RE109 World Religions

for FA 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


RE 109 World Religions


FA 2006 HO


Blasdell, Machrina


Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Philosophy & Religion

Office Location

Mabee 208A

Office Hours

Monday 12:00-1:30 pm;  Tuesday and Thursday 9:00-10:00 am;  1:00-2:00 pm

Daytime Phone



Semester Dates

August 21, 2006-December 15, 2006

Class Days


Class Time

1:50 - 4:40 PM



Credit Hours



Living Religions, sixth edition, by Mary Pat Fisher; TIME Special Edition: World Religions (The two should come bundled together.)

Textbooks can be purchased though the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:
An introduction to the religion of humankind from the earliest records of spiritual life to the great religions of today. The course recognizes the possibilities of dialogue among the living traditions around the world and the resources within the local community. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

I believe in the importance of interaction between students and instructor, students and students, arising out of lectures, readings, quizzes, dialogues, examinations, internet resources, videos, web sites and writings.  I will challenge students to know the history and geography of their place in the world community and to be aware of movements around them.  I expect students to pay attention to maps, to the news, and to what people are doing and saying in the world

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Trace the general developmental history of the major world religions.
  2. Demonstrate a basic understanding of the differences and similarities between the major religions of the world.
  3. Discuss the impact of religion on current world events.
  4. Appreciate the cultural contributions of the world
Class Assessment:

Students will be expected to attend class, to complete assignments, and to participate actively in class discussion. Occasional reflection papers may be assigned. You will be asked to note what is happening in the world of religion and to bring your information to class. There will be exams following each section.


Your final grade will be determined by the total number of points you accumulate in the course.  


Each exam will be worth 125 points, for a possible total of 500 points.  Exams may cover material in the text, discussion and lecture in class, student presentations and videos.


Attendance and participation can earn a possible 50 points.  When there is a compelling reason for an absence, please speak with the instructor. This is an area where students begin with full points and lose them for non-participation.


Reflection papers will earn a possible 25 points each, for a total of 100 points.  During the course of the semester you will be asked to write two page reflection papers on each of four topics:  one visit to a place of worship different from the student's tradition, one viewing of a movie or television show with a religious theme, one current news piece involving religion, and one piece of “whimsy,” whether a comic or tee shirt or music lyrics and so on.   The papers must be typed, specific as to topic with attached supportive materials (worship bulletin, admission ticket, news article, etc.), and submitted prior to each exam.  Papers may always be submitted early, and students are encouraged to do this.  The minimum standard, however, requires that students submit one paper before the first exam, the second paper before the second exam, the third before the third, and the fourth before the fourth exam.  Students may determine the order in which the subjects are addressed.  No papers will be accepted after the fourth exam.  Additional details will be discussed in class.


Presentations on cultural aspects of a religion can earn 50 points.  Students will divide into twos and threes, and each dyad/triad will choose a religion from the syllabus for focus.  At the appointed time for consideration of that religion, the students will present something of the religion through its art, food, music, flowers, clothing-  whatever serves to illustrate better than words what a people believe.   Points will be awarded for creativity, expansion of the classroom experience, effort, and sensitivity to the religious expression.


There are a possible 700 points to be earned in this class, most through adding on, and some (attendance and participation) by maintaining a high standard.  Approximately 630 points will be needed for an A, 560 for a B, and 490 for a C and 420 for a D.  This is a tentative standard.  The grades may be curved at the instructor's discretion.

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Assignments are expected to be turned in on time. Exceptions may be made for good cause at the discretion of the instructor.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Behavior consistent with Park University standards will be the norm in our class.  We will be discussing a variety of religious beliefs and practices, and respect for the variety of understandings is expected. Students will be expected to arrive on time and stay for the entire class period.  When exceptions to this are necessary or unavoidable, prior arrangements must be made with the instructor.  Cell phone use during class for conversation or text messaging is rude and distracting.  While occasional exceptions may be necessary, for the most part, cell phones should turned off.  Polite and subtle eating and drinking during class is acceptable.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Our schedule will proceed along the following lines:

August 21: Introduction to course, class, and study of religions; What is religion?

Assignment: Read chapter 1; read articles in TIME under The Religious Experience and The Impact of Religion.

August 28: Religious Responses

Assignment: Read chapter 2; review article The Religious Experience: Birth and Childhood.

Indigenous Sacred Ways

Assignment: Read chapter 3; review in TIME The Religious Experience: Mohandas Gandhi; review in TIME The Impact of Religion: In the Heart of Hate.

First Exam

September 4: Labor Day Holiday (no class)

September 11: Religions of India: Hinduism

Assignment: Read chapter 4.

September 18: Religions of India: Jainism

Assignment: Read chapter 5; read in TIME the articles under Buddhism.

September 25: Religions of India: Buddhism

Assignment: Continue reading.

October 2: Religions of India, continued

Assignment: Continue reading and review.

October 9: Religions of India and their expansion to East and West

Assignment: Continue reading and review.

Read chapter 6 for consideration after Fall Break.

Second Exam will be given October 9: no exceptions.

October 16: Fall Break (no class)

October 23: Religions of China: Daoism and Confucianism

Assignment: Read chapter 7.

October 30: Religions of Japan: Shinto

Assignment: Read short piece on Zoroastrianism, pp. 222-225. Read chapter 8; read in TIME the articles under

Judaism; review The Religious Experience: The Legacy of Abraham.

Third Exam will be given November 6 at the beginning of class.

November 6: Religions of the West: Zoroastrianism & Judaism

Assignment: Read chapter 9; read in TIME the articles under Christianity.

November 13: Religions of the West: Judaism & Christianity

Assignment: Continue reading.

November 20: Religions of the West: Christianity

Assignment: Read chapter 10; read in TIME the articles under Islam.

November 27: Religions of the West: Islam

Assignment: Read chapter 11; read in TIME “As American as…”. Review for last exam.

December 4 (Last week of class): Islam (cont'd) and Sikhism

Assignment: Read chapters 12 & 13 for discussion next week. Review TIME articles under The Impact of Religion.

Fourth Exam will be given December 4. No exceptions.

December 11-15: Final Exam Week

We will not have a cumulative final exam.

The class will meet during the final exam time to consider the material in the last two chapters of the text: New Religious Movements & Religion in the Twenty-first Century.

Assignment: Take a couple deep breaths and enjoy the break!

ALL OF THE ABOVE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED FLEXIBLE AND SUBJECT TO IMPROVEMENT according to the needs and interests of the class. Additional readings and activities may be assigned

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:8/16/2006 8:03:42 AM