About

Why should I major in religion?
Religious studies are a way of organizing the oldest and deepest human concerns about the meaning of life. Religion courses at the University of Pikeville take students deeper into the Christian religious heritage and provide the chance to study other religious traditions as well. Classes in world religions and mythology offer an introduction to ways of understanding beyond the Western tradition, while surveys of Jewish and Christian scripture and the history of Christianity provide an overview of the religious traditions of the West. Courses in ethics, spirituality, religion in America and philosophy of religion explore contemporary issues and the impact of religion on everyday life.

What can I do with a religion degree from the University of Pikeville?

As with most liberal arts degrees, a degree in religion can provide opportunities in many fields. Religion majors learn how to analyze literature from a number of perspectives, to formulate and present both oral and written arguments and to respect opposing points of view. These skills are useful in many careers. More specifically, the study of religion provides an understanding of how current religious traditions and practices have been created not only by spiritual concerns but also by historical, sociological and economic forces. It helps students achieve a sensitive understanding of different cultures and beliefs while better understanding and appreciating their own. For all of these reasons, the religion programs are designed to stand alone or to be taken in conjunction with other majors or minors.

Religion at the University of Pikeville

The religion program is a part of the Division of Humanities. The academic study of religion stresses the historical, ethical, spiritual, and cultural bases of a society’s system of beliefs.

Religion Degree Options
Bachelor of Science (B.S.) or Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
Religion Careers
Chaplain
Christian Educator
Counselor
Journalist
Pastor
Professor
Teacher
Theologian
Writer
Courses

Religion Minor - 24 hours

REL 213, REL 214, REL 230, and REL 301 or REL 401
Plus 12 hours of Religion electives, and at least nine hours must be 300-400 level REL electives. 

Religion Major -  39 hours (18 core and 21 electives)

Religion Core - 18 hours

PHI 211 Introduction to Philosophy 
Introduces philosophic thinking and philosophic problems such as natural theology (can knowledge of God be achieved by reason?), metaphysics (what is ultimate reality?), epistemology (how do we know?), ethics (what is good?), and aesthetics (what is art?). Prerequisite: ENG 112 or ENG 115. 
 
REL 213 Old Testament Introduction
The major segments of the Old Testament (Torah, Prophets, Writings) viewed against their historical backgrounds. Prerequisite: ENG 111 or ENG 114.

REL 214 New Testament Introduction 
Surveys the New Testament literature in its historical context. Principal topics of consideration include the synoptic gospels, Acts, the Pauline correspondence and Johannine literature. Prerequisite: ENG 111 or ENG 114.

REL 230 World's Great Living Religions
A historical and literary introduction to the beliefs of the world's major religions. Religions considered include Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. Prerequisites: ENG 111 or ENG 114 and ENG 112 or ENG 115.

HUM 211 Interdisciplinary Humanities I
An introduction to the culture of western civilization from the period of the ancient world through the Renaissance. Emphasis is placed on the interaction between art, music, literature, and philosophy and the cultural ideals in each period which gave rise to particular works in each area. Prerequisites: ENG 111 or ENG 114 and ENG 112 or ENG 115
 
REL 301 History of the Christian Church 
The historical and theological movements in the church from its earliest foundations to the Counter Reformation. Emphasis will be placed on the interaction of the church with other prevailing European social, cultural and political institutions. Prerequisites: REL 214 and HIS 221 and ENG 112 or ENG 115. Cross-listed as HIS 301.
 
REL 401 Religion in America
The study of the phenomenon of religion in America and its historical and cultural development from the early colonial period to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the dominance of religious institutions within colonial American society, historical and current definitions of religious freedom, and the contribution of various religious groups to the overall development of the American character. Prerequisites: HIS 225, 226, ENG 112 or ENG 115, and at least one course in religion or approval by course Instructor. Cross-listed as HIS 401.

REL 450 Religion Senior Seminar
Capstone course for those majoring in religion. Minors may take it as well. In this course students will write a paper pulling together the biblical, historical and ethical material they have taken in the program. Faculty and students will decide on a topic or topics to discuss in class meetings. Open only to religion majors and minors in their senior year.

Religion Electives - 21 hours

Choose Biblical or Comparative Studies, taking at least four electives from the area you choose, at least one from the other area, and two additional REL courses for a total of 7 electives:

Option 1: Biblical Studies
REL 232 Christian Ethics
A theoretical and practical introduction to the realm of Christian decision making. The relationship between the Biblical literature and various theories of Christian ethics is examined so that a theoretical foundation may be developed for the examination of concrete ethical situations (e.g. human sexuality, ecology, hunger). Prerequisites: ENG 111 or ENG 114 and ENG 112 or ENG 115.

REL 309 The Torah 
A literary, historical study of the first five books of the Old Testament. Prerequisites: ENG 111 or ENG 114 and ENG 112 or ENG 115, and REL 213 or REL 214.

REL 312 Life and Teachings of Jesus 
A study of Jesus based on the New Testament and extra-biblical material. Prerequisites: REL 214 and ENG 112 or ENG 115.

REL 313 Judges-Samuel
A study of the two systems of government used in biblical Israel (tribal confederacy and monarchy) and the difficult transition between the two. The course will also focus on the relationships among the characters in Samuel and how they are complicated by violence, power and concern over public opinion. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213 or REL 214.

REL 381 Women and the Bible
This course examines the images and reality of women in the biblical world by attending to literary presentation, historical reconstruction and the history of interpretation of texts found in the Old And New Testaments. The course will also consider the influence of these texts on the lives of women and men throughout history and consider their significance today. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213 or REL 214.

REL 385 Religion and Film
In this course, we will look at the presence of religious themes, images and ideas as well as the influence of the Bible, in and through the medium of modern film. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213 or REL 214.

REL 390 Special Topics 
Study of a topic of special interest. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, Christian Thought, Old Testament Prophets, Women in the Bible, Old Testament Writings, Options in contemporary Christianity, Ethics in the World Religions, Women in the World Religions and Religion in Film. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213 or REL 214 or consent of the Instructor.

REL 410 Apocalyptic Literature
A study of the development of biblical apocalyptic thought, the literature that grew out of that movement and the various ways in which it has been interpreted. Prerequisites: REL 213 or REL 214 and ENG 112 or ENG 115.


Option 2: Comparative Studies
 
REL 233 Comparative Ethics
A theoretical and practical introduction to ethical decision making. The course surveys the ethical systems of the world’s great living religions and major Western ethical philosophies. This course also explores the application of critical thinking to ethics. Theories and critical tools are applied to concrete ethical situations (such as environmental issues, sexuality, bioethics or religious violence). Prerequisite: ENG 112 or ENG 115.

REL 331 Religions of Asia
A survey of the religious traditions of South and East Asia in their historical and cultural settings, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Confucianism, Taoism and Shintoism. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 230 or consent of the instructor.

REL 332 Islam
A survey of the history, beliefs and practices of Islam. Special attention will be given to Islam’s role in geopolitics. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213, REL 214 or REL 230.

REL 357 World Mythology
A study of the religious and cultural functions of myth, including material from among Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Buddhist, Hindu, Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, Christian, Norse, African, Amerindian, Celtic and modern mythologies (students will have some input as to which cultures we deal with) as well as the work of scholars of myth and religion. We will look at how these mythologies show the worldviews of the cultures they represent and note ways in which their concerns and responses are both similar and different. Prerequisites: REL 213, REL 214 or REL 230 and ENG 112 or ENG 115. Cross-listed as ENG 357.

REL 383 Religion and Science
A historical and philosophical examination of the relationship between religion and science, along with a discussion of contemporary issues such as bioethics and the creationism/evolution debate. Prerequisite: REL 213, REL 214 or REL 230 and ENG 112 or ENG 115.

REL 390 Special Topics 
Study of a topic of special interest. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, Christian Thought, Old Testament Prophets, Women in the Bible, Old Testament Writings, Options in contemporary Christianity, Ethics in the World Religions, Women in the World Religions and Religion in Film. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213 or REL 214 or consent of the Instructor.
 
REL 430 Spirituality in the World Religions
A survey of the processes of human transformation taught and practiced by the world’s religions. Spirituality involves the praxis of a religion, so the course focuses on how adherents translate their religious perspective into daily life. The course explores spirituality in three ways: traditional patterns of spirituality found throughout the world’s religions, as well as non-traditional patterns that have arisen in the modern world, paradigmatic people that model transformation, and selected practices, such as prayer, yoga and T’ai Chi. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and REL 213, REL 214 or REL 230.

REL 370 Health Care Ethics
An exploration of ethical issues that arise from health care such as those arising from genetics, end-of-life decisions and access to medical care. The course will take a critical and comparative approach from an inter-professional perspective, and will include ethical theories, ethical and clinical reasoning, case studies and contemporary controversies. The purpose of the course is to provide students entering the health care field with a framework for making ethical decisions in a clinical environment. Prerequisites: ENG 112 or ENG 115 and eight hours of biology.

REL 390 Directed Individual Study
Research or reading project, devised by the student and under the supervision of an appropriate instructor. Open only to senior religion majors or minors who are completing their course work. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor, division chair and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Faculty

Name: Sumer Bingham
Title: Visiting Instructor of Religion
Email: SBingH00@upike.edu
Phone: 606.218.5008
Office: Armington 428

Name: James Browning
Title: Professor of Religion
Email: JamesBrowning@upike.edu
Phone: 606.218.5026
Office: Armington 431

Name: Robert Musick
Title: Instructor of Religion and Campus Chaplain
Email: RobertMusick@upike.edu
Phone: 606.218.5762
Office: Record Memorial 602

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