World Religions and Religious Ethnographies Syllabus
This syllabus utilizes academic texts, case studies, and religious ethnographies to study world religious and religious pluralism.
In 2015, Dr. Kevin Minister participated in a Teaching Interfaith Understanding faculty development seminar, run in partnership between the Council of Independent Colleges and Interfaith Interfaith America, and generously funded by the Henry Luce Foundation. For information on future seminars, and to access more resources created by seminar alumni, visit The Council of Independent Colleges.
This course offers a survey of the major world religious traditions, exploring their origins, basic teachings, and ritual practices. Understanding world religions becomes more important everyday as globalization makes us increasingly aware of religious diversity in our local communities and around the world. Understanding our own responses to religion and relating to the religious experiences of family and friends requires basic knowledge about multiple religious traditions and compassionate consideration of how different religions influence individuals’ identities, beliefs, and practices. Whether working in private business, the health professions, or performing arts, appreciation of the diverse world religions has become essential to cooperating with colleagues, serving clients, and developing relevant products. Living as part of political communities at the local, national, and international level demands that we publicly address religious conflicts and work towards creating a world in which diverse religious communities can work together to address common problems.
This class aims to help students develop the skills and resources to successfully navigate personal, professional, and political situations with attentiveness to the diversity of religious beliefs and practices. As such, this class supports Shenandoah’s goal of creating global citizens who think critically and live ethically. In order to meet this goal, students will investigate the histories, teachings and practices of multiple religions, explore different methods of understanding religion, and engage with the challenges of living as part of a religiously diverse world.