RE109 World Religions

for S1QQ 2013

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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.


RE 109 World Religions


S1QQ 2013 HI


Reimnitz, Patrick J.


Adjunct Faculty


B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California
M.A. Theological Studies, Loyola Marymount University

Office Location

Bldg 383, Hill AFB

Office Hours

After class or by appointment; Please email me anytime with comments or questions


Semester Dates

14 Jan - 10 Mar 2013

Class Days


Class Time

4:30 - 7:15 PM

Credit Hours



"A Concise Introduction to World Religions", Second Edition, edited by Willard G. Oxtoby and Alan F. Segal (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2012). IBSN 13: 978-0-19-543774-4, IBSN 10: 0-19-543774-8

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS 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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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information (MLA help)

Course Description:
RE 109 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:


  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. Compare and contrast the major religions of the world
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the history and culture of the major religious traditions of the world
  3. Develop an appreciation for religious diversity
  4. Think both empathetically and critically about conflicting religious claims
Class Assessment:
Class Participation and Reflection Papers        10%
Short Papers                                                15% (7.5% each)
Term Paper                                                  15%
Presentations                                               10%
Midterm Exam (on Eastern traditions)           25%
Final Exam (on Western traditions)               25%


A = 100 - 90
B =   89 - 80
C =   79 - 70
D =   69 - 60
F =   < 60

Late Submission of Course Materials:

All assignments are due at the start of class. Assignments turned in after 4:30 p.m. will be considered late. If you cannot attend a class, it is your responsibility to contact me about tests or assignments. The penalty for late assignments will be one letter grade per day late (with the “day” ending at 5:00 p.m.). If you know you will miss a class, you can email your assignment to me by the start of class time.

Makeup Policy for Participation:
Students who miss class as the result of an excused absence may receive credit for class participation. Excused absences must be cleared ahead of time with me. I will work makeup for participation on a case by case basis. No participation credit will be given for unexcused absences.

Makeup Policy for Exams:
If you miss an exam due to an excused absence, you have until the end of that week to make it up. You may take it early if you wish. I am willing to work with you, but you need to communicate with me. Exams missed due to an unexcused absence will receive zero points.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

1. Discussion and the sharing of opinions is encouraged in this class. It is appropriate to challenge the perspective of the author, the professor, or another student. However, you will give the basic respect that is due to me and the other students. No personal or character attacks are allowed.

2. Make sure all cellular phones and alarm watches are turned off (or set to “silent” mode) before the start of class. You will not text in class. Pagers and Ipods are not allowed in class.

3. Eating and drinking in class is allowed. However, I expect you to clean up after yourself. If abused, you may lose this privilege.

4. Laptop computers may be used if it relates to class instruction. Surfing the web or otherwise misusing this privilege will result in it being taken away.

5. You will not start to put your things away until class is over.

6. Courtesy in the classroom will be maintained at all times. You will not interrupt when someone else is speaking. No profanity in the classroom, and students will not have private conversations.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Participation will be based on the quality (not quantity) of your contribution to classroom discussion. I expect you to come prepared to class, ready to contribute by doing the assigned readings. Some of you may be shy about speaking in class. Nevertheless, if you timely read the assigned chapters, you will have ample material from which to offer comments and ask questions.


There will be two exams in this course. The exams will be based on the readings and class lectures.  The midterm exam will focus on Eastern traditions, while the final exam will focus on Western traditions.


Written Assignments:

As part of this course, students are expected to complete several written assignments.  For all written work, use 1” margins, Times New Roman, 12pt font, doubled spaced. 

1)  Reflection Papers

We will begin each class with a short discussion based on your readings. To help facilitate the discussion, each student will write a short reflection paper (one page) about any aspect of the reading. These reflections will not be graded, but are intended to serve as springboards for discussion. Some topics you might address are:


1)      What were the important points of this reading?

2)      What questions do you have about the reading?

3)      How does the material in the reading relate to your own experience?

  Short Papers

Students will select two religious traditions to write about (one Eastern, one Western). Each assignment will be between 2-3 pages (double spaced) in length.  Assignments will be graded on spelling, punctuation, grammar, word precision and style, as well as on content. Papers will address on the following:


1)     Outline the main beliefs and practices of that tradition, to include: (1-1½ pages)

a.      Conceptions of the divine

b.      Conceptions of salvation

c.      Sacred texts
d.    Rituals


2)     Your personal reflection on what you have learned about that tradition: (1-1½ pages)

a.      What ideas of the tradition stood out to you?

b.      Which beliefs and practices resonate with you? Which ones don’t?

c.      How does what you’ve learned relate to your own experience?


3)  Term Paper

Students will select a topic related to one of the religious traditions studied in class to research for their term paper.  The term paper will be 5-7 pages in length (double spaced).  A brief half-page prospectus on your proposed topic will be due on the third class meeting (23 Jan), and an annotated bibliography of your sources on Feb 6th.  Your topic must be on a religious tradition different from your own, have at least three main points, and be approved by your instructor.


Your term paper must show good organization, argumentation and original thought.  I’m not looking for mere regurgitation of facts.  Grading will focus on organization and mechanics as well as your ability to put forth a coherent and convincing argument.

Other requirements:

-        Include a cover sheet

-        Use page numbers, centered at the bottom of the page (do not include cover sheet in numbering)

-        Include a bibliography

-       Must cite at least two other sources other than your textbook

-       Must use proper MLA citation methods



Students will give two 5-10 minute presentations in this course. Presentations must include some form of visual aid (powerpoint, handouts, etc).
    1) Students will select a Protestant denomination to research and will present their findings to the class. An outline of the presentation
        will be due by email by 5:00 pm on Feb 18th. At a minimum, presentations should address the following:
            a. Historical background (how/when tye denomination was founded, circumstances of founding, etc)
            b. Main beliefs and practices of that denomination
            c. How is the denomination similar to other Christian traditions?
            d. What beliefs/practices make it unique?
    2) Students will give a 5-10 minute presentation on their term papers on the last day of class.
Schedule of Classes
Jan 14: Introductory Meeting; Introduction to World Religions; Hinduism
Reading: 1-25; 272-292
Jan 16: Hinduism
Reading: 293-335
Jan 21: NO CLASS – Sikhism
Reading: 335-372
Reflection papers must be emailed to me by 5:00 p.m.
Jan 23: Buddhism
Reading: 372-391
Term Paper prospectus due
Jan 28: Buddhism
Reading: 392-435
Jan 30: Chinese and Korean Traditions: Confucianism
Reading: 472-503
Feb 4: Chinese and Korean Traditions: Daoism
Reading: 504-535
Short Paper on Eastern traditions due
Feb 6: Midterm Exam; The Roots of the Abrahamic Faiths
Annotated bibliography due
Feb 11: Judaism
Reading: 80-139
Feb 13: Christianity
Reading: 140-161
Feb 18: NO CLASS – Christianity
Reading: 161-187
Protestant presentation outlines and reflection papers must be emailed to me by 5:00 p.m.
Feb 20: Christianity; Protestant Presentations
Reading: 187-207
Feb 25: Islam
Reading: 208-242
Feb 27: Islam
Reading: 242-271
Short Paper on Western traditions due
Mar 4: New Religious Movements
Reading: 572-612
Term Papers due
Mar 6: Final Exam; Term Paper Presentations

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 95-96

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 95

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 98

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:

1. You will be responsible for all material covered in class. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to contact a fellow student and find out what you missed.

2. I am available to help you, but you must ASK! Please contact me when you first encounter a problem. If you wait until it's too late, then it's too late!


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:12/14/2012 12:02:03 PM