This class will explore how different cultures practice religion, what they consider sacred, and how they communicate their beliefs through narrative and rituals. In today's increasingly pluralistic and multicultural society, it is more important than ever to acquire knowledge about world religions since issues of nationalism, violence, and discrimination frequently center upon religious misunderstandings. The goal of the course is, therefore, to give students a basic knowledge of the world's religions that will help them to understand and work with others, and thereby assist in overcoming religious and cultural intolerance.

Rather than reading summaries of the world's religions, we will actually experience each of the world's major religions by examining their foundational texts. At times these texts will appear confusing or puzzling, because they reflect traditions foreign to those in which you have been raised. If you find yourself perplexed when reading some of these texts, you are making progress, for this course seeks to expose you to other religions, cultures, and new ways of thinking. In class we will discuss and examine these books and make them appear less strange. The Fisher textbook will provide the historical background necessary for understanding the primary texts. The primary texts will provide the basis for examining the beliefs and practices of each of the world's major religions. The course packet contains additional information on the primary texts that will assist your reading.

Students in this course, through their reading of these texts, will:

  • Gain a fundamental understanding of the foundational beliefs and practices of each of the world's major religions
  • Learn to appreciate the richness and diversity, as well as the commonalties, of each of the world's major religions
  • Learn how each of the world's major religions began and how they have adapted and changed over time
  • Become exposed to other cultures, religious practices, and different ways of thinking
  • Become aware of the need for religious dialogue in our contemporary world
  • Learn how to get along with people of other faiths and cultures

Visit the following links for information about my course and for links to other related sites.


Course Syllabus:

Fall 2010 Syllabus

weather policy

ground rules


Current News and Oral Presentation:

Arts and Letters Daily (The left-hand column of this web site contains links to magazines, wire services, and newspapers around the world. The various links on this site are the same sources that the major news services, and reporters you see on television, use to obtain their information.)

Beliefnet (Here is another interesting site with interesting articles on all of the world's major religions. You will find many pages on this site of interest.)



Beliefnet (An excellent list of links to religious texts and related sites about world religion. A good
place to begin your search).

Old and New Testaments

The Unbound Bible (A collection of searchable Bibles consisting of 10 English versions).

Interpretations of the Koran

Koran (Browse individual Suras or search the Koran for words and phrases).

Koran Resources Page (Includes seven English interpretations of the Koran and Hadith).


Zoroastrianism (Tenets of the religion).

Zoroastrianism (Questions about Zoroastrianism and links to scriptures).



Jainism (Beliefs and philosophy of Jainsim).

Jainism (Jain principles, history, and resources).




Buddah Net (Links to Buddhist texts, other Buddhist web sites including Zen Buddhism).


The Analects


Tao Te Ching

Su Tzu's Chinese Philosophy Page (Resources on Chinese religions, including scriptural texts).


Shinto (Beliefs and practices).

Sikhism (Excellent guide to the Sikhism).

Sikhism Home Page (Great site. Includes history, philosophy, and scriptures of the Sikhism).

Related Sites:

Global Dialogue Institute (Interreligious, Intercultural Dialogue).

World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts (selections from religious texts on a variety of topics).



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