The Religious Awareness Profile is currently in development. Like the Global Awareness Profile, the RAPtest draws and assesses common knowledge about world religions. Below are the basic categories that are used for question selection and preparation:
Buddhism: A religion following the teachings of Buddha, typically emphasizing an individual’s spiritual development. Reference.
Christianity: A religion following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Christ is the Messiah and was sent to earth to save humanity from their sins. Reference.
“Glocal”: This category encompasses a wide variety of local religions that have a global impact. A ‘glocal’ religion is centrally located in a specific region, but its followers have expanded its belief system so that it is practiced in communities around the world. For example, voodoo originated in Western Africa, but spread to Haiti as a result of the slave trade. In this way, minor religions have expanded to an international realm.
Hinduism: Considered one of the oldest existing religions, Hinduism does not have a single founder or unifying set of teachings, but is considered the primary religion of most people in India and Nepal. The system of values known as ‘dharma’ and the sacred Vedas are a unifying feature in most Hindu practices. Reference.
Islam: A monotheistic religion following the teachings of Mohammed, whom followers believe is the final prophet for God (Allah in Arabic). Reference.
Judaism: A monotheistic religion where followers believe that they have a covenant with God, in which they try to follow his laws in exchange for the good in the world. Reference.
Doctrines and Beliefs: A collection of religious teachings as understood by the members of that religion. Doctrine is separate from literature in that it is specific teaching found in religious texts, and understood from the teachings of religious leaders such as rabbis, imams, priests, preachers and religious scholars.
Art and Literature: The expression of the religion’s doctrines through art and the written word. This category includes sacred texts, such as the Vedas and the Bible, and also encompasses the artistic and literary works devoted to the religion.
Rituals: The performance of religious rites as part of a ceremonial process. The observance of holidays is included in this category.
Denominations: The varied subgroups of a religion, typically identified by their differences in the interpretation of doctrine and sacred texts.
People, Places, and Events: This category includes the important people, such as a founder or leader; places, such as a holy location; and events, such as a religious movement, that helped to define the modern understanding of the religion.
Symbols and Icons: This category includes the varied symbols and representations of a religion. These symbols can be written or drawn, such as the representation of Christianity through the cross, or can be used in everyday life, such as the Hindu symbol of the bindi.
Can you understand the world you live in without studying religion? Probably not. Underlying most human endeavors –
whether politics, business, medicine, psychology, family life and personal fulfillment—is a complex array of religious beliefs, spiritual yearning and existential questions.
The study of religious traditions explores the religious beliefs, actions and cultural practices of individuals and communities across the world and throughout history.
Through the course of their studies, our students gain an inter-cultural literacy and an appreciation for the worldviews of other peoples and cultures, as well as their own.
Religious Studies courses offer you a variety of disciplinary perspectives on religion, including the spiritual, historical, literary, ethical, doctrinal,
contemplative and social dimensions of religious people and cultures.
Engaging the study of religions through academic inquiry, we seek to generate respect for the religious lives of all traditions.
While many students find the study of religion fruitful for reflecting on their own religious identity, no particular religious position is privileged or assumed in any of our courses.
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