BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Religions of the World I
Dr. E. Perry Neel, Instructor
Office Hours: 6:15-6:30 and after class. D-128
Course Description: Studies religions of the world with attention to origins, history, and doctrine.
Objectives: The student will be able to-
a. describe in general the history of the major religious traditions.
b. explain the significant doctrines, practices, and branches of the major traditions.
c. identify and describe major figures and movements in the world’s religions.
d. make comparisons among the religions regarding significant religious concepts and issues.
Texts: SCRIPTURES OF THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS, Fieser and Powers, editors (any edition). DHARMA ROAD, Brian Haycock. THE EVOLUTION OF GOD, Robert Wright. BBC website on World Religions.
Classroom Expectations: Attendance is expected. Three absences will result in automatic failure of the course. No late tests or papers accepted. No email papers accepted. ABSOLUTELY NO CELL PHONES, FOOD, OR GUM. (Drinks are permitted.) Cellphones must be off and put away. If you text, you will be asked to leave class. No laptops, unless with permission. (“I don’t have pet peeves, I have deep psychological hatreds.” George Carlin)
1. a. Field Trip. You may visit a worship service of a religious tradition that is new and different to the student. The student is expected to make his/her own arrangements for this visit, but may discuss the selection with the professor prior to attending. A brief three page description and analysis of the visit is to be turned in the day of the class discussion meeting.
or: b. Interview. You may interview a member of a major religious tradition that is new and different to the student. It is the student’s responsibility to find the subject for this interview. A brief three page paper is due the day of class discussion
Either paper requires academic research. At least three academically credible sources must be used. This is to prepare you for your field trip observations, or to provide you topics for questions in your interview. These papers are academic essays and require appropriate quotations, reference citations and bibliography. 100 points.
2. Eight objective multiple choice quizzes. Lowest score will be dropped. 700 points.
3. Final Exam: Essay. Assignment will be explained before the end of the semester. 100 points.
Total 900 points. 90% A, 80% B, 70% C, 65% D
Arrangements can be made to accommodate students for religious holidays or representing the college in an official capacity. Please regularly check your VCCS email account for communications from the college and the professor.
Week 1 The study of religion; The Gospel According to Prum (on my website)
Week 2 Judaism (For each religion, please read the BBC section on that religion and the assigned scripture readings in preparation for class. Also the introduction to each religion in the scriptures book. See my website for BBC link and list of scripture selections.)
Week 3 Quiz on Judaism; Christianity
Week 4 Quiz on Christianity; Islam
Week 5 Quiz on Islam; EVOLUTION OF GOD I (Please read each assigned section from EOG in preparation for each class)
Week 6 EVOLUTION OF GOD II
Week 7 Quiz on EOG I&II; EVOLUTION OF GOD III
Week 8 Quiz on EOG III; EVOLUTION OF GOD IV
Week 9 EVOLUTION OF GOD V
Week 10 Quiz on EOG IV&V; Hinduism
Week 11 Quiz on Hinduism; Buddhism
Week 12 DHARMA ROAD (Please read DR in preparation for class)
Week 13 Quiz on Buddhism; Discussion of Field Trips and Interviews (Papers due)
Week 14 Review of the study of religion
Week 15 Final Exam Preparation
Week 16 Final Exam
"'So Merlyn sent you to me' said the badger, 'To finish your education. Well, I can only teach you two things. To dig, and love your home. These are the true end of philosophy.'" The Badger from "The Sword in the Stone," THE ONCE AND FUTURE KING, T.H. White.