HUMN 215-02: Introduction To Religion

HUMN 215-02: Introduction To Religion

Welcome to Humanities 215, Introduction to Religion. The purpose of this course is to give you the chance to think and to feel deeply about some of the major issues and themes that arise in the world’s greatest religions. 

Cave paintings, Magura Cave

Religions are varied and do not speak with one voice.  They arise out of cultures and people-groups who ask basic questions about their individual and communal lives.  Many of these questions are open-ended, meaning they lead to no empirically verifiable answer.  In fact, religious answers often cover men, women and children with a blanket of security that does more damage to the social fabric that we share with those who make truth-claims that diverge from our own. Consequently, when it comes to the “security blankets” to which we ourselves cling, students of this class must be prepared to pull on a few threads.  This thread-pulling will consist of conversation in which you entertain the point of view of the other (the person from another religious disposition or mindset).  Whether your interactions are spoken or written, I will encourage you to exude a sense of tolerance and patience.  Whatever your particular beliefs may be, on occasion, you must be willing to suspend them and re-engage in the initial wonderment that brought you into contact with religious authorities, texts and unique revelatory moments.  

This course does not advocate any religious or spiritual practice or dogma.  Critical thinking is the name of the game.  And yet, as we will see, for those who genuinely practice and strictly adhere to sacred tenets of faith, it is no game.  Religion is matter of life & death and all that happens in between:  morality, the nature of evil, sexuality, vision for the future and more... lots more.


Introduction to World Religions, 10th ed (Christopher Partridge);

God Is Not One, (Stephen Prothero);

*Three Outsiders:  Pascal, Kierkegaard, Simone Weil (Diogenes Allen)


Course Summary:

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