World religions

Write an essay on ONE of the following topics

  • Set length is 2000 words and a word limit of +/-10% applies
  • This essay is worth 40% of final mark
  • All work submitted should be properly referenced in the Oxford style as outlined in the Faculty Arts Assignment Preparation and Style Guide:


1. Is it possible to have a sympathetic understanding of religion if you are not a religious believer yourself? And if you are a religious believer, is it possible to have a sympathetic understanding of a religion other than your own?

2. What makes an experience a religious experience? And what makes a human or social phenomenon a religious phenomenon?

3. Are the four social classes of Hinduism and their many elaborations an essential part of
the religion? And if so, does this mean that Hinduism is unjust to its members?

4. What is the practice of yoga and how does it relate to Hindu religion?

5. Select any passage from the Vedas or other Hindu writings in your text book and explain
its religious significance.

6. What do Hindus understand by “atman” and by “Brahman” and how are they related?

7. What for Hindus, is the ultimate life-goal? And is the doctrine of reincarnation essential to Hindu belief?

8. Many religions place importance on a founding story. For example, Jews recount the story of their liberation from Egypt by Moses, and Christians tell the story of Jesus. What is the central story for Buddhism and why is it important?

9. What is the goal of human life for Buddhists?

10. What does it mean to say that we have no “self” and why is this idea significant for Buddhists?

11. What is the importance of the notion of ‘emptiness” in the Madhyamika school of Buddhism?

12. What do you make of “The Mu Koan”?

13. Any topic of your choosing that is directly related to the first five weeks of study in this unit (i.e. topics 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Study Guide). Your topic must be developed in consultation with your tutor: you MUST contact us for approval and assistance in developing and refining your topic BEFORE beginning the research and writing processes.

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