Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

PHIL 372 Meaning and Truth in Religion

Overview of Course

Religion can be found, in multiple forms, throughout history in every culture throughout the world. It can be found in a civilization’s architecture (temples, churches, monasteries) and art; in people’s forms of dress, dietary customs and social organizations; and in acts of worship and piety.
What is religion and why is it such a universal aspect of human life? Why do people embark on spiritual quests? What is the difference between religious and mystical experience? What is the meaning of religious faith? Is there a God? What are the arguments for and against the existence of God? These are some of the questions that we will be exploring in this multicultural philosophical study of religion.
On our voyage we will encounter the living presence of a variety of different religious traditions: different Buddhist traditions in Vietnam, Islam in Malaysia and Morocco, Hindu traditions in India, spiritualism alongside of Christian Protestantism in Kenya and Ghana, Catholicism in Spain, and both Catholicism and Protestantism in Germany. We will discover that the term “religion” is a wide umbrella covering a multitude of existential struggles for meaning and competing worldviews, some monotheistic, others polytheistic, and still others best classified as non-theistic.