First Writing Assignment: Reductionist Theories of Religion Application
Due: Tuesday June 10
Length: 2 pages, double spaced, 12 pt font, 1” margins
Papers will be submitted in hard copy to professor, and to assignments tab on Isidore. They will automatically be checked by TurnItIn.com for plagiarism.
This assignment provides the opportunity to apply one of the theories of religion to a contemporary religious phenomenon. In this context, “phenomena” means “thing”—some religious activity, practice, belief, institution or symbol, etc. No secondary research is necessary. Please do not seek outside resources on the web or in journals.
Choose a religious phenomenon from your own experience, such as the practices of your family, friends, peers, religious community, the culture around you, or in popular culture (consider music, film, television, news, political rhetoric, etc).
Note that what counts as “Religion” depends on the theory. Tyler is looking for a religion with a
God and believers. Durkheim can see Memorial day services at a Military cemetery as religion.
Analyze it using one of the reductionist theories from Pals’ 8 Theories of Religion: Tyler, Frazer,
Marx, Freud, Durkheim
In your paper you must:
1. Chose a theory and describe what elements of the theory you will use
Examples: Durkheim, positive ritual; Taylor, contagious magic, Freud, religion as comforting illusion, etc. Anything from the 5 reductionists we studied.
2. Apply it to an example that you have witnessed or experienced. It is fine if you wish to make this personal and use the word “I.” (You do not have to be personal.)
-Freud’s notion of religion as a