REL 100: Introduction to the Study of Religion- 3 Credits
This course explores the various religious perspectives and ways of thinking about religious themes and religious experience.
The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to the general terminology, the recurring themes, and issues common to the religious outlook; to examine basic ideas common to all religions and to look carefully at the religious experience itself from a variety of perspectives.
The main overarching theme of the course is the question: “What is Religion?” Through this course of study you will spend the semester exploring the breadth and depth of religion through a comparison and contrast of examples drawn from a wide variety of the world’s religions. The material is presented thematically rather than as a systematic examination of each religion in turn. Such a thematic approach is designed to bring out the patterns that can be found, expressed in diverse ways, across religions.
In this course you will learn by...
Reading and reflecting on the material
Exploring supplementary online resources
Watching online videos
Doing research (online and real world)
Discussing issues with your classmates and mentor (through use of an online discussion board)
If you do well in this course, you
will be able to:
Define and discuss relevant religious terminology, such as "religion", "mystery", "the holy", "theism", "atheism", "pantheism", "monotheism", "ultimate reality", "myth", "symbol", "revealed truth", "ritual", etc.
Explore basic themes of religion, such as the nature of the holy, the sacred and the profane, the nature of religious experience, the place of evil in the world, etc.
Examine the use of religious language.
Explore questions about religion raised from within religious commitments, such as the adequacy of religious symbolism, or the role of religious institutions in the religious life, etc.
Explore questions about religion raised from those outside religious affiliations, such as the role of class in religious oppression, the social functions of religious institutions, the Freudian notion that belief in God is the result of infantile wish-fulfillment, the place of religion in a modern scientific world and other similar criticisms.
Learn and apply critical thinking skills in the context of the study of religion.
Develop an appreciation for religion in general and for religions beyond your own in particular.
Students are required to view Video on Demand lecture series (24 half hour videos) available online (free) through the NVCC Video on Demand pages (accessed through Blackboard). (details in course site). Broadband access recommended for ease of viewing.