Meditating Buddha in Lotus Position; Art Institute Chicago

"Religion motivates most killing in the world today...Religion contributes to most healing in the world today." (Martin E. Marty) If we look at history, this assessment of the immense influence of religious belief certainly is correct.  Nevertheless, did you ever ask the question: what is religion?

In our modern world, religion holds a key role in discovering commonalities and diversities among traditions, people, cultures and societies.  While the influence of religion has been quite varied throughout the centuries, its effect has pervaded the history of humanity from the earliest known beginnings to the global age today. Yet what is the nature of religion? What is the source for a seemingly endless variety of visual expressions, sacred writings, philosophical formulations, holy sounds, rituals, symbols, practices which are all considered religious aspects?  How can we understand the diversity of different forms, themes and practices or account for similarities?

This course will introduce you to the phenomenon of religion under a variety of different aspects. You will encounter a kaleidoscope of different perspectives and themes, which together should guide you in an exploration and understanding of human beliefs.

          M. E. Marty "An Exuberant Adventure: The Academic Study and Teaching of Religion"          

          RSN, 20  (September 1997) 

Philosophy/Religious Studies
Eva Maria Räpple, Ph.D.
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