Write a 525- to 750-word paper that addresses the following topics:
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- What is essential (in the practices and beliefs) for a tradition to be called a religion? Illustrate your points by referring to the commonalities of at least 2 different religions. Include specific examples from the various religious traditions described in the Week 1 readings, such as a belief in one God or many gods and goddesses, the removal of one’s shoes before entering a place of worship, bathing and baptism as methods of spiritual purification, or refusing to eat certain types of meat. You may also include examples from your own religious tradition or another religious tradition with which you are familiar.
- What place does religion have in making ethical decisions? Include specific examples of situations involving ethics faced by members of a religion today. Reflect on your own spiritual beliefs, how have your ethics been influenced personally or professionally? If you hold no spiritual beliefs, consider how individuals you may know or work with are faced with ethical decisions that are influenced by their beliefs.
- Consider what you know about religion today. What are some modern issues that may be affecting religious traditions? How are these religions handling these issues?