The religions of the world represent beliefs and ideals and practices that almost all people participate in. Even people who are not “religious” have been influenced by religious beliefs and morals, whether they like it or not. Historically, some of the worst wars and atrocities have been done in the name of religion, but also some of the greatest acts of compassion and healing have also been religiously motivated. Even if we wanted to, we could not escape the effect of religion on our morality, our expectations of value, our beliefs about eternity and about ourselves. And in the world today, unless you live in a box, you almost certainly will meet people of several different religions, religions that in any case affect global politics and local events.
It just makes sense that we should try to understand the history and teachings of these religions, to see for ourselves what they believe and teach about the world, about ourselves and about eternal meaning. Who knows, perhaps you might find some of it astonishingly profound, as an invitation to a life that transcends mundane economies and the triviality of daily survival. Literally billions and billions of people have indeed found such meaning in religion. It’s worth a look.
By the way, World Religions is a common transfer credit in Humanities or Liberal Arts for most colleges and universities nation wide. It may also serve some schools’ “multicultural studies” requirement. It serves students interested in international business or law, in teaching or world history, or in just being an intelligent member of the world community. And finally, there are no prerequisites beyond the desire to learn.
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