RELS 304

Introduction to World Religions

4 Undergraduate credits
Effective August 1, 1998 – Present

Graduation requirements this course fulfills

Understanding today's world and how nations interact requires some degree of awareness of different religious traditions. This course is an introduction to selected religious traditions and cultures through exploring the history of different religions, reading of classic texts and examination of ways of being religious in a variety of traditions. Religions studied may include Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism and Shamanistic/Indigenous traditions.

Learning outcomes


  • Analyze the role of world religions in shaping individual/societal response to global issues, i.e. war and violence, gender and sexuality, economic and environmental justices, etc.
  • Compare and contrast the differences between western and eastern religions regarding their teachings on major issues.
  • Know key/major teachings of major world religions under the study regarding the sacred, human beings, community, ecology, morality, etc.
  • Know the history of major world religions under the study, including key historical time periods, historical formation of the religions, their socio-economic, political and cultural contexts.

Minnesota Transfer Curriculum

Goal 6: The Humanities and Fine Arts

  • Demonstrate awareness of the scope and variety of works in the arts and humanities.
  • Understand those works as expressions of individual and human values within a historical and social context.
  • Respond critically to works in the arts and humanities.
  • Engage in the creative process or interpretive performance.
  • Articulate an informed personal reaction to works in the arts and humanities.

Goal 8: Global Perspective

  • Describe and analyze political, economic, and cultural elements which influence relations of states and societies in their historical and contemporary dimensions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of cultural, social, religious and linguistic differences.
  • Analyze specific international problems, illustrating the cultural, economic, and political differences that affect their solution.
  • Understand the role of a world citizen and the responsibility world citizens share for their common global future.