Course Description

This high school course explores the major world religions, focusing on their core beliefs, practices, histories, and cultural impacts. Students will study religious traditions including Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and others, examining their sacred texts, rituals, and ethical teachings. The course encourages critical thinking and cultural understanding, providing students with a comprehensive view of the religious diversity that shapes global societies.

Through a combination of lectures, discussions, and research projects, students will gain insights into how religious beliefs influence art, politics, and social norms. They will also explore common themes across religions and address contemporary issues related to religious practice and interfaith dialogue. This course is ideal for students interested in theology, history, or cultural studies, offering a framework for respectful exploration of world religions.

Course Details

World Religions

Ninth Grade Tenth Grade Eleventh Grade Twelfth Grade

Course Objectives

  • Understand the fundamental beliefs and practices of major world religions.
  • Explore the historical development of various religious traditions.
  • Analyze the cultural and social impact of religious beliefs.
  • Compare and contrast religious themes and concepts across different traditions.
  • Develop skills in critical thinking, research, and interfaith dialogue.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Introduction to World Religions

  • Overview of World Religions
    • Understanding the scope and diversity of world religions.
    • Introduction to the study of religion and its significance in society.
  • The Role of Religion in Human History
    • Examining the impact of religion on ancient and modern cultures.
    • Discussion of common themes and ethical teachings across religions.

Unit 2: The Abrahamic Religions

  • Judaism
    • Exploration of the history and core beliefs of Judaism.
    • Overview of Jewish sacred texts and key rituals.
  • Christianity
    • The history and development of Christianity.
    • Examination of the New Testament and central Christian doctrines.
  • Islam
    • Introduction to the beliefs and practices of Islam.
    • Overview of the Quran and the Five Pillars of Islam.
  • Comparative Analysis of Abrahamic Religions
    • Identifying similarities and differences among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
    • Discussing shared figures, stories, and ethical teachings.

Unit 3: The Dharmic Religions

  • Hinduism
    • Exploring the complex beliefs and practices of Hinduism.
    • Understanding the major texts (Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita) and deities.
  • Buddhism
    • The life of Siddhartha Gautama and the origins of Buddhism.
    • Examination of the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.
  • Other Dharmic Religions
    • Overview of Jainism and Sikhism.
    • Discussion of their core beliefs and rituals.
  • Comparative Analysis of Dharmic Religions
    • Identifying common elements among Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.
    • Discussion of the concepts of karma, dharma, and reincarnation.

Unit 4: East Asian and Indigenous Religions

  • Taoism and Confucianism
    • Understanding the principles of Taoism and its texts (e.g., Tao Te Ching).
    • Exploring Confucian values and their influence on East Asian cultures.
  • Shinto and Indigenous Religions
    • Introduction to Shinto and its place in Japanese culture.
    • Examination of other indigenous religious traditions.
  • Comparative Analysis of East Asian and Indigenous Religions
    • Discussion of common themes and practices.
    • Exploration of rituals, ancestor worship, and nature-based beliefs.

Unit 5: Contemporary Religious Issues

  • Religion and Society
    • Examining the role of religion in modern society.
    • Discussing religion’s impact on politics, education, and social norms.
  • Religious Diversity and Interfaith Dialogue
    • Exploring the importance of interfaith understanding.
    • Strategies for promoting religious tolerance and cooperation.
  • Contemporary Challenges to Religion
    • Addressing issues like secularism, religious extremism, and religious conflicts.
    • Exploring potential solutions and the role of religious leaders.

Teaching Methods and Assessment

  • Teaching methods include lectures, class discussions, group projects, research assignments, and multimedia presentations.
  • Assessment methods consist of quizzes, essays, presentations, research projects, and class participation.

Expected Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will have a comprehensive understanding of major world religions, their beliefs, and their cultural impacts. They will be able to compare and contrast different religious traditions and engage in interfaith dialogue with sensitivity and respect. The course aims to promote religious tolerance, critical thinking, and a broader appreciation for the diversity of global beliefs and practices.

Coming soon.

Coming soon.

Mr. Logan Wells

Logan Well is a professor specializing in U.S. history and Mormon history & doctrine, currently serving as an adjunct professor of religion at BYU and Salt Lake Community College. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Brigham Young University. He then pursued a Master of Arts in History from Arizona State University, further deepening his understanding of historical analysis and research methodologies.

Mr. Wells is currently in the final stages of completing his Doctor of Philosophy in History at Claremont Graduate University.