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Perspectives on Human Institutions Social Systems
RS-101      World Religions
Catalog Description

A study of major world religions, including an examination of various definitions and characteristics of religion as exemplified in the histories of religions and their impact on societies.

Course Content

Class lectures and reading assignments follow the textbook. The course materials cover indigenous religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Particular attention is given to the dynamic relationship between religion and its cultural setting. Attention will also be given to the growth of new religious movements.

Nature of Course

Students will be required to read the textbook in preparation for class lectures and discussions, as well as additional source materials related to the significant sacred literature of each religion.


In order to develop research and writing skills, each student will be required to write a short paper on the subject of what constitutes religion, and a medium-length paper on a new religions movement. In addition, each student will be required to compile a scrapbook with entries from each of the major world religions. Through reading assignments, written projects and classroom discussions students should receive a sound understanding of the religions of the world and develop an appreciation of their own and others' religious heritage.

Student Expectations

Students are expected to read assigned texts, attend class regularly, and participate in class discussions. In addition to the reading assignments and written projects, there will be two in-class examinations and a final examination. The examinations contain a mixture of completion and fill-in-the-blank statements, and may contain one or more discussion questions. Study sheets are provided for each major religion, and ample time is provided during class to ask questions for additional information and clarification.





Credit Hours 3