Religion Term Paper Research Help

(Updated on May 6, 2018 by Michelle Williams)


Students at all grade levels will have to complete a religion term paper as part of their ethics, philosophy, or religion courses.  Such assignments help students to explore different religious ideas, which may also help to influence their own religious philosophies.  Therefore, religion term papers are very popular assignments at all levels of study.

Religion Term Paper

In order to complete an effective religion term paper, students should begin by learning more about the specific project requirements.  Most professors will give students a hand-out that describes the project in detail, including the expected page-count, required resources, format, and more.  Students should review this hand-out before they begin their research in order to ensure that they spend their time and effort appropriately.

Once a student has learned as much as possible about the requirements for the religion term paper, he/she must begin focusing on a topic, such as Martin Luther.  Some professors will assign a single topic.  Some professors will allow students to select from a handful of different topics.  Other professors will allow each student to choose his/her own topic for the religion report.  A student who selects his/her own topic should do so wisely; it must interest him/her and be related to the course for which he/she is writing the religion term paper.

After the topic for the religion term paper has been selected, students may begin their research.  Many religion term papers require that students research not only information supporting a particular religious theory, but also information that criticizes the theory.  Both sides of the debate should be addressed in the religion term paper in order to make the report as comprehensive as possible.

Once the students have completed their research, they can develop their outlines for their religion term papers.  These outlines will provide the format and content for the report, so students would benefit by spending a good deal of time developing their outlines.  Many students have multiple outline revisions before finalizing it.

There are many similarities between religion term papers and religious essays.  However, term papers are generally designed to help students research a particular topic in-depth and then complete an objective report on that topic.  Students may not interject their personal opinions into their research in a religion term paper.  On the other hand, religious essays allow for less research and more information from the student's point-of-view, as essays tend to be rather subjective and written from a point of influence.  Therefore, religion essays tend to be shorter and take less time to complete.  

Martin Luther's 95 Theses

The 95 Theses on the Power of Indulgences is a very notable and historical academic writing that focuses on one devout man's reaction to the Roman Catholic Church.  Written by Martin Luther in 1517, the 95 Theses triggered the Protestant Reformation, which sought to establish Protestantism as a major religious denomination.  Martin Luther's writing helped him to protest certain practices of the Roman Catholic Church such as penance, papal authority, and the usefulness of indulgences.

Martin Luther's 95 Theses discussed the commercialization of the Church in which people could purchase indulgences for forgiveness of their sins.  According to Martin Luther, this was a major violation that corrupted the original intent of confession and penance.  It further added offense to justification because sinners could seek absolution through the purchase of these extravagant indulgences.  Martin Luther professed that this was a false promise since sinners needed to receive absolution as a result of God's mercy and Jesus Christ's sacrifice to mankind.

The initial purpose of the 95 Theses was to outline the proceedings of a public scholarly debate on the issue of indulgences.  Martin Luther delineated every possible point of discussion for the debate and wrote these matters succinctly in book form.  On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther posted his academic writing on the doors of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.  Since the debate was going to be held at the University of Wittenberg, the posting of the 95 Theses on the church doors was customary protocol.

Then, Martin Luther met with church officials to present his 95 Theses.  When they didn't respond favorably to his pleas to stop indulgences, Luther circulated the 95 Theses privately.  As a result, the academic writing became a very popular catalyst for the birth of the Lutheran, Reformed, and Anabaptist movements in Christianity.  The 95 Theses was printed in many German cities such as Nuremburg, Leipzig, and Basel.  Yet, when Pope Leo X ordered Luther to recant certain sections in his writing, Martin Luther refused at the Diet of Worms in 1521.  This act of defiance unquestionably led to the initial stages of the Protestant Reformation.

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