This term course will explore some of the most impactful religious traditions of our world: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The historical origins, central teachings, devotional practices, and contemporary challenges within each religion will be considered in relation to common themes of human experience: the divine or sacred; suffering; ethics; love and compassion; wisdom and justice; death and beyond. The goals of the course are: to facilitate understanding of the essential claims of these influential religions; to identify similarities and differences of thought and practice among the traditions; and to help students articulate their own religious and spiritual attitudes and orientations. Some key questions that we are likely to engage include: What is meant by “religion” and how is it different from “culture” and “spirituality?” Why is it important to study religions, especially including ones we don’t follow? How have the religions we study in this course shaped how people think and behave, individually and collectively?
This course satisfies the world religions graduation requirement.