Thursday, August 19, 2010

Study guides for world religions and cults (interim curriculum)

Click hereThe articles on world religions and cults fromHandbook of Today’s Religion by Josh McDowell and Don Stewart are part of the interim curriculum. We have prepared these study guides which you can use in two ways: (1) Read the study guide first so you can have an overview of the article; and (2) After reading the article, try answering the study guide questions to test your comprehension. Online, interactive quizzes on terms and definitions from world religions with automatic scoring are also available.

Index of study guides

  1. What is a Cult?
  2. The Characteristics of Cults
  3. The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity
  4. Hare Krishna
  5. Jehovah's Witnesses
  6. Mormonism
  7. Transcendental Meditation
  8. Theosophy
  9. EST
  10. The Unification Church/“Moonies”
  11. Christian Science
  12. Unity
  13. Astrology
  14. Hinduism
  15. Jainism
  16. Buddhism
  17. Confucianism
  18. Taoism
  19. Shintoism
  20. Zoroastrianism
  21. Judaism
  22. Islam
  23. Sikhism
  24. The Authority of the Believer

What is a Cult?

  1. What is a cult?
  2. What does 2 Corinthians 11: 13-15 say about false prophets and teachers?
  3. What is Walter Martin’s definition of a cult?
  4. Why do cults prosper according to Martin?
  5. What are the three basic reasons why people join cults?
  6. What are man’s basic questions?
  7. Which individuals are particularly susceptible to cults?
  8. What do Robert and Gretchen Passantino say about how cults meet the emotional needs of people?
  9. What does Pierre Berton in his book “The Comfortable Pew” say about how “Christians have sometimes failed to be a vital influence in the world?”
  10. How do Victor Paul Wierwille, leader of the cult “The Way International” and members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses try to win people?
  11. What does Chris Elkins, a former Unification Church “Moonie” member, say about majority of cult members having been members of a mainline, denominational church?
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The Characteristics of Cults
  1. What are the nine characteristics of cults?
  2. What is Sun Myung Moon’s claim about the mission of Christ?
  3. What does the Mormon Church claim about Christianity and its founder Joseph Smith?
  4. What did Herbert W. Armstrong claim about the historic beliefs and interpretations of Scripture?
  5. To the Mormons, what are the sacred books which they consider as greater authoritative sources?
  6. What is the source of authority for Christian Science? For the Unification Church?
  7. What is the one characteristic that is found in all cults?
  8. What does the Bible makes clear about Jesus?
  9. Why is the Jesus of the Bible not the Jesus of the Jehovah’s Witnesses? Of the Mormon Church?
  10. What did Helena P. Blavatsky, founder of Theosophy and Joseph Smith, Jr., the founder of Mormonism, say of orthodox Christianity?
  11. What is another characteristic of all non Christian cults with regards the doctrine of the Trinity?
  12. What are the claims of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Way International with regards the Trinity?
  13. “Cult doctrines are continually in a state of flux and have no sure foundation on which to anchor their hope.” Explain using the examples of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (vaccinations, blood transfusion, the 144,000 witnesses) and the Mormon Church (polygamy).
  14. What are the consequences and effects of strong leadership in the cults?
  15. What is the one teaching that is totally absent from all the cults?
  16. What was Herbert W. Armstrong’s prophecy in 1967 that failed to come true?
  17. What were the predictions of Charles T. Russell, founder and first president of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, about the end of the world in 1914?
  18. What is the sure mark of a cult?
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The Beliefs of Orthodox Christianity
  1. “When it comes to the matter of final authority there is agreement among the major branches of Christianity with regard to the divine inspiration of the Old and New Testaments.” How does Roman Catholicism go beyond the Bible as its source of authority? What about the Eastern Orthodox church?
  2. What does the Lutheran formula of Concord say about the authority of the Old and New Testaments?
  3. What do 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21, Deuteronomy 4:2 and Revelation 22:18-19 say about the Scriptures being standard and final authority on all matters of doctrine, faith and practice?
  4. What does the Westminster Shorter Catechism (Question 6) say about the Godhead?
  5. What does the Athanasian Creed say on the doctrine of the Trinity?
  6. “The facts of the biblical teaching are these: There is one God. This one God has a plural personality. This one God is called the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, all distinct personalities, all designated God. We are therefore led to the conclusion that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one God, the doctrine of the Trinity.” What do Deuteronomy 6:4, 1 Timothy 2:5, Isaiah 44:6 say about there being one God and only one God? What do Genesis 1:26, Genesis 3:22, John 13; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:2 say about God’s plural personality? What do Galatians 1:1, John 1: 1, 5:8 and Acts 5:3-4 say about the names of God?
  7. What analogy does Dr. John Warwick Montgomery use to explain the Trinity?
  8. How do Luke 2:52, Matthew 4:2, John 4:6, Matthew 8:24, John 11:35 and John 11:33 prove that Jesus was human?
  9. What were the divine claims that Jesus made in John 1:1, John 14:9, John 5:18, Titus 2:13 and John 13:19?
  10. Some of the works attributed in the Bible to Christ are attributed as well as to God. What are these according to (a) John 1:3, Colossians 1:6, Hebrews 1:10; (b) Colossians 1:17, Hebrews 1:3; (c) I Corinthians 10:1-11; (d) Mark 2:5-12, Colossians 3:13; (e) John 10:28, 1 John 5:10; (f) John 11:25, John 5:21, 28, 29; and (g) John 5:22, 27, Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Corinthians 5:10?
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Hare Krishna
  1. How did the Hare Krishnas (International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON) originate?
  2. What is Vishnuism?
  3. What is universal monism?
  4. How is Krishnaism different from philosophical Hinduism?
  5. How did Krishnaism come to the United States?
  6. What is the difference between the God of the Bible and that of ISKCON?
  7. What is ISKCON’s view of Jesus Christ?
  8. According to ISKCON, what series of works must a person do to earn salvation?
  9. What are crucial for salvation in ISKCON?
  10. How is salvation in Hare Krishna related with the Hindu concept of karma?
  11. Why is the idea of karma and reincarnation anti-biblical?
  12. Define the following terms:
  • Prabhupada, A. C. Bhaktivedanta
  • Back to Godhead
  • Bhakti Yoga
  • Karma
  • Karmis
  • Laksmi
  • Mantra
  • Nirvana
  • Paramatma
  • Sankirtana
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Jehovah’s Witnesses
  1. What is the official name of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
  2. What is the origin of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?
  3. Who were Joseph F. Rutherford and Nathan Knorr?
  4. What cardinal beliefs of historic Christianity does the Watchtower deny?
  5. What are the Watchtower’s claims for itself?
  6. What did Charles Taze Russell claim about the Watchtower’s “Scripture Studies”?
  7. How do the members of the Watchtower “misuse the Scriptures to establish their own peculiar beliefs”?
  8. What is the Watchtower’s stand on the Trinity?
  9. “In the theological system of the Watchtower, who is Jesus Christ?”
  10. What is Arianism?
  11. According to the Watchtower, what is the relationship between Michael the Archangel and Jesus Christ?
  12. How does the Watchtower use John 14:28 to prove that Christ is less than God?
  13. How does the Watchtower use Revelation 3:14 to prove that Christ is a created being?
  14. Citing Trench, Bruce Metzger, Lightfoot, Wordsworth and A. T. Robertson, how can you disprove the Watchtower’s claim that Christ is a created being?
  15. How does the Watchtower use Proverbs 8:22 to prove that Christ is a created being?
  16. According to the Watchtower, what is the meaning of “firstborn” in Colossians 1:15?
  17. How was the term “firstborn” used in the Mosaic Law? What are the metaphorical or figurative uses of the term “firstborn” in the Old Testament?
  18. How is the term “firstborn” used in Genesis 49:3, Romans 8:29, Colossians 1:6, Hebrews 12:23 and Revelation 1:5?
  19. How does C. S. Lewis explain the difference between the concepts of begetting and creating?
  20. How does the Watchtower try to substantiate its doctrine of Christ being one of the creation in the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures rendering of Colossians 1:16-17?
  21. What is the Watchtower’s view of the Holy Spirit? How does it use John 14:26 and Ephesians 4:30 to bolster its belief?
  22. What is the Watchtower’s doctrine of salvation?
  23. What are the four reasons why the Watchtower rejects the doctrine of hell?
  24. What are some of the Watchtower prophecies that have failed to come true?
  25. What was the Watchtower’s rationale for its publication of the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures?
  26. What is the grammatical explanation given by the Watchtower for its translation of John 1: 1?
  27. How does the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translate John 8:58?
  28. How does the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures translate Colossians 1:16-17, 20?
  29. Define the following terms:
  • Annihilation
  • Arius
  • Christadelphians
  • Little Flock
  • Michael the Archangel
  • Nathan Knorr
  • New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures
  • Russell, Charles Taze
  • Rutherford, Judge J. F
  • The Awake
  • The Truth That Leads to Everlasting Life
  • The Watchtower
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  1. Give some background information about Joseph Smith, Jr.
  2. What was Joseph Smith, Jr.’s first vision in 1820 all about?
  3. What was Joseph Smith, Jr.’s second vision in September 21, 1823 all about?
  4. What persecutions did the Mormons face in their early days?
  5. How did Joseph Smith, Jr. die? What happened to the Mormons after he died?
  6. What do the Mormons claim about their church?
  7. What does Dr. Walter Martin in his book “The Maze of Mormonism” say about Joseph Smith Jr.’s first vision?
  8. What are the four sacred works accepted by the Mormons as their sources of authority?
  9. How do Hebrews 1:1-3 contradict the Mormons’ reliance on multiple contradictory revelations?
  10. What is the Mormon doctrine of God?
  11. What did Mormon writer Milton Hunter say about God having been once a mortal man?
  12. “Smith’s teaching on the nature of God not only contradicts the Bible, it also contradicts the Book of Mormon!” Explain.
  13. What do Isaiah 43:10 and 1 Corinthians 8:4 say about the true nature of God?
  14. How do the Mormons view Jesus Christ?
  15. What is man according to the Mormons?
  16. Contrary to Mormon theology, what do John 1:14 and Colossians 1:15 say about Christ?
  17. “Thus in Mormonism there is a general salvation for all mankind and an individual salvation for each person.” Explain.
  18. What did Brigham Young in his “Journal of Discourses” claim about Joseph Smith Jr. and himself as to the way to salvation?
  19. What do Ephesians 2:8-10 say about salvation?
  20. How many changes have there been in the Book of Mormons since 1830?
  21. How does archeology disprove the claims of Mormonism?
  22. What are some of the anachronisms and historical inaccuracies in the Mormon scriptures according to Dr. Gleason Archer?
  23. Why is the “Book of Abraham”, part of the Mormon scripture known as “The Pearl of Great Price” a fraud?
  24. What are some of the false prophecies of Mormonism?
  25. What are the two best tests of a self-proclaimed prophet according to Deuteronomy 13:1-4 and 18:18-22?
  26. Define the following terms:
  • Aaronic Priesthood
  • Adam - God
  • Apostles
  • Atonement
  • Baptism for the Dead
  • Book of Abraham
  • Book of Mormon
  • Celestial Heaven
  • Cumorah
  • Doctrine and Covenants
  • High Priests
  • Lamanites
  • Living Prophets
  • Lucifer
  • Manuscript Found
  • Melchizedek Priesthood
  • Moroni
  • Nephites
  • Patriarch
  • Pearl of Great Price
  • Presiding Bishopric
  • Smith, Joseph Jr. (1805-1844)
  • Telestial Kingdom
  • Terrestrial Kingdom
  • Young, Brigham

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Transcendental Meditation
  1. Give some background information about Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
  2. What are the claims of TM?
  3. Is TM really a neutral discipline?
  4. What is the Puja? How is the religious nature of TM shown by the Puja?
  5. Why did a New Jersey federal court in 1977 bar the teaching of TM in the schools?
  6. Harold Bloomfield, meditator and psychiatrist, claims that TM is harmless. How is this claim disputed by some authorities?
  7. What are some of the disturbing statements made by the Maharishi regarding the Science of Creative Intelligence and the Age of Enlightenment?
  8. What is the Maharishi’s view of God?
  9. What is the Maharishi’s view of Jesus Christ?
  10. Is there a Christian alternative to TM?
  11. Define the following terms:
  • Transcendental Meditation
  • American Foundation for the Science of Creative Intelligence
  • Brahmins
  • Guru Dev
  • International Meditation Society
  • Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
  • Mantra
  • Prana
  • Puja
  • Sanatana dharma
  • Students International Meditation Society
  • TM
  • Vedas
  • Yoga
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  1. What does Theosophy mean? How did it start?
  2. What is the source of authority in Theosophy?
  3. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards God?
  4. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards man?
  5. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards Jesus Christ?
  6. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards reincarnation?
  7. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards the afterlife?
  8. What are the teachings of Theosophy with regards the Bible?
  9. Define the following terms:
  • Theosophy
  • Adept
  • Animal Soul
  • Atlantean
  • Besant, Annie
  • Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna
  • Devachan
  • Devas
  • H.P.B.
  • Koot Hoomi
  • Kidshnamurti
  • Leadbeater, C. W
  • Mahatma
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EST (Erhard Seminars Training)
  1. Give some background information about Werner Erhard, founder and director of EST?
  2. What does EST consist of?
  3. According to EST, “Wrong is actually a version of right. If you are always wrong you are right.” Explain.
  4. What is at the heart of the ESTian world view?
  5. What did Erhard say about belief in God?
  6. What are Erhard’s claims about Jesus Christ? How do John 8:24, Mark 7:21-23 and Philippians 2:10-11 dispute these claims?
  7. Define the following terms:
  • The Centers Network
  • EST
  • Erhard, Werner
  • Games
  • Trainers
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The Unification Church/ Moonies
  1. Give some background about Sun Myung Moon and how he founded the Unification Church.
  2. Why does Sun Myung Moon believe himself to be the Messiah?
  3. What is the source of authority of the Unification Church?
  4. What is the Divine Principle?
  5. How do Isaiah 40:8, Matthew 24:35, Deuteronomy 4:2, Jude 3 and Revelation 22:18 disprove the Divine Principle?
  6. What is Moon’s concept of dualism?
  7. What does the Unification Church believe about the fall of man?
  8. What does the Unification Church believe about the coming of Christ?
  9. What does the Unification Church believe about John the Baptist?
  10. What does the Unification Church believe about the person of Christ?
  11. What does the Unification Church believe about the death of Christ?
  12. How does Acts 4:12 disprove Moon’s claim that he is the Messiah?
  13. Define the following terms:
  • Unification Church
  • Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP)
  • Lord of the Second Advent
  • Master Speaks
  • Moon, Sun Myung
  • Moonies
  • New Hope Singers International
  • The Divine Principle
  • True Father and True Mother
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Christian Science
  1. Give some background information about Mary Baker Eddy and how she founded Christian Science.
  2. What lost element of Christianity does Christian Science claim to have restored?
  3. What is Christian Science’s source of authority?
  4. What is Christian Science’s two creation account theory of Genesis?
  5. What did Mary Baker Eddy claim about her own work “Science and Health”?
  6. Who was Phineas Quimby and what was his connection to Christian Science?
  7. What is the Christian Science view of God?
  8. How do Acts 17:24-25 disprove Christian Science’s pantheistic view of God?
  9. What is the Christian Science view of Christ? How do Luke 2:11, 1 John 2:22, and I John 5:1 disprove this view?
  10. What is the Christian Science view of salvation?
  11. What is the Christian Science view of evil? How do 1 John 5:19, Hebrews 9:22 and Galatians 1:4-5 disprove this view?
  12. “Christian Science is neither Christian nor scientific.” Explain.
  13. Define the following terms:
  • Animal Magnetism
  • At one ment
  • Christian Science Journal
  • Christian Science Monitor
  • Christian Science Sentinel
  • Eddy, Mary Baker
  • Immortal Mind
  • Mortal Mind
  • Quimby, P.P
  • Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
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  1. Give some background information about Charles and Myrtle Fillmore and how they founded the Unity School of Christianity.
  2. “The basic world view of Unity is that of gnosticism”. Explain.
  3. What is Unity’s belief about the Bible? How do 2 Timothy 3:16 and 1 Thessalonians 2:13 disprove this view?
  4. What is Unity’s belief about God and how is it similar to that of Christian Science and other Gnostic cults?
  5. What is Unity’s belief about Jesus Christ? How do John 1:1, 14, 5:18-23, Colossians 1:15 and Hebrews 1:3 disprove this view?
  6. What is Unity’s belief about salvation? How do Romans 3:23, 6:23 and John 8:24 disprove this view?
  7. What is Unity’s belief about reincarnation? How do 1 John 1:8-10 and Acts 3:18-19 disprove this view?
  8. What is Unity’s belief about prosperity? How do Philippians 4:11-13, 19 disprove this view?
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  1. What are the two of the most crucial questions that haunt humanity?
  2. What does astrology believe about the effect of the position of the stars and planets?
  3. How does a person’s horoscope charted according to Rene Noorbergen?
  4. What is an ephemera and how is it used in astrology?
  5. How do astrologers justify their practice according to Michael Van Buskirk?
  6. According to astrologers, the stars “both impel and compel”. Explain.
  7. What did 186 prominent American scientists, along with 18 Nobel Prize winners, in September 1975 say about the claims of astrologers?
  8. “Astrologists are victims of their own system.” Explain.
  9. How is the problem of authority in astrology revealed?
  10. What is the “geocentric theory” and how is it related to astrology? How does the “heliocentric theory” disprove astrology?
  11. “Most astrological charts are based upon the assumption that there are seven planets in our solar system (including the sun and the moon).” Why is this wrong and how does this disprove the claims of astrologers?
  12. How do twins disprove the claims of astrology?
  13. What is the problem of “limited perspective” in astrology and how does it affect, for example, people living in Alaska, Norway, Finland and Greenland?
  14. What did Paul Couderc, astronomer at the Paris Observatory, conclude after examining the horoscopes of 2,817 musicians?
  15. “Horoscopes are cast from the time of birth, not from the time of conception.” Why is this a problem with astrology?
  16. “Astrology is unscientific because of the fact of the precession or the shifting of constellations.” Explain.
  17. What do Isaiah 47: 13-15, Jeremiah 10:2 and Deuteronomy 4:19 say about relying on astrologers and astrology?
  18. What do Daniel 1:20 and 2: 27-28 prove about astrologers and those dedicated to the true and living God?
  19. What are the two dangers of astrology?
  20. What is numerology and how is it related to astrology?
  21. “If astrology is both unscientific and unbiblical, why do so many people believe in it?”
  22. What did Time Magazine in its March 21, 1969 issue observe about astrologers?
  23. “The person who seeks advice from an astrologer comes with a certain readiness to believe the horoscope. This predisposition leads to an autosuggestion to order his life according to the horoscope, and thus contribute to its fulfillment.” How do Wilson and Weldon illustrate this point?
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  1. “Hinduism is not one religion, but rather a family of religions.” Explain.
  2. What are some of the complexities of Hinduism according to Joseph Gaer?
  3. Why is Hinduism tolerant of other religions?
  4. What materials comprise the Hindu scriptures?
  5. What are the Vedas?
  6. What are the Upanishads?
  7. What are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata?
  8. What is the Bhagavad-Gita?
  9. What is the Hindu concept of Brahman?
  10. What is the Hindu concept of Maya?
  11. What is the law of karma?
  12. What is the Hindu concept of Samsara?
  13. What is the origin of the caste system? What are the different castes?
  14. “Salvation, for the Hindu, can be achieved in one of three ways: the way of works (karma marga), the way of knowledge, or the way of devotion (bhakti).” Explain each way.
  15. Why do the Hindus revere the cow and consider it a possessor of great power?
  16. Compare Hinduism and Christianity in terms of views about God, man, sin, salvation, and the world.
  17. Define the following terms:
  • Agni
  • Atman
  • Bhagavad-Gita
  • Brahma
  • Brahman
  • Brahmin (or Brahman)
  • Darhma
  • Ganesa
  • Hanuman
  • Indra
  • Karma
  • Kzishna
  • Lakshma
  • Mahabhamta
  • Maya
  • Moksha
  • Parvati
  • Puranas
  • Ramayana
  • Rishi
  • Samsara
  • Sarasvati
  • Soma
  • Upanishads
  • Varuna
  • Veda
  • Vishnu
  • Yoga
  • Yogi
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  1. Hinduism gave birth to what three religious factions?
  2. Give some background information about Jainism’s founder Mahavira.
  3. Herbert Stroup lists six differences between Hinduism and Jainism: (1) law of karma; (2) rebirth; (3) caste system; (4) priestly caste; (5) doctrine of God; and (6). Explain each difference.
  4. What is Jainism’s concept of God?
  5. How do Mahavira’s later followers regard him?
  6. According to Jainism, salvation or liberation could be achieved only by ascetic practices. What are these ascetic practices known as the “Five Great Vows”?
  7. Why should monks avoid women entirely?
  8. What is the Jainism practice of non-violence or ahimsa? How is this practice related to vegetarianism and farming?
  9. What is an anga?
  10. Why are most Jains wealthy?
  11. What are the differences between Jainism and Christianity in terms of (1) salvation; (2) concept of God; (3) source of authority; and ability to meet universal human need?
  12. How did Griffith Thomas sum up the universal appeal of Christianity?
  13. According to Robert E. Hume, what are the areas of agreement and disagreement between Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism?
  14. Define the following terms:
  • Ahimsa
  • Digam baras
  • Five Great Vows
  • Jains
  • Jina
  • Mahavira
  • Nirgrantha
  • Sallakhana
  • Shvetambaras
  • Sthanakvasis
  • Tirthankaza
  • Twelve Angas
  • Venerable One
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  1. What is Buddhism’s link to Hinduism?
  2. Give some background information about Siddhartha Gautama.
  3. What is the Great Renunciation?
  4. How did Siddhartha Gautama achieve enlightenment and became the Buddha?
  5. What are the four Noble Truths?
  6. What is the Eightfold Path?
  7. Why is the veneration of Buddha by his followers after his death against the basic teachings of Buddha himself?
  8. What are the origins of and differences between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?
  9. What is the Buddhist concept of Nirvana?
  10. What are the sacred Scriptures of Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism?
  11. In Buddhism, how can the laity gain religious merit?
  12. What are the five precepts that all Buddhists should follow? What are the other precepts that apply only to monks and nuns?
  13. What are the 14 fundamental Buddhistic beliefs according to Colonel H. S. Olcott, one of the founding presidents of the Theosophical Society?
  14. What is Nichiren Shoshu Buddhism? How did it start?
  15. What is the Lotus Sutra?
  16. What is the “gohonzon”?
  17. What is “Shakubuku”?
  18. What is Zen Buddhism and how did it start?
  19. Who is Bodhidharma?
  20. What is satori?
  21. What is zazen?
  22. What is a koan?
  23. What is Huston Smith’s evaluation of Zen Buddhism?
  24. What are the differences between Buddhism and Christianity in terms of (1) monism; (2) sin; and (3) man?
  25. Define the following terms”
  • An-Atta
  • Bhikkhu
  • Bodhi
  • Bodhisattva
  • Buddha
  • Buddhism
  • Dalai Lama
  • Dhamma
  • Dukkha
  • Gohonzon
  • Heart Sutra
  • Koan
  • Mahayana
  • Maya
  • Nirvana
  • Pitaka
  • Pure Land
  • Pure Land Buddhism
  • Samsara
  • Sangha
  • Satori
  • Soka Gakkai
  • Stupas
  • Theravada
  • Tibetan Buddhism (Lamaism)
  • Tripitaka
  • True Sect of the Pure Land
  • Vinaya
  • Zazen
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  1. Give some background information about Confucius.
  2. What was China like before Confucius?
  3. Trace the progress which led to the deification of Confucius.
  4. Who is Meng-tzu (Mencius)?
  5. What is the basic nature of man according to Confucianism (as clarified by Mencius)? How did Mencius use the natural flow of water to illustrate the potentiality of the basic nature of man?
  6. Who is Lao Tzu (Lao-Tze)? What happened in his meeting with Confucius?
  7. What are the Five Classics? Give a short summary of each.
  8. The teachings of Confucius are contained in four books written by his followers. What are these books? Give a short summary of each.
  9. What is ancestor worship? What are the motives for such practice according to Richard C. Bush?
  10. What is filial piety?
  11. “Confucianism’s doctrines can be summarized by six key terms or ways. Jen is the golden rule; Chun-tzu the gentleman; Cheng-ming is the roleplayer; Te is virtuous power; Li is the standard of conduct; and Wen encompasses the arts of peace.” Explain each term.
  12. The Book of Analects contains the ethical teachings of Confucius. Give some examples of such teachings.
  13. What are Confucius’ teachings about life, death, heaven, etc?
  14. Is Confucianism an ethical system rather than a religion?
  15. How did Confucianism impact China, according to Huston Smith and Marcus Bach?
  16. What are the differences between Confucianism and Christianity?
  17. Define the following terms:
  • Analects, The
  • Ancestor Worship
  • Cheng Ming
  • Chun-tzu
  • Confucius
  • Feng Shui
  • Filial Piety
  • Five Classics
  • Four Books
  • Jen
  • Li
  • Mandate of Heaven
  • Mencius
  • Te
  • Wen
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  1. Give some background information about Lao-tzu.
  2. What are the teachings of the Tao Te King, also known as the Lao-tzu?
  3. How was the The Tao Te King supposedly written?
  4. Who was Chuang-tzu and what his contribution to Taoism?
  5. What are some of the highlights in the history of Taoism according to Robert E. Hume?
  6. What is the concept of the Tao?
  7. If mankind’s chief aim is to conform his existence to the way of the Tao, what must he do to accomplish this?
  8. What is the concept of the yin and yang?
  9. What does Richard C. Bush say about the broader concept of the yin and yang?
  10. Give some highlights of the following parts of the Tao Te King: Chapter I: The Tao That Can Be Trodden; Chapter LVI: He Who Knows the Tao; Chapter LXIII: It Is the Way;
  11. Chapter XXV: There Was Something; and Chapter LI: All Things.
  12. What are the differences between philosophical Taoism and religious Taoism?
  13. What are the weaknesses in Taoism according to Robert E. Hume in his book “The World’s Living Religions”?
  14. Why does Taoism have no real answer to the problem of evil?
  15. Define the following terms:
  • Chuang tzu
  • Lao-tzu
  • Tao Te King
  • The Tao
  • Wu Wei
  • Yin-Yang
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  1. How do John B. Noss and Clark B. Offner define Shintosim?
  2. Give some background information about the history of Shintoism (early development, revival, State religion).
  3. What is the Shinto notion of kami?
  4. What are the two sacred books of Shinto?
  5. What are the types of Shinto?
  6. What is worship like in Shinto?
  7. What are the differences between Shinto and Christianity?
  8. Why does Shinto find little acceptance in other places apart from Japan?
  9. Define the following terms:
  • Amaterasu
  • Bushido Code
  • Emperor Meiji
  • Harakiri
  • Hondon
  • Izanagi
  • Izanami
  • Jigai
  • Kami
  • Kami Dama
  • Ko-Jfi-Ki
  • Mikado
  • Nihon-Gi
  • O-Harai
  • Ryobu Shinto
  • Shintai
  • Shinto
  • Shinto Myth
  • State Shinto
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  1. Give some background information about Zoroaster. How was he later on deified?
  2. What is the present-day status of Zoroastrianism according to Richard Cavendish?
  3. Describe the Avesta (the sacred scripture of the Zoroastrians).
  4. Who is Ahura-Mazda and what are his characteristics?
  5. Who is Angra Mainyu (or Ahriman)?
  6. Both Ahura-Mazda and Angra Mainyu were given seven attributes (known as the Amesha-stentas). What are these attributes?
  7. What is Zoroastrianism’s concept of the future judgment?
  8. “Zoroastrianism has had a profound effect in shaping the doctrines of three major religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.” Explain.
  9. How do we refute the assertion that Zoroastrianism influenced Christianity? What are the incompatibilities between Zoroastrianism and Christianity?
  10. What practice has become a central rite in Zoroastrian worship?
  11. Define the following terms:
  • Ahura-Mazda
  • Amesba-Spenta
  • Angra Mainyu
  • Dakhmas
  • Fire Temple
  • Gabras
  • Vivedat (Venidad)
  • Vohu Manah
  • Yasna
  • Zend-Avesta
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  1. “To Christians, Judaism is unique among world religions.” Explain.
  2. Give some background information about the history of Judaism (from Abraham, Moses, the Promised Land, the Captivity, the Restoration, the Revolt, the Roman Rule and later history).
  3. Describe the land of Israel.
  4. Who was Moses Maimonides? What are the thirteen beliefs in his statement of faith?
  5. What are the Jewish holy Days? Describe each one.
  6. What are the three branches of modern-day Judaism? Describe each one.
  7. What is Judaism’s doctrine of the Messiah? What have been the changes in the doctrine the course of Jewish history?
  8. What is the orthodox Jewish concept of God according to Samuel Sandmel?
  9. “Jews do believe in the mercy of God but they do not believe in any substitutionary atonement that once and for all time cleanses them from all sin.” Explain.
  10. What is the Jewish concept of original sin?
  11. “Although there are marked differences in many areas of belief and practice between Judaism and Christianity, there is a common heritage that both religions share.” Explain.
  12. Define the following terms:
  • Diaspora
  • Gemarah
  • Hannukah
  • Midrash
  • Mishnah
  • Passover
  • Pentateuch
  • Pentecost
  • Purim
  • Rosh Hashanah
  • Seder
  • Sukkoth
  • Torah
  • Shofar
  • Talmud
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  1. What is Islam’s impact or influence in the world today?
  2. “The religion of Islam is one of the outstanding phenomena of history.” Explain.
  3. What is the origin of the word “Islam”?
  4. Give some background about Islam’s founder.
  5. What are the comments of the “Cambridge History of Islam” and Alfred Guillaume on Muhammad’s revelations?
  6. What was the Hijira and how did Mecca become the center of Islam?
  7. What divisions in leadership took place after the death of Muhammad?
  8. Who are the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Sufis? What distinguish them from each other?
  9. What is the impact of contemporary Islam in the Middle East and in the world according to Grunebaum and Neill?
  10. “The teachings of Islam are comprised both of faith (imam) and practice or duty (din).” Explain.
  11. What is Islamic law (Shari’a) and is its role in Islamic culture?
  12. “The controversy surrounding the law and theology and the fourfold division of the Shari’a led to the formulation and distinction of the Sunni and Shi'ite sects in Islam.” Explain.
  13. How does Kenneth Boa describe the central place of the Qura’n in the Islamic faith?
  14. What are the other sources of authority in Islam besides the Koran?
  15. Why does Islam reject the Christian New Testament?
  16. Describe the origin, structure, divisions and language of the Koran.
  17. What are the five articles of faith or main doctrines of Islam? Summarize each doctrine.
  18. What is Kismet or the doctrine of fate?
  19. What are the “five pillars of faith” of Islam?
  20. “Islam, like Judaism, is both a religion and a cultural identity which cannot be separated from the people. In many countries the Islamic faith, though not strictly practiced, is woven into the web of society at every facet.” Explain.
  21. How does the Arabic language serve as a unifying tool for Islam?
  22. What is the status of women in Islam?
  23. What are the differences in the beliefs between Islam and Christianity in terms of God, the Bible, Christ, sin and salvation?
  24. Define the following terms:
  • Abu Bakr
  • Allah
  • Caliph
  • Fatima
  • Hadith
  • Hafi
  • Hegira
  • Imam
  • Islam
  • Ka’Aba
  • Koran (Qur’an)
  • Mahdi
  • Mecca
  • Medina
  • Mohammad
  • Moslem (Muslim)
  • Mosque
  • Muezzlin
  • Omar
  • Purday
  • Ramadan
  • Salat
  • Shi’ites
  • Sufis
  • Sunnites
  • Surahs
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  1. Give a brief history of Sikhism and its founder Nanak.
  2. How did Sikhism develop after Nanak’s death?
  3. “The teachings of Sikhism are a syncretism of the doctrines of Islam and Hinduism.” Explain.
  4. What are the sacred scriptures of Sikhism?
  5. What is the Sikh belief about God and salvation?
  6. What are the points of agreement and disagreement between Sikhism and the Hinduism and Islamic doctrines according to Robert E. Hume?
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The Authority of the Believer
The five qualifications you must have to be able to be consistent in exercising the authority of the believer are:
  1. Knowledge
  2. Belief
  3. Humility
  4. Boldness
  5. Awareness
Explain each qualification.

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