Deeply held beliefs influence every aspect of life, even when they are not clearly related to religion.  This course helps you to become more literate in a major theological tradition (Christianity), and more aware of the ways that core beliefs play out in everyday life.  This paper asks you to examine beliefs about the human person found in an everyday item of your choice, and to discern how those beliefs are similar to, or different from, the beliefs studied in this course.  This paper focuses on identifying beliefs when they are expressed in non-theological language, and comparing those expressions to Christian theological tradition as studied in this course, noting similarities and differences.


Write a 4-5 page paper (1000-1250 words) analyzing the anthropology implicit in a text of your choice from contemporary culture, and comparing that anthropology with Christian views studied in this course.  Possibilities for a text include (but are not limited to):

· Music or music videos

· Comics, video games, movies, TV shows

· Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any format that allows a user to develop their views in public (such as in a series of tweets or posts)

· News items or editorials about contemporary events, e.g., #MeToo, deportation of undocumented immigrants, Black Lives Matter, etc.

· Articles on new technologies in society and how they affect us

· Advertisements (TV, radio, internet)

· Articles on genetic engineering, euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, or other life issues

· Marketing strategies from articles in business textbooks or journals

· Items from self-help literature

· Paintings, sculpture, theater, dance

Because you will compare and contrast the text with Christian views (see below), look for texts that are not from an obviously Christian point of view.  Look also for texts that will give you a lot to work with.  If you are not sure if your choice is appropriate, please run it past me soon.

What does “anthropology” mean?  In this context, it means the view of human beings found in the text.  “Implicit” indicates that the text most likely will not come right out and say “Here’s how we view the human person…” You will have to look beneath the surface of the text.

Analyze how the text views the following questions of anthropology:

· What is the origin of the human person?  Do we invent ourselves?

· Is the person essentially an individual or essentially related to others?  How are strangers or enemies regarded?

· What are human limits (e.g., the fact that we die or can’t do some things)?  Are such limits positive or negative?

· Are all humans equal?

· Are humans free, or do larger forces determine our fate?

· Are humans by nature good or bad?  Does the text lean toward a more positive/upbeat or more negative/pessimistic view of human nature?

· What is the purpose of human life – why are we here?

Not every text will address every one of these questions, but try to find a text that will be relevant to several of them.  Choose TWO of these questions, briefly compare and contrast Christian anthropology with the anthropology of your chosen item.  Use Genesis, Aquinas, Himes, “Testament of a Murdered Monk,” Tanner and the ICT textbook to support your analysis.  Be sure to cite your sources accurately.

How will you be graded? Check out the rubric here

Suggestions and Guidelines for writing papers in THEO 200

· Decide what your main point or insight is (thesis).  Once you know this, you can organize the evidence and arguments that lead to your conclusion.

· As you look more closely at your chosen text and the course readings, you may decide to revise your thesis.

· Write your introduction and conclusion last.

· It is better to summarize a point from the readings than to quote extensively.  Keep quotes short.  If quotes are over 40 words, they should be in the form of a block quotation: separate paragraph, single spaced, slightly indented.

· Whether you paraphrase or quote a source, cite the author and page number.  For Thomas Aquinas, cite the part of the article you are using like this: (Aquinas, I. 83.1, obj. 1), or (Aquinas I. 83.1, answer), or (Aquinas, I. 83.1, reply 3).  For Genesis, cite chapter and verse like this: (Gen 1:28).

Use simple but standard English.  No slang or unnecessarily complicated language.

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