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Courses Spring 2018

RST 10: Healthcare and Religious Belief

This course examines how various religious traditions deal with the ethical dilemmas involved in healthcare. We will study topics such as the end of life, caring for the sick, humanity’s relationship to the natural world, growing up, birth, pregnancy, and conception. Rather than making judgments about what’s right and what’s wrong in a particular situation, we will investigate how different religious traditions categorize, understand, and encourage ethical actions in a given context.         We will also examine how religious ideas can, at times, complicate the process of providing individual healthcare as well the design and delivery of public health programs.

RST 140: Christian Theology

This course is structured around the theological questions that have formed and split Christian Traditions:

  1. What is the nature of God?
  2. What is the nature of Christ?
  3. Is there free will?
  4. What is the relationship of human beings to divine beings?
  5. How should human beings ought to interact with sacred texts?
  6. Why is there suffering if God is all-powerful?

We will not be answering these questions in this class!  This is a ten-week course in a public university, and as such is not a forum in which centuries-old doctrinal questions will be definitively answered.  Instead, we will be learning how, historically, a variety of thinkers in the Christian tradition have tried to formulate answers to these questions and why they fought over them. What have been the premises that they have used, and why?  For what reasons did they find some answers more interesting than others?  How and why did these thinkers agree, or more often disagree, with each other?  How did controversies over these questions shape the world that we now live in?

This course should give students the basic resources for understanding Christian theology both as a branch of intellectual history and as a constantly-changing, and hotly contested, aspect of global religious culture.