Religion

  • James Gilman, department head
    Kenneth Beals, Andrea Cornett-Scott, Katherine Low, Roderic Owen, Edward Scott

    MBC offers a major and a minor in religion, a major combining philosophy and religion, and a minor in ministry. Some students develop independent majors, combining religion with other disciplines such as English, history, psychology, or political science.

  • Requirements for the Major in Religion

    34 semester hours
    REL 101
    REL 102
    REL 203
    REL 212
    REL 355
    REL 400
    REL 401
    PHIL 101
    ANTH 244
    Three additional courses in religion

    Note: Recommended for the major in religion: one year of a foreign language, ANTH 120, and ART 102

    Major Combining Philosophy and Religion
    Please see Philosophy, Philosophy/Religion

    Requirements for the Minor in Religion

    21 semester hours
    REL 101
    REL 102
    AS/REL 212
    Four additional courses in religion

    Note: Majors and minors may take the following at the 300-level: REL 203, REL 221, REL 231, REL 233, REL 234, REL 275, and REL 277

    Minor in Ministry
    Please see Ministry

  • Civic Engagement Opportunities

    • Four courses include a civic engagement component: REL 130 Faith, Life, and Service; REL 221 Christian Faith, Peace, and Justice; REL 232 African American Religion; REL 310 Community and Practice.
    • Quest: Spiritual Exploration Program
    • Programs sponsored by Religion and Philosophy including Black Baby Doll Day; Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight March and Memorial Service, Kwanzaa, others
    • Black History Month events: Oratorical Contest with community participation, Gospel Extravaganza, Praise House Service; Peace and World Religions Lecture
    • Participation in Habitat for Humanity and Amnesty International
    • Internship opportunities: Katrina Relief, mediation and conflict resolution
    • International civic engagement: South Africa, India, Greece
  • 101 Introduction to the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) (3 s.h.) (H)
    Introduction to the historical and cultural background of Hebrew scripture. Students are introduced to the historical-critical method of study. The Biblical texts are approached from the perspectives of the history, faith, and theology of Ancient Israel, from Abraham to the return from exile.

    102 Introduction to the New Testament (Christian Bible) (3 s.h.) (H)
    The formation and content of the New Testament are the focus, with special emphasis on developing the student’s ability to interpret texts in the synoptic gospels. This study includes the history of the early church and some of its leaders, especially the Apostle Paul.

    130 Faith, Life, and Service (3 s.h.) (C)
    Focuses on the relationship between life, work, and faith. Students examine the interaction between American culture and religion. Through reading, discussion and guest lecturers, they gain an appreciation for the differing ways in which individuals and communities put together faith and respond to the world.

    202 Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (3 s.h.) (I)
    A study of the historical religions of the Middle East and West: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Along with an analysis of the beliefs, practices, and history of each tradition, a comparative analysis is undertaken.

    203 History of Christian Thought (3 s.h.)
    Introduces basic ideas and history of the Christian tradition. Traces the emergence of orthodoxy from a context of theological conflicts, and examines ways in which contemporary theological movements interpret and apply these ideas.

    204 Religion in America (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see HIST/REL 204 in the History listing.

    212 Asian Religions (3 s.h.) (H)
    For course description, see AS 212 in the Asian Studies listing.

    213 Islam (3 s.h.)
    An exploration of the fastest growing religion in the world. Seeks to undermine stereotypical images and misimpressions of Islam and to present an accurate account of who Muslims are, what their faith teaches, and the relationships between doctrine and practice, and social, political, and economic systems. International focus: students learn about culturally diverse forms of Islam and analyze a contemporary religious issue in the Islamic world. Offered as needed.

    217 Native American Religions (3 s.h.) (D)
    Students study the religions and cultures of indigenous peoples living in the land occupied by the United States of America. This course focuses first on the nature of indigenous religions prior to contact with Europeans, and secondly, on the impact of interactions with European immigrants on those religions. This study includes understanding indigenous peoples’ views of reality, the rituals and ceremonies reflecting these views, and contemporary issues that are of particular concern today.

    221 Christian Faith, Peace, and Justice (3 s.h.) (C)
    Examines the relationship among justice, mercy, and peace in the context of biblical tradition and Christian ethics. Through readings and discussion, these moral values are applied to contemporary issues: race, the environment, war and peace, poverty and wealth. Also focuses on Christian leaders, such as Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr., whose lives distinguished themselves in terms of justice, mercy, and peace.

    222 Internship in Ministry (credit varies)
    Students work with faculty and pastors to learn and practice the basics of pastoral care, counseling, and ministry. *Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Offered as needed.

    231 Women and Religion (3 s.h.) (G)
    A study of the role and treatment of women focusing primarily on the Judeo-Christian tradition. Beginning with the biblical texts, the study looks at both traditional and feminist interpretation of scriptures concerning the “place of women.” Issues include biblical imagery for God, the ordination of women, and inclusive religious language.

    232 African-American Religion (3 s.h.) (D)
    Focuses on the African origin and African-American recreations of religions and sects. Special emphasis on the liturgical and homiletical (preaching) traditions of black women and men, and the role of the slave church as a catalyst for civil rights in the contemporary black church. Examines the evolution of womanist and black theological critiques and the counter challenge of the black Muslim movement.

    234 Religion, Politics, and Public Policy (3 s.h.)
    Focuses on the point at which religion in America interacts with politics and public policy. Topics include religion and politics in American history; interpretations of the religious clauses of the first amendment, including Supreme Court cases, and the political activity and policies of religious interest groups, including the Roman Catholic Church, Evangelicals, African-American churches, and Mainline Protestant traditions. Cross listed as POLS 234.

    237 Mediation: Theory and Practice (3 s.h.) (O)
    Students explore both the theory and process of mediation and conflict resolution. Through readings, discussions, cases, and role playing, they develop skills necessary for being effective mediators. Cross listed as COMM 237.

    275 Buddhism (3 s.h.) (H)
    For course description, see AS 275 in the Asian Studies listing.

    277 Studies in Religion (credit varies)
    Topics not included in regularly scheduled religion courses. Interests of students and faculty determine the subject matter.

    278 Hinduism (3 s.h.) (H)
    For course description, see AS 278 in the Asian Studies listing.

    284 Sociology of Religion (3 s.h.)
    For course description, see SOC 284 in the Sociology listing.

    305 Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning (Honors Colloquium) (3 s.h.) (T)
    For course description, see PHIL 305 in the Philosophy listing.

    310 Community and Practice (3 s.h.)
    Students engage in a hands-on experience that requires direct involvement with established institutions known for shaping African-American life and culture — e.g., the African-American faith community, service organizations, civic offices/programs, and schools. Students dialogue with community members (in their own voices) to establish a depository of historical witness that supplements and authenticates the formal study of African-American life and culture.

    320 Peacemaking: Gandhi and Nonviolence (3 s.h.) (T, R)
    For course description, see PHIL 320 in the Philosophy listing.

    355 Greek Myth and Religion (3 s.h.) (R)
    Examines the myths and religious beliefs, practices, and institutions of the ancients Greeks. Primary sources for doing so include Hesiod, Homer, and Greek dramatists and poets. This course also examines theories of interpreting myth and the influence of Greek myth and religion in Western culture, literature, art, and music. *Prerequisite: sophomore standing.

    390 Directed Inquiry (credit varies)
    The student and supervising faculty member undertake an advanced study of a selected topic in religion.

    400 Major Colloquium (2 s.h.) (M)
    Students participate in a community of peer and faculty scholars, for the purpose of developing independent research, writing, and oral communication skills. Each year the colloquium focuses on a different selected topic.

    401 Senior Thesis (2 s.h.) (M)
    Each major completes an independent research project of her choice, meeting regularly and working closely with a faculty advisor. Each student presents and defends her senior thesis before a faculty committee.