How does this group explain evil and suffering


I. History of the Group

1. Briefly sketch the history of the religious community.

2. Does the group appear to be in a state of decline or growth?

3. What future do you predict for the group? Where do you think it might be in 5, 10, or 25 years?

II. Teaching of the Group

1. What do the members of this community believe? Do they follow a particular creed or dogma?

2. What writings are held to be important or sacred? Why?

3. Does the group appear to be dogmatic in their belief, or are they quite undemanding?

4. Summarize the point or points being presented in the sermon or teachings of the service you attend.

5. What is the group's image of the good life? The good society?

6. What does the group believe about human nature? Are people basically good or bad?

7. How does this group explain evil and suffering? How do we save ourselves?

III. Practice of the Group

1. What occurs in the meeting you attend? Outline it and be very specific, noting and analyzing all aspects of ritual and symbolism.

2. What do the people seem to be experiencing? What role do emotions and intellect play?

3. Analyze the meeting. Is it verbally or visually oriented? Is it formal or informal? What role do clergy and lay persons play?

IV. Community

1. Analyze the people in attendance. Are they wealthy, middle class or poor? How are they dressed? What kind of cars are they driving? What is the racial and ethnic composition of the group? What age groups are represented? What does all this tell you about the place of the group in relation to the larger society?

2. What do the buildings and architecture say about the religion and the people?

3. How do people relate to each other? Are they warm or cold, spontaneous or reserved.

V. What do you think about it all?

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