Starting Sentence Option 1: Many people who [are religious/believe in a deity/attend church] have specific beliefs that [lead them/control them]. Take, for example, [name a religion], which is known for [characteristic]. What conclusion can one draw but [second claim]?
Starting Sentence Option 2: Religions have existed as long as people have and [name a religion] is a good example of [positive or negative characteristic]. As we’ve seen throughout history, such as at [specific event], [religion name] has [caused/resulted in] [consequences]. This leads to the conclusion that [second claim].
- Religion provides motivation for people to do more good in the world.
- The belief in a higher power has led many people to beat their addictions.
- Throughout history, religion has marked moral advances in the world.
- Religion or the church, provide a solid base for drawing people together and binding them as a family.
- Religious people tend to be helpful and feel the urge to aid those in need.
- Religious people are more likely to be judgemental and immoral.
- People hide behind the church and use God as an excuse to do unspeakable things.
- Religion uses scare tactics to force people to act a certain way.
- Many who claim to be doing God’s will are really using religion to line their own pockets and steal from the naive.
- Many of the wars throughout history were started in the name of religion.
PEW Research Center
History of Religions
Religion at Psychology Today
Narrator: Beneath White Mountain, in New Mexico, the Mescalero Apache reservation prepares for a coming-of-age ritual. Over the span of four days, 13-year-old Dachina Cochise will pass through ancient tests of strength, endurance, and character that will make her a woman.
Narrator: The Mescalero Apache hold the ritual every Fourth of July. It’s a grueling ordeal, intended to prepare girls for the trials of womanhood.
Melette: When she was a little girl I knew this is what I wanted to have for her.
Narrator: Dachina’s mother, Melette, has spent more than a year preparing for this week of ceremony. Family members and friends will help her feed and care for more than fifty guests.
Narrator: The family’s most important task is selecting Dachina’s medicine woman. Zelda Yazza will instruct Dachina in the ways of traditional Apache womanhood.
Narrator: The four-day ceremony encapsulates the Apache creation story. Dachina will move through the stages of life…infant…child…adolescent…woman…culminating in an all-night dance that will test her endurance.
Narrator: The ritual begins with the rising of the morning star. The ceremony requires Dachina to live by strict rules.
Narrator: These four days mean little sleep, scant food and the need to set aside emotion. Throughout the ordeal, she must wear a face of stoic resolve.
Dachina: I feel really excited and happy even though I can’t smile. But I’ll try to show it in some way.
Narrator: Before Dachina joins the other girls she is blessed…dusted with pollen, the symbol of fertility.
Narrator: The girls start their journey in a sacred teepee built by their male relatives.
Zelda: Let’s go right now. They are putting the teepee up!
Narrator: The basket is filled with pollen and other ceremonial objects. As their ancestors did, the girls run toward the rising sun…circling the basket four times to mark the four stages of life.
Narrator: The fourth and final day brings Dachina to the cusp of womanhood. She ascends the hill to pray to the mountain spirits for a long and successful life.
Narrator: With darkness near, it’s time to dance beside the ceremonial fire. Dachina and the other girls will dance all night long, much of the time hidden in the big teepee.
Narrator: More than ten hours later, Dachina is still dancing. The medicine men greet the sun, a signal that the final test is near. The girls’ faces are painted with white clay symbolizing the goddess. On their last circuit around the sacred basket, the girls wipe away the symbolic clay. With the falling of the teepee, their rite of passage is complete.
Narrator: Dachina receives her Apache woman’s name, “Morning Star Feather”.
Zelda: Morning Star Feather. Everything went well. She’s going to be a strong woman.
Narrator: Her community gathers, acknowledging that this girl has earned the right to live as a woman of the tribe. As an Apache woman, Dachina serves as a symbol of her culture, renewing and protecting a way of life that’s in danger of vanishing.