Christianity

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Christianity

Post by Deviant Insider » Thu Jun 24, 2010 6:31 pm

Let's say you're writing 10/10 Religion for a set. How much Christianity do you put in there?

By Christianity, I'm counting questions that would be studied by Christians as part of their faith or have to do with the development of Christianity, which would mean the Old and New Testaments, Christian theology and theologists, and aspects of Catholicism or Protestantism including practices, holidays, and historical development.

That's 20 questions total. Based on the size of the high school canon, I would say you would want at most 2 questions each on Islam and Judaism (and that's probably pushing it if you're not counting the Old and New Testaments) and get at most 1 question each on Hinduism, Buddhism, African/Caribbean, Sikhism, Ba'hai, Jainism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, and Mormon. (I'm assuming that Mythology is a separate subject, which is why I would limit Hinduism to one question. Also, while I respect Mormonism as a Christian religion I am counting it separate here because I am thinking of questions that only apply to Mormons.) If you used up all of that, you would have 4/3 or 3/4 left over for Christianity. Furthermore, I'm of the opinion that you probably don't want all of those religions to come up at every tournament, which easily gets you to 5/5 or 6/6 Christianity.

Is that right? Should half or slightly more than half of the Religion questions at a high school tournament be in Christianity? Or is 10/10 too much Religion for one high school tournament? Or should writers/editors try to include everything I listed in every tournament? Or are some of the limits in my list too restrictive?
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Re: Christianity

Post by Bananaquit » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:00 pm

For reference, these are the subdivisions I placed on the religion category for GSAC XVII. While much of GSAC was initially too hard, I think most of the religion was fine. There was a total of 12/12 religion.

1/1 Judaism
1/1 Islam
1/1 Catholicism/Orthodoxy
1/1 Protestantism
1/1 Biblical
1/1 Any Western (these ended up as another Biblical bonus and another Catholicism TU)

1/1 Hinduism
1/1 Buddhism
1/1 Jainism and Sikhism (there was a Jainism TU and a Sikhism bonus)
1/1 Any Eastern (these ended up being Chinese traditional)

2/2 Minor religions (represented were Zoroastrianism, Bahai, Shinto, and Voodoo)

Thus, there ended up being 3/2 devoted specifically to Christianity, and another 1/2 of Biblical stuff, which could also be seen as Christian.

I could see up to 5/5 of a 12/12 set being conceivably used for Christianity/Biblical stuff if the intended audience is known to not know very much about other religions, but no more than that. For 10/10, about 4/4 is probably the max, since with the Islam and Judaism questions that's more than half on the big three Western religions. If higher percentages of Christianity are needed in a tournament to get conversion, then there is probably too much religion in that tournament.

I personally think more (and more varied) questions on older non-Christian religions should be included in sets, while the number of questions on things like Cao Dai, Bahai, Santeria, Voodoo, and Rastafarianism is reduced. This is especially important at lower levels, where the religions I just mentioned each often get as many questions as the vastly older and more influential Zoroastrianism and Jainism.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:31 pm

I won't argue for Cao Dai being any important part of the high school canon, but at the same time, is there any reason high schoolers would or should know more about Jainism than Rastafarianism? Just because one is older doesn't strike me as a reason to ask about it more if the reality is that there are probably as many people who know about them both (more accurately, few enough high school players know much about either of them. High schoolers probably actually know a lot more about Rastafarianism than Jainism or Zoroastrianism, to use that particular cited example).
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Re: Christianity

Post by Rufous-capped Thornbill » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:44 pm

Jeremy Gibbs Freesy Does It wrote:I won't argue for Cao Dai being any important part of the high school canon, but at the same time, is there any reason high schoolers would or should know more about Jainism than Rastafarianism? Just because one is older doesn't strike me as a reason to ask about it more if the reality is that there are probably as many people who know about them both (more accurately, few enough high school players know much about either of them. High schoolers probably actually know a lot more about Rastafarianism than Jainism or Zoroastrianism, to use that particular cited example).
Well, if we're to use relevance, Jainism is considered a major world religion(albeit, the one with the smallest following), while Rastafarianism is not. That seems like reason enough to me.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:56 pm

But criteria for being a "major world religion" (which I find incredibly suspect to describe Jainism or Zoroastrianism as such, considering the only numbers I can find suggest that they don't even cover .1% of the world's population) is pretty unimportant if you are going to write questions about topics high schoolers don't know a lot about to begin with. Just because these religions are older doesn't mean they are de facto more askable.
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Re: Christianity

Post by sds » Fri Jun 25, 2010 2:57 pm

You're more likely to find a high schooler who actually is a practicing Jain than Cao Dai or Rasta. I'm pretty sure there's at least one or two of them playing quiz bowl already.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jun 25, 2010 3:10 pm

I said already that I'm not defending Cao Dai's place in the high school canon, but in the case of Rastafarianism, I think there are going to be a ton more people who are high schoolers who are familiar with baseline facts about Rastas than about baseline facts of Jainism. In my experience working directly with high schoolers this has held up - high schoolers know that reggae music (which is pretty widely listened to, plus is sung about by lots of popular American bands like Sublime) has to do with Rastafarianism, and that Rastas wear dreads and crazy hats, are from Jamaica, and smoke ganja. There are also going to be a large number of people who know that it's a religion inspired by Haile Selassie. These are people who do not necessarily prepare for good quizbowl, or even play it all that much. A lot of this knowledge is in fact already known by participants before they even play quizbowl. By contrast, my experience is that almost no high schooler can tell you anything about Jainism - go ask some high schoolers if they can tell you who the founder is, or what Jainists believe (if you can get "nonviolent" out of more than 2% of high schoolers I'll be impressed). I think this baseline knowledge of Rastafarianism (Voodoo as well) is much more well known than anything about Jainism, or Zoroastrianism, or probably Sikhism. Yes, the likelihood of practitioners in the game is higher for Jainism, but 5 players does not an argument for accessibility make.
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Re: Christianity

Post by TheKingInYellow » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:14 pm

I don't know how much historical significance should factor in to selections of religion distribution, but it seems like religions like Zoroastrianism or Gnosticism had a much greater effect on the development of world religion than did say, Rastafarianism or Santeria (speaking of Sublime and reggae :wink: ). I feel like that should at least somewhat influence distribution.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Bananaquit » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:21 pm

I think the primary reason Rastafarianism would get better conversion than Jainism, to take your example (which I won't dispute) is that aspects of it have entered popular culture, while the same cannot be said of Jainism. However, just looking at the things you listed for why Rastafarianism is known, many of them are peripheral facts that are not directly related to the beliefs of Rastafarianism, and are well known because people think it's cool to have dreads or listen to reggae. Putting such clues in at the end seems to me almost like adding a trash giveaway (maybe not quite as bad).

Most high schoolers not only do not know very much about Jainism, but also probably could not name more than two or three Hindu gods, or identify any sects of Buddhism except Zen. They also do not know anything Albert Camus or Sartre wrote, and probably have never heard of Aida. However, quizbowl players are not most high schoolers, so I at least assume most players will be in that 2% you mentioned.

It's fine to have Rastafarianism instead of Jainism (or anything else the audience won't convert) if you're writing a novice tournament, but for regular-difficulty high-school, I wish people would have less of the minor religions.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) » Fri Jun 25, 2010 4:33 pm

many of them are peripheral facts that are not directly related to the beliefs of Rastafarianism, and are well known because people think it's cool to have dreads or listen to reggae. Putting such clues in at the end seems to me almost like adding a trash giveaway
That's not the case at all. Cannabis usage and growing of dreadlocks are important religious practices in Rastafarianism. Just because those facts have entered pop culture doesn't change that fact. Those are baseline clues for Rastafarianism that are undeniably linked to actual religious practice, and I see no reason why those wouldn't be comparable to "name this Indian religion founded by Mahavira, which promotes nonviolence."
Most high schoolers not only do not know very much about Jainism, but also probably could not name more than two or three Hindu gods, or identify any sects of Buddhism except Zen. They also do not know anything Albert Camus or Sartre wrote, and probably have never heard of Aida. However, quizbowl players are not most high schoolers, so I at least assume most players will be in that 2% you mentioned.
It is my experience working extensively at all levels of high school quizbowl that the bulk of quizbowl players who are aware of Jainism's existence are either on competitive teams or are Indian. That group is dwarfed by the rest of the circuit. To take a small example, your tossup on Jainism got one correct response out of 8 teams playing it at our GSAC mirror. I know that is a small sample, but my experience coaching high schoolers, directing many tournaments, and playing lots of stuff in high school leads me to conclude that the population of people who know anything about Jainism, or Baha'i, or Zoroastrianism, in high school quizbowl is quite small. I'm not saying no questions on these things ever (Zoroastrianism especially so, since I would imagine it's probably the third most well known of these religions in discussion behind Voodoo and Rastafarianism), but just because something is important doesn't mean it is going to be converted or should get more frequency than more well known things.
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Re: Christianity

Post by cvdwightw » Fri Jun 25, 2010 7:57 pm

bananaquit wrote:I could see up to 5/5 of a 12/12 set being conceivably used for Christianity/Biblical stuff if the intended audience is known to not know very much about other religions, but no more than that. For 10/10, about 4/4 is probably the max, since with the Islam and Judaism questions that's more than half on the big three Western religions. If higher percentages of Christianity are needed in a tournament to get conversion, then there is probably too much religion in that tournament.
Greg, I think the above quote is a prime example of what people are citing when they decry the disconnect the "elites" have from the rest of the circuit. Most high school quizbowl players are academically interested students who show up for a few league matches or a few Saturday tournaments a year. Probably around 80-85% of their knowledge comes from stuff they learned in class and 10% from stuff they learned from listening to packets at practice or memorizing lists because their coach told them to (the remaining 5-10% is from a variety of non-classroom, non-quizbowl sources). This is why we see poor conversion in arts, social science, and philosophy - because half the rooms in a tournament are teams who have little to no classroom exposure to these subjects. Similarly, I would highly suspect that Biblical/Christian questions are converted by non-practitioners at a far higher rate than any other major world religion, because there is a lot more crossover between Bible/Christianity and other academic (and non-academic) subjects than just about any other religion.

I'm further confused by what you mean by "there is probably too much religion in that tournament." What are you going to replace it with? Furthermore, do you think that there is too much literature in a tournament just because we have to strictly limit the amount of world lit to get acceptable conversion rates?

NAQT does not appear to have an exact distribution for "theology" but their "religious literature" distribution is split slightly in favor of "Christian literature." I'm pretty sure HSAPQ's religion distribution is an exact 50/50 split between "Christian" and "non-Christian." Since probably like 90% of the good quizbowl tournaments in the country use one of these two providers, I think it's safe to say that "somewhere around 50% of the religion questions should be on Biblical or Christian topics" is a de facto standard for religion at the high school level. My guess is that this was originally rooted in tradition and continues without issue because this split allows for a decent overall conversion rate while still asking about important stuff like Jainism that's got a 12% conversion rate. Whether or not we should take issue with the 50/50 split is another story.
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Re: Christianity

Post by The King's Flight to the Scots » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:58 pm

Sounds like we're getting down to what these discussions always come down to: What's the purpose of high school quizbowl? Are we primarily striving to provide competition based on classroom material, or to expose players to important new things that they wouldn't learn there? At what point do we draw the line and say, "This is just something you should know."?

Personally, my sense of aesthetics is thrown off when we frequently ask about something like Rasta, which honestly just isn't that important in the dialogue of religions. I'd much prefer to ask additional Buddhism, Islam, or Hinduism questions, where I suspect we can find several answers that would be converted at an acceptable rate. For example, I've never heard a tossup on the Hare Krishnas, but that would see far better conversion than Jainism and would be much more religiously relevant than Rasta. If, in fact, we cannot find enough of these convertible answers to ask about important things with sufficient variety among tournaments, we should think about asking a little less religion in high school. An alternative might be the "rotating big three" category we used in Fall Novice.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Auroni » Fri Jun 25, 2010 9:58 pm

Or, you know, we can include even more JC religion in place of something like Jainism, thus skewing the balance between jc and world religion in favor of the former, if we hold convertibility to be our highest guiding factor.
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Re: Christianity

Post by Matt Weiner » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:18 pm

I don't see what answers from Jainism or Rastafarianism you could possibly write an appropriate high school tossup on besides "Jainism" and "Rastafarianism," both of which I expect to be converted at acceptable rates. In that sense, they are equally askable in that there is 1 viable tossup you could write on either of them (and probably 1 possible bonus using similar material to what's in the end of that tossup).
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Re: Christianity

Post by JackGlerum » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:57 pm

Westwon wrote:Let's say you're writing 10/10 Religion for a set. How much Christianity do you put in there?
My first instinct would be 67% Abrahamic, 33% Eastern. I'd have Christianity compromise a significant part of the former.

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Re: Christianity

Post by Frater Taciturnus » Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:33 pm

JackGlerum wrote:
Westwon wrote:Let's say you're writing 10/10 Religion for a set. How much Christianity do you put in there?
My first instinct would be 67% Abrahamic, 33% Eastern. I'd have Christianity compromise a significant part of the former.
Take THAT, non-abrahamic western religion!
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Re: Christianity

Post by Bananaquit » Sat Jun 26, 2010 11:45 am

Cernel Joson wrote:At what point do we draw the line and say, "This is just something you should know."?
I think knowing a variety of important religions is "just something you should know", which is an argument in favor of Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc.
cvdwightw wrote:This is why we see poor conversion in arts, social science, and philosophy - because half the rooms in a tournament are teams who have little to no classroom exposure to these subjects.
We still include those topics despite low conversion, and I think we should also include Jainism and other poorly-converted religions. I didn't know offhand the distribution of NAQT/HSAPQ with regard to religion, but I think they could include more non-Christian religions. Most of the teams that don't convert Jainism or other religions probably don't convert many of the arts questions in the packet and one more or less dead TU would likely go unnoticed. The inclusion of more non-Western religion, on the other hand, would goad the best teams to study more of it.
cvdwightw wrote:I'm further confused by what you mean by "there is probably too much religion in that tournament."
This was not my personal opinion on the subject, but what I thought an editor concerned with both conversion and equity among how much religions were asked would conclude. Such an editor would probably replace some religion with something better converted, like myth.
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