RE109 World Religions

for S1J 2012

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Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.


RE109:  World Religions


S1J 2012 DN


Forester, Andrew W.


Faculty, Religion and Philosophy


B.S. Missouri State University
M.Div. Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

Office Hours

By Appointment

Daytime Phone



Class Days


Class Time

5:30 - 9:50

Credit Hours



World Religions: A Historical Approach, Fourth Edition.  Nigosian, S.A.  2008.  Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins

ISBN13: 9780312473655
ISBN10: 0312473656

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:


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Course Description:
 RE 109(MGE) World Religions: 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.

Educational Philosophy:
The instructor's educational philosophy incorporates multiple communication mediums to introduce and reinforce concepts.  Learners will be encouraged to engage in discussion, introspective journaling, lectures, readings, exams, discussion boards, group projects to add to the overall environment of free inquiry and expression of ideas in the classroom.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Learners will use critical thinking skills to investigate, analyze, and compare beliefs and practices from different cultures and religions using historical, geographical and socio-cultural approaches.
  2. Learners will increase appreciation for diverse historical, cultural and geographical roots of world religions as a primary stimulus of values, beliefs, ideas and worldviews.
  3. Learners will acquire and demonstrate mastery of the terms and concepts necessary for participation in academic religious studies pursuits and dialogue.
  4. Learners will explore other value systems and evaluate their own belief system; appreciating the diversity of perspectives, testing personal value sets and inventing the possibility of dynamic intercultural religious dialogue.
  5. Learners will synthesize knowledge from multiple disciplines and backgrounds to increase appreciation for the role of deeply held beliefs and value sets in everyday processes for decision making.
Class Assessment:
1.  Personal Perspective Paper (100 Points): A 3-5 page paper exploring personal religious background and experiences.
2.  Weekly Reading Quizzes (100 Points):  Five weekly quizzes will be given over the assigned readings at the beginning of class.
3.  Weekly Class Discussions: (100 Points): Five threaded discussion questions will be posted online.  Each student will make an original post (300 words or more) to one question each week by Thursday at midnight.  Students will substantivly respond to two classmates (150 words for each response) each week before sunday at midnight.
4.  Weekly Individual Projects  (300 Points):  Students will submit six projects.  Each project will condense and synthesize information about specific religions from reading, lecture and outside sources.   Due in the dropbox on Sunday of each week.   
5.  Core Assessment:  (200 Points):  This assignment will represent the culmination of the course.  In this assignment, students will employ critical thinking skills to analyze historical, cultural and religious frameworks.   Students will demonstrate mastery of terms and concepts needed to explore other value systems and religious viewpoints.
6.  Interdisciplinary Paper/Presentation:  (100 Points):  Students will utilize religious concepts and terms to demonstrate how religious beliefs affect everyday decisions in their chosen (or anticipated ) occupation.  Students will prepare a 5-7 minute presentation to demonstrate their learning.  50 points will be given for the paper; 50 points will be awarded for the presentation. 
7.  Final Exam:  (100 Points) Final exam is comprehensive

The following standards have been established by Dr. Steve Atkinson for evaluating the Writing Competency Test (WCT). All Park students are required to pass the WCT, so it is to the student's advantage to begin practicing these standards. 

Focus:  An "A" is awarded to a paper whose controlling idea seems not only clear but particularly thoughtful or imaginative. A "B" indicates a focus that is clear and sustained throughout but that may not be especially original. A "C" indicates satisfactory competence: the focus is clear but commonplace or conventional. "D" and "F" papers lack focus.

Development:  An "A" is awarded to a paper that, whatever its length, seems to the reader to be a full discussion. It makes use of both the material from the supplied readings and also ideas, experiences, or information supplied by the writer. All the material is smoothly integrated and persuasively supports the paper's focus. The writer seems to be a thoughtful, critical reader of the material with a genuine personal "voice." A "B" indicates that the writer has incorporated the material both appropriately in terms of content and smoothly in terms of style, and has also contributed personal ideas and experiences to the discussion. The paper's focus is clearly supported. A "C" in this category indicates an essay that makes at least some use of the supplied readings and some other material to support its focus, though the use may not always be relevant, and the sources not discussed critically. "D" and "F" papers make no use of the sources, fail to provide coherent support for the paper's focus, or whose use consists of unmarked quotations (copying from the sources word-for-word.)

Organization:  An "A" paper is not only easy to follow, its structure seems effortless because of smooth transitions and a convincing rhetorical pattern. A "B" is awarded to the paper that has a clear paragraphing and a logical sequence of topics. A "C" paper is generally easy to follow, with reasonable paragraphing, though the discussion may wander briefly. "D" and "F" papers are difficult to follow, either because the sequence of topics is not logical, because it is repetitive, or because the paragraphing is not helpful.

Mechanics:  An "A" paper reads exceptionally smoothly, and the reader notices no errors in grammar, usage, punctuation, or spelling. The "B" paper may contain an occasional problem in sentence structure or diction, but the reader is never seriously distracted. In a "C" paper, there may be enough mechanical problems to distract the reader temporarily, but it is always possible to understand what the writer means.  "D" and "F" papers have severe problems with sentence structure or word choice -- severe enough so that the meaning is difficult or impossible to understand.




Points Possible

My Points

1. Personal Perspective Paper



2. Weekly Quizzes   



2a.  Weekly Quiz #1



2b.  Weekly Quiz #2          20    
2c.  Weekly Quiz #3       20  
2d.  Weekly Quiz #4       20  
2e.  Weekly Quiz #5  20   
3  Discussion Questions   



3a.  Discussion Question #1



3b.  Discussion Question #2



3c.  Discussion Question #3



3d.  Discussion Question #4



3e.  Discussion Question #5 20      

4.  Weekly Individual Projects (WIP)



4a.   WIP #1 



4b.  WIP #2         



4c.  WIP #3



4d.  WIP #4 50     
4e.  WIP #5         50   
4f.  WIP #6 50   
5.  Core Assessment


6.  Interdisciplinary Paper/Presentation


7.  Final Exam



Total Points



Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late work will be not be accepted except in extreme and unavoidable situations.  Documentation such as a doctor's note or car repair receipt will be required to verify the reason for the late work. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Cell Phones/Electronic Devices:    Students who are expecting an emergency phone call, may leave a phone or pager on if  it is set to silent or vibrate. Students will notify the instructor in advance of the emergency.  If an emergency call or text is received, it must be taken outside of the classroom.  Cell phone usage (including: receiving, answering and making phone calls; text messaging, and direct-connecting) is prohibited from the time class begins until dismissed.   Students who text during class will lose 10 class participation points each time they are observed.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:








Studying Religion

Pre-historic religion

African Religions

Ch. 1,2,8,9

Personal Perspectives Paper (due Sunday, 1/22)


Ancient Religions

Ch. 3,4,7

Weekly Quiz (WQ) #1 (administered Monday 1/23)

Discussion Question (DQ) #1 (initial post due Thursday 1/26, 2 responses due on Sunday 1/29)

Weekly Individual Project (WIP) #1 (due Sunday 1/29)


Ancient Religions

Ch. 5,6

WQ#2 (administered Monday 1/30)

DQ #2 (initial post due Thursday 2/2, 2 responses due on Sunday 2/5)

WIP #2 (due Sunday 2/5)


Religions of India

Ch. 10-13

WQ #3 (administered Monday 2/6)

DQ #3 (initial post due Thursday 2/9, 2 responses due on Sunday 2/12)

WIP #3 (due Sunday 2/12)


Religions of the Far East

Ch. 14-15

WQ #4 (administered Monday 2/13)

DQ #4 (initial post due Thursday 2/16, 2 responses due on Sunday 2/19)

WIP #4 (due Sunday 2/19)


Religions of the Middle East

Ch. 17-18

WQ #5 (administered Monday 2/20)

DQ #5 (initial post due Thursday 2/23, 2 responses due on Sunday 2/26)

WIP #5 (Due Sunday 2/26)


Religions of the Middle East

Ch. 16, 19-20

Final Exam (administered Monday 2/27)

WIP #6 (due Sunday 3/4)


Modern Alternative Religions

Ch. 21   

Interdisciplinary Paper/Presentation (due Monday 3/5)

Core Assessment (due Friday 3/9)

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 93
Penalties for Plagiarism include:
- verbal reprimand,
- assignment of a lower grade on the assignment in question,
- assignment of failing grade in the course
- expulsion from the course with a passing grade (W)
- expulsion from the course with a failing grade (WF)
- referral to the Student Code of Conduct Administrator for consideration of suspension or expulsion from Park University.

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 "F".
  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 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 96
Administrative Withdrawal:  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 "WH". A “Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  

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:12/19/2011 2:32:44 PM