ~ 2

1) Are there any religions that don¡¯t seem plausible, or even possible? Does religious fraud exist? Give examples.

2) If you could produce change in any organized religion, what would you focus on? How? Who? Why?

3) Do you think we need religion to fight against ¡°bad people¡± (such as terrorists)? Give reasons. Explain.

4) What is the best way to counter religion-related violence and terrorist attacks (such as ISIS)? Explain.

5) Are there cultural scenarios in religion that don¡¯t seem positive, or even acceptable? Why do they exist?

6) Can you give any advice to young people regarding religion and living? Do you think religion matters to them?

7) When you look up at the sky at night and see the stars, what do you think? Explain our place in the Universe.


Follow up ~ Try to make some of your own questions regarding religions and belief systems.

~ Discuss with a teacher, in pairs, or in groups ~ Then share your results in a classroom discussion ~

1) To begin with, in groups or in pairs, select the questions you¡¯d like to talk about. 

2) Then, in pairs or in groups, ask questions and share ideas in your conversations .

3) Finally, share your ideas (as a whole) in a classroom discussion (with all pairs/groups).


For specifics, see TLW Classroom Lesson Procedures: Click here     Click to print QUESTIONS/QUESTIONS

Adapted from Wikipedia


religion is an organized collection of beliefscultural systems, and world views that relate humanity to an order of existence. Many religions have narrativessymbols, and sacred histories that aim to explain the meaning of life, the origin of life, or the Universe. From their beliefs about the cosmos and human nature, people may derive moralityethicsreligious laws or a preferred lifestyle.

The word religion is sometimes used interchangeably with  faith. However, in the words of Émile Durkheim, religion differs from private belief in that it is "something eminently social".


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