Module 1: Introduction to ReligionWorld Religions Module IntroductionThis module will provide you with an introduction to religion as an academic discipline. The module Learning Unit will help you familiarize with the difficulties of defining religionas an academic category, explore academic theories for understanding individual religious impetus, and provide a definitional criteria for the term ‘World Religion.’ From there, you will analyze the views of four religious scholars to argue for which they regardas being most convincing on the Discussion Board for this module. Finally, you will demonstrate proficiency of this Learning Unit through the module assessments. Understanding Era DesignationsHistorians divide time in two eras. The era before year one is identified as BCE (Before the Common Era) or previously BC (Before Christ). The era after year is identified as CE (Common Era) or previously AD (Anno Domini — Latin for the ‘In the Year of Our Lord’). While the Christianized delineations of history sufficed in previous decades, scholars now prefer the more generic BCE and CE as they take into account that different religions have different starting points in history. Jewish tradition, for example, has seen the beginning of Creation as their first year. Muslims, on the other hand, identify Muhammad flight from Mecca as their first year (622 CE in the common calendar). Thus BCE and CE allow historians to speak about events in the past through a secular rather than religious lens.Even so, the designations BCE/BC and CE/AD work the same. In the era of BCE/BC, time counts down backwards. Once you reach year one, however, time begins to marchforward in the AD/CE era. Thus, Augustus comes to power in Rome in the year 27 BCE.He dies, however, in 14 CE. So, in essence, he ruled for 41 years. In terms of Jesus, many scholars now place his birth earlier than turn of the first millennia, sometime around 4 BCE. (1)Learning OutcomesThis module aligns with Learning Outcomes 1, 2, 3, and 4.Module ObjectivesUpon completion of this module, the student will be able to:·Explain the factors that make defining religion a difficult task.
·Distinguish the views of religious scholars within the functionalist school of thought.·Differentiate the substantive approach to religion from the functionalist approach.·Distinguish between the various ‘isms’ that characterize religious belief (i.e. animism, monotheism, polytheism, etc.).·Recognize what differentiates a world religion from an everyday religion. Required ReadingLearning Unit 1Assignments and Learning Activities·Complete Module 1 Discussion·Complete Module 1 QuizThe Nature and Functions of ReligionThe Nature of ReligionReligion has been traditionally defined as a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Such definitions, while helpful for encapsulating religion quickly, do not capture the complexity and diversity of religious experiences around the world.