Summer 2019 - HUM 130 D100

Introduction to Religious Studies (3)

Class Number: 5982

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 13, 2019
    Tue, 8:30–11:30 a.m.



An introduction to concepts central to the academic study of religion exploring various relevant methodologies. Provides a framework for understanding the many ways in which humans experience the phenomenon of the sacred through symbol, ritual, doctrine and experience in a variety of religious traditions and cultures. Students who have taken HUM 230 prior to 2007 may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities Equivalent Courses: GS230 HUM230 Breadth-Humanities.


Humanities 130 introduces Religious Studies, a field which encompasses everything from indigenous religions to Islam to Buddhism. Following Adam Yuet Chau, religion can be defined as a cultural phenomenon dealing with the metaphysical aspects of life, encompassing five modalities: scripture, personal growth, ritual behaviour, magical behaviour, and relations with supernatural being(s), and expressed through four key areas: belief, narrative, behaviour, and philosophy.

More simply, religion is the human connection with the sacred, an attempt to reach the divine by any and every means. Some traditions send their shamans out to negotiate with the gods; others call the gods right down into human bodies through possession. Still others rely on intermediary saints or spirits or holy texts in sacred languages. All religions have access to the divine, whatever that might mean in context. 

This course contextualizes myth and ritual, belief and behaviour, by exploring a variety of world religions, most of which are also practiced here in British Columbia. In addition to the book-based monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, we will explore major world religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism as well as the less well-known traditions of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora and emerging religions such as Neopaganism.


  • Reading Quizzes (5 @ 6% each) 30%
  • New Religion presentation 15%
  • New Religion presentation write-up 15%
  • Final paper 25%
  • Participation 15%



Lewis Vaughn, Anthology of World Religions: Sacred Texts and Contemporary Perspectives
ISBN: 9780195332360

Additional short texts will be available online

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.