Recall that Prothero noted at the end of his article that life’s deep questions often lead people to look at various religious traditions for answers. This article expands on that insight and provides us with some further tools for studying religious traditions. Before you read the article, please look up the author like you did with the first assignment. His full name is Dr. William Portier… you will find that he knows a little bit about the University of Dayton!
As you read, consider the following questions and provide your responses as an attached file or in the text box below:
1. Portier spends a lot of time in the first half of this article talking about human experience. Please write a short paragraph (4-6 sentences) explaining what you think he is trying to tell us about human experience and its potential connection to religious traditions.
2. Recall that we talked briefly in class Thursday about the difficulties with talking about “religion” in the abstract. Portier’s discussion of the concept of “tradition” in this article will help us get around those problems. In your own words, please explain what you think Portier means by the term “tradition” here.
3. Towards the end of the chapter, Portier says that tradition is “both limiting and enabling/freeing.” Pick a tradition that you are a member of and explain how it both limits you and enables/frees you. (If you aren’t sure what to choose, notice that you are all members of the tradition of being students at the University of Dayton… there are certain things about this that limit you and that free you!)
4. Think back to our discussion of Prothero and his vision of studying religious traditions (multiple mountain metaphor). Tell me one way that Prothero and Portier are similar in how they seem to understand religions, and one way that they are different. (Don’t worry if you aren’t sure about this one… I will not grade this question too harshly)