The course examines the historical, geographical and cultural evolution of the doctrines, rituals, symbols, and practices of religious traditions. The course has an emphasis on some essential differences and similarities which exist among religious traditions. The major religions covered are tribal/oral traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, new religions, and religion in the 21st century.
This course is a study of the varieties of religious experience that lead individuals and groups to transform their lives in accordance with values based in religious belief. Specific topics may include encounters with the divine and holy, the phenomenology of mystical experience, religious views of the absolute, the relation of faith and reason, the doctrinal implications of religious experiences, and the relation of religion and science. Many of the world's religions will be examined in this course, including but not limited to the following: Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Judaism, Christianity, indigenous religions, and Islam.