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Religions Now: 21st Century Controversies

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Religions Now: 21st Century Controversies
Fall 2017
01:840:105  (4 credits)
Core: CC, AHo
Professors Tia Kolbaba and Joseph Williams, Religion

Everywhere you look, religions—and religious controversies—are shaping our world. A powerful source of beliefs, moral claims, and cultural practices, religions profoundly influence our contemporary world.

For some, religion is held up as the key solution to various social ills such as poverty and racial tension. For others, religion is a major part of the problem.  Religion generates critiques of inequality and capitalism while others invoke it to celebrate the free market and individual wealth. And, religious concerns shape views on policy issues as diverse as same-sex marriage, climate change, and government-sponsored healthcare. From challenges to evolution to debates on stem-cell research, religions juxtapose faith and modern science. Religions likewise factor prominently in various military conflicts around the globe and in the long-running debates over the proper relationship between religion and the state.

Religions Now focuses on how religions, both as belief systems and socio-cultural systems, are interwoven in today’s challenges. How are religions, themselves, changing in response to contemporary events and developments? How can the academic study of religions help us assess and make sense of religion’s role in 21st century societies? 

This course is particularly recommended for students who intend to purse majors or minors in American studies, anthropology, business, communication, criminal justice, economics, education, environmental policy or science, health sciences, history, Middle Eastern studies, philosophy, political science, religion, and sociology. It is also appropriate for life sciences and physical science majors seeking Core or elective credit. It carries credit toward the major or minor in religion and can be used to fulfill the SAS Core Curriculum Goals in 21st Century Challenges [21C] and Arts and Humanities [AHo].

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