Philosophy 103 - World Religions - Late Start Spring 2019

Taught over the World Wide Web!!!!

PHL 103 begins on Feb. 11th
PHL 103 web class ends May 19th
Nothing can be submitted after 10 PM on May 19th

No on-campus orientation, and no on-campus tests
. Your attendance is counted as making discussion board postings or taking a quiz. 

Dr. Michael Fuller - Professor Emeritus
Office - Social Science Building, room 116 at Flo. Valley
Office Phone: (314) 513-4423 [secretary’s phone!!] 


You will submit homework and take tests in this class through the Blackboard Website

St. Louis Community College Blackboard Help Desk for Blackboard related issues. * Toll Free: 1-866-822-8748

Students in this courses absolutely must use their new email account. Failure to do so will result in students not receiving important information about the course and official communication about add/drop dates, financial aid information etc. from the college. Go to this website for further instructions:

Email address: 

Office Hours: Generally on Friday afternoon 1 to 4 pm BUT definitely email for an appointment as I am often do fieldwork unless there is an appointment. 

Purpose of the Course:
This is an introductory course examining the nature and function of religion in human experience and culture and an introduction to the history, content and present status of selected world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.

Purpose of this class:
To think, reason, analyze, decide, discern and evaluate. These are the goals a liberal arts education.


Learning Outcomes for PHL 103 - World Religions:

Higher Order Thinking Outcomes
Put elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganize elements into a new pattern or structure. (HOT-C)

Humanities & Fine Arts Outcomes
- Use vocabulary from the Humanities or Fine Arts disciplines accurately in presenting ideas. (HF-A)
- Identify roles, purposes, functions and values of creative works in the Humanities or Fine Arts (e.g., fine and performing arts, literature, and speculative thought). (HF-B)
- Identify the interrelationship of creative works and their historical, cultural and social contexts in the Humanities or Fine Arts. (HF-C)
- Identify and use appropriate discipline-specific criteria to form cognitive, moral, or aesthetic judgments in various Humanities or Fine Arts disciplines. (HF-D)
- Evaluate the influence of literature, philosophy, or the arts on the culture in which they exist. (HF-E)
- Articulate a response based on standards appropriate to specific humanities disciplines to a variety of works in the Humanities or Fine Arts. (HF-F)
- Analyze the artifacts of popular culture in terms of their social contexts. (HF-G)

Managing Information Outcomes
- Evaluate information for its currency, usefulness, reliability, completeness, accuracy and relevance. (MNG-B)

Valuing Outcomes
- Compare and contrast historical and cultural ethical perspectives and belief systems. (VAL-A)
- Utilize cultural, behavioral and historical knowledge to recognize, clarify and continue to develop a personal value system. (VAL-B)
- Recognize the ramifications of one's value decisions on self and others. (VAL-C)
- Recognize conflicts within and between value systems. (VAL-D)
- Analyze ethical issues as they arise in a variety of contexts. (VAL-E)
- Consider multiple perspectives, recognize biases, deal with ambiguity. (VAL-F)
- Reflect on how society influences individual beliefs, attitudes, choices and actions. (VAL-G)

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will demonstrate the ability to:
- describe the development of core beliefs of the world's major religions including the time period during which specific religions developed,the causes, the principal founder(s), and the key doctrines.
- explain the social and cultural conditions that existed preceding the origination and development of each religion.
- compare and contrast the beliefs, values and key doctrines of the world religions.
- discuss the rights regarding religious practices guaranteed by the United States constitution.
- discuss the cultural, historical, or social events that resulted in the adoption of specific religious doctrines or practices.
- apply religious doctrines to social and ethical issues concerning poverty, equality, race, gender and social justice.
- explain the relationship of beliefs and rewards according to world's religions.
- distinguish between subjective opinion and objective historical fact with respect to religious beliefs, doctrines, practices and traditions.
- construct and formulate explanations for the adoption of religious beliefs and practices by individuals and groups in the social and historical context in which they are found.
- describe alternative ways that individuals practice religion and seek spiritual guidance.


"Required" Purchases? Zero...Nothing to buy in the bookstore!


On-line readings (think of it as a free Textbook):

All readings for the class are embedded within blackboard. You can read them on-line, download them to an electronic reader device such as the iPad, or you can print them out if you want a hardcopy. They can not be printed at the college.

You will be reading selections from these books:

Abdul Rauf, Imam Feisal
2004 What's right with Islam : a new vision for Muslims and the West. Harper, SanFrancisco.

Fuller, Michael and Neathery Fuller
2007 Greek and Roman Religion. in Religion and Culture: An Anthropological Focus. Second Edition. Edited by Ray Scupin. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

Grayling, A. C.
2010 "Religion" in Ideas that Matter: The concepts that shape the 21st century. Basic Books, New York.

Hiltebeitel, Alf
2005 "Hinduism" in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Second edition. Edited by Lindsay Jones. McMillan Reference, Detroit.

Hockings, Paul
1968 On Giving Salt to Buffaloes: ritual as communication. Ethnology 7:411-426.

Hockings, Paul and John Beierle
2004 "Badaga" in Electronic Human Relations Area Files. New Haven, Yale University.

Lugira, Aloysius
2009  African Traditional Religion. Third Edition. Facts of File.

Matthews, Warren 
1999 "Jainism and Sikhism" in World Religions. 3rd edition. Wadsworth Publising Company. Call number 200 M442w

Östör, Akos
1980 The play of the gods: locality, ideology, structure, and time in the festivals of a Bengali town. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Prothero, Stephen
2010 "Judaism: The Way of Exile and Return" in God is Not One. HarperCollins Publishers, New York.

Raudvere, Catharina
2011 Popular Religion in The Viking World. in the Viking World. Edited by Stefan Brink. Routledge Press, London.

Smart, Ninian
1998 "Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union" in The World's Religions. 2nd edition. Cambridge University.

Tinker, Tim
2010 "Indians of the Plains" in the Encyclopedia of Religion, Second Edition. Edited by Lindsay Jones. Thomson - Gale Publishers, New York.

Turnbull, Colin
1962 The Forest People. Simon and Schuster, New York.

Young, Wlliam A.
1995 "Theravada Buddhism: The Middle Way" in Worldviews and Contemporary Issues. Prentice-Hall Inc.

YOU WILL do significant reading, but not from a paper textbook.

Streaming Videos and Audio that you will be required to study:

Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World (1985) - films on demand

WPA Film Library: Hopi Indians Ritual Dance (1932) - films on demand

Torn - Recovering California’s Stolen Cultural Heritage - PBS (2014)

Baka: Cry from the Rainforest. Produced by BBC in 2012.

The Mursi Tribe: the Day of the Donga. Produced in 2000 by Endemol Worldwide Distribution.

Religion in Hindu India (2002)- films on demand

Shiva Sanctuary of Elephantine Island (2018)

Singapore Hindu Temple (2018)

Jain Temple outside of Mumbai (2018)

Sikhism: The Guru's Wisdom (2012) - films on demand   

The Life of Buddha (2003) - films on demand

Buddhist iconography at the Kanheri Caves, India (2018)

Sacred Art at the Kelaniya Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka (2018)

The Vikings (1996) - films on demand

Virtual Tour of a Roman House in Pompeii (2016)

The Cult of Mithras (2015)

Roman Religion: Household Lares (2017)

Roman Religion: Temples (2017)

Roman Religion: Roadside Shrines (2017)

Jewish Law: in the Community (2004) - films on demand

Beliefs and Culture: Faces of Islam (2010) - films on demand

Equipment Requirements:

Specific hardware and software requirements are a functional PC or Mac and FIREFOX web brower to access the class. Why? Simply, other browsers give false results on the assignments! The computer can be at home, work or in the college library. The class includes approximately a dozen streaming videos. 

Be aware that you must use the college provided student email account. It is the only way that I send you an email to you. 

VERY IMPORTANT...Sign your name to every email that you send me. Even if sending it through blackboard! Always fill-in the subject heading of your email or the college spam filter will eat it. 

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT....All discussion board submissions must be before the specific deadlines. Dicussion board comments must be intelligent and relevant. 

CRITICALLY IMPORTANT....BE PREPARED before you take the 3 graded quizzes. Once you start a quiz, then you are taking it and can not back out or start again. BE SURE to click SUBMIT after you have taking a quiz or it will be voided by the computer system. 

Calendar of Learning:

Dates Assignments

Feb. 11th- start day

Complete "Can I Pass This Class" Quiz to prove you did the START HERE assignment by 10 PM on Feb. 15th. Fail to do this easy quiz means that the college will count you as NOT participating and there is a strong chance that the college will drop you from the class.

DO Theoretical Issues Quiz and 2 Essays by Feb. 24t

BEWARE...This weeks assign will take longer than most but is worth more points!

DO Native American Quiz & Discussion Board by March 3rd
DO African Tribal Quiz &Discussion Board by March 10th

DO Hindu Quiz & Discussion Board by March 17th

DO Jain/Sikh Quiz & Discussion Board by March 31st

[March 18 to 24th is Spring Break - no classes!]

DO Buddhism Quiz &Discussion Board by April 7th
DO Roman/Viking Quiz &Discussion Board by April 14th

DO Judaism Quiz & Discussion Board by April 21st

DO Asian Religions Quiz & Discussion Board 10 by April 28th

DO Christianity Quiz & Discussion Board 10 by May 5th
DO Orthodox Christianity Quiz & Discussion May 12th by December 9

May 19

10 PM

DO Islam Quiz & Discussion Board 10 by May 19th

Grades are submitted immediately after 10 PM

The class has a total of 260 points possible.
120 from 12 weekly quizzes
- 110 points from 11 Discussion Board assignments

- 20 points from 2 essay questions
- 10 points from "Can I pass this Class" exam

Here is the grade scale:

234 to 260 points equals "A"
207 to 233 points equals "B"
180 to 206 points equals "C"
153 to 179 points equals "D"
below 152 points is Failing..

Yes, each quiz is open notes. Not fair to have your mother take the quiz (mainly because she won't know the answers!!!). 

Beware, if you go surfing for the answers, then that often crashes Blackboard and voids your test. I will reset one quiz for you if you email me before the deadline. If this becomes your pattern of behavior, then you will just end up with crashed quizzes.

How can you prepare for a quiz? There will be reviews for each quiz posted in blackboard!!!!

Ten assignments are discussion boards. Full credit for every Discussion Board will require you to make a main post and serious responses to two student posts. One sentence response posts are inadequate; they will receive a score of zero.

PS. The homework assignments calling for essays MUST reflect your thoughts. I run your essays through TURNITIN which will alert me to the unacceptable practice of Plagiarism. When you write an essay you will probably find supporting material for your ideas from works by others. It's okay to use the ideas of other people, but you do need to correctly credit them. If you cut and paste large quantities of their text, even if in quotes, that still reflects very little concern for your grade (which will be rock bottom).

ALSO.... I do not give incomplete or PR grades in my classes. Your grade options are A, B, C, D and F. I can not withdraw or drop you from this class. You must contact the Admissions/Registration office to withdraw or drop from this class. The college can require you to come to campus to drop the class. Late drops can only be done with a doctor's note or hospital report. Here is the information on campus admission/registration:

Florissant Valley
3400 Pershall Road
1st Floor Admin Bldg.
St. Louis, MO 63135-1408

Phone: 314-513-4244
Fax: 314-513-4724
M-Th: 8 a.m. - 7:30 p.m. 
Fri: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m.


Expected Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this course, you should be able to: 

a. Students will learn about the evolution of religion over time. Students will learn about the founders, the core beliefs, and the development of religious institutions. 

b. Students will learn about the specific historical, social, cultural context in which the major religions originated. Students will learn how the specific context affected the development of core doctrines.

c. Students will learn to understand beliefs that are common to religions and concepts that are different among religions. Students will develop an appreciation for alternative ways that people seek spiritual development and guidance. Students will discover the many elements that are common among religions of the world and also the ones that are unique.

d. Students will learn that freedom to practice one’s religions is protected under the constitution of the United States and Missouri. 

e. Students will learn to appreciate the diversities and complexities of the cultural and social world, past and present, and come to an informed sense of self and others. Students will evaluate their ideas of self against those offered by other cultures. 

f. Students will learn the cultural, social, and historical causes that resulted in the adoption of certain religious doctrines. 

g. Students will understand how the teachings of the various world religions are relevant to contemporary social and ethical issues related to poverty, equality, justice, discrimination, and power. 

h. Students will learn about the alternative scenarios of life and afterlife depicted in each religion, and understand how such depictions motive individuals and communities to behave in particular ways. 

Academic Integrity
The College is a community of learning that requires an environment of mutual trust and integrity. As members of this community, students, faculty, and staff members share the responsibility to maintain this environment. Academic dishonesty violates it. Although not all forms of academic dishonesty can be listed here, it can be said in general that soliciting, receiving, or providing any unauthorized assistance in the completion of any work submitted toward academic credit is dishonest. Plagiarism falls into this category. Plagiarism results when you copy someone else’s work (whether or not it has been published) and submit it as your own without crediting the author. Any plagiarized assignment in this course will receive a ZERO for that assignment.

Keep track of your grades and ask me before doing anything rash about dropping the class. 

HOSE ME DOWN AND I WILL FAIL YOU. Translation: you will be given a failing grade if you cheat on an homework, cheat on a quiz, or hack into any of the computer system

Here are rules for on-line ettiquette:

A. Avoid language that may come across as strong or offensive. Language can be easily misinterpreted in written communication. If a point must be stressed, review the statement to make sure that an outsider reading it would not be offended, then post the statement. Humor and sarcasm may easily be misinterpreted as well, so try to be as matter-of-fact and professional as possible.

B. Keep writing to a point and stay on topic. Online courses require alot of reading. When writing, keep sentences poignant and brief so that readers do not get lost in wordy paragraphs and miss the point of the statement. Also, do not introduce new topics; it may just confuse the readers.

C. Read first, write later. It is important to read all posts or comments of students and instructors within the course discussion before personally commenting to prevent repeating commentary or asking questions that have already been answered.

D. Review, review, then send. There’s no taking back a comment that has already been sent, so it is important to double-check all writing to make sure that it clearly conveys the exact intended message.

E. An online classroom is still a classroom. Though the courses may be online, appropriate classroom behavior is still mandatory. Respect for fellow classmates and the instructors is as important as ever.

F. The language of the Internet. Though still a fairly young type of communication, certain aspects of this form of communication are becoming conventional. For example, do not write using all capital letters, because it will appear as shouting. Also, the use of emoticons can be helpful when used to convey nonverbal feelings (example: :-) or :-( ), but avoid overusing them.

G. No inappropriate material. Do not forward virus warnings, chain letters, jokes, etc. to classmates or instructors. The sharing of pornographic material is forbidden.

Watch Video
Watch Video
Mind Your Manners: Etiquette for Web Courses
Duration: (3:59)
User:  wtb2010gmail -   Added:  5/10/10


In this class you can talk loudly and make funny noises. Be careful NOT TO spill food and drink on your keyboard. You can even wear inappropriate clothing when taking this class!!! I can't see you. What happens if your computer is old, slow or dead? Use a college computer in the college library! You need to wear appropriate clothing in the library, by the way.