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11.4: Study Questions on Similarities and Differences

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    These two examples of religiously motivated social activism, the Sarvodaya Movement and the Catholic Worker Movement, possess a number of remarkable similarities as well as differences. Keeping in mind both the danger of generalizing from these specific forms of right action to all forms of right action in either tradition and how much may be involved in the actual practice of these specific forms that go unsaid in the two accounts just given, spend some time comparing the accounts. Consider the following questions.

    1. Identify as many similarities as you can. How many of the basic characteristics of Buddhist "transcendental radicalism" described by Jones are also features of the Christian radicalism of the Catholic Worker Movement? How many features of the Catholic Worker Movement are also characteristics of Sarvodaya?
    2. What do you suppose accounts for the depth of correspondence in basic principles, working strategies, and specific projects between Sarvodaya and the Catholic Worker movement? Assuming that both of these movements exemplify the same generic way of being religious in two distinct religious traditions, what if anything do the similarities identified in answer to the first question indicate that is essential to that way of being religious (which the framework identifies as right action)?
      1. What, if anything, do these two movements have in common regarding their respective means of approach to ultimate realityo?
      2. What characteristic existential problems is each concerned with and seeking to address?
      3. Is there anything that indicates the characteristic way each interprets its broader tradition's scripture and symbol system as distinct from other traditional ways of taking them? What sorts of features of ultimate realityo does each specifically highlight? That is, what kind of "face" does each envision ultimate realityo to have?
      4. What sorts of social structures (social organization, group activity, roles and responsibilities, etc.) does each have or recommend? What sorts of social structures does each criticize and endeavor to change?
      5. What specific virtues in the practice of its religious life does each appear to commend, whether explicitly or implicitly, and what specific vices in that practice does each appear to condemn? (Be careful here to distinguish criticisms each may apparently offer of the religious practices of others from critical expectations set for its own members.) That is, what ideal(s) of practice does each uphold? And what sorts of things would fall short of those ideals?
    3. What differences can you find beyond the many profound similarities? Clearly, some differences are the direct reflection of different social and geographic contexts (e.g., one has been predominantly rural and the other predominantly urban).
    4. What among the differences seem specifically due to different theologicalo convictions of Buddhism (specifically Theravada Buddhism) and Christianity (specifically radical Roman Catholicism)?
    5. What specific goals or objectives is each setting out to accomplish? What does their Buddhism or their Christianity respectively have to do with those specific goals? What does it have to do with their choices of means? What does it have to do with their motivation?

    This page titled 11.4: Study Questions on Similarities and Differences is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Dale Cannon (Independent) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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