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AOK: Religious Studies
Area of Knowledge: Religious Studies Component
In the AOK Civilizations category, all four courses must emphasize either history or philosophy or religious studies. Two courses must be in history.
Two courses must be in religious studies or philosophy.
The phenomenon of religion is a universal dimension of human life and culture. Belief in a transcendent dimension of life has inspired drama, dance, painting, poetry, and the rituals involved in birth, initiation into adulthood, marriage, and death. Humankind's values, history, culture, hopes, and fears would be incomprehensible without an understanding of the religious systems and symbols underlying them. It is, therefore, essential that a well-educated person be exposed to the study of religion. Further, according to our college’s mission statement, "The purpose of a Randolph-Macon education is to develop the mind and the character of its students. They are challenged to communicate effectively, to think analytically and critically, to experience and appreciate the creative process, to develop qualities of leadership, and to synthesize what they know with who they are." Through the academic discipline of religious studies, the student confronts religion in all its complexity and diversity. Through this involved and involving study, the student develops critical and analytical skills. Moreover, the study of religion challenges the student to strive for humanity’s highest moral and ethical ideals, and nourishes the uniquely human resources of creativity and imagination. In this way, Religious Studies uniquely enables students to synthesize what they learn with who they are, and who they want to become. The study of religion is, therefore, an integral part of the liberal arts curriculum at Randolph-Macon College.
Courses in Religious Studies will inquire into the many forms of religious tradition throughout the world.
Courses in Religious Studies will examine the vital role of religion in shaping human experience, and so expose students to the capacity of religion to enhance and transform life.
Courses in Religious Studies will offer students the opportunity to examine the crucial questions of human experience as addressed in religious traditions critically, and to experience the impact of these questions personally.
Courses in Religious Studies will address the ways in which the individual is related and responsible to the larger human community, the natural environment, or both, as expressed in religious traditions.
To obtain these goals, courses approved as offering an exposure to Religious Studies will follow any of the following three general strategies:
They may pursue the study of the history, beliefs, and practices of a particular religious tradition, or of multiple related traditions.
They may pursue the study of sacred texts, particularly Christian Scripture.
They may pursue the study of the impact of religion on culture, including works of art, music, drama, dance, literature, or other deliberate expressions of human identity.
Every course which earns the Religious Studies designation must afford significant (no less than 50% of course content) and explicit instruction in religion.
Every course that earns the Religious Studies designation must be taught by a person whose credentials or professional career confirm significant involvement in the academic study of religion.
Every course that earns the Religious Studies designation will address all four goals listed above.
Every course that earns the Religious Studies designation will utilize one or more of the three strategies outlined above.
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