MIDTERM ESSAY ON BELIEF
CTI 233 Fall 2020
Between your assigned readings and class discussions in recent days, you have begun to
consider the notion of belief in the context of Christianity as viewed through the central
questions of the CTI curriculum: How do we know? What is real? How should we live? This
essay asks you to grapple with the concept of belief by addressing several points:
What does “belief” mean to you? When you say that you believe something, what are
you implying about your thought process with respect to that belief? (3 points)
How has western understanding of “belief” changed over the centuries? Go beyond
religious ideas to think of this question in general terms. Work with your assigned
readings from The Case for God and Speaking Christian to formulate your responses to
this question. This will comprise the core of your essay. (12 points)
Some Christian churches regularly incorporate recitation of a creed into their worship
services, while others do not. What might be the benefits of including a Statement of
Faith in a worship service? What might be the drawbacks, such that some congregations
refuse to recite a creed? How do you personally react to the inclusion of a creed in a
worship service? Using your hymnal, review the Nicene and Apostles’ creeds and the
Brief Statement of Faith; see also from the United Church of Canada:
http://www.neonet.bc.ca/unitedchurchdawsoncreek/creed.html. Go back into your
notes for class on 10/09 and Borg’s chapter on the Creed to assist you with this prompt.
What are the distinctive theological beliefs that distinguish the denomination that you
are researching from others? How does that denomination’s theology compare with the
beliefs of another denomination? You may choose between the denomination that you
know best from your own life experience or that of friends, a denomination whose
worship you have observed online in this course, or one that intrigued you from your
classmates’ presentations on 10/9 and 10/12. Do not discuss the Eastern Orthodox or
Roman Catholic branches of the Church; you will do that in a later assignment. (5 points)
This essay is worth 30 points and is due by 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, 18 October. Writing
mechanics: 6 points. Use 11-12 pitch font, 1.5-double spacing. The length is not specified but
is likely to run about three pages: two pages is probably too short to develop your thoughts;
five pages is probably too long and requires editing to avoid becoming repetitive. Your list of
sources at the end is not included in your total page count.
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