Philosophy 103 - World Religions - Fall 2015

Taught over the World Wide Web!!!! So, print this out and tape it on the refrigerator!!!

PHL 103 web class begins on August 24th
PHL 103 web class ends 10 PM on Tuesday, December 15th
Nothing can be submitted after 10 PM on December 15th.

No on-campus orientation, and no on-campus tests

Dr. Michael Fuller - Professor Emeritus
Office - Humanities Building, room 140 at Flo. Valley
Office Phone: (314) 513-4375 [secretary’s phone!!]


Web Notes are at

New to Blackboard learning? Go here for help...

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: only by appointment arranged through email

Purpose of the Course:
An orientation 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 Traditional African religions, Traditional Native American religions, Roman religion, Viking religion, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and New Age religions.

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

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.

Bocking, Brian
2010 "Shinto" in the Encyclopedia of Religion in America. Second edition. Edited by Charles H. Lippy and Peter W. Williams. CQ Press, Washington D.C.

Carmody, Denise L. and John T. Carmody
1992 "Chinese Religion" in An Introduction to the religions of Asia. Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Fuller, Michael J. and Neathery B. Fuller (yes, your instructor)
2000 Classical Religions of the Old World. Religion and Culture: An Anthropological Focus. 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.

Kitagawa, Joseph M.
1987 "Shinto" in On Understanding Japanese Religion. Princeton University Press.

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
2012 Popular Religion in the Viking Age. The Viking World. Edited by Stefan Brink. Routledge, London.

Simpkins, Annellen
2000 "Confucius: The First Teacher" in Simple Confucianism. Tuttle Publishing.

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 that you will be required to watch:

"Touching the Timeless" - PBS program about Huichol Indians in Mexico on college server

"Religion in Hindu India" -

"Buddhism" -

"Roman Iconography" - NewCastle Museum

"The Vikings" - Films Media Group

"The Essence of Being Japanese" -

"Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragon" - in college library collection

"Jewish Law: in the Community" -


1. We will use on-line readings, web resources, streaming videos, and pod-casts to study religion's impact on humankind's socio-political, historical, economic, and spiritual quest.

2. Understand how religions are formed and respond to change.

3. Recognize the beliefs and rituals of the world's major religions.

Equipment Requirements:

Specific hardware and software requirements are a functional PC or Mac that can support Netscape or Explorer. Personally, I use the Safari and Firefox browsers on my Apple PowerBook G4. The computer that you use for this class can be at home, work, or in the college library. YOU REALLY, REALLY have to check you STLCC student email account. Blackboard ONLY talks to the college email address for you (and not your hotmail or yahoo mail accounts).

EXTREMELY IMPORTANT....All homework must be submitted in the SUBMIT HERE folder at Blackboard. Do not email your answers to me. Answers emailed through Blackboard are not acceptable. There is no way to assign a grade if the homework was not properly submitted through Blackboard.

MEGA IMPORTANT... When submitting a homework assignment or taking a quiz, then the easy way to FAIL is by having multiple applications running at one time. Students from last semester have demonstrated that you can flunk an assignment by having Windows media player, facebook, myspace and black board at the same time. Blackboard will crash when multiple applications are running. Also, if you walk away from the computer and go to the movie, then Blackboard will shut down the application and leave you without a score for any open homework or Quiz. Always click SUBMIT and don't rely on the SAVE button.

- Course Length and Format:
The course will be divided into 16-week lectures, with approximately 6 hours required each week to successfully complete the course. It is very important that you have at least the minimum amount of time to devote to this course during each of the 16 weeks. You will submit ALL homework and take ALL tests in this class through the Blackboard system.

Attendance Policy and Time Requirements:
This is an interactive course. Several of the assignments will depend on dialog and discussion to achieve the learning outcomes. You are expected to log in and contribute a minimum of once a week (though many students log in more often). Some assignments require peer review and feedback and your classmates need your input.

It is important that you navigate through blackboard and familiarize yourself. Blackboard On-Demand Video Tutorials:

Calendar of Learning:

Week 1 (August 24 to 30) Start the class by logging into Blackboard and clicking on "Start Here."

YOU MUST TAKE "CAN I PASS THIS CLASS" or risk being dropped after the August 30th!! "CAN I PASS THIS CLASS" is found by clicking on the SUBMIT HERE button. ALSO, take the student survey!

Week 2 (August 30 to Sept 6) - Click on DO THIS button and do the assignments (everything) in "Religion in America". Submit two essays that analyze the STLCC survey data before 10 PM on 6 September.

Sept. 7 is Labor Day holiday

Week 3 (Sept. 8 to 13) Study tribal religions and submit discussion board entry, plus two responses.

Week 4 (Sept. 14 to 20) Study Hindu religion and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses.

Week 5 (Sept. 21 to 27) Study Buddhist religion and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses

Week 6 (Sept. 28 to Oct. 4) Use study guide to prepare for Quiz 1. Take Quiz 1 (timed test of 40 multiple choice questions) before it disappears at the end of the week.

Week 7 (Oct. 5 to 1l) Study Roman and Viking religions and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses

Week 8 (Oct. 12 to 18) Study Shinto religion and submit essay - no discussion board for this week. Mid-term grades submitted this week.

Week 9 (Oct. 19 to 25) Study Traditional Chinese religions and submit 3 short essays - no discussion board for this week.

Week 10 (Oct. 26 to Nov. 1) Study Judaism and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses.

Week 11 (Nov. 2 to 8) Review quiz hints and take Quiz 2 (timed test of 40 multiple choice questions) before it disappears at the end of the week.

NOVEMBER 13 is withdrawal deadline for this class

Week 12 (Nov. 9 to 15) Study Christianity and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses.

Week 13 (Nov. 16 to 22) Continue studying Christianity and take a 10 question quiz to demonstrate what you learned.

Week 14 (Nov. 23 to 30) Study Islam

Nov. 26 - 27 is Thanksgiving Holiday.

Week 15 (Nov 30 to Dec. 6) Study Islam and do Discussion Board entry, plus two responses.

Week 16 (Dec 7 to 15) Review quiz hints and take final examination (timed test of 40 multiple choice questions) before it disappears on Dec. 15th at 10 PM. The final examination is not comprehensive.

The class has a total of 240 points possible.
- 010 points from "Can I Pass This Class" assignment
- 120 points from 3 exams
- 110 points from 11 assignments

Add up the points and check your grade:

216 to 240 points equals "A"
191 to 215 points equals "B"
166 to 190 points equals "C"
141 to 165 points equals "D"
below 140 points is Failing...

There are 3 Quizzes during the semester. Each quiz is 40 multiple choice questions. You will have precisely 80 minutes to take a quiz in the Blackboard computer system. You get one chance to take a quiz. Don't goof it up!!!

Yes, each quiz is open book, and 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. That is very, very bad, because you will have to take an essay makeup examination. You do not want to take the makeup test!!! Makeup tests are far more challenging.

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

PS. The homework assignments calling for discussion boards or 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 botom).

ALSO.... I do not give incomplete or PR grades in myh 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 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.

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

f. 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.

g. 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.

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