RE109 World Religions

for S1J 2007

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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


S1J 2007 DN


McGregor, Neal L.


Senior Professor


A A Law Enforcement, Johnson County Community College
BS  Management/HR/Criminal Justice/Social Psychology,  Park University;  MA in Religion, Park University
MBA in Organizational Behevior, University of Missouri; Ph.D. Management and Administration, Walden University

Daytime Phone

Pager 816 881 9191

Other Phone

Home Phone 816 224 4833


Semester Dates

01/15/07 to 03/11/07

Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50 PM

Credit Hours


     Toropov, B. & Buckles, L. (1996).  The complete idiot's guide to the world's religions.  NY: Alpha Books.

     Smith, H. (1994).  The illustrated world's religions: A guide to our wisdom traditions.  1st. ed.  San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through 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.
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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:

Basic Premise:

Education is a right that every person.  Whether for advancement in employment, to enhance one’s current education, or to satisfy one’s joy of learning, educators should make every effort to open doors for learners.


 First and foremost, focus of education and learning is for students, and is not about the educator.  While respect and dignity for instructors should be part of any learning environment, students are the reason for course work, the lectures, the readings and the measured outcomes.

Education and learning are not accomplished in a vacuum.  Learning is often enhanced by its application in real life situations and conditions.  To this end, teaching is expanded when it consists of strong theoretical bases for perspective, wide understanding of the scholarly work of a discipline for depth within the field, and good grounding in practical application for constructive use of knowledge.

The classroom is the primary meeting place for students and educators.  The classroom should exhibit the tenets of openness to learning from whatever direction it is received. Learning is a reciprocating process between students, teachers, and advancement of knowledge.  Teaching may come from students as well as teachers, and each person in the classroom environment should be respected for their own worth as a person, and a rational human.  The environment of the classroom should the express ideas of democracy as held in a free nation allowing for open expression of thought and speech.

While the classroom is the primary meeting place, it is only a part of the teaching process and learning experience.  Teachers should be available to students when students need teachers.  Need should be met when possible and appropriate to benefit the progress and growth of the parties involved.

Nothing being known certain makes all knowledge tentative and open to challenge.  This position opens many possibilities for learning, but also creates an uncertain environment for many who are uninformed or have made up their minds about many issues in life.  The educator should challenge, but not destroy student’s held beliefs.  The challenge is about knowledge, and not about beliefs or positions on issues.  The educator must be able to open areas of discussion without demanding adherence to ideology.  Critical thinking, logic, and reasonableness must be the basis for exploration of academic issues.  When the teaching is done, it is for the student to decide how to use knowledge.

Learning only stops when one decides to end the process.  Graduation, diplomas, and degrees are the beginning.  Learning is a lifelong process and privilege.  Teaching is a position of honor that has many duties and responsibilities, all of which find their beginning and meaning in learning.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will learn a method by which to classify, compare and contrast various world faith communities.
  2. Students will understand how worldviews influence the development of various faith perspectives and visa-versa.
  3. Students will learn how to objectively research, compile, and organize academic sources about world religions.
  4. Students will learn a variety of theories of the origins of religion.
Class Assessment:


 Term Paper
Term Paper Draft
Current Issues
Chapter Quizzes
Class Participation

The term paper is the most important part of the work during the term.  This in no ways indicates that other requirements are to be ignored.  However, without a good score on the term paper, success in the course is limited.  Therefore, students will be required to begin the term paper the first night of instruction.  As part of the first session lecture, details about the term paper will be discussed and clarified.  All student must select a topic for the term paper during the initial session.  The term paper is to be e-mailed to the instructor no later than Tuesday at 11:59 PM of the last week of instruction.

A draft of the term paper is expected by the fifth week of classes.  The more complete the draft the better.  The instructor will edit and correct the draft and return it to the student.  If the student makes the necessary adjustment to the paper, they will receive an A for the paper.  The draft must be e-mailed to the instructor no later than Saturday at 11:59 PM of the fifth week of instruction.

Each week, beginning with second class session, each student will submit a brief write up on an issue that is related to the material being discussed in class for that session.  These issues may be taken from newspapers, radio or television broadcasts, academic journals, or other periodicals.  Each student will make an oral report on the issue.  The first part of the class period will be devoted to these current issues.  There will be considerable discussions of these issues, and there will debate about the issues.  Critical reasoning will be applied to these debates as much as possible.  The write up of the current issues must be e-mailed to the instructor no later than Saturday at 11:59 PM. 

Each week a quiz will be given to cover the course material.  These quizzes will be e-mailed to student and their responses must be e-mailed to the instructor no later than Saturday at 11:59 PM. 

All students must understand that this course requires participation.  It is best to make preparations for each class session and volunteer to participate.  Without participating, students cannot achieve an A for the course.  It is your responsibility to interact.  I will make a strict accounting for participation, it is up to students to earn the marks.




 100- 90 A
 89-80 B
 70-79 C
Below 60

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Any work submitted late will be penalized 25% per week.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Cell phones and pagers must be operated in silent or vibrating modes in the classroom.  No cell phone conversations will be allowed in the classroom.  All students are reminded to respect the opinions and points of view of others.  When a student or presenter has the floor, other conversation should stop.  As adults, students are ask to maintain the dignity and respect for others as they should want for their self.

Breaks: The first break will be approximately 6:30 PM. and will be 20 minutes.  The second and third breaks will be taken as needed for a duration of 5 minutes each.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Course Schedule:

Week 1 Expectations - Grading - Introduction to Course

Lecture: Foundations for Exploration of Religion

Lecture: The Journey

Week 2 Hinduism – Speaker - Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 13, 14 & 15

Smith: Chapter II

Week 3 Buddhism – Speaker -Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 16, 17 & 18

Smith: Chapter III

Week 4 Confucianism – Taoism – Shinto - Speaker - Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 19, 20 & 21

Smith: Chapters IV & V

Week 5 Zoroastrianism – Judaism - Speaker - Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 4, 5 & 6

Smith: Chapter VII – Term Paper Draft due in Class

Week 6 Islam – Speaker - Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 10, 11 & 12

Smith: Chapter VI

Papers due for preliminary review

Week 7 Christianity – Speaker -Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 7, 8 & 9

Smith: Chapter VIII

Week 8 Primal Religions – Speaker - Video

Toropov & Buckles: Chapters 22 & 23

Smith: Chapter IX– Term Papers Due

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: .


APA Basics

Electronic Submissions

Term Paper Requirements

Families of Religion

Learning Agreement


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Last Updated:1/7/2007 9:58:40 PM