Philosophy & Religion

Religion and Philosophy is a major offered in Graceland University's Division of Humanities. Majors develop an understanding of and appreciation for a disciplined inquiry into religious and philosophical issues and the place of this inquiry in society.  Students study a wide variety of classical and contemporary works in philosophy and religion. By orienting course work toward both the liberal arts tradition and contemporary issues, the division prepares students to understand the cultural context of a complex world, to be innovative, to think critically about practical and theoretical questions, and to articulate their thinking creatively and accurately.

B.A. Degree — Religion and Philosophy Major

In addition to the general education requirements, majors in Religion and Philosophy must complete a concentration of 39 semester hours with a minimum of 15 upper division credits from the following:

Core Courses 18 s.h.

  • PHIL2300 Basic Issues in Philosophy
  • RELG1100 Faith, Love, and Thought 3 s.h.
  • PHIL/RELG1120 Basic Ethics 3 s.h.
  • RELG2100 Introduction to Religion 3 s.h.
  • RELG2320 Introduction to Christian Theology 3 s.h.
  • RELG4200 Senior Religion and Philosophy Thesis/Project 3 s.h.

Bible 6 s.h.

  • RELG1310 Introduction to Old Testament 3 s.h.
  • RELG1320 Introduction to New Testament 3 s.h.

World Religions 3 s.h.
Choose one:

  • PHIL/RELG3100 World Philosophies and Religions: Great Texts 3 s.h.
  • RELG3200 Religions of the World 3 s.h.

History 3 s.h.
Choose at least one:

  • HIST/RELG1280 History of the Community of Christ
  • HIST/RELG3520 History of Christianity - The Last 1000 Years
  • RELG3530 Theology of the Community of Christ
  • RELG3540 Great Christian Thinkers 3 s.h.

Electives 9 s.h.
Choose from the following:

  • PHIL1200 Environmental Ethics 3 s.h.
  • PHIL2520 Medical Ethics 3 s.h.
  • PHIL2530 Postmodernism 3 s.h.
  • PHIL/RELG2400 Science and Religion 3 s.h.
  • PHIL/RELG2490 Suffering and Meaning 3 s.h.
  • RELG2200 Religion and Popular Culture in America 3 s.h.
  • RELG2340/3340 Religion and Ecology 3 s.h.
  • RELG3430 Restoration Scriptures
  • PHIL/RELG3440 Process Philosophy and Theology 3 s.h.
  • RELG3550 Ministries of the Church 3 s.h.

 

Religion Minor

A minor in Religion consists of 18 semester hours or more of courses in Religion, including RELG2100 Introduction to Religion.

Philosophy Minor

A minor in Philosophy consists of 18 semester hours or more in Philosophy.

Courses in Religion (Undergraduate)

RELG1100 Faith, Love, and Thought 3 s.h.
An exploration of the many rich meanings of “faith” as faithfulness, love, fidelity, integrity, courage, ultimate commitment, and openness to creative transformation, as well as the creative role of doubt in faithfulness. We will examine concepts of faith within different traditions like Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Humanism. Attention will be given to the relationships of faithfulness, trust, hope, and love in human relationships such as marriage, parenting, and friendship. Goal 3E

RELG1120 Basic Ethics (also PHIL1120) 3 s.h.
Introduction to basic ways of thinking and acting ethically. Examines basic ethical theories, both religious and philosophical, but focuses on practical, daily application of sound values and ethical consciousness. Goal 3E

RELG1280 History of the Community of Christ (Also HIST1280) 3 s.h.
The rise of the Latter Day Saint movement, the migration to the Midwest, the disruption at Nauvoo, the development of the Reorganization and other factions, and a survey of the conditions, trends, and problems in the contemporary Community of Christ and other factions of this unique American religious movement.

RELG1310 Introduction to Old Testament 3 s.h.
A study of the community of Israel and the literature that it produced. The history, literature, and theology involved is combined into one unified approach. The course aims to discover the meaning of the Old Testament in its time and for our present day. Goal 2B

RELG1320 Introduction to New Testament 3 s.h.
A study of the early Christian community and the literature that it produced. It seeks to enable the student to discern the contemporary relevance of the New Testament faith. History, literature, and theology are unified into one approach. Goal 2B

RELG2000 Individual Study 1-3 s.h.

RELG2100 Introduction to Religion 3 s.h.
An inquiry into the fundamental issues involved in an understanding of the place and meaning of religion in human experience. Goal 2B

RELG2200 Religion and Popular Culture in America 3 s.h.
Examines religion in American popular culture. Focus on the use of contemporary media by religion and the presentation of religious motifs and themes in popular culture. Goal 2B

RELG2320 Introduction to Christian Theology 3 s.h.
An introductory overview of the contents of the Christian faith, including interpretations of the major symbols of that tradition for today. Goal 2B

RELG2340 Religion and Ecology 3 s.h.
An introduction to theology as it addresses and is informed by ecological concerns. How is global climate change a religious problem? What does religious faith have to do with the environment? Do religious beliefs address questions of species conservation and extinction? Students will explore beliefs regarding the natural world from the perspectives of several major world religions. Goal 2B

RELG2400 Science and Religion (also PHIL2400) 3 s.h.
A survey of historical and contemporary relationships between science and religion (mainly in Western culture) from ancient mythology and the pre-Socratic philosophers, through medieval scholasticism, the rise of modern science and theological responses to it, and an examination of selected contemporary perspectives. Students will also examine the nature of faith and the role of faithfulness in scientific inquiry. Goal 2B

RELG2490 Suffering and Meaning 3 s.h. (Also PHIL2490)
The first Noble Truth of Buddhism is that all life involves suffering. Much of human life, religion, and the arts is an effort to create meaningful responses to our suffering. This course will examine some of those responses. Goal 3E

RELG2700 Internship in Church Leadership 0-6 s.h.
An internship designed to give practical experience in a field setting where ministry is taking place in the Community of Christ or related institution, and where effective church leadership skills are being modeled. The student will play an active role in identifying potential field sponsors. (Graded on a pass/fail basis.) Prerequisite: Instructor's consent.

RELG2900 Topics in Religion 1-3 s.h.

RELG3000 Individual Study 1-3 s.h.

RELG3100 World Philosophies & Religion: Great Texts (Also PHIL3100) 3 s.h.
A reading of great texts in world philosophies and religions; E.g., The Qu'ran (Islam), The Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism), The Dhammapada (Buddhism), The Analects of Confucius and Tao Te Ching (Confucianism), the Bible, and other works by important religious/philosophical thinkers, old and new. Goal 3E

RELG3200 Religions of the World 3 s.h.
An introduction to the thought, practice, and history of the major religions of the world. Goal 4

RELG3340 Religion and Ecology 3 s.h.
An introduction to theology as it addresses and is informed by ecological concerns. How is global climate change a religious problem? What does religious faith have to do with the environment? Do religious beliefs address questions of species conservation and extinction? Students will explore beliefs regarding the natural world from the perspectives of several major world religions. Goal 2B

RELG3430 Restoration Scriptures 3 s.h.
A study of the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible, considered in light of their historical setting, literary qualities, and theology.

RELG3440 Process Philosophy and Theology (Also PHIL3440) 3 s.h.
An examination of a major modern movement in Christian theology which responds to the challenges of science and human sufferings by arguing that God’s power is persuasive rather than coercive, and the supporting view of reality as a web of relationships in process. Special attention will be given to the problems of God, freedom, power, creativity and suffering, and the interpretation of process theology in terms of Christian symbols. Goal 2B

+ RELG3450 Philosophy of Religion (Also PHIL3450) 3 s.h.
This course is designed to investigate the nature of religious beliefs by applying the philosophical attitude to the practice of religion. The investigation will apply the principles of inquiry; clarity in the meaning of words and assumptions; consistency in statements about the subject; respect for all discoverable facts that bear upon the issues under investigation; and impartiality to interpretation of pertinent facts. Goal 3E

+ RELG3520 History of Christianity - The Last 1000 Years (Also HIST3520) 3 s.h.
An advanced study of the history of Christianity as it developed from the Crusades into the 20th Century. Topics will include the Crusades, the Avignon Papacy and Great Schism, the push for unity, early reform groups, the Reformation, wars of religion, religious imperialism, modern challenges to Christianity, and the Church to Vatican II. Aspects of both continuity and change within the doctrine, popular belief and structure of Christianity will be emphasized.

RELG3530 Theology of the Community of Christ 3 s.h.
An examination of major themes and issues in Restoration thought. Particular attention will be paid to the development of theology in the Reorganization. Non-Community of Christ students will participate in this course by exploring how the basic issues addressed are related to their own religious communities.

RELG3540 Great Christian Thinkers 3 s.h.
Christian theology use terms like “Trinity,’ “incarnation,” “predestination,” and “mystical union,” but who originated these ideas and why? What can we know of the figures whose passionate wrestling with the meaning of their faith shapes western culture to this day? This course will explore selected influential thinkers in the Christian tradition and their enduring contributions to theology. Among others, we will argue with Augustine, journey with Julian of Norwich, and converse with John Calvin, becoming familiar with their life stories and their thought in context. We will ask why the questions they struggled with and the answers they proposed are still worth engaging in the give-and-take of theological conversation today. Goal 2B

RELG3550 Ministries of the Church 3 s.h.
An examination of the nature and purpose of the church as an important institution in society. The study of major functions such as worship, education, outreach, and administration will be included. 

RELG3900 Topics in Religion 1-3 s.h.
Study of selected topics of interest in religion, to be announced prior to the semester when the course is offered. May be repeated for credit as topics change.

RELG4000 Individual Study 1-3 s.h.

RELG4200 Senior Religion and Philosophy Thesis/Project 3 s.h.
A capstone thesis or project for Religion and Philosophy majors in which students demonstrate the ability to conduct research in the academic field of religion and/or philosophy, to articulate in writing their own, well reasoned position on a significant religious and/or philosophical question, to integrate ideas of other people into their own intellectual journey, and, through the thesis or project preparation and oral presentation, engage with peers, faculty, and written texts in well reasoned dialogue which reflects an ability to treat other people and ideas with both fairness and thoughtful criticism. Prerequisite: Religion and Philosophy major.

+Denotes an alternate year course.

 

Courses in Philosophy

PHIL1120 Basic Ethics (also RELG1120) 3 s.h.
Introduction to basic ways of thinking and acting ethically. Examines basic ethical theories, both religious and philosophical, but focuses on practical, daily application of sound values and ethical consciousness. Goal 3E

PHIL1200 Environmental Ethics 3 s.h.
An overview of environmental ethics, which analyzes the ethical responsibilities of human beings toward the natural world. Explores the diverse perspectives on and responses to environmental problems and analyzes the ethical underpinnings of these responses and perspectives. Goal 3E

PHIL1350 Basic Logic 3 s.h.
An introduction to the fundamental principles of inductive and deductive logic.

PHIL2260 The Ethics of Technology 3 s.h.
This course introduces the ethical concerns and considerations inherent in modern technology. Focused on key ethical principles (human dignity, goodness, justice, truth, and freedom), the course considers the impact of technology on the human condition. The application of Kant's Categorical Imperative and the precepts of Utilitarianism will be explored, compared, and contrasted. The course fosters a deeper understanding of the ways in which technology, broadly defined, profoundly affects the individual, the society, and the culture. Goal 3E

PHIL2300 Basic Issues in Philosophy 3 s.h.
An introduction to some of the traditional theories of knowledge, reality, and value, and an interpretation of their relevance to the modern world. Goal 3E

PHIL2360 Literature and Philosophy: Ways of Criticizing 3 s.h.
Designed to expose the student to the theory and practice of criticism and help the student develop critical abilities, especially the skills used in responding to works of literature. Includes the study and application of both classic texts and contemporary trends in criticism. Provides active learning opportunities involving the student in the process of criticism. Goal 2B

PHIL2370 Literature and Philosophy: Ways of Thinking 3 s.h.
Designed to familiarize students with the ideas, issues and influences important to the literary and philosophical processes and traditions, such as the concept of self, the problem of evil, and the nature of reality. Goal 2B

PHIL2400 Science and Religion (also RELG2400) 3 s.h.
A survey of historical and contemporary relationships between science and religion (mainly in Western culture) from ancient mythology and the pre-Socratic philosophers, through medieval scholasticism, the rise of modern science and theological responses to it, and an examination of selected contemporary perspectives. Students will also examine the nature of faith and the role of faithfulness in scientific inquiry. Goal 2B

PHIL2490 Suffering and Meaning 3 s.h. (Also RELG2490)
The first Noble Truth of Buddhism is that all life involves suffering. Much of human life, religion, and the arts is an effort to create meaningful responses to our suffering. This course will examine some of those responses. Goal 3E

PHIL2520 Medical Ethics 3 s.h.
An exploration of contemporary ethical issues in modern medicine. The course will begin with an introduction to ethical theories and principles, and then apply these to specific problems in health care. Goal 3E

PHIL2530 Postmodernism 3 s.h.
“Postmodern” thinkers like Richard Rorty are challenging “foundationalism,” the claim that our social beliefs and values — in ethics, the arts, language, and even science — have eternal and universal foundations. Beginning with ancient clash between mythology and the earliest Greek philosophers, but focusing on the 20th century, this course will historically review the interplay of our struggles with truth and meaning, leading to current postmodernism, with special attention to Rorty’s work in Neopragmatism. Goal 2B

PHIL2900 Topics in Philosophy 1-3 s.h.

PHIL3000 Individual Study 1-3 s.h.

PHIL3100 World Philosophies & Religion: Great Texts (Also RELG3100) 3 s.h.
A reading of great texts in world philosophies and religions; E.g., The Qu'ran (Islam), The Upanishads and The Bhagavad Gita (Hinduism), The Dhammapada (Buddhism), The Analects of Confucius and Tao Te Ching (Confucianism), the Bible, and other works by important religious/philosophical thinkers, old and new. Goal 3E

PHIL3440 Process Philosophy and Theology (Also RELG3440) 3 s.h.
An examination of a major modern movement in Christian theology that responds to the challenges of science and human sufferings by arguing that God’s power is persuasive rather than coercive, and the supporting view of reality as a web of relationships in process. Special attention will be given to the problems of God, freedom, power, creativity and suffering, and the interpretation of process theology in terms of Christian symbols. Goal 2B

+ PHIL3450 Philosophy of Religion (Also RELG3450) 3 s.h.
This course is designed to investigate the nature of religious beliefs by applying the philosophical attitude to the practice of religion. The investigation will apply the principles of inquiry: clarity in the meaning of words and assumptions, consistency in statements about the subjects, respect for all discoverable facts that bear upon the issues under investigation, and impartiality in interpretation of pertinent facts. Goal 3E

PHIL3900 Topics in Philosophy 3 s.h.
Selected in-depth topics in philosophy. Will deal with perennial problems of epistemology, ontology, cosmology, ethics, and values. Course may be repeated for credit when topics change.

PHIL4000 Individual Study 1-3 s.h.

PHIL4200 Senior Religion & Philosophy Thesis/Project 3 s.h.
A capstone thesis or project for Philosophy & Religion majors in which students demonstrate the ability to conduct research in the academic field of philosophy &/or religion, to articulate in writing their own, well reasoned position on a significant philosophical &/or religious question, to integrate the ideas of other people into their own intellectual journey, and, through the thesis or project preparation and oral presentation, engage with peers, faculty, and written texts in well reasoned dialogue which reflects an ability to treat other people and ideas with fairness and thoughtful criticism. Prerequisite: Philosophy & Religion major.

+Denotes an alternate year course.