This course is an introductory survey of some of the major religious traditions of the world as they are encountered in our voyage itinerary—including Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity. We will explore the diverse range of sacred stories, worldviews, beliefs, notions of human perfection, and practices that comprise the great variety of these traditions. Our visits to different countries will also provide an opportunity to understand the great cultural and interpretive differences that occur within a so-called single religious tradition. A central focus of the course will be the question: “Is the religious life a celebration of something natural or does it necessarily involve radical transformation via unnatural discipline?” Concomitant issues to be explored include historical developments, differing views of ultimate reality and the world, conceptions of human nature, forms of worship, and proposals for appropriate religious behavior.
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