RC220B - World Religious Traditions II

Syllabus

 

Facilitator Information

Grant C. Fleming, D.D.

Telephone 303-458-4371

Fax: 303-964-5539

E-Mail gfleming@regis.edu

 

 

 

Course Description

 

RC 220B. WORLD RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS II (3).  Surveys basic concepts, values and practices of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Compares religions, beliefs, behaviors, and effects on individual outlooks and cultural interaction.

 

 

Learning Topics

 

Learning Topic #1:     Introduction to the study of Western Religious Traditions

Learning Topic #2:     Judaism

Learning Topic #3:     Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox)

Learning Topic #4:     Christianity (Protestant)

Learning Topic #5:     Islam


Learning Topic #1: Introduction to the Study of Western Religions

 

This topic will provide an overview of the Western Religious Traditions to be studied in this course.  It will provide students a basic understanding of these religious traditions within the cultures and geographic locations where they originated and criteria which students may use to compare the various aspects of the traditions presented in this class with other world religious traditions.

Here are to good websites to visit:

http://uwacadweb.uwyo.edu/religionet/er/default.htm

http://davidwiley.com/religion.html

 

Topic Outcomes

 

Upon completion of this topic the student will:

 

·        Answer the question, “Why do we study religion?”

·        Discuss several approaches to the study of religion.

·        Recognize the elements common to the three major Western religious traditions.

·        Develop a familiarity with the terms used to describe religious phenomena and understand how the terms relate to a variety of religious expressions.

·        Closely examine his or her attitudes and preconceptions about religion in general as well as about specific religions in approaching this course.

·        Understand some of the similarities and differences between indigenous sacred ways and Western approaches to religion.

·        Identify some of the challenges faced by Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in today’s world.

·        Identify some of the ways one or all of these religions has impacted or impacts his or her individual life (personal philosophy, association with family, friends or co-workers, work or life situations, personal history, etc.).

 

 

Self-Assessment Questions

 

·        What do Western religions seem to have in common with each other?  How do they differ from one another?

·        How can the scientific way to describe reality be compatible with religion?

·        What are some ways that spirit and power play an intrinsic role within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam?  In indigenous religions?

·        What are “spiritual specialists?”  What role do these people perform in indigenous religions and the major Western religious traditions?

·        How does religion in general impact contemporary society?  How do Judaism, Christianity, and Islam specifically impact contemporary society? 

·        What are some of the major issues facing these religions today?

·        What are other religions outside Judaism, Christianity, and Islam that are considered to be “western” religions?  What are their histories, essential beliefs, and practices?  Have they made any considerable impact on society historically or contemporaneously?  If so, how?


Learning Topic #2: Judaism

 

This topic examines the historical and geographic origins of Judaism, its writings, teachings, and practices, as well as its real life application and impact upon its adherents.

 

 

Topic Outcomes

 

Upon completion of this topic the student will:

 

·        Elaborate on the historical and geographical origins of Judaism.

·        Read some of the principle religious texts significant to Judaism.

·        Define the concept of Covenant and explain its function in the relationship between God and Abraham, God and Moses, God and David, and God and the people of Israel.

·        Follow the relationship between God and the Chosen People through such figures as Abraham, David, and the prophets; understand the consequences to the Jews of breaking the Covenant.

·        Demonstrate clear understanding of the principal beliefs of Judaism, including definitions and perceptions of God, covenant, and community as well as how these are integrated into the every day lives of Jews historically and in the present.

·        Define the role of the Torah in the development of Judaism.

·        Have encountered, examined, and described examples of Jewish religious practice, rituals, and dietary laws.

·        Describe the history, foundation, significance, and practice of various Jewish religious celebrations such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Hanukkah.

·        Explain the differences between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism.

·        Identify and evaluate the role of Judaism in history, including contributions and periods of persecution.

·        Explain the relationship of the Holocaust and the formation of the State of Israel.

 

 

Self-Assessment Questions

 

·        Where and when did Judaism originate?

·        What is meant by the term Covenant?  Why is it so important in Judaism?

·        What are the major events in Jewish history?

·        What are the basic moral precepts of Judaism?

·        What are the differences between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Judaism?

·        What basic Jewish practices should one know about (holidays, dietary laws, etc.)?

·        The Holocaust is the most well known persecution of Jews throughout history.  What are some others?  What has been their impact on the Jews?  On their religion?  On their survival?

·        How did the Holocaust impact Judaism during the time of its enactment?  What has been the impact of the Holocaust on Judaism since the end of World War II?

·        How was the formation of the State of Israel a result of the Holocaust?

·        How does the State of Israel fit into the Jewish worldview?


Learning Topic #3: Christianity (Catholic and Orthodox)

 

This topic examines the historical and geographic origins of Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christianity, their writings, teachings, and practices, as well as their real life application and impact upon their adherents.

 

 

Topic Outcomes

 

Upon completion of this topic the student will:

 

·        Read some of the principle religious texts significant to Christians.

·        Describe the life of Jesus from birth to resurrection.

·        Explain Jesus’ relationship to Judaism, to the Old Testament Prophets and prophecies, and how Jesus reportedly saw himself in the light of this relationship.

·        Relate the dynamics of Judaism at the time of Jesus’ birth, life, trial and crucifixion; explain the political and religious climate as well as the events leading to the crucifixion.

·        Clarify the role of the Apostle Paul in broadening the message of early Christianity to include the Gentiles and to shape a universal church.

·        Define the causes for the schism that divided Eastern Orthodoxy from Roman Catholicism in 1054 C.E.

·        Trace the rise of the Papacy and factors leading to the 16th century Protestant Reformation.

·        Explain important historical dimensions of early Christianity and its evolution into Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and eventually Protestant Christianity.

·        Explain the principal concepts of Christianity, including the doctrine of the trinity. 

·        Identify important Christian rituals (i.e., Sacrament of Holy Communion, Baptism, etc.) and their importance in the church as a whole and to individual believers.

·        Have encountered, examined, and described examples of Roman Catholic and/or Eastern Orthodox religious practice, including prayers and rituals.  Define the differences between the two including similarities and differences in practice and ritual.

·        Trace the development of Roman Catholicism since the Reformation.

·        Understand how 20th century world events (i.e., the Russian Revolution and the establishment of the Communist States) have impacted the Eastern Orthodox Church.

 

 

·        Self-Assessment Questions

 

·        How is Christ presented in the Gospels?

·        How did Jesus see himself in light of his Jewish heritage?  How did he explain his relationship to the Jewish tradition?  How did he explain his relationship to the Roman rule in place in the Middle East during his lifetime?

·        What are some teachings presented in the parables of Jesus?

·        What does it mean to refer to Jesus as God-man?  How does that differ from a good man?

·        How did Jesus’ behavior impact his eventual crucifixion?


·        Self-Assessment Questions (cont’d)

 

·        What is the importance of the crucifixion and resurrection in the formation of Christianity?

·        What is the history of the fledgling Christian Church?  How did the new religion spread?  Why were its converts and adherents persecuted?  What were some of the tactics used by early Christians to avoid persecution?  How did Christianity eventually become a legitimate religion?

·        What is the Trinity?  What is its importance within the beliefs of Christianity?

·        What elements led to the separation of the Orthodox Church from Roman Catholicism?

·        What do the Orthodox churches emphasize in worship, structure, and dogma?

·        What do Roman Catholic churches emphasize in worship, structure, and dogma?

·        What changes have taken place in recent years within the Roman Catholic Church?  How have these changes impacted the Church?

·        How have events and political movements in Russian and Eastern Europe impacted the Eastern Orthodox Church in the 20th century?


Learning Topic #4: Christianity (Protestant)

 

This topic examines the historical and geographic origins of Protestant Christianity, its writings, teachings, and practices, as well as its real life application and impact upon its adherents.

 

 

Topic Outcomes

 

Upon completion of this topic the student will:

 

·        Explain the historical origins of major Protestant traditions and interpret their social and political importance at the time of their enactment (for example, Luther’s posting of the Ninety-five Theses was done for much different reasons and had a much different impact than King Henry VIII’s abolishment of the Roman Catholic Church from England).

·        Demonstrate understanding of the principal emphases of the major Protestant traditions, and be aware of similarities and differences between them.

·        Read some of the principle religious texts significant to Protestant Christians.

·        Be acquainted with different forms of worship and prayer practiced by various Protestant denominations.

·        Demonstrate understanding of the principal emphases of the major Protestant traditions and contrast them with those of Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions, explaining similarities and differences between them.

·        Demonstrate awareness of the varying perspectives on moral issues between the various Protestant denominations themselves and between Jewish, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholic practitioners.

·        Be aware of the broad diversity in belief and practice falling within the essential term Protestant, particularly in the United States, and the extreme importance of understanding that diversity and its implications within contemporary Christianity and to individual participants as well as socially and politically.

 

 

Self-Assessment Questions

 

·        What major issues lead to the formation of the Protestant Churches?

·        When, where, and how did Lutheranism, Anglicanism, and Calvinism originate? Who were the major players in these movements (Martin Luther, John Calvin, Henry the VIII, etc.)?  What were their beliefs and motivations?

·        What is the difference between a religion, a denomination, and a sect?

·        What was the Catholic response to the Protestant reformers?

·        How has Protestantism evolved since the Reformation?

·        The Reformation, in general, was both a social and a political movement, originating in several locations, led by several major players, motivated by different reasons.  How have these aspects of the Reformation remained important in Protestant Christianity throughout its history into the present day?


Self-Assessment Questions (cont’d)

 

·        How would you describe the contemporary relationship between the various Christian

traditions (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant)?  How would you describe the contemporary relationship between the various Protestant denominations themselves?  Between sects of various denominations?  Between various Protestant denominations and Jews?

·        In what ways are the worship and ritual practices of the various Protestant denominations similar to or different from practices of the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic Churches?  From the fundamentalist or charismatic denominations?


Learning Topic #5: Islam

 

This topic examines the historical and geographic origins of Islam, its writings, teachings, and practices, as well as its real life application and impact upon its adherents.

 

 

Topic Outcomes

 

Upon completion of this topic the student will:

 

·        Demonstrate understanding of the historical and geographical origins of Islam.

·        Know the basic life story of the Prophet Muhammad, c. 570-632 C.E.

·        Read some of the principle religious texts significant to Muslims.

·        Describe the revelations, which came to Muhammad, which became the substance of the Qur’an.

·        Understand the relationship of Islam and Judaism through a common ancestor, Abraham.

·        Have encountered, examined, and described examples of Islamic religious practice, rituals, and dietary laws.

·        Describe the history, foundation, significance, and practice of various Islamic religious celebrations such as Ramadan and the Hajj.

·        Explain the principal doctrines and beliefs of Islam.

·        Be aware of the differences between the major branches of Islam including Sunnis, Shi’ites, and Sufis.

·        Compare and contrast Islam with Christianity and Judaism.

·        Demonstrate basic understanding of Islamic moral perspectives and teachings.

·        Understand points of tension and conflict between Christianity and Islam during the Crusades.

·        Understand points of tension and conflict between Christianity and Islam during the 20th century.

·        Trace major developments within Islam from the beginning of the 20th century to the present.

·        Discuss the role of Islam in history and its influence on the modern world.

 

 

Self-Assessment Questions

 

·        When and where did Islam originate?

·        Who was Muhammad?

·        What is the Qur’an and what is its origin?

·        What are the “five pillars” of Islam?

·        What is jihad and how does it fit with the Islamic quest for peace?

·        What basic Islamic practices should one know about (holidays, dietary laws, etc.)?

·        What differentiates Sunni Islam from Shi’ite Islam?

·        How does the notion of an “Islamic state” fit into the Islamic worldview?

·        Who are the Sufis?

·        How would you describe the contemporary relationship between the various Christian traditions (Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant) and Islam? Between Judaism and Islam?  Provide some examples.