Michael S Barth
Master of Religious Philosophy Final Essay
This was a terrific course about religious philosophy. Prior to this course, I had never to a philosophy course at all. This course was very interesting to me. Some of the terminology I had knowledge of but had never considered that these terms would be in a religious philosophy class. There was some information that I had no prior knowledge of before taking this course.
The format of this course is excellent. The way the lessons came and the way the information was presented made it real easy for me to read and learn at the same time. Some of the new information in this course got me to think about things or put a new light on information that I already knew. I would have never imagined that I would really enjoy this philosophy course. In the past, I would have passed over this class and probably would have taken something else instead, but something caught my eye about this course. I am glad that I took this course and this course got me to think about religion in general.
The first thing I learned in this class was the difference between what a World Religion course or a Comparative Religion course and what this class was going to cover. I thought this was going to be another Comparative Religions/World Religions type class but it was not like that. This course looked at the very essence of religion itself. After the first lesson, I realized I was in for a great time with this course. I also did not know that religious philosophy is a newer field of study. I would have thought this field of study would have been around a lot longer than it actually has been. I did not know that religious philosophy had started in the first half of the 1800's in Germany by a philosopher by the name of Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach.
I am glad that the instructor of this course gave definitions to terminology and the way the terms were going to be used in this class. There were quite a few new terms for me in this course which is always helpful. I also learned where some of the terms came from (e.g. Latin, Greek, etc.) This I found very helpful since I had no prior knowledge of this.
This course taught me the difference between what organized religions is versus what a cult is. Before this course, I had always wondered how cults were defined by people and philosophers. I found the 5 points/questions to be very helpful in helping me in how to determine a cult. I also liked how religion was defined in this course, too. Even with both definitions of cult and religion, I still found it very interesting that there is no fine line between cult and religion as pointed out in the case studies in Lesson #3.
Other topics in this course that I enjoyed learning about include religious forms (e.g. individualistic, communal, shamanistic, ecclesiastical), religious classifications, and ecclesiasticism. This course taught how religion is viewed from the philosophy point of view which is very helpful to me. This is one of the best courses that I have had throughout my life. I would take another course like this again. I benefited from this course greatly.
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