In the vast majority of societies there is a segment of the population (either small or large) that believes in god(s). Yet, if we look across societies the beliefs are quite different. For some there is one god, for others there are many. For some, god is male and for others god is female or non-gender specific. Do you believe god exists? One of the intriguing things about the question of whether or not god exists is that from an empirical standpoint there is no answer. There is no way to empirically determine the existence, or lack of existence, of god. This is the whole concept of faith. If god’s existence could be determined there would be no need for faith. The purpose of this assignment is for you to use your sociological imagination to explore the social construction of god. Why do you believe what you believe (or don’t believe) concerning god (both his/her/its existence as well as his/her/its manifestation (i.e. characteristics, attributes, etc.)? How have social institutions (religion, education, family, political, economic, etc.) and cultural factors influenced your beliefs? How might your social class, race/ethnicity, ancestry, geography, or other factors have played a role in shaping your beliefs? Strong assignments will go beyond simplistic explanations (e.g. “I believe _______ because my parents brought me up to believe _______” ), demonstrate your ability to use the sociological imagination to examine MACRO-
LEVEL social, cultural, and structural forces, and will draw on concepts and ideas from the course materials that help explain the processes by which you have “chosen” one social construction of god over others.
REMEMBER…the point of is NOT to convince the reader that your belief or attitude is correct,but to explain FROM A SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE why you believe it.
Papers will be graded based on the following criteria:
Content (80%): How well have you demonstrated your ability to use your sociological imagination to explain why you believe what you believe? To what degree have you been able to identify and discuss the macro cultural and structural processes that have shaped your beliefs? Have you been able to offer an objective analysis? How well have you drawn on course material to support your claims (lectures, readings, films, etc.)? Presentation (20%): Writing and Style—this includes quality of writing, grammar, overall presentation (was the paper proofread, etc.) and were the directions followed. Strong papers will be well organized and demonstrate a consistent flow the presents your ideas ib