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Journey Through Religion

Introduction To The Academic Study of Religion

In Journey Through Religion you learn to study religion using academic methods.  You will discover what makes a phenomenon a “religion.”  You will find out that religions all share common characteristics such as ritual, belief, and morality and then you will learn to recognize and analyze those characteristics in various world religions.  In addition, you will be introduced to the world’s religious traditions which will make you better prepared to interact with the diverse peoples of our global world.  You will practice that skill in the course by encountering the life stories of followers of various religious traditions.  In sum, you will learn how to understand religious traditions both from the perspective of adherents and of constructive and conscientious outsiders.

Course Overview

This Course Is Taught By:

 Joel J. Heim, Ph.D.

Joel J Heim

Joel is a life-long educator having served as a public high school teacher, religious educator and a college professor in the fields of religion, philosophy and education at universities in California and Wisconsin.  Over the course of his college teaching career, he taught a wide-range of religion and philosophy courses.  He focused his time on becoming a master teacher.

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Course Modules

World Religions
Unit 1:

Introduction to the

Academic Study of Region

  • Introduction to Course
  • The Religious Map of Reality
  • Academic Study of Religion
  • World’s Religious Traditions
  • Characteristics of Religion
  • Nature of the Sacred
  • Black Elk Speaks
Native American Dance
Unit 2:

Native American Religions

  • Native Religious Traditions I
  • Cultus/Ritual
  • John Fire Lame Deer
  • Native Religious Traditions II
  • Mary Crow Dog
Unit 3:


  • The Rise of the Hindu Faith
  • Creed/Belief in Hinduism
  • Gopi Krishna
  • Hindu Mythology
  • Shudha Mazumdar
  • Exam on Units 1-3
Unit 4:


  • Introduction to Buddhism
  • Thich Nhat Hahn
  • unCanny/Transcendent
  • Hindu Mythology
  • Satomi Myodo
Unit 5:


  • Development of Judaism
  • Samuel Heilman
  • Community/Society
  • Judaism Community/Society
  • Judith Magyar Isaacson
  • Exam on Units 4 & 5
Unit 6:

Honduran Catholicism

  • Christianity
  • Roman Catholicism
  • Elvia Alvarado
  • Code/Morality
  • Padre Carney
Cross & Bible
Unit 7:


  • American Denominationalism
  • Course/History
  • Benjamin E. Mays
  • African-American Protestantism
  • Bessie Jones
Unit 8:


  • The Abrahamic Traditions
  • Islamic Teachings/Practices
  • Character/Identity
  • Jalal Al-e Ahmad
  • Satomi Myodo
  • Zaynab al-Ghazali
  • Final Exam on Units 5-7

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