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3.7: Study Questions
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- From the descriptions offered in this chapter, with which of the ways do you find yourself most sympathetic and with which are you least sympathetic? Which do you think you best have a sense of at this stage and which do you think you understand least? For those you understand least, identify those features that seem most puzzling or off-putting to you and try to find out more about them by asking your instructor or doing some library research. You may find helpful reading whichever chapter of Part III that presents at length an example from Buddhism and Christianity of the way you seek to understand more.
- In the interest of building a good, working understanding of each of the ways, put in your own words what you understand each way to be about and share your interpretation with others who are trying to do the same thing. Allow your interpretation to be revised through the process of discussion. See if you can come up with a couple of good examples illustrating the main features of each way and then find out to what extent others working on the same project agree with your examples.
- Discuss the relations between the ways as they are arranged on the diagram at the beginning of the section Relating the Ways to Each Other and to Personality Types. Do you notice any interesting relations between the ways that were not identified in this section? Explore the suggestion that the ways opposite each other on the circle complement each other and perhaps may be capable of helping to keep each other in some kind of healthy balance.
- Are there problems, misgivings, or disagreements you have with the descriptions of the ways and the distinctions drawn between them? Identify what they are and discuss them with your instructor. Could it be that what seems a real disagreement may be only apparent? For example, some phenomena placed in the same category may not seem to you to belong together. Could the difference you note be due not to a difference in the generic way of being religious but to a difference in the specific symbol system in which the phenomenon is found (which may be a feature of more than one religious tradition)?
- Try out differing hermeneutical orientations on a given passage of scripture from any religious tradition. The passage suggested in the chapter was the Jewish and Christian story of the Creation and Fall of Humankind in Genesis 2:4 to 3:24. Whatever you choose, choose a passage that seems rich with meaning. Not all passages lend themselves well to multiple interpretations, nor are all equally relevant (in any obvious way) to each of the orientations. Some passages of scripture (e.g., a genealogical list of names) may bear little relevance to any of the orientations. Once you have chosen a rich passage, read and carefully attempt to interpret it from each perspective, one at a time. Note down how the story differently speaks to each need. Compare and contrast the different results.