Religion & Philosophy, 2009
  • Religion & Philosophy, 2009



    A Grief Accepted: A New Response to Taboo Grief in the Christian Church
    David Bauser
    Mentors: Jacqueline Bussie, Janette E. McDonald

    Grief comes to us from all angles of love and hate. We cannot allow ourselves to believe that just because something is harming us we will not have grief when it is gone. Losing any piece of ourselves can lead to grief that we need to recognize as legitimate and strive to understand. Unfortunately, the Church has historically ignored grief experiences over topics that they consider sinful. When the Church rejects people’s grief in this way, we encounter “taboo grief.” This presentation explores why the Church rejects taboo grief. How do we, as a Christian, community better understand this non-traditional and often taboo grief? Is there a shame that prevents dialogue about these taboo forms of grief in our Christian communities? How might psychology help us to explore this area of grief that is often brushed under the rug by the Church? Most importantly, what can the Church do to accept all forms of grief with arms of compassion? This presentation is not a means to an answer, but rather opens the doors this area of our hearts that our society so often wants us to hide.



    A Discussion of the Ontological Argument from Anselm to Plantinga
    Caleb Benadum
    Mentor: Thomas J. Christenson

    The purpose of this paper is to examine the historical ontological argument, original objections, modern formations, and whether or not those original objections can be shifted to apply to the modern day argument. The ontological argument is one of the great arguments of the philosophy of religion, but one that has always been a subject of debate. Although consistently sidelined because it seems to be trickery or wordplay, many major philosophers such as Descartes and Kant have discussed it and it has still not been dismissed. It has staying power, enough to last over two thousand years. The presentation is arranged in parts. It covers the original argument and objections, traces the historical path of the argument, examines a modern day modal version formulated by Alvin Plantinga, and examines whether or not the modern version is subject to the historical objections. There is a brief discussion about how the argument might be furthered, and some difficulties not addressed by Plantinga.



    A 21st Century Look At Theology Through Film
    Marta Diehm
    Mentors: Jacqueline Bussie, Sharon E. Croft

    What can Christian viewers gain from watching film? Looking at theology and film as two areas of study, both are essential viewpoints that help audiences form ideas and observe the world around them. Because of this, theology and film intersect in a variety of ways. As part of my Religion Department senior thesis, I examined a key Christian principle of forgiveness in two popular films, and an enlightening study emerged. This comparison study and research brought to light a further understanding of our 21st century culture and important theological opportunities within this culture. Modern Christians can find significance in being open to religion and theology not only in church pews, but in the popular culture that aids in shaping society.



    Darshan as a Lesson in Spirituality
    Amanda Probst
    Mentor: Craig Burgdoff

    The life of a devout Hindu is marked by a deep sense of spirituality, a connection with the divine, and a powerful desire to see and embrace God. This is manifested in many different ways, from private offerings of food at household temples to lavish celebratory parades. All of these manifestations, however, have the same desired end result which is arguably the essence of Hinduism. Darshan is the idea of seeing and being seen by God, and is the pinnacle of Hindu worship. Through my research of Hindu folktales, ancient texts and contemporary resources, I show that darshan calls for a relationship with God which is far different from what we are conditioned to in the West. The traditional Hindu relationship with God is one of intense love, devotion and commitment, a relationship from which the Western mind may truly learn.



    Creativity Improvisation and Yoga
    Benjamin Sloss
    Mentors: E. Wray Bryant, David Belcastro

    This project explores the link between meditative and contemplative practices and music, using Kenny Werner’s concept of Effortless Mastery which has been described as “a place inside each of us where perfection exists... All the creative possibilities of the universe are to be found there.” This three month case study of piano playing as a form of contemplation or meditation attempts to show first, how the making of music can be a genuine and rich contemplative practice, and second, how the practice of playing music contemplatively reflects the other spiritual and contemplative disciplines of the practitioner. When practicing Effortless Mastery one removes his or her own thoughts and ambitions from the performance and lets the music play itself. This study explores what is reflected in music when the musician's ego is removed from the equation and he or she simply lets the music flow.