Course Summary
Credit Type:
Organization's ID:
The course is self-paced, and many learners complete it in 4-8 weeks.
Dates Offered:
Credit Recommendation & Competencies
Level Credits (SH) Subject
Lower-Division Baccalaureate 3 Introduction to World Religions


The course objective is for students to gain mastery of the basic concepts integral to the study of religion and demonstrate how these concepts apply in real-world situations. Students explore key components of religions as they apply to a range of different belief systems and explore the role of religion in modern society.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Identify common elements of religions.
  • Analyze religion's impact on individuals, society, and the world.
  • Evaluate social, ethical, and cultural topics through the lens of religion.
  • Investigate the major approaches to studying religion.

General Topics:

  • Reasons for Studying Religion
  • Role of Religion in Modern Life
  • The Religious Impulse
  • Religion and the Individual, Origins, Family, Society, Economics, and Food
  • What is Religion?
  • "Origins" of Religion
  • Religion as Myth
  • Religion as Culture and Social Convention
  • The Sacred and the Profane
  • A "Definition" of Religion
  • Categorizing Religions
  • Primal Religions, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Confucianism, Buddhism, and Other Eastern Religions
  • Phenomenology
  • Theology
  • Historical Approaches
  • Comparative Religion
  • Philosophy and Sociology of Religion
  • Summum Bonum
  • Judaism - Yahweh
  • Christianity - Trinity
  • Islam - Allah
  • Hinduism - Brahman/Atman
  • Taoism - The Tao
  • The Transcendent in Primal Religions
  • Overview of “The Problem”: Suffering, Sin, Death, and Evil
  • Mysticism, Sacramentalism, Silence and Action
  • Transmission of the Teaching
  • The Nature of Religious Narratives
  • Early Creation Stories
  • Parable, Myth, and Allegory
  • Revelations
  • Religion as a Worldview: Animism and Related Beliefs, Monotheism, Theism, Deism, Polytheism and Henotheism, Atheism, and Non-Theism
  • Fear and Wonder: Ultimate Questions
  • Death and Eternity
  • Social Convention
  • Humanism, Atheism, and Nihilism
  • Gender, Economics, Law, Family Structure, and Societal Structure
  • Overview of Morality and Ethics
  • Marriage, Family and Sexuality
  • War and Peace
  • Duties and Law
  • The Environment
  • Overview of Ritual and Material Culture: Holy Places, Architecture, Festivals, Pilgrimages, Life Cycle Events, and Sacred Objects
  • Religious States
  • Separation of Church and State
  • National Religions
  • Religious and Political Issues
  • Atheistic States
  • Many "Worlds" in One
  • Religious Wars and Violence
  • Liberation Theology, Economic Inequality, and Social Justice
  • Religious Inclusion and Exclusion
Instruction & Assessment

Instructional Strategies:

  • Audio Visual Materials
  • Computer Based Training
  • Lectures
  • Practical Exercises

Methods of Assessment:

  • Examinations
  • Quizzes
  • Written Papers

Minimum Passing Score:

Supplemental Materials

Other offerings from SOPHIA Learning, LLC