Jan 29, 2023  

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SSI 234W - World Religions

Credits: 4
Introduces religion and the primary "living" religions of the world. Examines the principles and functions of religion, the origins and cultures of the world's major religions, and their beliefs and primary ritual practices. Discusses and critically examines how religious belief systems and practices influence the thoughts and behaviors of adherents in everyday life. Credit may be earned in SSI 234W or IHU 234W  but not in both.

Prerequisite(s): READING LEVEL 2 or WRITING LEVEL 2.
Corequisite(s): None
Lecture Hours: 60 Lab Hours: 0
Meets MTA Requirement: Humanities, Social Science
Pass/NoCredit: Yes

Outcomes and Objectives
  1. Identify the function of religion to the individual, and describe how religious belief and practice influences the thought, behaviors, and emotional experiences of individuals.
    1. Distinguish between religion as a personal experience and religion as a social institution.
    2. Identify and describe how religion performs the following functions for the individual:
      1. Provides answers to questions of human existence (Why are we here? What happens after we die?)
      2. Provides a standard of moral thought and behavior.
      3. Provides a sense of belongingness and security.
      4. Provides opportunities and motivation for spiritual experience and development.
    3. Identify and evaluate various definitions of religion, and synthesize and compose a personal “working” definition of religion.
  2. Identify and describe the function of religion to society, and explain why religion has and continues to be an integral part of human society.
    1. Identify and describe how religion performs the following social functions:
      1. Provides a source of group unity and social cohesiveness.
      2. Provides a means of social control.
      3. Provides an ethical code of behavior.
    2. Identify the position of secular humanism, and describe how this position finds fault with organized religion.
  3. Identify and describe the basic forms of religion and their origins, and identify how the fundamental principles of religious belief and practice become manifest in religions of various types.
    1. Identify and describe the following theories of the origin of religion:
      1. Nature worship
      2. Animism
      3. Original Monotheism
      4. Magic
      5. Projection of human needs
    2. Compare and contrast the basic beliefs and practices of religions of small societies (Native American and African tribal communities) and describe how these beliefs and practices are related to the needs and lifestyles of these societies.
    3. Identify the primary “families” of religion, and compare and contrast their beliefs and practices.
  4. Compare and contrast the characteristics of the world’s primary living religions in terms of origin, cultural context, beliefs concerning human purpose, relation to nature and/or the divine, and ritual practice.
    1. Identify, compare and contrast the geographical and cultural origins, beliefs, and basic practices of the following world religions:
      1. Hinduism
      2. Buddhism
      3. Confucianism
      4. Taoism
      5. Shintoism
      6. Judaism
      7. Christianity
      8. Islam
  5. Identify, evaluate, and appraise how knowledge of specific religions can be applied to better understand social structure and individual action.
    1. Participate in, reflect upon, and evaluate experiences in unfamiliar religious settings and synthesize your findings in formal written assignments.
    2. Identify and analyze religious symbolism found in popular culture, and communicate your findings in informal discussions and formal written assignments.
    3. Research, analyze and organize information of a religious artifact, and communicate your findings in a classroom presentation and a formal written assignment.
    4. Apply knowledge of religion to evaluate patterns of social interaction and how religious expectations can result in social harmony and / or in cultural conflict, and communicate your position in classroom discussions and formal written assignments.

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