The study of Religion is open to everyone regardless of background or beliefs. The program is designed to familiarize students with the history, texts, and traditions that form the basis of religious expression in Western and other cultures. Through their studies, students will learn to appreciate the diversity found among religious traditions, to recognize the complexity of religious thought, and to respect the freedom of religious expression. This training will help prepare students to make responsible decisions in their communities, society, and beyond. Students will be encouraged to examine actively their own moral, spiritual, and ethical foundations and to clarify for themselves what role religious values will take in their personal development.
The study of Religion is valued in a number of occupational fields including banking, business law, and social and governmental services. A major in Religion will give students the necessary background for entrance into seminary or other graduate study in the field of Religion. A Religion major is particularly useful for those planning to enter the Christian ministry, Christian Education, or other church-related vocations. Interested students may wish to participate in the Pre-Ministry Program.
Religion & Church Leadership
The Religion and Church Leadership major is an interdisciplinary degree designed to help students develop the skills and knowledge necessary for successful ministry, lay or professional, in the Christian church. Students will take a core set of classes helping them establish a solid foundation in biblical studies. They will also choose from a variety of electives in religion, providing further background in Bible and Christian history and thought. Along with the Religion classes, students will take courses from other disciplines selected to round out their knowledge of cultural and social dynamics as and of ethics. Finally, students will learn the fundamental skills in communication and management in order to help them develop skills necessary to succeed in leading ministry programs.
CMU has a chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, a national honor society for Religious Studies and Theology (advisor: Dr. Daryl Jefferies).
RL314 World Religions Today (3)
Electives in Religion (12 hours)
One (1) from the following:
RL201 Old Testament (3)
RL202 New Testament (3)
Religion and Church Leadership Minor (18 hours)
RL201 Old Testament (3)
RL202 New Testament (3)
RL203 Explorations of Christian Thought (3)
RL205 Introduction to Church Leadership (3)
RL268/368 Internship or Field Experience (3)
Elective in Religion
RL122 Religion and the Human Adventure. 3 hours. This is an introduction to the ways in which religion provides meaning and purpose for human life. The course includes a study of a variety of religious traditions, beliefs, and practices. Prerequisite to all upper-level courses in Religion.
RL190 Special Topics. 1-3 hours. This is an introductory course on a topic not included in the regular curriculum. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission.
RL201 Old Testament. 3 hours.This is a survey of Old Testament literature, concentrating on the faith of Israel and its relevance for today. Fall.
RL202 New Testament. 3 hours. This is a survey of New Testament literature, concentrating on the faith of the early church and its relevance for today. Spring.
RL203 Explorations in Christian Thought. 3 hours. Students examine the resources of the Christian faith with special concern for its relevance to twentieth-century life. Prerequisite: RL122. Fall.
RL205 Introduction to Church Leadership. 3 hours. This course provides the practical framework for developing and executing leadership skills in a church setting. It is designed, in particular, to assist students pursuing the Religion and Church Leadership major but can be of use to other students as well. The course does not meet the Common Core leadership requirement and does not meet the Tier Two Humanities requirement.
RL225 Philosophy of Religion. 3 hours. This is a study of the nature of religion and of the relation of philosophy to theology. Attention is given to such problems as the existence of God, knowledge of God, faith, religious language, evil, immortality, and eschatology. Cross-listed with PL225. Prerequisite: RL122. Odd-numbered years.
RL260 Special Problems. 1-5 hours. This is an independent study or research on a subject of interest to an individual student. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission.
RL268 Internship and Field Experiences. 1-3 hours.
RL290 Special Topics. 1-3 hours. This is an intermediate-level course on a topic not included in the regular curriculum. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission.
RL301 Mission and Message of Jesus. 3 hours. This is a study of the four gospels—using the tools of critical scholarship—to understand Jesus and his teachings and the faith of the early Christian community which produced these writings. Prerequisite: RL122. Even-numbered Falls.
RL302 Paul and the Early Church. 3 hours. This is a study of the Pauline epistles, of the Acts of the Apostles, and of non-orthodox Christian traditions that sought expression during the formative years of Christianity. Prerequisite: RL122. Odd-numbered Falls.
RL303 The Prophets. 3 hours. This is a study of the origins of Old Testament prophecy and of the contributions to the religion of Israel by Amos, Hosea, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others. Prerequisite: RL122. Odd-numbered Springs.
RL310 Biblical Literature and the Ancient World. 3 hours. This is a survey of the archaeological records and of the material history of the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Palestine, with emphasis on their religions. Special attention will be given to the archaeological backgrounds of the Old and New Testaments and of the development of biblical faith in relation to its historical and cultural contents. Prerequisite: RL122.
RL314 World Religions Today. 3 hours. This is a study of the theoretical, practical, and sociological expressions of religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Chinese religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Cross-listed with PL314. Prerequisite: RL122. Odd-numbered years.
RL331 History of Christianity I. 3 hours. This is a study of the Christian church from the close of the apostolic age to the Reformation; attention is centered on the emergence of Christian theology, on the evolution of ecclesiastical institutions, and on Christian biography. Prerequisites: RL122 and Sophomore standing.
RL332 History of Christianity II. 3 hours. This is a study of selected topics in the history of the Christian church from the Reformation to the present; attention is centered on theological developments, on changes in ecclesiastical structures, and on Christian biography. Prerequisites: RL122 and Sophomore standing.
RL335 History of American Methodism. 3 hours. This is a study of the development of English Methodism with focus of the Methodist movement in America. Students consider the influences of major American historical events on the church and the church's influence on historical, political, and social developments in America. Prerequisite: RL122.
RL336 Thanatology. 3 hours. This is a cross-cultural study of many aspects of the phenomena of death and dying, and of the associated rituals and processes accompanying them. Prerequisite: RL122. Even-numbered years.
RL360 Special Problems. 1-5 hours. This is an independent study or research on a subject of interest to an individual student. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission.
RL368 Internship and Field Experiences. 1-3 hours.
RL390 Special Topics. 1-3 hours. This is an advanced course on a topic not included in the regular curriculum. Prerequisite: Instructor's permission.
RL480 Religion Capstone. 3 hours. This course is open only to Seniors majoring in Religion, except by division chair's permission.