For the critical assignment, you will be developing your own theory of integration, taking into consideration the concepts of worldview (i.e., cosmology, anthropology, sin, and atonement), and psychology or sociology. In particular, you will select a specific topic in the field of psychology (e.g., mental illness, divorce, alcohol dependence, sexual orientation, domestic violence), or sociology (e.g., social problems like homelessness), to view through an integrative lens. If you choose racism as was covered in class, you will need to provide a unique contribution above what you posted in the discussion boards. You should rely on your personal theory of integration regarding the worldview issues developed earlier in the course to discuss how your worldview relates to a behavioral science perspective on your topic.
As an example, for the topic of mental illness such as depression, you will explore how depression is related to human nature, sin, and what to do to fix it. Further, a cosmological perspective will help identify epistemological issues (naturalism vs. supernaturalism). Stated differently, you will try to better understand how worldview shapes your understanding of the chosen topic. If, for example, you select depression as your topic, you will explain what it means to be human and psychologically functioning in a healthy manner, what our purpose in the world is so as to function in a psychologically healthy manner, what goes wrong that leads to depression, and how depression can be “fixed,” according to your theory as it has been developing in the course. As part of this discussion on depression, students should describe how a strictly psychological epistemology focuses on certain types of causes in relation to depression as well as certain treatments.
An example of a social issue would be to address the issue of homelessness. Homelessness should be described using sociological data focusing on the rates of homelessness in the US. Additionally, there should be a review of the causes of homelessness, and any proposals aimed to address this complicated issue at the sociological level. In terms of integration, rely on course materials and readings to describe the Christian worldview domains of sin and salvation (or atonement) and their relationship to the sociological findings. A main component of comparing the sociological and Christian worldview aspects of homelessness should focus on epistemology. That is, students should devote space to describing the epistemology associated with the sociology of homelessness and how that epistemology compares with the epistemologies described in Entwistle’s text. Of importance for undertaking a social problems paper, students should incorporate Strachan’s material on sin in chapter two of his book, Reenchanting Humanity. That is, Strachan describes both the personal and social aspects of sin, and students should develop this personal and social distinction of sin when describing the Christian worldview’s understanding of sin as it relates to homelessness.
Specific paper requirements:
You will then explore your topic from both theological and behavioral science (psychology OR sociology) viewpoints by conducting a literature review, including at least five academic citations from a theological viewpoint, and five from a behavioral science viewpoint. Again, to use the illustration of a paper that focuses on depression, you will explore the psychological literature on depression, as well as what the Bible says, if anything, about depression. Finally, you will synthesize these findings into some sort of personal theory of integration. For the example of depression, you might write about how you reconcile a psychological understanding of depression with what scripture says about depression and low mood, and how this relates to your personal theory of integration.
The paper will be at least 6 pages in length, with 1” margins, and will be double-spaced in Times New Roman font. You will also include a Title and References page, and the paper will be in APA format. OPS has adopted the most current APA professional standards. An abstract is not needed for this paper.
Overall, the organization of the essay will be as follows:
(a) Title page,
(b) Introduction, where you will outline what you will accomplish in the paper and introduce your topic,
(c) Worldview Issues section, where you will explore the types of worldview perspectives (cosmology, anthropology, sin, and atonement) and how these relate to your topic,
(d) Literature Review section, where you will summarize the psychological or sociological research and Scripture on the topic (this section should describe the epistemology associated with the social science research), and
(e) Discussion section where you will develop your personal theory based on your course work and the behavioral science research conducted on the topic, and, last,
(f) References page, in APA format.
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