Pluralism and World Religions – APOL 525

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

A contrast between the truth-claims of the major world religions and the uniqueness of Christian theistic apologetics, both in content and method. (Formerly APOL 560)

Prerequisites

None

Rationale

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6 [NKJV]). In a pluralistic and global environment in which many of the world’s religions and competing philosophies claim to be true, Christians need to know how to support and defend the biblical worldview. Throughout this course, a survey will be made of the claims of religious pluralism and the major world religions in comparison and contrast to the unique claims of Christ and the Christian worldview. As a result of this course, the student will gain a deeper understanding of the major world religions, be better equipped to engage in interreligious dialogue with people of other faiths, and learn how to minister effectively as a Christian while serving in a pluralistic setting.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine the central beliefs of the major world religions.
  2. Contrast the beliefs of other religion with Christian doctrine.
  3. Critique the truth-claims of non-Christian religions.
  4. Discuss the philosophical and cultural aspects of religious pluralism.
  5. Develop a biblical approach to interact with non-Christian religions.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (6)

Discussion boards are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to provide a thread in response to the provided prompt for each forum. Each thread must be at least 400 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 200 words. (MLO: A, B, C, D)

World Religion Engagement Papers (2)

The student will write 2 World Religion Engagement Papers in the course. In each paper, the student must write a 1,800–2,700-word report in current Turabian format that focuses on the student’s interactions with a world religion other than Christianity. The student will select a major world religion, visit a worship service or conduct an interview with an adherent of the selected religion, and write a paper about the experience. The paper must also describe the worldview of the religion, contrasting it with Christianity and providing how one would share Christ with a follower of that religion. (MLO: A, B, C, E)

Book Critique

The student will complete a 1,800–2,400-word critical evaluation of Harold A. Netland’s Christianity & Religious Diversity: Clarifying Christian Commitments in a Globalizing Age. The Book Critique must include a title page, introduction, and footnotes including at least 5 references or citations to the book in current Turabian format. (MLO: B, C, D)

Christian Theology of Religions Paper

The student will write a 4,500–6,000-word research-based paper in current Turabian format. The student will select a major world religion that is different than the previous assignments or a position such as pluralism, inclusivism, or universalism, and develop a Christian apologetic response to that religion or position. The paper must also address the uniqueness and exclusivity of Christ and the Gospel message. The paper must include a title page, table of contents, an introduction, footnotes in current Turabian format, a conclusion, and a bibliography section with at least 10 scholarly sources in current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E)

Exams (2)

Each exam will cover the Reading & Study material for the assigned modules/weeks. Each exam will be open-book/open-notes and contain 30 multiple-choice and true/false questions as well as 1 essay question. The student will have a 1-hour and 15-minute time limit for each exam. (MLO: A, B, D)