Religion in a Global Context

Courses that examine religious traditions, spiritual practices and worldviews in a global context. These courses examine diverse religious traditions with respect to sacred texts, doctrines and beliefs, rituals, ethics, and spiritual practices in a global context. Emphases can include the study of a specific religious tradition, comparison and dialogue between religious traditions, and/or applying theological/spiritual perspectives and methods of analysis to global issues. Courses will include explorations of the relationships between religion, society, culture, history, and aesthetics. These courses assist students in applying theological thinking and spiritual reflection to global issues, help them develop understanding of diversity within and between religious traditions, develop facility in dialoging with persons from various religious and spiritual backgrounds, and teach them to reflect on religious traditions outside of one's own.

Sample Sections

Buddhism and Film: Global Perspectives

Faculty: Sharon A. Suh

The relationship between seeing and spiritual maturation are inextricably linked in Buddhist traditions.  This course explores the power of religious modes of seeing in the Buddhist imaginary world and the significance of vision and visionary cultures in the transmission and reception of the tradition through the medium of film.  This course extends the study of Buddhist practice by asking what can be learned about the transmission and reception of Buddhism when film and gaze are taken as the basis of inquiry.  This course thus addresses the following broad questions: (1) How might Buddhist themed films serve as entry points into the imagined world of Buddhism? (2) In what ways has Buddhism been imagined and constructed through the interconnected lenses of Orientalism, nationalism, fantasy, race, and gender? 3) How do spectators engage in religious modes of reception while viewing film?

Global Apocalypse!

Faculty: Matthew Whitlock

What is spirituality's role in a society that is becoming more and more global and technological? Our generation is not the first to be haunted by this question. Prior generations of spiritual thinkers in Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have been influenced by the question's promises and paradoxes. In fact, the promises and paradoxes of globalism and technology have created two literary genres, one modern (Science Fiction) and one ancient (Apocalypticism). In this course, we will analyze ancient apocalyptic texts, examine their influence on science fiction, and explore how they inform us about embracing spirituality within a global and technological context.

Religions of Native America

Faculty: Ted Fortier

This course is an introduction to Native North American religions and spirituality.  The course highlights the sacred ecology of people, plants, animals, and the environment.  Special emphasis is placed on myths, rituals, and beliefs ranging from individual practices to organized religions among a diverse array of Native American communities.  These different ways of seeing, sensing, and listening form entire life ways that are reflected in the arts, music, dance, poetry, narrative, architecture, and social organizations.  Or importance will be the historical, economic, health, environmental, political, and legal issues that influence the present and future ways that Native Americans practice their religious traditions.

The Holocaust and Christian Faith

Faculty: Jeanette Rodriguez

Responding to the question, ''Where was God at Auschwitz?" the former Chief Rabbi of Great Britain, Immanuel Jakobovits, states the most important issue of the Holocaust was, ''Where was man? Where was human morality amidst the Nazi regime?" This course explores the religious challenge posed by the Holocaust by exploring the writings of both Jewish and Christian writers and analyzing the shift in understanding regarding the challenging questions about God, evil, freewill, and suffering.  An understanding of the psychospiritual, social process, and development that allowed the Holocaust to occur will be explored in order to examine modern genocide and/ or at risk for genocide situation around the globe.