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How to write religious research papers?


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Mythology cg artwork used for religious studies homework

Nowadays, religious studies cover the emergence, development, and function of religions, along with various phenomena as they were presented in the history of society, as well as interconnection and mutual interaction of religions and other cultural spheres.

As religions still take over the lives of many people, papers on such a topic are very popular in many schools and universities. The topic of religion is quite controversial, so has to be approached seriously. In this article, we will reveal all the secrets of religious writing and help you to choose the best topic.

Religious topics for research papers

Writing a research paper about religion presupposes a choice of topic as the first step. There is a wide range of different topics for religion papers that you can choose from or customize to fit your interests:

  • Does religion cause the progress of mankind or vice versa?
  • How does religion impact historical events?
  • Religious practices and their role in the life of modern society.
  • My attitude towards atheism.
  • Did ancient Greek and Roman religious beliefs affect any modern-day religions?
  • Differences in the notion of the afterlife in world religions.
  • Science and religion: do they complete or fully contradict each other.
  • How do modern politics use religion?
  • The influence of religion on the morality of certain societies.
  • Mythology and polytheism as forms of religion.

What to include in a religion research paper outline?

When writing your paper, do not forget about the appropriate structure. Your text should be divided into such parts as:

  • Introduction with a thesis statement, a hook phrase, and some background info. The introductory part should contain a thesis that reflects the key idea of your religious paper.
  • Body, which consists of literature review, methodology, and discussion. In the main part, you should examine the methods of finding the info on the topic, analyze what renown scientists have discovered, and present your analysis on the matter.
  • Conclusion with a restated thesis, a call for action, and supporting sentences. The conclusive part should include the summary of all work on the topic and generalization of the key ideas of chapters (or paragraphs) of the main part.

Note that the body of the paper will likely be divided into a few different parts such as a literature review, a discussion section, and so on. The outline will mostly depend on the rubric for this assignment, so it’s best to check it before you structure the work.

How to become a good religious writer?

To write about religion, you should first choose a scientific approach and stick to its principles. There are a few scientific approaches to studying religion:

  • Sociological. Usually, sociologists approach religion through functionalism and conflict theories. Some of them also believed that religion can be a driving force for changes. However, Karl Marx viewed religion as a tool of capitalists to enhance social inequality. So, there are different sociological approaches to religion, and you are free to choose any of them for your paper.
  • Psychological. Scientists were basically interested in a way religion operates in the minds of masses. Sigmund Freud paid considerable attention to the phenomenon of religion, mapping it as a form of neurosis or an impulse that reflected deeply rooted fears. However, there were also quite favorable psychological views on religions. Carl Jung, for example, viewed religion as a positive for the human mind phenomenon.
  • Anthropological. Anthropologists usually concentrated on such elements of religions as myths, symbols, rituals, and so on. You are welcome to dwell on one of these categories in your writing.
  • Phenomenological. It is also sometimes called a comparative approach. The proponents of such an approach viewed religion as transhistorical and transcultural phenomena. There are various theories and critiques based on this theory and you are free to choose and concentrate on one of them.
  • Theological. Such an approach allows viewing the religion from a perspective of a believer, interpreting various texts such as Bible, and asking various questions about God, faith, the place of their beliefs in the lives of people, and so on. This option would be perfect for people in seminaries or religious schools.

Tips on religious writing

Writing a religious paper is not a very difficult task if you systematize the process. Here is a small plan of action:

  • Choose an interesting topic that you would enjoy researching. You can ask your professor for advice on this matter, however, we would recommend to review the topics above or search for some options online and select the one that speaks to you.
  • Go through a large number of scholarly publications to find the most relevant options for your topic. This part of work is inevitable, as you have to conduct literature review.
  • Write down the ideas that you liked the most. You can take a separate piece of paper and jot down all the interesting ideas that come to mind. After that, you should review them and single out the most suitable ones to support the points you plan to make.
  • Structure the information and compile a single text. In this case, an outline will be of great help.
  • Express your own thoughts on the topic. Referring to the ideas of outstanding scientists is always a good idea, however, you still have to submit an original piece of writing with your analysis and, if applicable, opinions on the matter.

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