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Class Notes for 07-100
Religion and Culture

Last Updated: December 15, 2006


University of Windsor Fall Semester, 2006
Dr. B. L. Whitney, B.A., Ph.D.
Office Hours: 7104 Lambton Tower, T and TH: 2:15-3:45 (before class)
Email: whitney@uwindsor.ca: type "07-100" in the subject area of emails

OFFICIAL CLASS OUTLINE ("Official Outline" -- basic course information)

ASSIGNED TEXTS
1. J. Sire, The Universe Next Door
2. D. Groothius, Unmasking the New Age
3. Assigned web documents
Reference (optional): R. Fuller, Spiritual, But Not Religious
Reference (optional): Lewis, et al, eds. Perspectives on the New Age
Reference (optional): Newport, The New Age Movement and The Biblical Worldview

WEEKLY OUTLINE of Topics AND ASSIGNED READINGS
Specific readings will be listed here for each week's class; the schedule is flexible and tentative insofar as the selection and amount of material assigned and the speed at which the class proceeds will be determined by the flow of the class -- specifically, how well the material is being understood and appropriated. As such, only the readings entered in the box below are "officially assigned" as "required readings." The professor may decide to remove one or more of these assigned readings as required for the Tests if they have not been discussed in class. The detailed lists of topics and readings below the box list potential readings: not all of these will be officially assigned and further readings are continually being added to the detailed list as the professor finds new relevant web documents, some of which may then be officially assigned.

» INTRODUCTION
Sept 12: Week 1: First Class: *Class Overheads (for Part One)
» PART ONE: RELIGION AND CULTURE BASICS and THE THEISTIC WORLDVIEW: Sire, The Universe Next Door, ch 1; web documents, and overheads
Sept 19: Week 2: "Study Skills" presentation; Religion and Culture Stats: World Religions (chart only); Canadian Religions 1 (tables 1, 5, 6, 8); Canadian Religions 2 (charts); USA Religious Beliefs (charts); Ethical Relativism (charts); Religious Beliefs of Scientists; Specific details on the focus of each document were given in class: check also the overheads for the basic information on which to focus
Sept 26: Week 3: Leffel, Tests; Samples, Worldview assessment/testing; UND text, ch 1
Oct 03: Week 4: UND text, ch 2 (theistic worldview)
Oct 10: Week 5: TEST 1 (ER 1118; 4:00-5:00 for A-L, 5:00-6:00 for M-Z): *Items for Test 1: Test Info 1; Test Info 2: Information about what to prepare for the first test was given in class; the main points are given in the pdf files. The overheads summarize the main point discussed in class re: the religion & culture states as a guide

» PART TWO: THE THEISTIC AND ATHEISTIC WORLDVIEWS: Sire, The Universe Next Door, ch 1 and 2; web documents, and overheads
Oct 17: Week 6: UND ch 2 (summary); UND text, ch 4
Oct 24: Week 7: UND, ch 4 and 5; Naturalism: Definitions; Naturalism and Theism: Contrasts; Naturalism vs Theism: Religion, Philosophy, Ethics
Oct 31: Week 8: Secular Humanism vs Christianity; Naturalism: Basics, Consequences, Spirituality; Humanist Manifesto I (all), II (preface and sections 1-6), and III: introduction
Nov 7: Week 9: TEST 2 (Ambassador Auditorium, 4:00-5:00 for all students): *Items for Test 2: Information was given in class about what to prepare for each assigned reading (book chapters, documents and lecture notes): make summaries of the basic points in the lecture notes and for each assigned item; look for information about the 10 worldview aspects of theism, naturalism (and the implications of naturalism discussed in class and in UND ch 5) as well as information unique to the individual web documents. The assigned readings for Test Two are as follows: Besides lecture notes, UND ch 2 (theism), ch 4 (naturalism), ch 5 (nihilism: the implications of naturalism), and the web documents listed under weeks 6-8, including supplementary discussions from the lecture notes; note also that some of these readings (or parts of some of them) are independent study to be prepared by students without specific commentary in class.

» PART THREE: THE NEW AGE WORLDVIEW, COMPARED WITH THEISM AND ATHEISM: Sire, Universe Next Door, ch 8; Groothius, Unmasking the New Age (selected chapters, depending on the time available; a limited number of web documents are assigned
Nov 14: Week 10: ---
Nov 21: Week 11: New Age Worldview: the 10 Worldview aspects: Chart 2, Chart 3

Nov 28: Week 12: Sire UND ch 8, Groothuis, ch 1, 2, 8; Alternative Medicines and Health Philosophy (UNA, ch 3) and Mystical Science (UNA, ch 5); Alternative Healing Techniques; Therapeudic Touch; The Occult 1; Occult 2
Dec 05: Week 13: --There will be no class on December 5 -- check "the Final Exam preparation list" in the link just below

NOTE; FINAL EXAM: Dec 16 at 3:30, St Denis Centre, Rows 41-45.
The exam is partly cumulative, multiple choice, with focus on Part 3 and the comparison of the three worldviews' 10 aspects.
The exam will test again UND, chapters 1, 2, 4, 5. Items from the New Age worldview will be added: selceted chapters from UNA and UND, and a limited number of web documents -- to be listed here after each week of the final three classes. *FINAL EXAM PREP: *Check here for the list of readings for the Final Exam

 

DETAILED OUTLINE of TENTATIVE TOPICS and READINGS
Only the readings listed in the box above are "officially assigned" as "required readings"; the readings listed below are optional references only (for those who want more information beyond what is assigned for the course)

PART 1: COMPETING WORLDVIEWS: CULTURAL WARFARE
T
EXT: Universe Next Door (UND), chapter 1
Web: World View overview chart-1 (Xenos)
Web: Worldview Test online
Web: Testing Basic Beliefs (Leffel)
Web: Logical Fallacies 1 (Carm) and Web: Logical Fallacies 2
Basic Stats on Religion and Culture:
Web: World Population
Web: World Religions (chart only): major religions: numbers, percentage of total populations
Web: Barna USA Religious Beliefs (charts): 5 segments: percentages, profiles, main beliefs
Web: Barna: Faith Influences Views
Web: Barna USA Growing Relativism: (charts): 5 age groups re: moral decision-making
Web: Moral Decay (charts)
Web: Religious Beliefs of Scientists
Web: Worldview of the Media (Probe)
Web: Beliefs of Ivy League Professors (FrontPage)
Web: Canadian Religions 1 (including tables: #1, #5, #6, #8)
Web: Canadian Religions 2 (charts only: #1, #2, # 4, #5)
Web: Religions in Canada (details)
Web: Religion in Canada: Census 2001
Web: Culture Wars (Kalb)
Web: Culture Warfare (Kreeft)

PART 2: TWO WORLDVIEWS COMPARED: ATHEISM AND THEISM
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 2 (Theism)
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 3 (Deism)
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 4 (Naturalism)
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 5 (Nihilism)
Web: WorldViews 1 (Solomon): Theism and Naturalism
Web: WorldViews 2 (Wade): Deism, Nihilism, and Existentialism
Web: Theism; The Attributes of God; What is God Like?
Web: Naturalism: Definitions
Web: Naturalism and Theism: Contrasts
Web: Naturalism vs Theism: Religion
Web: Naturalism vs Theism: Philosophy
Web: Naturalism vs Theism: Ethics
Web: Secular Humanism vs Christianity
Web: Naturalism: Main Tenets
Web: Consequences of Naturalism
Web: Naturalistic Spirituality
Web: American Humanist Association: Humanist Manifestos, etc.
Web: Secular Humanism Assessed

Web: Humanist Manifestos: selected sections

Web: Cultural Warfare with Naturalism (Kreeft)
Note: Secular Humanism, the Humanist Manifestos, Naturalism, Atheism, Skepticism, and Agnosticism are discussed, assessed and compared to Theism in 07-322, "God and Atheism," including a discussion of the theists' arguments for--and the non-theists' arguments against--God's existence. 07-100 presents an introductory (shortened) version of this discussion

PART 3: THREE WORLDVIEWS COMPARED: NEW AGE RELIGION/POSTMODERNISM, ATHEISM and THEISM
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 6 (Existentialism)
TEXT: Universe Next Door, chapter 7 (Eastern Religions), ch 8 (New Age), ch 9 (Postmodernism)
TEXT: Unmasking the New Age, chapters 1-8
Western Culture Overview: Web: Enlightenment (Wade) and Web: Religious Knowledge (Kappelman)

Summary of several chapters from the Death of Truth book: Web: Postmodernism (selected)
New Age (Postmodern) Science: Web: Science #1, Web: Science #2, Web: Science #3
New Age (Postmodern) Alternative Medicine: Web: Holistic Health; Web: Reisser; Web: Alternative Healing; Chopra's Quackery; More quantum Quackery
New Age (Postmodern) Psychology: Web: Psychology and other web documents (to be listed here)
New Age (Postmodern) Ethical Relativism: Web: Beckwith; (morality); Web: Johnson (religions) ...and others
New Age Religion: Basic Beliefs and Examples: Gnosticism, Neo-Paganism, Wicca, ... and others
New Age Religion and the Occult: Web: Cana (several); Occult
Eastern Religions: Web: World Religions: comparison chart (Hinduism+Christianity)
World Religions: Web: Ultimate Reality; Web: Humanity Web: Salvation; Web: Evil
Western Mysticism and Transcendental Religions: Web: Scientology; New Thought; Theosophy, Christian Science, Mormonism. Jehovah Witnesses, Science of Mind; ... and others