Since there are few topics in the world more influential than religion, Texas State students should become well-informed on the subject—especially through a core class.
The general education curriculum of Texas requires university students to study several core courses including American history, philosophy and the performing arts. However, the study of religion and its monumental impact on the world is not required as a basic class and often goes unnoticed by many Texas State students.
The university should create a required comprehensive world religions basic course. Until then, all students should be persuaded to enroll in the 1300 World Religions class, which is offered in the philosophy department as an informative elective. A course of that nature can give students a deeper understanding of their own faith and other religions.
According to a 2010 U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, data showed that Americans as a whole knew very little about religion. In fact, atheists, agnostics, Jews and Mormons scored the highest in the survey, outperforming evangelical Protestants, mainline Protestants and Catholics. According to the survey, 45 percent of Catholics failed to identify their church teachings that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion actually become the body and blood of Christ.
If people are unable to completely understand their own faith, it is expected that they would be less informed and possibly even less open to accepting people of different religions. As a history or philosophy class does today, a required class on world religions would inform students on a variety of views.
Religion is also a very important aspect of human culture. In the West, the Bible has influenced countless novels through its characters and plots. The tale of Moses, an infant placed by his mother in the reeds of a riverbank, resembles the story of Superman, the comic book escapee from Krypton. The literature of many well-regarded writers, from Dante to J.R.R. Tolkien, is highly influenced by religious interpretations. In a similar manner, the English language and its style has been severely impacted by the King James Bible. A class on the world’s religions could introduce students to the root of many cultural influences from the West and beyond.
Texas State currently offers several courses on religion. It only makes sense for students to enroll in one of the many religious education classes that are available. Students should choose an elective on religion because it is beneficial to be well-informed on the subject. The most effective choice would be the 1300 World Religions class in the philosophy department, which introduces students to a comparative study of the world’s main religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and others. With this introduction, students could develop a satisfying familiarity with different religions and their impact on the world.
Encouraging students to take a comprehensive class on the world’s religions is important. Since this subject continues to impact society and cultures around the world, all students need to take religious education classes at Texas State.