This guide is created to instruct students taking RLG 201 Introduction to World Religions the research and analytical skills needed to find, evaluate and use information effectivelly.
This moral reasoning course has been designed to provide students with comprehensive explanation of human religious heritage, which has undoubtedly influenced any political, cultural, social, philosophical, artistic effort of those, who belong to one of the three major western civilizational patterns and world Biblical religions (arranged chronologically: Judaism and Christianity with their "Judeo-Christian" matrix, and Islam) on the comparative background with other major religious/spiritual models like Hinduism and Buddhism. At the same time, any human group with a cultural/religious setting of its own has not popped up from nothing, but has developed (by evolution and/or deep reform) from another human group/s, always growing from more than one “seed”. Religions and historically based on them political/social ideologies, traditional value systems originating from all these, and their basic texts from the past subconsciously play the decisive role in shaping our modern world; actually, all currently existing important civilizations have originated in the last 2,000 years (or even much less) on the basis of a specific religious explanation of all aspects of human internal and external experience (awareness of being aware, of our life and death, society, politics, literature and other creative artistic expression, etc.) It is very worth mentioning, that all inhuman economic, political, social utopias of the 20th century were first born within sane/insane minds of 19th century individuals of standard for their time (general or specifically professional) scholastic, scientific, and religious education.
This course will not consider as decisive any polar opinion in the science/religion debate. Instead, we will deal with the latest scientific data on the essence, origin, theory and practice, history and basic teachings of human religion and especially on the institutional “western/Biblical” religions - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Some attention will be paid also to Buddhism and the modern New Age Movement and New Religious Movements, as well as the institutional world religions’ position on diverse types of human spiritual experience - thinking, behavior, addictive cultic life, organizations, destructive sects, etc. In brief, we will try to follow Dr. Fr. Collins’ suggestion - “the current battles between the scientific and spiritual worldviews need to be resolved – we desperately need both voices to be at the table, and not to be shouting at each other”.
Please, see the link on the left for the entire course syllabus.