Katherine Low, coordinator
Andrea Cornett-Scott, Roderic Owen, Edward Scott

Religious Studies involves the study of religious history and modern religious issues in a manner that regards all spiritual traditions equally. A minor in religious studies draws upon many of the same tools as philosophy, history, sociology, anthropology, and theology. Students will exercise strong analytical and original thinking skills and develop their ability to empathize with the perspectives and beliefs of fellow human beings. The religious studies minor provides an understanding of different religions including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam.

These diverse belief systems have had a significant influence on the lives of millions of people worldwide and served as the foundation for community and culture and also provided a way to grapple with fundamental values and questions about human existence. Also, religious faith has been the source of great artistic and literary achievements — while at the same time, served as the justification for many of the world’s major conflicts, wars, and social movements. Understanding the role religion plays in conflicts and social change — and the resources it may bring to their resolution–is one key purpose for its study.

Requirements for the Minor in Religious Studies

21 semester hours
REL 101
REL 102
One of the following from Asian Religions: AS/REL 212, AS/REL 275, AS 278
Four of the following: REL 130, REL 202, HIST/REL 204, AS 212/REL 212, PHIL/REL 225,  REL 231, REL 232, COMM/REL 237, AS/REL 275, AS/REL 278, SOC/REL 284, PHIL/REL 305, REL/PHIL 320, REL 355, PHIL 101, ANTH/REL 244, HIST 365, SOC/REL 205

Note: Minors may take the following at the 300-level: REL 231, REL 232, AS/REL 275, and REL 277

Minor in Religious Leadership and Ministry

Please see Religious Leadership and Ministry

Civic Engagement Opportunities

• Courses which include a civic engagement component: REL 130 Faith, Life, and Service and REL 232 African American Religion
• Quest: A co-curricular spiritual exploration program
• Programs sponsored by Philosophy and Religious Studies including Black Baby Doll Day; Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight March and Memorial Service, Kwanzaa, interfaith excursions, and others
• Black History Month events: Oratorical Contest with community participation, Gospel Extravaganza, Praise House Service; Peace and World Religions Lecture
• Participation in Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International
• Internship opportunities through the Spencer Center
• International civic engagement: South Africa, India, Greece

Religious Studies Course Descriptions

101 Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) (3 s.h.) (H)
Introduction to the historical and cultural background of Hebrew Bible. Students are introduced to the historical-critical method of study. The Biblical texts are approached from the perspectives of the history, faith, and theology of Ancient Israel, from Abraham to the return from exile.

102 New Testament (Christian Bible) (3 s.h.) (H)
The formation and content of the New Testament in light of the entire Christian Bible are the focus, with special emphasis on developing the student’s ability to interpret texts in the synoptic gospels. This study includes the history of the early church and some of its leaders, especially the Apostle Paul.

130 Faith, Life, and Service (3 s.h.) (C)
Focuses on the relationship between life, work, and faith. Students examine the interaction between American culture and religion. Through reading, discussion and guest lecturers, they gain an appreciation for the differing ways in which individuals and communities put together faith and respond to the world.

202 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (3 s.h.) (I)
A study of the historical religions of the Middle East and West: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Along with an analysis of the beliefs, practices, and history of each tradition, a comparative analysis is undertaken.

204 Religion in America (3 s.h.)
Cross listed as HIST 204. For course description, see HIST 204 in the History listing.

205 Sociology of Death and Dying (3 s.h.)
Cross listed as SOC 205. For course description, see SOC 205 in the Sociology listing.

212 Asian Religions (3 s.h.) (H)
Cross listed as AS 212. For course description, see AS 212 in the Asian Studies listing.

222 Internship in Ministry (credit varies)
Students work with faculty and pastors to learn and practice the basics of pastoral care, counseling, and ministry. *Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered as needed.

225 Martin Luther King and a Philosophy of Civil Rights (3 s.h.) (D)
Cross listed as PHIL 225. For course description, see PHIL 225 in the Philosophy listing. Also contributes to the minor in African American Studies.

231 Women and Religion (3 s.h.) (G)
A study of the role and treatment of women focusing primarily on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Beginning with the biblical texts, the study looks at both traditional and feminist interpretation of scriptures concerning the “place of women.” Issues include biblical imagery for God, the ordination of women, and inclusive religious language.

232 African-American Religion (3 s.h.) (D)
Focuses on the African origin and African-American recreations of religions and sects. Special emphasis on the liturgical and homiletical (preaching) traditions of black women and men, and the role of the slave church as a catalyst for civil rights in the contemporary black church. Examines the evolution of womanist and black theological critiques and the counter challenge of the black Muslim movement. Contributes to the minor in African American Studies.

237 Mediation and Conflict Resolution: Principles and Practices (3 s.h.) (O)
Topics include: why conflict resolution and mediation matter; the adversarial system and mediation as an alternative; the concept of win-win; managing multiple and conflicting emotions; power, conflict, and morality; conflict styles and dysfunctional conflict practices; ethical negotiation and negotiating conflict resolutions; listening in conflict; disruptions in close relationships; a mediator’s role in working through conflict; helping others manage conflict; moral, religious, and cultural conflicts; and managing moral conflicts. Topics are covered through faculty and student presentations, critical readings and discussion, and analysis and role playing of mediation case studies. Cross listed as COMM 237; Ethics option for the Leadership minor. 

244 Magic, Ritual and Religion (3 s.h.) (R)
Cross listed as ANTH 244. For course description, see ANTH 244 in the Anthropology listing.

275 Buddhism (3 s.h.) (H, W)
Cross listed as AS 275. For course description, see AS 275 in the Asian Studies listing.

277 Studies in Religion (credit varies)
Topics not included in regularly scheduled religion courses. Interests of students and faculty determine the subject matter.

278 Hinduism (3 s.h.) (H, W)
Cross listed as AS 278. For course description, see AS 278 in the Asian Studies listing.

284 Sociology of Religion (3 s.h.)
Cross listed as SOC 284. For course description, see SOC 284 in the Sociology listing.

305 Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (Honors Colloquium) (3 s.h.) (T)
Cross listed as PHIL 305. For course description, see PHIL 305 in the Philosophy listing.

320 Peacemaking: Gandhi and Nonviolence (3 s.h.) (T, R)
Cross listed as AS/PHIL 320. For course description, see PHIL 320 in the Philosophy listing.

355 Greek Myth and Religion (3 s.h.) (R)
Examines the myths and religious beliefs, practices, and institutions of the ancients Greeks. Primary sources for doing so include Hesiod, Homer, and Greek dramatists and poets. This course also examines theories of interpreting myth and the influence of Greek myth and religion in Western culture, literature, art, and music. *Prerequisite: sophomore standing; often offered with a global honors designation.

390 Directed Inquiry (credit varies)
The student and supervising faculty member undertake an advanced study of a selected topic in religious studies.