For several decades, scholars around the world predicted that religion would continue to recede as a factor in modern life, ultimately disappearing thanks to increased rationality, “secularism” and scientific progress.
They were wrong.
What Is Religion?
Today, religion commands a dominant place in the world, particularly in areas outside the “Global North” but within it as well. But what is religion? What does it mean to be religious, or do something religiously? We will take several steps towards answering those questions in this course, by looking at several theories that have sought to explain religion, and delving in to several themes associated with religious activity.
We will not be taking sides as to the “truth” of any single tradition, and we will need to set aside or “bracket” our own assumptions and beliefs about the meaning of human existence or the existence (or non-existence) of God or gods. The traditions we will encounter and the cultural activities we will engage with require we approach them on their own terms, in their own frameworks and in their own social contexts. Ultimately we will ask whether the term “religion” itself has a single meaning, and if it serves as an appropriate label for certain kinds of social activity.
Newly Added to Winter Session Schedule
RELG 101- Understanding Religion – fulfills the Gen Ed F2: Philosophical and Religious Perspectives requirement. The course is open to all majors, no prereqs required and available in this year’s Winter Session schedule.