Religious Studies and Philosophy Course Descriptions
Religious Traditions RLSTU 104 Religion and Culture
This introductory course is designed to invite students to reflect upon and examine the dynamic relationship between religious experience and culture. Emphasis is placed on the historical, theological, and sociological dimensions of the many cultures and religions of North America. Faith stories from people representing a multicultural cross-section of the major world religions are studies empathically and critically.
RLSTU 207 Contemporary Christian Living
Probes the possibilities of “meeting Jesus again for the first time” by examining his life as compassionate prophet and wisdom teacher from an historical–critical perspective. The course will raise new questions not only about the meaning of Christ but also about our own lives in light of contemporary issues and concerns.
RLSTU 208 What Catholics Believe
An overview of both the contemporary Catholic milieu and the factors that have contributed to the current state of the Church. Covers the major components of Catholicism: Revelation, Theology of God, Christology, Ecclesiology, Sacramentology, and Morality. Topics are investigated from the position of traditional belief and of modern scholarship.
Scripture Studies RLSTU 209 Old Testament Studies
Explores the Old Testament in the light of modern biblical scholarship. Areas of concentration include creation material; covenant and roots of Israelite worship; the prophets; Wisdom literature; and apocalyptic literature.
RLSTU 210 New Testament Studies
Examines the New Testament in light of modern biblical scholarship. Attention is given to the literary forms of the gospels and letters; Jesus’ public ministry and message; the role of Paul; and the apocalyptic mindset.
RLSTU 211 Women in the Bible
Focuses on the biblical narratives in which women play a pivotal role. Using skills of modern biblical scholarship, retrieves stories of individual women and examines their roles in the texts. Considers the ancient cultures that form the backdrop to biblical texts.
Morality and Justice RLSTU 216 Fundamental Moral Theology
Examines the moral decision-making process in light of biblical and Christian principles. Areas of study include the human act; conscience; moral development; and various ethical systems. Uses selected contemporary issues for discussion.
RLSTU 217 Contemporary Moral Issues
In-depth examination of current moral issues, such as homosexuality, nuclear war, hunger, poverty, sexism, racism, etc. Attention is given to media presentation of these issues with a goal to critical evaluation of underlying principles.
RLSTU 218 Biomedical Moral Issues
Examines questions related to human life and death, including artificial insemination, genetic manipulation, surrogacy, abortion, euthanasia, and removal of life support systems. Note: Open to Juniors and Seniors only
RLSTU 240 Introduction to Social Justice
Seminar type course that explores issues of social justice in light of principles of biblical ethics and Christian social teaching. Extensive discussion of topics such as the feminization of poverty; the impact of defense spending on social programs; and the relationship between First and Second World consumerism and the Third and Fourth World destitution. Required readings include pertinent Church statements and current newspaper and magazine articles.
RLSTU 242 Women in Society and Religion
Examines the changing roles of women in society and in various religious traditions. Explores biblical foundations for an understanding of the basic dignity of women.
Doctrine and History RLSTU 206 World Religions
Examines humanity’s evolving relationship with the supernatural. Studies primitive, archaic, and historic periods in the development of religion as background to modern religious systems and traditions. Explores several of the world’s religions, including their belief statements; sacred writings; moral codes; relationship to other religions.
RLSTU 219 Theology of God
Examines the Christian understanding of God in light of contemporary post-modern consciousness and emerging global concerns. It posits the claim that an authentic theology of God needs to offer an adequate response to the pressing questions that confront each new generation.
RLSTU 220 Forgiveness and Reconciliation
Designed to ponder the stories, pursue the questions and perceive the gifts that lie at the heart of the human journey to forgive and reconcile. The course engages several disciplines: theology and psychology, literature and cultural anthropology. The goal is to move from sharing stories and learning theories to making choices and acquiring skills that embrace forgiveness as a graced way of life in a wounded world.
RLSTU 225 Catechesis and Religious Development
A study of Christian faith formation as expressed in the primordial gift, profession, and practice of a living faith-God’s gift and our response. Attention is given to the gospel call intended for all Christians to proclaim the life, mission, and vision of Jesus to people of every age and nation. Examines contemporary models and theories of cognitive, moral, faith, and religious development.
RLSTU 241 Models and Mentors in Christian Tradition
A timely exploration of the lives and writings of great women and men throughout the centuries who have helped shape the Christian story. Considers feminist and other critical historical methods for retrieving and actualizing their message for today.
RLSTU 244 Global Theology and the Cry for Justice
Explores core aspects of the Christian theological tradition in light of emerging global concerns. By means of case studies, the voices of marginalized peoples of the world are highlighted for the ethical challenges in their urgent cries for justice, peacemaking, and reconciliation. Provides opportunities to reflect on the radical nature of the call to Christian discipleship.
Liturgy and Spirituality RLSTU 222 Marriage and Family
Examines the nature and evolution of the marriage covenant through scripture and history. Explores issues such as human development, interpersonal relationships, communication, and lifestyle choices. Discusses contemporary challenges to marriage, such as career choices, finances, child care, and gender roles. Note: Open to Juniors and Seniors only.
RLSTU 226 The Meaning of Death and Dying
Examines approaches to caring for the sick and dying. Explores the physical, psychological, sociological and theological aspects of the dying process. Discusses the role of religious ideals and values in enabling people to deal with dying and death. Considers rituals of death and the grieving process.
RLSTU 234 Sacraments and Spirituality
Explores the relationship between the sacramental/liturgical life of the Church and Christian spirituality. Attention is given to the reciprocal relationship between intimacy with God (prayer) and intimate life events (sacraments), as sacred moments when we encounter God with particular intimacy: birth, adolescence, conversion and reconciliation, friendship and marriage, common and ministerial priesthood, sickness and death, and Eucharistic-centered living.
RLSTU 235 Spirituality: A Life Journey
Through critical reflection, the student is drawn into an examination of faith as an anchor and guide in discovering life’s meaning and value. The course examines central themes of spirituality, such as images of God; church; the self-in-relationship; it underscores the need for stories and symbols; for solitude and community; for contemplation and action in the context of the faith maturation process. Note: Open to Juniors and Seniors only
Interdisciplinary RLSTU 250 Heart of the City
(A collaborative six-credit course – three credits in SOC 250 and three credits in RLSTU 250)
Examines the human person and the human condition from the academic disciplines of religion and sociology. Provides opportunities for first-hand experiences to enable the student to reflect more deeply on the human struggle for meaning, existence, and even survival. Through volunteer service, the student is given a unique vantage point for observing and sharing in the journey of life through the eyes, ears, and hearts of those who find themselves on the fringe of life in the heart of the city.
Course descriptions designated (P) fulfill the Problem Solving Way of Knowing requirement. Those designated (W) are Writing Intensive courses.
Philosophy PHILU 110 Introduction to Philosophy: World Views (P, W)
A study of various ways in which philosophers structure their views of the experienced world. Emphasizes historical context, critical analysis, the nature of philosophical thinking, and the relation between philosophy and other aspects of culture.
PHILU 112 Introduction to Philosophy: Ethics (P, W)
A study of major western ethical theories and their application to perennial and contemporary ethical issues. Emphasizes critical analysis, the relation between ethics and culture, and the significance of virtue-based ethical analysis. Credit hours may not be earned in both Philosophy 112 and 114.
PHILU 114 Introduction to Ethics and the Environment (P, W)
A study of major western ethical theories and their application to perennial and contemporary ethical issues, with special focus on environmental concerns in both discussion and writing assignments. Emphasizes critical analysis, the relation between ethics and culture, the significance of virtue-based ethical analysis, and connections between environmental ethics and other ethical issues. Credit hours may not be earned in both Philosophy 112 and 114.
PHILU 128 Introduction to Symbolic Logic (P)
An introduction to modern logical symbolism, the relation between modern and traditional formal logic, a brief history of logic, its relation to everyday language, methods of deduction in propositional, predicate, and relational logic. Offered as needed.