Contemporary Issues in Religion series

ClassesReligious Diversity ➞ Contemporary Issues series

CONTEMPORARY ISSUES series

This stream focuses on special topics in religion and addresses a different issue or theme each Term. The four Term topics currently being offered in this series are: “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism, Part 1,” “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism, Part 2,” “Religion and Nonviolence” and “Other ’Isms.” Descriptions of each of these Term classes are given below. Future Term classes in this series for 2021 are currently in development and will focus on “New Religious Movements,” Sacred Texts,” Esoteric Traditions and Mystical Experiences,” Religion and Film,” Faith & Feminism,” and Religion & the Arts.”

All classes are taught from an objective point of view. These are classes about religion and religious behavior, taught from an anthropological point of view, and are designed for participants to get a greater understanding of the depth and scope of the diversity that exists within the world’s various faith and belief traditions.

Term 2 Registration and payment information is available now on our Registration page.

This series of courses currently meets in Hamilton on Fridays from 11:00am-1:30pm. A new on-line live-streaming distance-learning option, RD202 “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism, Part 1” is now available in Term 2. See below for details.

The Contemporary Issues in Religion series:

RD201: “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism I”

Offered: 2020 Term 2 – on-line live-streaming distance-learning option only

This eight-week course is Part 1 of a two-part (two Term) course that incorporates a detailed study of the history, context and contemporary issues of religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism in Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Part 2 of this course (offered in 2020 Term 3) focuses on the history, context and contemporary examples of religious fundamentalism and extremism in Hinduism, Buddhism and the Sikh faith.

This class is currently being offered on-line only in 2020 Term 2. It meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00pm beginning on Tuesday 5 May 2020 and runs for 8 weeks.

Weekly sessions include the topics:

  • Week 1: Course Introduction: Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism
  • Week 2: Jewish Fundamentalism: Historical Context, Part 1
  • Week 3: Jewish Fundamentalism: Historical Context, Part 2
  • Week 4: Contemporary Jewish Fundamentalism & Extremism, Part 1
  • Week 5: Contemporary Jewish Fundamentalism & Extremism, Part 2
  • Week 6: Christian Fundamentalism: Historical Context
  • Week 7: Contemporary Christian Fundamentalism & Extremism, Part 1
  • Week 8: Contemporary Christian Fundamentalism & Extremism, Part 2

Cost per person per Term (8 classes):

  • Waged: $104 (includes $4 online registration fee)
  • Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $84 (includes $4 online registration fee)

REGISTER:

Term 2 Registration and payment is available now on our Registration page.


RD202: “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism II”

Offered: 2020 Term 2 in Hamilton; On-line in 2020 Term 3

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IN-PERSON COURSE HAS BEEN DELAYED DUE TO THE COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS AND WILL BEGIN AS SOON AS WE RETURN TO LEVEL 2.

This eight-week course is Part 2 of a two-part (two Term) course that incorporates a detailed study of the history, context and contemporary issues of religious fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism. Part 1 of this course viewed fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism in Judaism and Christianity. Part 2 (offered in 2020 Term 3) focuses on the history, context and contemporary examples of religious fundamentalism and extremism in Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and the Sikh faith.

This course continues the theme of religious fundamentalism and extremism introduced in RD201 with an examination of the history, context and contemporary examples of Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh extremism and terrorism.

Weekly sessions include the following topics:

  • Week 1: Islamic Fundamentalism: Historical Context
  • Week 2: Islamic Extremism and Violence: Contemporary Context
  • Week 3: A History of Hindu Fundamentalism
  • Week 4: Contemporary Hindu Nationalism, Extremism and Violence
  • Week 5: A History of Sikh Nationalism, Extremism & Terrorism
  • Week 6: Contemporary Sikh Nationalism, Extremism & Terrorism
  • Week 7: A History of Buddhist Fundamentalism, Extremism & Terrorism
  • Week 8: Contemporary Examples of Buddhist Extremism

Cost per person per Term (8 classes):

  • Waged: $104 (includes $4 online registration fee)
  • Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $84 (includes $4 online registration fee)

REGISTER:

Term 2 Registration and payment is available now on our Registration page.


RD203: “Religion and Nonviolence”

Offered: 2020 Term 3 in Hamilton

This one-term course picks up where the “Religious Fundamentalism, Extremism and Terrorism” courses leave off, focusing on peaceful forms of nonviolent religious practice, and discusses key issues ranging from the Jain concept of ahiṃsā, the Hindu concept of satyāgraha, and the Jewish notion of Tikkun Olam, and others, along with key figures like Mahātmā Gāndhī, Martin Luther King, Khān Abdul Ghaffār Khān, and others. It also introduces the topic of Religion and Animal Rights.

  • Week 1: Religion and Nonviolence: Jain ideals of ahimsā
  • Week 2: Hindu Approaches to Nonviolence: Mahātmā Gāndhī & Satyāgraha
  • Week 3: Buddhism, Nonviolence and the Dalāi Lāmā
  • Week 4: Jewish Approaches to Peace and Social Justice: Tikkun Olam
  • Week 5: Christian Approaches to Peace and Nonviolence
  • Week 6: Islamic Approaches to Peace and Nonviolence
  • Week 7: Sikh Approaches to Peace and Nonviolence
  • Week 8: Religion and the Animal Rights

RD204: “Other ’Isms”

Offered: 2020 Term 4 in Hamilton

This course focuses on a wider variety of religions and belief systems, including: the Indian traditions of Sikhism and Jainism, the Chinese religious traditions (Folk religion, Taoism, Confucianism, and Chinese Buddhism), the Japanese religious traditions (Shinto, Shingon, Tendai, Nichiren and Zen Buddhism), followed by an exploration of the Bahá’í Faith, and the moral and ethical secular ideologies of Atheism, Agnosticism, Rationalism and Humanism.

Weekly sessions include the topics:

  • Week 1: Course Intro; Chinese traditions: Folk, Taoism, Confucianism, & Chinese Buddhism
  • Week 2: Japanese traditions: Shinto, Shingon, Tendai, Nichiren & Zen
  • Week 3: Indian traditions: Sikhism
  • Week 4: Indian traditions: Jainism
  • Week 5: Zoroastrianism & Yazidism: Struggle for Survival
  • Week 6: Christian traditions and denominations: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovahʻs Witnesses, Christian Science, etc.
  • Week 7: Islamic traditions: Sufism, Ahmadiyya, Bahá’í Faith & Nation of Islam
  • Week 8: Ethical Ideologies: Atheism, Agnosticism, Rationalism & Humanism

Cost per person per Term (8 classes):

  • Waged: $104 (includes $4 online registration fee)
  • Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $84 (includes $4 online registration fee)

RD205: “New Religious Movements”

Offered: 2021 in Hamilton

This course covers a wide variety of what are typically titled “new religious movements,” religious or spiritual movements often on the periphery of the world’s major faith and belief traditions. During the course of the term, we’ll look at a wide range of both mainstream traditions and a smattering of smaller cults and sects.

Weekly sessions include the topics:

  • Week 1: Course Intro: Sects, Cults, Mainstream & New Age Movements
  • Week 2: Christian: Brethren, Christadelphians, Unification Church, Branch Davidians, Opus Dei, Palmarian Catholic Church, etc.
  • Week 3: Indian: TM, Eckankar, 3HO, Sant Mat, ISKCON, Meher Baba, Arya Samaj, Ananda Marga, Rajneesh, Muktananda, Adidam, etc.
  • Week 4: Chinese & Japanese: Soka Gakkai, Falun Gong, Aum Shinrikyo, etc.
  • Week 5: Neo & Black Judaism: Rastafarians, Nation of Yahweh, Commandment Keepers: Holy Church of the Living God, Messianic Judaism, etc.
  • Week 6: Pagan: Wicca, Druids, Church of Satan, Satanism, Voodoo, Adonism, Church of All Worlds, Church of Aphrodite, etc.
  • Week 7: UFO Religions: Scientology, Aetherius Society, Chen Tao, Heaven’s Gate, Raëlism, Unarius Academy of Science, Urantia Foundation, etc.
  • Week 8: Parody Faiths: Pastafarians, Jediism, Church of the SubGenius, Dudeism, etc.

Cost per person per Term (8 classes):

  • Waged: $104 (includes $4 online registration fee)
  • Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): $84 (includes $4 online registration fee)

CURRENT OFFERINGS – Term 2:

Hamilton in-person classes in this series meet on Fridays throughout 2020 from 11:00am-1:30pm. Term 2’s offering is RD202: “Religious Fundamentalism, Terrorism and Extremism, Part 2”.

• Our on-line live-streaming distance-learning option in this series for 2020 Term 2 is RD201: “Religious Fundamentalism, Terrorism and Extremism, Part 1”. This course meets on Tuesday evenings from 7:00-9:00pm via Zoom software on-line.

Hamilton class location: Hamilton classes are held at ArtmakersNorris Ward Park Arts Centre2 Seddon RoadHamilton. The carpark entrance is off Seddon Road at the back of Norris Ward Park. The classroom is immediately to the left of the Waikato Society of Potters studio. There is plenty of free parking available in the carpark just outside the classroom.


2020 Term 2 Registration is available now on our Registration page.


page last updated on 2 May 2020.