Contemporary Religions

Contemporary Religions

Contemporary Religions

Required Resources
Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook: Chapter 12
  • Lesson
  • Minimum of 1 scholarly source

Initial Post Instructions
For the initial post, address all of the following:

  • What are some of the challenges facing major religious traditions in the modern world? As nurses, what are some of the particular issues that you might encounter with patients regarding the intersection of faith and healthcare (see the Science and Ethical Issues section of Chapter 12; you can address one or more of the issues noted in this section)? How might the material covered in this course affect the way in which you respond to these concerns? Contemporary Religions
  • Select one of the topics from Chapter 12 listed under Modern Influences on the Future of Religion and examine how modern religious traditions are dealing with these contemporary challenges. If you identify with a particular religious tradition, how has your religious tradition responded to the topic you have chosen? Make sure that you support your answer.

Follow-Up Post Instructions
Respond to at least two peers or one peer and the instructor. Further the dialogue by providing more information and clarification.

Writing Requirements

  • Minimum of 3 posts
  • Initial Post Length: 200-300 words
  • APA format for in-text citations and list of references

This activity will be graded using the Discussion Grading Rubric. Please review the following link:

Weekly Objectives (WO)
WO4.1, 4.2


Molloy, M. (2013). Experiencing the world’s religions (6th ed.). New York City, NY: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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The modern search


You learn from your university’s newspaper that your campus will be hosting a large gathering of religious leaders for three days. There will be large and small meetings, some of them open to students and the general public. At the end of each day there will be a nondenominational service in a nearby church or temple, and at the end of the conference there will be a large meeting that everyone may attend. You decide to go to the final conference meeting.

The gathering is in a modern auditorium, which is usually used by the theater department. Upon entering, you see a stage full of people in bright-colored clothes. Among them you notice Sikh representatives in white, Hindus in orange, Buddhists in gray and orange, Muslims in brown, Christians in black and purple, and Native Americans in various-colored tribal dress. To open the session, a cantor sings a Jewish festival song and a Native American chants a song in praise of the sun.

Page 508After the music, the president of the university thanks everyone for attending. Next, the keynote speaker sums up the ideas discussed at the various meetings held over the three days. After his remarks, he opens the floor to questions and asks the audience members to please use the microphones standing in the aisles, so that everyone can hear. People line up quickly.

The first question is a bit startling and provokes laughter.


“Why are most of you men?” a faculty member asks the keynote speaker. “I see only a few women among you. Where are all the female religious leaders?”

Before answering, one of the representatives pauses to collect his thoughts. The silence is uncomfortable.

“Women ministers and religious leaders do exist,” he says at last. “In fact, some religious groups, like Christian Science, were begun by women. But I admit that most religious traditions are only beginning to appreciate gender as an issue, and many religions are still closed to the idea of female clergy. Fortunately, some religious schools are now training female candidates. Although leaders in most religions are still male, we can expect in the future that more leaders will be women.” Nice try, you think. The people around you do not seem convinced either.

A man on the far left of the auditorium comments, “Religious leaders have been getting together to engage in dialogue for years. But has it really led to anything substantial? For example, have any religions come together to help survivors of catastrophes, such as the people of Haiti and Japan whose lives were devastated by earthquakes?”

A Buddhist monk answers. He speaks about the relief-work groups from Asia, like the Tzu Chi Foundation in Taiwan and the Ruamkatanyu Foundation in Thailand. But he concedes that their work has been done primarily in coordination with other organizations of the same religion. “It is hard to get religions to work together on global matters. I wish I knew why.” A Christian bishop adds information about Christian welfare groups, such as Catholic Relief Services and World Vision, but he admits the same problem of getting different religions to work together. “And there’s always the issue of sensitivity to the local religions of the countries needing assistance. Sometimes they don’t want our help.”

Another audience member asks about the future of religions. “Will the future just bring more of the same—the same religions, the same rituals, the same beliefs? Or is it possible that religions will influence each other and even blend? Can new beliefs emerge from the old religions? Could there be entirely new religions?”

A Shinto leader from the West Coast answers. “Some religions and denominations are very open to new ideas. My own religion of Shinto has many modern offshoots, like Tenrikyo and Omoto, which try to address the problems of the modern world. And there are branches of old religions that deliberately reject prescribed beliefs—among them are the Unity Church, the Unitarians, and some forms of Judaism. They want to be open to new ideas. For example, they seek new understandings of what God might be and of what revelation means.”