1.1 The contemporary context
1. Give two examples from contemporary culture that illustrate the human search for meaning. Examples may be taken from music, art, literature, or youth culture
2. Provide two examples of each of the following key questions that emerge in contemporary culture: the goal and purpose of life; the meaning of good and evil; the experience of suffering
3. Identify cultural factors in contemporary society that can block the search for meaning
4. Give two examples of the contemporary phenomenon of indifference to the search for meaning.
1.2 The tradition of search
1. Give a brief definition and explanation of the nature and purpose of philosophy in terms of the search for meaning and values
2. In the case of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle present a summary of two of their main ideas and explain why each idea was important in the development of philosophy
3. Outline the place of the Sophists in the society of ancient Greece and their importance in the development of philosophical thought
4. On the question of the search for meaning identify and briefly explain three key moments in the development of philosophical thought from the classical to the contemporary period.
2.1 The language of symbol
1. Explain why symbol emerged in the formulation of responses to the questions of life in each case, give an example of the power of symbolic language on – individuals, groups, societies.
2.2 The tradition of response
1. Outline three myths from ancient cultures which attempt to answer key questions
2. Provide evidence of religious behaviour in ancient societies from each of the following: rites of passage and initiation; rites of burial and sacrifice; sacred art and artefacts
3. Provide evidence of the sense of the sacred in contemporary culture
4. Provide evidence of spirituality in contemporary culture
5. Identify three key people in the humanist tradition. In each case, briefly outline one key idea of their teaching
6. Define and explain atheism and agnosticism briefly outline two cosmologies of modern science
7. Briefly explain each of the following non-religious responses to the questions of life: – the secular humanist tradition :– atheism :– agnosticism :– reductionism.
3.1 The gods of the ancients
1. Give two examples of the gods in ancient myths
2. Explain and give two examples of polytheism
3. Describe briefly the emergence of monotheism
4. Explain the concept of God in each of the monotheistic traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
3.2 The concept of revelation
1. Explain the concept of divine revelation
2. Explain the significance of divine revelation in two different religious traditions
3. Show the impact of the concept of divine revelation on religious practice and on the interpretation of religious texts in the two religious traditions
4. Outline the understanding of the transcendent in two religious traditions.
3.3 Naming God, past and present
1. Name and explain three traditional and three contemporary images of God
2. Explain and give an example of each of the following religious interpretations of contemporary human experience: the prophetic, the mystical, the holy, the poetic, the aesthetic
3. Outline the traditional proofs of God in the writings of Anselm, Aquinas, and two others.
4.1 Religion as a source of communal values
1. Outline the relationship between the understanding of the transcendent/God and the concept of the person in two religious traditions
2. Give two examples of how these connections determine behavioural norms in religious traditions.
4.2 Secular sources of communal values
1. Identify three key moments in the emergence of an independent secular value system
2. Show how communal values can be shaped by sources other than religion
3. Describe three different ways in which religions relate to secular culture.