Religion Courses

Soul Beliefs: Historical Foundations
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Throughout history, the vast majority of people around the globe have believed they have, however defined, a "soul." While the question of whether the soul exists cannot be answered by science, what we can study are the causes and consequences of various beliefs about the soul and its prospects of surviving the death of the body. This course explores several facets of this relatively unexplored but profoundly important aspect of human thought and behavior.

Religion and Hip Hop Culture
ADD FREE starts 16 Mar 2015
What is religion? What is Hip-Hop? This course explores Hip Hop culture’s religious dimensions through its musical language-rap music. Over the six weeks of the class, we’ll get a sense of how some individuals answer these questions, and you'll get the tools you need to explore these questions for yourselves. As this course unfolds, we’ll explore the relationship between Hip Hop culture and religion, considering the ways in which Hip Hop culture discusses and provides life meaning in complex ways. The course includes a unique mix of videos, readings, music, images, stories and behind-the-scenes insider perspectives.

Science, Magic and Religon
ADD FREE starts 24 March 2015
Professor Courtenay Raia lectures on science and religion as historical phenomena that have evolved over time. This course examines the earlier mind-set before 1700 when elements were fitted into science that came eventually to be seen as magical. The course also explores how Western cosmologies became disenchanted, and magical traditions transformed into modern mysticisms, as well as political implications of these movements.

Introduction to Religion
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This free video course investigates what religion is and does, and compares culturally diverse religious ideas and practices. It explores how religion influences the relationship between individual and community by examining religious ethical systems and providing community engagement opportunities.

Philosophy of Religion
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This free e-course consists of a series of eight lectures delivered by Dr T. J. Mawson at the University of Oxford in 2011. The course introduces the main philosophical arguments pertaining to the Western monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Each video lecture has an associated handout.

Anthropology of Religion
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This course presents a theoretical analysis of religion as a cultural phenomenon. It explores the functional relationships between religion, culture, society, and the individual. Each of the 10 topic areas includes one or more video lectures presented by Prof. Crapo, who shares anecdotes and examples that will enrich your understanding of religious beliefs and practices. In addition to viewing the video lectures, you may also access a PDF version of Prof. Crapo’s lecture notes in outline form.

Politics and Religion
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This course explores the role of religious groups, institutions and ideas in politics using social science theories. It surveys recent social science literature on politics and religion. The first objective of the course is to familiarize students with the existing theoretical literature and empirical research. The second objective to evaluate recent research on the role of religious actors, institutions and ideologies in policymaking, state-building, democratic politics, regime change, conflict, war and other political processes.

Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World
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Buddhist Meditation and the Modern World introduces students to: (1) the history of Buddhist contemplative traditions in India and Tibet (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, visualization, etc.); (2) innovations in scientific research on understanding such contemplative practices; (3) recent adaptations of such practices in multiple professional and personal areas; and (4) the practices themselves through brief, secular, contemplative exercises. The course will be co-taught by David Germano and Kurtis Schaeffer, and will include extensive contributions from scientists, people involved with integrating in practice and Tibetan Buddhist teachers.

Latino Theology and Christian Tradition
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This course examines the development of Latino religion and theology in the United States and how U.S. Latina and Latino theologians have articulated the meaning and implications for Christian living of core theological topics such as Christology, worship, evangelization and social justice. Students will comprehend and critically evaluate how the Christian tradition has shaped U.S. Latinos’ theologies, as well as how Latinos’ theological work has contributed to that wider tradition.

Christian Faith: Its Practices
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This video course seeks to understand the way Christian disciples are formed. It develops the broad themes from the Christian story of creation, fall, covenant, redemption and restoration, as well as more practical biblical themes such as entering the kingdom of God, the life of prayer, the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, the work of justice, and the life of holiness, striking a balance between understanding, contemplation and action in the Christian life. Emphasis is on methods of discipleship or spiritual formation; in particular, practices such as interpreting the Scriptures prayerfully, acts of compassion and fasting will be explored.

Theology I
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In this free video course, Dr. Erik Thoennes teaches some of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. These include the biblical doctrines of Christ, the Trinity, man, and sin. Thoennes additionally explains the historical development of many of the doctrines.

History of Christianity
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This free video course on the history of Christianity delves into the era of the apostolic fathers, the councils, church state issues, scholasticism, the Reformation, and major leaders and movements of the modern era, including pietism, emergence of new theological patterns, social movements, and the missionary movement.

History of Christianity in America
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This free video course from Spring Arbor University examines the origin and growth of Christianity in the United States from colonial times to the present. The student who successfully completes this course will be able to: identify the important individuals, events, institutions, and issues in American religious history; understand and evaluate critically two works in American religious history; and discuss intelligently current issues in American religion in the light of their historical background. The course is organized around four key figures in American religious history: John Winthrop, Sarah Edwards, Phoebe Palmer and Martin Luther King, Jr. They come from the 17th, 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries, respectively. We will learn American religious history as we investigate the lives and times of these important individuals.

Christianity and Ethics
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This free e-course, consisting of 28 videos, offers a comparison of ethics from a Christocentric and philosophical perspective. It explores the relationship between Christian thought and Western philosophical traditions with regard to classical and contemporary moral issues and their relation to current political and social issues.

The New Testament History & Literature
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This 26-unit course provides a historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements in historical context, concentrating on the New Testament. Theological themes will occupy much of our attention, but the course does not attempt a theological appropriation of the New Testament as scripture. Rather, the importance of the New Testament and other early Christian documents as ancient literature and as sources for historical study will be emphasized. A central organizing theme of the course will focus on the differences within early Christianity.

The Bible: An Introduction
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This e-course is an introduction to major books from both the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Particular attention is given to literary techniques, issues resulting from translation from the original Hebrew and Greek, and the different historical periods that produced and are reflected in the Bible. The Bible is a complex and fascinating text, written by many people, in different languages, over a vast period of time, yet it nonetheless displays an overarching (or underlying) unity, which some attribute to divine inspiration and others to the human imagination. Our purpose in this course is to consider the Bible as both a collection of disparate books and as a unified whole.

Islam in 10 Minutes
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This free video course explains fundamental principles of Islam, starting with the basics, that allow both the Muslim and non-Muslim audience to benefit. Lecture topics run 10 minutes each and provide glimpses into the history and practice of Islam, as well as beliefs on tolerance, women, prayer, fasting and other Islamic teachings and customs.

Islam 101
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This 5-week video course is designed to briefly touch upon the basics of Islam. It is offered by the Islamic Association of Collin County, Texas, and has been very popular over the past three years since it was introduced. Topics covered include Understanding Islam, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], Jesus and Mary in Islam, Gender Equity in Islam, and Contemporary Issues.

Islam, the Middle East and the West
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This 5-week video course is designed to briefly touch upon the basics of Islam. It is offered by the Islamic Association of Collin County, Texas, and has been very popular over the past three years since it was introduced. Topics covered include Understanding Islam, Prophet Muhammad [pbuh], Jesus and Mary in Islam, Gender Equity in Islam, and Contemporary Issues.

Principles of Islam (Part 1)
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In this course, students will explore basic themes and issues in Middle Eastern history from the rise of Islam to the present, with an emphasis on the encounters and exchanges between the "Middle East" (Southwest Asia and North Africa) and the "West" (Europe and the United States). First, we will examine the period that stretches from the 7th century (C.E.) to the end of the Abbasid Empire under the Mongol invasions of the 13th century. This saw the emergence of a new religion, Islam, the Christianization of Europe, and the flourishing of a Mediterranean world and culture.

Principles of Islam (Part 2)
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This free video course covers the Principles of Islam (Aqaed) given by Dr. Sayed Khalil Tabatabai of the Imam Hussain Charitable Foundation in Montreal, Canada. The course discusses issues in Monotheism, Justice of Allah, Prophethood, Imamate and the Day of Judgment. This is Part 1 of a 2-part course comprised of 110 video lectures.

Islam: Religion, History and Culture
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This course offers a panoramic survey of the Islamic societies of the Middle East and North Africa from their origins to the present day. It examines the history and expansion of Islam, both as a world religion and civilization, from its birth in the Arabian peninsula in the 7th century to its subsequent spread to other parts of western Asia and North Africa. Issues of religious practices, political governance and movements, gender, social relations and cultural norms are examined in relation to a number of Islamic societies in the region. The course foregrounds the complexities and diversity present in a critical geographic area of what we call the Islamic world today.

Religious Architecture and Islamic Cultures
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This course introduces the history of Islamic cultures through their most vibrant material signs: the religious architecture that spans fourteen centuries and three continents -- Asia, Africa and Europe. The course presents Islamic architecture both as a historical tradition and a cultural catalyst that influenced and was influenced by the civilizations with which it came in contact. We’ll explore the sacred, commemorative, pious and educational architecture in the Islamic world from the beginning of Islam as a religious revolution in 7th-century Arabia to its evolution as a global power straddling Asia, Africa and Europe in the medieval period to a world religion professed by one-sixth of humanity in the present.

Literature and World of the Hebrew Bible
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This free video course from Missouri State University explores the religion, life experiences, cultures, thoughts and history of the ancient Israelites as found in their literature and artifacts.

Intro to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible)
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This 24-unit course examines the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) as an expression of the religious life and thought of ancient Israel, and a foundational document of Western civilization. A wide range of methodologies, including source criticism and the historical- critical school, tradition criticism, redaction criticism, and literary and canonical approaches are applied to the study and interpretation of the Bible. Special emphasis is placed on the Bible against the backdrop of its historical and cultural setting in the Ancient Near East.

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