Philosophy of Religion 101

The recently added sub-division Philosophy of Religion is now offered to students at Western Carolina University. A B.A. in Philosophy with a concentration in Religion requires 42 hours of various courses from the foundations to senior seminars. The Religion concentration begins with the Foundations of the Study of Religion and offers four different classes. Students are exposed to Western and Eastern traditions as well as the question of “What is religion?” Western Traditions explore Judaism, Islam and Christianity, just to name a few. Eastern Traditions explores Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism and several others. Professors at Western teach the ethical and political side to the various religions and the people that have added to its development. Professors also discuss the historical and theological attributes of each religion. The “What is Religion?” class discusses the origins of some of the major religions today and its historical background. The Philosophy of Religion class allows students to select several topics of the nature of religion and the effects of each. The next section in the Religion concentration is the History of Religious Thought. Classes in this section include the understanding of Christianity or Islamic traditions. Both classes explore the important people involved in each, the events and practices that make-up that religion. Another class searches through the religions during the medieval period. This class explores the historical content of religions and the changes that occurred during that time. Later classes in this section go on to view the developments of religion in America and Europe and classical religious thought. The third section of the Religion concentration features classes not only in philosophy but in Anthropology, Art, History and English. The Anthropology class explores secret societies and rituals of past and today. In the literature side of classes, students will be able to read a wide variety of works from the Bible to Chaucer and the views of each. The history classes look at the cultural and political development of time areas like Rome and Greece. Also, the history classes study colonial America and the Middle East and the characteristics of then and now. The Philosophy part looks at the different areas that religion can be seen by people everyday. Students can look into the relationship between religion and film, law, women and science. The final concentration area allows students to further explore a specific area of religion they are interested in. Students can chose two of the three classes and lean more about the topics in religion from the past or modern day. However, the student must get permission from the instructor to study in the area they want.Special thanks to Dr. James McLachlan, Philosophy and Religion Head.