Students earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies or a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion explore the influence of religion on culture. Courses in such programs cover the history of world religions and allow students to reflect upon the personal and societal impact of religious thought. Through reading ancient and modern texts, such as the Bible, the Qur'an, the Talmud and other works, students gain an overview of a variety of religious beliefs, stories and values, and learn ways to communicate these ideas coherently.
Topics in the following areas are explored:
- Art History
- Gender and Religion
- Rituals and Ceremony
- Sacred Scriptures
- Theology and Philosophy
List of Courses in Religion
World religions courses cover the major religions of the East and West and their impact on culture and politics. Students compare and contrast Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu religious cultures in the modern day. Smaller religions, indigenous religions and New Age spirituality are covered as well. World religions classes can either be taken at the beginning of academic studies, to provide a good basis for subsequent classes, or toward the end of a degree program.
Religion in Modern America
Studies of religion in the United States today involve exploration of the dominant religions' impact on American culture, the separation of church and state and the effects of religion on the media. Ethical considerations over modern medical and social advances, such as stem cell research and abortion issues, are discussed as well. Students also study statistics of faiths practiced in America.
Taoism, Hinduism and the many faces of Buddhism are examined in Asian religious studies classes. Students explore the ancient beginnings of these religions and how they've changed in modern times to affect the culture, politics and even the economic climates of Japan, China, India and smaller South East Asian countries.
From the Dead Sea Scrolls and Jewish mysticism to the modern Jewish American experience, the study of Judaism is a multifaceted topic. Students will briefly study the build-up of political and social events prior to the Holocaust and explore how the Holocaust has affected Jewish people around the world. Jewish studies touch on the history of the ancient world, through the birth of the State of Israel and the on-going conflicts that continue to shape modern Judaism.
The major teachings of Christianity, from the time of Jesus to the present, are covered in Christian studies classes. The Bible is studied as the basis of Christian beliefs and values and as a work of great cultural significance; readings of the Old and New Testament, as well as modern critiques of Christianity will help create an academic context for understanding the Christian experience.
Philosophy of Religion
Students of philosophy of religion courses analyze the values and ethics of major world religions. Other philosophical topics covered include theories of creationism versus science, as well as human interest in religion and spirituality in general. Students will discuss how language, laws, history and politics have shaped religions and how religions in turn shaped society as a whole.