RE109 World Religions

for F1B 2011

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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


F1B 2011 BLS


Epperson, David G.


Adjunct Faculty


B.S. Secondary Education, M.DIV (Master of Divinity), M.A. Humanities

Office Location

BLDG # 616, Room # 10

Office Hours

5:00pm - 5:30pm, Tuesdays & Thursdays, (before class)


Semester Dates

August 15, 2011 - October 9, 2011

Class Days

Tuesday & Thursday

Class Time

5:30pm - 8:00pm

Credit Hours



Matthews, Warren, World Religions.  Sixth Edition, 2010, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning, 10 Davis Drive, Belmont, CA 94002-3098.  ISBN - 13: 978-0-495-60385-6

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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 with in the local community. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
My "Educational Philosophy" is one of interactiveness based on lecture, reading, dialogues, examinations, internet, videos, web sites, and writings.  I will engage each learner in what is referred to as collective learning to encourage the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions. 

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate a basic level of competence in identifying the common features of the world's religions.
  2. Compare and contrast among the major religions of the world.
  3. Analyze religious worldviews and how that worldview impacts on the way an individual interprets reality.
  4. Develop an appreciation of religious diversity by analyzing and understanding a person's explanation for his/her religious beliefs.
Class Assessment:
Class Assessment:
Class Participation & Discussion............................10%
Daily Written Assignments (1-10)...........................10%
Term Paper..............................................................15%
Term Paper Presentation...........................................5%
Mid-Term (Based upon textbook and lecture).........30%
Final Exam..............................................................30%



Grading Scale                               Points
A - 100% - 90%                          100-90 points
B - 90% - 80%                              89-80 points
C - 80% - 70%                              79-70 points
D - 70% - 60%                              69-60 points
F - <60%                                          <59 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
If an assignment is submitted late, one letter grade is deducted from the original grade.  If it is over one week late, it will not be accepted.  If an exam is missed, it must be made up during the next scheduled class.  Plan ahead and let me know if for some reason you will be absent.  I am willing to work with students.  Please note tthat all books must be purchased by the third week of class. 

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1.  Personal perspectives will be valued.  No personal or character attacks are allowed; however, it is acceptable to appropriately challenge a position of the author, the teacher, or another student based on educational constructs.
2.  All discussions will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions focused on the subject at hand.
3.  Courtesy in the classroom should be maintained at all times.  No profanity in the classroom, and students will not have private conversations.
4.  Active cell phones, PDAs, pagers, Ipods, and laptop computers are not permitted during class instruction unless directly used in a presentation.  In other words, do not use any form of electronic communication or device during class.  Cell phones may be placed on vibrate in case there is an emergency. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Tuesday, AUG 16, 2011, FALL 1 SEMESTER BEGINS
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, Orientation, Syllabus review, ground rules, questions and answers.  Also, we'll review and discuss the Introduction:  "Common Features of Most Religions," and "What is a Worldview?"
No Written Assignment.  
Thursday, August 18, 2011, Chapter One:  "Religions of the Americas" 
Discussion on the common features of North American Religions. 
Written Assignment due on August 23:  Paragraph One:  How were the Aztecs involved in maintaining the universe?  Paragraph Two:  Which group and its religion (In Chapter One) do you find most appealing and why?  If none of them appeal to you, explain why.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011, Chapter Two:  "Religions of Africa" 
Discussion on the historical development and common features of the Religions of Africa.
Written Assignment due on August 25:  Paragraph One:  Which is more important in the division of labor among gods and goddesses, gender or morality?  Why? Paragraph Two:  What elements of African Religions do you find either interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?   

Thursday, August 25, 2011, Chapter Three:  "Religions Arising in India" 
Discussion on the origins of Hinduism in both India and in the United States.
Written Assignment due on August 30:  Paragraph One:  What conflicts do devout Hindus face in their careers in business, technology, and science in both India and in the United States?  Paragraph Two:  What elements of Hinduism do you find interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011, Chapter Four:  "Buddhism" 
Discussion of Buddhism before and after the Buddha, and a look at Buddhism in Asia and in the United States. 
Written Assignment due on September 1:  Paragraph One:  How might the Buddha's teachings and practices affect his followers in a capitalist society?  Paragraph Two:  What elements of Buddhism do you find interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?

Thursday, September 1, 2011, Chapter Six:  "Religions of China and Japan" 
Discussion on Daoism, Confucianism, and Shinto. 
Written Assignment due on September 6:  Paragraph One:  Describe the teachings in China that competed with those of Confucius?  Paragraph Two:  What elements of either Daoism, Confucianism, or Shinto do you find interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?

Pre-Test for Mid-Term

Tuesday, September 6, 2011, Chapter Eight:  "Religions of the Family of Abraham"

Mid-Term Exam

Discussion on the historical developments in Judaism to include:  Postexillic Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, Medieval Judaism, and Judaism in the Modern Age. 
Written Assignment due on September 8:  Paragraph One:  Why do the Jews honor King David and King Solomon?  Paragraph Two:  What elements of Judaism do you find interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?
Thursday, September 8, 2011, Chapter Eight:  "Religions of the Family of Abraham, continued....."
Discussion on the Holocaust and the Roots of the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
Written Assignment due on September 13:  Paragraph One:  Since Jews are always conscious of the Holocaust, why are memorials and museums of the Holocaust so essential for them? Paragraph Two: Give your impressions. How could something like the Holocaust occur? Could something like that happen again in the present time? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011, Chapter Nine:  "Christianity"
Discussion on the teachings of Jesus, Saul of Tarsus, Roman persecution, Monasticism, and the Crusades.
Written Assignment due on September 15:  Paragraph One:  How did the Roman Government influence early Christianity?  What did you find interesting, comforting, or disturbing, etc.?  Explain why?

Thursday, September 15, 2011, Chapter Nine:  "Christianity continued........."
Discussion on the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, and other forms of Protestant Christianity.
Written Assignment due on September 20:  Paragraph One:  What splits and reforms occurred in Christian Churches in the fifteenth to nineteenth centuries?  Paragraph Two:  What is your opinion of Luther and Henry VIII, and should they have broken away from the Catholic Church?  Explain & Clarify?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011, Chapter Ten:  "Islam"
Discussion on the history of Islam, beliefs, practices, and the Muslim response to modernism.
Written Assignment due on September 22:  Paragraph One:  How do Muslims, Jews, and Christians differ on the person and role of Jesus?  Paragraph Two:  Do you believe that Islam is a religion of peace or violence?  Explain and provide evidence.

Thursday, September 22, 2011, Chapter Eleven:  "New Forms of Older Religions"
Discussion on the newer forms of older religions.
Written Assignment due on September 27:  Paragraph One:  What characteristics, if any, do leaders of new religions share with each other?  Paragraph Two:  Do newer religions offer any features that you find attractive?  If so, name them and explain why they seem desirable.  If not, explain why.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011, Chapter Twelve:  "Globalization and World Religions"
Discussion on Globalization and its impact on the religions of the world.
Written Assignment due on September 29:  Paragraph One:  Are religions essentially compatible, incompatible, or hostile to globalization?  Explain?  Paragraph Two:  Is globalization essentially good or bad?  Why?

Pre-Test for Final Exam

Thursday, September 29, 2011, Student Presentations of Term Paper

Tuesday, October 4, 2011, Student Presentations of Term Paper

Thursday, October 6, 2011, Final Exam

Sunday, October 9, 2011, End of the Semester

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

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

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: .

Additional Information:

Term papers will be 8-10 pages in length.  Students will give the high points of the chapter, but at least one page will be the student's view/opinion of the chapter.  What did you find positive, negative, or simply fascinating?

No more than two students may write on any given chapter.  Therefore, the presentations will serve as an additional educational benefit for the class.  

Presentations of Term papers:  Presentations are 5-7 minutes in length, followed by questions from your fellow students.  Presentations will be thorough and clear.

Written Assignments:  There are 12 written assignments, but students are only required to submit 10 written assignments.  Extra credit (two points) is awarded to those who complete all 12. 

Participation points are awarded if a student is present for class discussions.  An excused absence will not earn participation points. 


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Last Updated:7/7/2011 9:42:20 AM