RELI 448N Assignment Comparative Religion Grid

Sample Answer for RELI 448N Assignment Comparative Religion Grid Included After Question

Instructions

Within Christianity there are three major traditions: Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestantism. Your assignment for this week is to complete a Comparative Religions Grid (Week 6 Assignment Template above) comparing these three traditions. The grid is divided into five segments, each segment has varying numbers of categories. Each category is to be compared across all of the three religions. They will not always agree; sometimes they will.

Using the assignment template (in Required Resources), do the following:

  1. Use your text, lesson, the Internet and at least 3 scholarly sources (one per religion) to engage in comparative research. If using the Internet, our goal is an official source for that religion. Examples:
  2. Fill in all boxes on the Comparative Religions Grid.
    • Do not leave blanks
    • Be as focused and analytical as possible. Using one or two sentence answers will often work; or phrases or short paragraphs may be needed. The box size will increase as you write in it, but long paragraphs are discouraged.
    • Include short descriptions for each term or individual introduced, not just a word. E.G. Moses, Jew to whom God gave the 10 commandments. Be as simple and as concise as possible; yet, give as much detail as is needed.
    • If you use a quote, cite your source. E.G. Gen.1:26; Molloy, 2019, p. 32; Chamberlain, 2020, Week 6, 4; etc.
  3. Complete a reference list for all cited sources.
  4. Complete the 300-500-word reflection at the end, assessing what you learned through this exercise and how it impacts your own religious views or your professional experience.

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A Sample Answer For the Assignment: RELI 448N Assignment Comparative Religion Grid

Title: RELI 448N Assignment Comparative Religion Grid

The Basics

Category or QuestionCatholicismEastern OrthodoxProtestant
Founder or foundersJesus Christ, according to Sacred traditionJesus Christ, according to sacred traditionMartin Luther
Description of GodThere is only one God who is omnipotent and infinite, and in the unity of God, there are three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.Similar to Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy believes in a single God from a triple nature: The Trinity.The Trinity, comprising the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is the one and only God.
Message of the religion in one sentenceJesus is the Son of God and the savior of humanity, who came to earth to redeem humanity’s sinsy assuming human form, God enabled human beings to be renewed according to the image of GodThe faith in Christ is sufficient alone for salvation and all the needed teachings come only from the Bible.
Number of world followersApproximately 1.1 billionApproximately 225-300 million800 million to 1 billion
Geographic distributionWidespread across the world but mainly located in Europe and Latin America.Mainly located in Eastern EuropeProtestantism remains the most popular religion in the countries that were the most affected by the Reformation, including Nordic countries and the United Kingdom. Besides, it has rapidly spread in Asia, Africa, Oceania, and South America.
One image that captures the essence of the religion

2. History and Development

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Category or QuestionCatholicismEastern orthodoxProtestant
Where and when did it originate?1st century CE in Judea11th century CE in the Roman Empire16th century in Germany
Identify any schisms or splits.The Great Schism (July 16, 1054 CE), that split Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.The Great Schism (July 16, 1054 CE), that split Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.The Reformation of the 16th century marked the separation of Protestantism from the Roman Catholic Church
Identify two key historical figures.Saint Peter, one of the apostles and considered the first Pope. Pope John Paul II, head of the Catholic Church from 1978 to 2005.Gregory Palamas, 14th century Byzantine Greek ecclesiastic, known for his defense of Hesychast spirituality. Nicodemus the Hagiorite, greek monk and author, known for his ascetic prayer literature.  Martin Luther, the Augustinian monk who led the Reformation: and John Calvin, pastor during the Reformation and founder of Calvinism.
Identify two key historical events.The Edict of Milan (33 CE) declared religious tolerance and, therefore, ending the persecution of Christians The foundation of the Inquisition (1229 CE) in response to heresy.The second Church of the Holy Wisdom was built (532-537 CE) in Constantinople. It was the center of the Eastern Orthodox Church for nearly a century. The East-West Schism (1054 CE) caused the separation of the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Catholic Church.The publication of the ‘Ninety-five Theses’ by Martin Luther (1517). The declaration of the   Edict of Nantes by Henry IV of France (1598), which declared religious tolerance towards the Protestant minority of the nation.
Describe historical relations with the two other religions.It shared communion with the Eastern Orthodox Church until the Great Schism.It shared communion with the Roman Catholic Church until the Great Schism.Protestants separated from the Roman Catholic Church.

3. Sense of the Sacred

Category or QuestionCatholicismEastern orthodoxProtestant
Sacred text/book and how it is dividedThe Catholic Bible with old and new Testament, including the deuterocanonical books.The Eastern-Greek Orthodox Bible, with old and new Testament, is based on the New KingJames Version.The Protestant Bible with old and new Testament, not including the deuterocanonical books.
Sacred scripture (two key quotations)“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21) “Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13)  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 118 [119]:105) “God has seen everything; God has heard everything; God has listened” (Psalm 151:4)“For in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) “Accept my teachings and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and you will find rest for your lives. The burden that I ask you to accept is easy; the load I give you to carry is light.”  (Matthew 11:29-30)
One key sacred symbolCrucifix, that displays Jesus on the crossThe Russian Orthodox CrossA naked cross
What sacred places of worship are calledChurch, Basilica, CathedralChurch, Cathedra, and Orthodox templeChurch, Temple, Cathedral, Chapel
Sacred places:  two key specific sitesThe Vatican and the Sepulchre in Jerusalem St. George’s Cathedral in Istanbul Mount Athos in northeastern GreeceThe Garden Tomb in Jerusalem The Holy Land
Sacred officials and who qualifies Pope, bishop, cardinal, priest. Those who qualify are baptized, men.    Patriarch, a metropolitan, bishop, archbishop, who are unmarried men over 40 years old and members of the Church.Minister, pastor, priest, deacon, elder, bishop. Requirements vary depending on the branch of Protestantism.
Role of the laity“They contribute to the sanctification of the world by fulfilling their respective duties in the home, the workplace, and the public forum” (Bernardin, 1996).  “The laity are ordained to make the Church the acceptance of that gift [the gift of God]” (Schmemann, 2012).“The the ideal role of the laymen is to act as assistants to the clergy”  (Harrison, 1960)
Sacred times: two important holy daysChristmas and EasterChristmas and EasterChristmas and Easter
Sacred day weeklySundaySundaySunday
Sacred ritual: weeklyMass or EucharistDivine LiturgySunday worship services
Number of sacramentsSeven (Baptism, Eucharist, confirmation, reconciliation, anointing of the sick, marriage, holy orders)Seven (baptism, chrismation, Communion, holy orders, penance, anointing of the sick, and marriage)Most protestant churches practice only two sacraments (baptism, eucharist)
Sacrament of initiationBaptismBaptismBaptism
Sacred objectsPaten and chaliceThe Holy TableThe Cross

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4. Theology (Beliefs)

Category or QuestionCatholicismEastern orthodoxProtestant
Three central teachingsThe Bible is the revealed word of God Jesus died to redeem humanity’s sins One can attain salvation with faith, charity, and righteousness.  “Almighty God created man after His own image and likeness (cf. Genesis 1:26), and bestowed upon him endowments to fulfill his destiny” (Mastrantonis, 2015) “Almighty God in His compassion and love prepared for this regeneration of man by sending His Son, Jesus Christ the Savior” (Mastrantonis, 2015) Jesus Christ is “the only Redeemer by Whom and in Whom man’s personal salvation is wrought” (Mastrantonis, 2015)The Holy Scriptures are the only foundation for faith and practice. Individual are justified by faith alone Salvation comes by grace alone (Montgomery, 2019)  
Nature of the divineThere is only one God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and in his unity, there are three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus has two natures: human and divine.There is only one God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and in his unity, there are three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus has two natures: human and divine.There is only one God who is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, and in his unity, there are three persons: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus has two natures: human and divine.
Is there a central sacred story that is the most important one?The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Creation storyGod created Heaven and Earth in 7 days, as told in the book of Genesis.God created Heaven and Earth in 7 days, as told in the book of Genesis.God created Heaven and Earth in 7 days, as told in the book of Genesis.
Belief in afterlifeLife after death for everyone after the Final Judgement, with “good” people going to Heaven and “bad” people going to Hell. Catholics also believe in Purgatory.Life after death for everyone after the Final Judgement, with “good” people going to Heaven and “bad” people going to Hell. There is no Purgatory.Life after death for everyone after the Final Judgement, with “good” people going to Heaven and “bad” people going to Hell. There is no Purgatory
Problem of evil“Sin is an abuse of the freedom that God gives to created persons so that they are capable of loving him and loving one another” (John Paul II, 1992)“God did not create anything evil: both Angels and humans, as well as the material world, are good and beautiful by nature. However, rational creatures, possessing free will, can direct their freedom against God and thereby engender evil” (Father George, 2017)According to John Calvin, “God regulates and directs the actions of each individual to the specific and proper end by his will, so that each person’s every action is disposed by God’s deliberate will, ultimately to achieve the divine purpose (…) We sin under the necessity imposed by the evil and perverse nature which we have inherited from Adam”. (Reichenbach, 1988)
Violence and non-violenceEmphasis on nonviolence: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39)Emphasis on nonviolence: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39)Emphasis on nonviolence: “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also” (Matthew 5:39)
Belief in Martyrs? Provide an example.Yes, Justin Martyr, the early Christian apologistYes, St. George who was sentenced to death for refusing to recant his Christian faithYes: Thomas Hitton, considered to be the first English Protestant martyr of the Reformation
Is there a messiah figure? Explain.Jesus Christ is considered the Messiah, the Saviour of HumanityJesus Christ is considered the Messiah, the Saviour of HumanityJesus Christ is considered the Messiah, the Saviour of Humanity
Is it a universal or local religion? Explain.“Catholic” means “universal”. It is called that way due to its worldwide extension.It is universal because it has members all over the world who share the same faith regardless of their nationality or local customs.It is universal because it has members all over the world who share the same faith regardless of their nationality or local customs.
A theological issue of debate currentlyCan Catholic women become Deacons?The formation of the new Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU)Should homosexuals be allowed to get married?
Belief in Apostolic successionCatholicism poses that the ministry of the apostles continues in the Church, and they have been transmitted through ages“It is through Apostolic succession that the Orthodox Christian Church is the spiritual successor to the original body of believers in Christ that was composed of the Holy Apostles. This succession manifests itself through the unbroken succession of its bishops back to the Holy Apostles” (Father George, 2014).Protestants do not believe in Apostolic succession.
Presence of Christ in Eucharist and who may receive itThey believe in the transubstantiation, in which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Only members of the Church may receive it.They believe in the transubstantiation, in which the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus. Only members of the Church may receive it.The wine and bread act as symbols. There is no transubstantiation. They are offered to any Christian.
Role of MaryMother of God and Mother of the ChurchMary is venerated as Theotokos (Greek: ‘God-bearer’).A holy woman who was chosen to bear the son of God.
Authority of PopeThe Pope is the supreme authority, considered the ‘vicar of Christ’ and successor of Saint Peter.Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople is considered the spiritual leader of the Church but he has no direct jurisdiction outside the Patriarchate of ConstantinopleThere is no centralized figure of authority.

5. Social Issues Beliefs and Engagement

Category or QuestionCatholicismEastern orthodoxProtestant
Social justice workThe Catholic Church actively participates in charitable initiativesThe Eastern Orthodox Church actively participates in charitable initiativesThe Protestant Church actively participates in charitable initiatives
Gender beliefsPatriarchal systemPatriarchal systemThe Reformation encouraged women to impose themselves in society
Beliefs regarding homosexualityRecently accepted by Pope Francis.It is considered a sin.Some churches accept it.
Care of environmentDestroying the environment is a sinHumans are responsible for taking care of the environment. “Christian love is manifest through ‘the right use of material things'” (Theokritoff, 2009).Caring for the environment is a virtue
Searching for common ground with other religions -ecumenism and inter-faithIn 1980, The ‘Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church’ was established in 1980 by the Vatican and 14 autocephalous Orthodox churchesIn 1980, The ‘Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church’ was established in 1980 by the Vatican and 14 autocephalous Orthodox churchesThe Protestant Church remains distrustful of the Catholic Church.
Contemporary controversiesSexual abuse controversiesCultism controversiesViews on gay marriage

6. References

Bernardin, Joseph. (1996), 21: The Laity the Church, and Society. Center for Migration Studies special issues, 13: 151-156. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.2050-411X.1996.tb00128.x Father Joseph. “The Origin of Evil According to the Orthodox Christian Church,” October 3, 2017. http://saintandrewgoc.org/home/2017/10/3/the-origin-of-evil-according-to-the-orthodox-christian-church?fbclid=IwAR022y1IH9E0G5-O14ikZzvEbOvHGoM26sGH0nTlEfknJeuTEqYauIBY_ZA. Harrison, P. M. (1960). Church and the Laity among Protestants. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 332(1), 37-49. John Paul II (1994). Catechism of the Catholic church (p. 2215). London: Geoffrey Chapman. Mastrantonis, George. “The Fundamental Teachings of the Eastern Orthodox Church – Introduction to Orthodoxy Articles – Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.” Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, August 12, 2015. https://www.goarch.org/-/the-fundamental-teachings-of-the-eastern-orthodox-church?fbclid=IwAR3LPpWzZ_sT5_TW9ONsIYOaJf25AR93xKy7AcDKnqlRot4rtOsilQss1m4. Montgomery, Guyton E  (2019). “An Introduction To The Reformation Period”. An Examination Of Religious History: 1500-1700 AD. Reichenbach, B. (1988). Evil and a Reformed View of God. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, 24(1/2), 67-85. Retrieved November 28, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/40024794 Theokritoff, E. (2009). Living in God’s creation: Orthodox perspectives on ecology. St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.    

7. Concluding Thoughts

Write 300-500 words assessing what you learned through this exercise and how it impacts your own religious views or your professional experience.|
Christianity is the world’s largest religion. Christians represent the majority of the population. Nevertheless, Christian beliefs are very heterogeneous, and the different branches of Christianity have made it a very complex religion. Throughout history, Christianity has been fractionated into multiple branches. Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy are the most important branches of Christianity. They have a common origin in the message of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader of Jewish origin. His followers, the early Christians, were a small sect that started to grow until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.            

Jesus’ message was revolutionary, striking, and very powerful. He preached about love and compassion while abandoning the Jewish tradition. The message was very clear: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37) and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39).  However, his followers eventually started to disagree with the nature of his doctrine. This caused the eventual fragmentation of Christianity into multiple branches, each one with their particular interpretations of Jesus’ message. Comparing and contrasting the particularities of each one of the major branches of Christianity has helped me to broaden my understanding of the Christian faith. While doing this exercise, I realized that these religious groups have more similarities than differences.

Initially, I believed that there would be more differences, especially on their perspectives on the nature of Jesus’ divinity, the role of Mary, the Holy Days, and the nature of the Eucharist, Nevertheless, the differences that I spotted were very small, and it is clear that they agree in the core principles of Christianity, the message of love and compassion that Jesus gave. This exercise made me reflect on how dogmas are the cause of so much hate in the world. Christians, who were once united in the concepts of love and compassion, were separated because of dogmas.

Personally, this made me question how I live my religious experience, and how it is influenced by dogmas. In this light, I believe that one should live according to love and compassion, not according to dogmas. True religion should be about listening to others instead of imposing an idea. I hope that one day all Christians, as well as people from other religious beliefs, understand the message Pope Francis wanted to give when he said “all Christians are disciples of Christ: that they are one, that they are brothers! He [the devil] doesn’t care if they are Evangelicals or Orthodox, Lutherans, Catholics or Apostolic… He doesn’t care! They are Christians!”.