RELI 240: Death and the Afterlife in Religion

RELI 240-001: Death/Afterlife in Religion
(Fall 2022)

03:00 PM to 04:15 PM TR

Krug Hall 19

Section Information for Fall 2022

Why does death evoke deep-seated fears within us and has become an uncomfortable or even taboo subject in our society today? Can America be called a death-denying culture? What do we have to gain from different religious ideas and practices related to death, dying and the afterlife? In this course, we explore these questions by investigating the field of thanatology (the study of death) from a religious studies perspective. Against the backdrop of America’s death system and the modern death awareness movement, the course explores competing ideas about death, dying and the afterlife in the religious traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, and how these may help us think through a range of issues and themes surrounding death in America today, including biomedical understandings of death, ethical questions related to end of life decisions, the process of dying, care for the dying, near-death experiences, funerary practices, and the experience of grief and bereavement. By the end of the course, we will have not only gained valuable knowledge about a range of issues related to death in America today, but, just as importantly, we will have gained a renewed understanding of the role and place of death in our own lives by thinking with and learning from a plurality of religious ideas and approaches to death, dying, and the afterlife.


Course Information from the University Catalog

Credits: 3

Explores how selected world religions address the universal experience of death and express their beliefs in an afterlife. Focuses on the scriptures, beliefs, rituals and customs of selected world religions as they reflect each tradition's response to the most basic question about human destiny - how human beings face death and attempt to transcend it. Limited to three attempts.
Schedule Type: Lecture
This course is graded on the Undergraduate Regular scale.

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