Discuss the specific way in which your news story addresses or relates to those theme(s).

Select a particular story concerning religion in recent news that relates in some way to a
theme that we have discussed in this course. Your example could involve an aspect of
the nature of human identity, the meaning of life or death, religion and morality, reward
or punishment, religious diversity, or some other basic religious idea or belief relevant
to the course. You should feel encouraged to explore other media and sources
for current affairs.

After you have selected your example, research to identify different perspectives on the
story or different ways it has been discussed in the media. You will need to identify and
cite 2-4 different sources addressing the story that show the substantive issues being
raised in connection with your topic. When you’ve completed that research, write a
paper that has the following structure and covers all the relevant questions:

(1) Write an introductory paragraph outlining the argument and structure of
your paper and offering your reader a clear roadmap of the essay to follow.
Identify the particular news story you’ve chosen as the focus of your paper, the
theme(s) you plan to address, and the thinker(s) from our readings you intend to
employ, and then point the reader toward your conclusion.

(2) Give a brief overview of the news story you’ve selected, assuming your reader
has no familiarity with it. This summary should focus on its relation to the
specific theme(s)–the soul, human identity, life after death, the problem of evil,
religious diversity, etc.–you have chosen to identify and discuss.

(3) Discuss the specific way in which your news story addresses or relates to
those theme(s). What presuppositions or assumptions do different people
involved in the story (including reporters) seem to have about the issue in
question? How do those presuppositions or assumptions help shape the way the
story is framed? What relevance does the story have to discussions of the nature
of human identity or existence, or reward and punishment, or other specific
issues we’ve explored together?

(4) How does your selection relate to the readings we’ve done thus far this
semester? In this discussion, focus particularly on TWO specific thinkers or texts
from our readings that help you understand or interpret the theme(s) raised in
your news story. What particular light do those authors shed on this story or its

(5) Write a final paragraph, restating your themes, thinkers, and evidence.
Conclude by explaining the significance of your argument. Why is it interesting
or significant that this particular news story does (or doesn’t) correspond with the
thinkers you selected?

Provide a bibliography of the sources you have compiled in your research on the topic,
using a standard academic format (we prefer the Chicago Manual of Style format, but
you’re free to use a different standard format if you prefer). You must also provide
citations to all the sources you use (including websites, news media, and academic
sources) in a standard recognized citation form. Your paper must be typed doublespaced (in a standard 12-point font).

The body of your paper (excluding footnotes and bibliography) should be no longer than
1000 words–DO NOT EXCEED THIS LIMIT. This means that you should be focused
and succinct in your reflections, aiming to illustrate efficiently that you have found a
substantive topic or controversy and that you understand the basic perspectives of
different parties involved in the dispute. You will be graded on both of these factors, as
well as the clarity of your writing.