Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Step into the religious dimensions of global challenges

Religious Dimensions of Global Challenges

Multi-cultural and multi-religious societies face contemporary issues such as religious diversity, nationalism, violence, human rights, freedom of religion and expression, gender, body-mind and mental health, sustainable development. How are religions worldwide involved in these issues?

The courses aim to develop academic outsider and religious insider perspectives on the involvement of world religions in a range of contemporary issues that are all relevant to multi-cultural and multi-religious societies:

  • Course 1 World Religions: the curriculum is built around this mandatory backbone course of religious literacy that introduces several world religions historically and comparatively: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.
  • Course 2 You can make a choice between Psychology of Religion or Buddhism.
  • Course 3 Religions, Violence and Fundamentalism: adds new insights into the religious dimensions of violence and fundamentalism. 
  • Course 4 Religion and Sustainable Development: focuses on religion and sustainable development. 
  • Course 5 Religions and Gender: compares how religions worldwide dealt and deal with gender.

Take a look at the schedule and course codes 

Overview courses

  • World Religions

    The course World Religions is the mandatory backbone course of religious literacy that introduces several world religions historically and comparatively: Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism. This general introduction will enable you to focus on specific issues in the other courses of this minor.

  • Buddhism

    This course is an introduction to Buddhism as religion, philosophy, soteriology, and social-historical movement. In the module, the origins, nature and spread of Buddhism will be covered. Topics that will be discussed include: the context and the life of the Buddha, Early Buddhist teachings, community (Sangha) and Canon(s); Early Buddhist Philosophy; Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and Tantric Buddhist thought; Buddhist Practices; Buddhist Ethics; Contemporary Buddhist Traditions and Buddhism beyond Modernity.

  • Psychology of Religion

    This is an introduction course to the psychology of religion. We will discuss the main approaches, theories and concepts of the psychology of religion, and their significance for the study of lived religion. This discussion will also involve a study of the main research methods used in the psychology of religion.

  • Religions, Violence and Fundamentalism

    This course starts by scrutinizing various definitions and conceptualisations of ‘fundamentalism.’ It then zooms in on fundamentalist movements from the Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions, and considers Hindu and Buddhist variants of fundamentalism. In due course, the complex relation between fundamentalism and nationalism will be scrutinized. We will then turn to the question how to explain fundamentalism, and what we mean by ‘explaining’ such a phenomenon. Moreover, we will reflect on the question how fundamentalism relates to adjacent phenomena such as radicalization, extremism, and terrorism. The course concludes by addressing epistemological and ethical questions regarding fundamentalism: what is the role of indoctrination, education, or echo chambers for fundamentalist convictions, and how we should engage with fundamentalists?

  • Religion and Sustainable Development

    This course introduces the topic of religion and sustainable development. Since 2015 the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have become the umbrella to address key challenges of our times, for example climate change, poverty, inequality, health and migration. In many of these challenges religion plays, or can play, a significant role, e.g. health care in Africa, the worldviews people live by or concepts of hope thematized in religious traditions. This course explores these kinds of interactions between religion and SDGs. The SDGs are categorized in the sub-themes planet, people, prosperity and peace. The course is interdisciplinary and societal partners are involved, e.g. religious grassroots communities, faith-based organisations, religious institutions, businesses and governments.

  • Religions and Gender

    This course addresses the important question of the relationship of contemporary and past religions (Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, East Asian, Greek, and Babylonian religions) to gender. Gender issues related to male and female models in religious narratives, historical shifts in the religious status of women, mother goddesses and female power, and religious views of homosexuality will be analysed across cultures and religions. To discover underlying patterns of similarity and difference will be the focus. Moreover, in three afternoon sessions a link will be made between historical patterns various traditions, and contemporary interpretations of and discussions on religions and gender.

    Six themes:

    1. Male and female role models and stereotypes in ancient narratives: mythological and legendary couples and gender differences in the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, Homer’s Odyssey epic (Odysseus and Penelope), Hesiod (Prometheus and Pandora), the Hindu Mahabharata epic (Nala and Damayanti), and Ramayana epic (Rama and Sita)

    2. The changing religious status of women during three crucial shifts in the world history of religions: the Neolithic, Axial Age, and Modernization breakthroughs

    3. Cross-cultural comparison of mother goddesses and female power: the Hindu goddess Devi-Durga in India, the Greek goddess Demeter in Minor Asia, the Shinto goddess Amaterasu in Japan

    4. Religious rules and attitudes regarding homosexuality in Buddhism and in Islam

    5. The image of Mary in Christianity and Islam: virgin, Madonna, mother, heroine, virtue, saint, queen

    6. Virginity in ancient Greek religion, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam.