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Scholars conclude that what we ordinarily call religion manifests to some degree the following eight elements: 1) a belief system; 2) community; 3) central myths; 4) rituals; 5) an ethical system; 6) emotional experiences; 7) material expressions of religion; and 8) sacredness. 1. Examine to what extent your religious beliefs fall into this pattern. Do some elements have more weight than others? Select the three most important elements for you and analyze how they influence your life. If you do not have a belief system, interview someone who does and examine their belief system. Provide enough details to support your answer. 2. Then examine one of the “new religions” or alternative paths that are seen in today’s world and apply the same analysis to their beliefs. Do some elements have more weight than others? Are some totally absent? Provide enough details to support your answer. Please limit your analysis to no more than three elements for each section. Select the elements that are most relevant to the given religion or denomination. New Religious Movements: Scientology, Falun Gong, Cao Dai, Wicca and Druidism, the Yoruba Tradition (Santería, Voodoo, and Candomblé), Theosophy, Rastafarianism, & Baha’i (see Chapter 11). Feel free to choose among one of these alternatives or another approved by your instructor. This essay should be 3-4 pages in length (1050-1400 words) and formatted properly in Chicago documentation.

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