Online Class: World Religions 101

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Course Description

World Religions 101 provides a clear and concise introduction to the major world religions. You'll learn about the people, places, practices and philosophies shaping today's events.  Some religions might be familiar, some strange and some you may never have heard about but why not discover karma, nirvana, yin and yang and the Holy Trinity?

Although many of us think of religion as a belief system practiced through faith, obedience, prayer and worship, you'll find that some religions are more than just a belief in a deity, but an entire philosophy and way of life. 

Explore the religions that have shaped history, civilizations and your next door neighbors views. You will learn about the founders, the history and essential teachings of each of these major religions: Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, and Taoism, plus brief descriptions of other religions and religious practices.

Why not join this self-paced course and learn about the diverse spiritual paths humanity has taken?  Everyone is welcome!

In our modern, secular Western society, where it seems as though more and more emphasis is placed on objective knowledge and empirical (scientific) forms of understanding the world, some may not have had an opportunity to examine the very nature of religion itself. Since this concept is basic to understanding the other ideas presented later in this course, the idea of religion and its nature will be examined here before proceeding on to present the major religions of the world.

Definitions of Terms: Philosophy, Religion, and World View

There are three key terms that will be introduced and used throughout this course, namely: philosophy, religion, and world view. These concepts are valuable conceptual frameworks by which each of the world's religions can be better examined and understood. Therefore, it is important to understand rudimentary definitions of each, how they are alike, and how they differ from each other, before continuing.


The word philosophy is derived from the combination of two Greek root words philos (meaning love) and Sophia (meaning wisdom). Thus, the term literally means "the love of wisdom". This definition, though literally correct, lacks something to be desired. What, after all, is wisdom? According to the ancient Greeks, wisdom deals with virtue, the quest for true knowledge and understanding, and the elimination of all false opinions.

If this still seems a bit esoteric or confusing, then perhaps a more straightforward definition is in order. Put another way, philosophy is a field of study in which people question, and create theories about, the nature of reality. Overall, it boils down to one essential question, "What is reality?" Philosophy is humankind's attempt to answer this question and to gain a better understanding of the Universe in which we live and how that universe can best be known and understood (if at all). The traditions of the Eastern world and the Western world are quite different in their theories of the nature of the world and how it functions. This fundamental difference in viewpoint makes this a major division in philosophical thought.

Course Structure

Bearing these definitions in mind, then, each of the religions in this course (with the exception of the brief entries in Lesson 9), will follow a standardized format in order to provide a more uniform examination of each. This format is as follows:

A short introduction explaining the current influence of the religion in the world. 
This section will contain abbreviated information on the historical development of the religion. Information contained here will include prominent figures, movements, and ideas, which led to the formation and shaped the practice of the belief system in question.
Tenets of Belief 
The underlying philosophies and guiding principles that are major features of the religion. In short, the essence of the religion or philosophy is examined in this section.

Symbols and Holy Writ 

The iconic symbols and holy texts (scriptures), if applicable, will be examined in this section.

Daily Practice 

The way in which adherents of the faith in question go about their daily lives as practitioners of the religion or philosophy.
Branches, Divisions, and Variations
Often times, the various religious traditions will have a number of sub-religions or denominational differences in the way the belief system is approached or practiced. This section will highlight some of the more prominent differences within the religion at hand.
This course will examine each of the following religious traditions in alphabetical order, and then, using the structure presented here: Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Taoism. The final lesson of this course will examine several additional, albeit lesser religious movements currently practiced in the world. Those religions will also be presented in alphabetical order and will follow a similar, but highly abbreviated, version of the format used for the major belief systems.
Are you looking for ways to improve your understanding of our world and its cultures?
If so, understanding and appreciating the different world religions is a necessity. Spirituality and religion is a fundamental part of the human experience, often defining cultures and establishing social norms.
This course will introduce you to the religions of the world. Both the major ones, with which you are likely familiar, and the smaller ones, with which you may be completely unfamiliar. Learning about how different people approach religion and spirituality will help you understand their cultures and beliefs and may help strengthen and expand your personal beliefs and faith.
As you complete the course lessons, you will learn about Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Confucianism, Taoism, and several other religions and religious practices.  Most importantly, you will gain an appreciation for the impact religion can have on our lives and our world.
With a completely flexible schedule and no other materials to buy, World Religions 101 is the ideal way to broaden your horizons in the comfort of your own home.  All you need is a high school reading level and an open and inquisitive mind!
Enrollment is ongoing and you can get started at your convenience.  So, don’t delay!  Sign up today for World Religions 101 and begin your journey towards enlightenment!
Religion impacts our lives and our world in many ways, both big and small. Religion is a part of our shared cultural history, shaping the way we see the world and the people in it. It seems that almost all the major news events in the world have a religious underpinning.  Thus, learning to understand and appreciate the religious beliefs and practices of others can help each of us become a more enlightened global citizen.
And now, it has never been easier to learn about the religions of the world. In World Religions 101, this introductory class will teach you the basics of many of the world's major and minor religions. You will learn the core beliefs of the major religions, their guiding principles and practices, and their historical foundations. In addition, you will achieve a greater appreciation of the impact the different religions have on people and cultures.  Many religions are more than just a belief system; they are an entire philosophy and way of life.
This course has created a one-stop guide to the religions of the world.  He has designed nine lessons that you will complete in the course of your study:
  • Lesson 1: An Introduction to the Religious Experience
  • Lesson 2: Buddhism
  • Lesson 3: Christianity
  • Lesson 4: Confucianism
  • Lesson 5: Hinduism
  • Lesson 6: Islam
  • Lesson 7: Judaism
  • Lesson 8: Taoism
  • Lesson 9: Other Religions & Religious Movements
As you can see, this course includes a comprehensive introduction of seven of the world's major religions (Lessons 2 through 8).  In addition, Lessons 1 and 9 will provide you with an overview of the religious experience and a discussion of some smaller and less well-known religions and religious movements.
At the end of each lesson, you will complete a lesson review quiz and one or two assignments.  A score of 70% or better will earn you a passing grade.
It's important to remember that you don't need any prior religious training to sign up for this course. All you need is a high school reading level and an eagerness to learn! And, with no additional materials to buy, the opportunity has never been better!
This course's lessons are all comprehensive, and include all the material you need and web links to outside references.  In addition, if you ever run into any difficulty or you need to discuss course material, you can interact with the instructor via e-mail and you can participate in the online discussions with your classmates.
The benefits of completing this course are many. You will find that you will have a better appreciation and understanding of the world around you. You will be a more informed world citizen and will be better able to understand the world news. And, most importantly, you will be a better-rounded human being and a better neighbor. In today's increasingly diverse world, you will be able to relate to and understand the beliefs of your friends and neighbors, many of whom likely have religious beliefs that our different from your own.
Enrollment is always open, so don't wait! Sign up today for World Religions 101 and enhance your spiritual understanding!
  • Completely Online
  • Self-Paced
  • Printable Lessons
  • Full HD Video
  • 6 Months to Complete
  • 24/7 Availability
  • Start Anytime
  • PC & Mac Compatible
  • Android & iOS Friendly
  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

Course Lessons

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Lesson 1. An Introduction to the Religious Experience

In this first lesson we will introduce the many different religions of the world by first defining the terms of philosophy, worldview, and religion. 130 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video A
  • Lesson 1 Video B : Introduction Discussion
  • Review 2 Articles: Liberal Believers; Secular Humanism
  • Take Poll: World Religions (a)
  • Take Poll: World Religions (b)
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Assignment: Introduce Yourself
  • Complete Assignment: Differing views of the New and Old Testament
  • Complete Assignment: Why do Humans have Religion?
  • Complete: Lesson 1 Quiz: Introduction to World Religions

Lesson 2: Buddhism

This lesson will focus on the religion of Buddhism. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Buddhism. 60 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 2: Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 2 Quiz: Buddhism

Lesson 3. Christianity

This lesson will focus on the religion of Christianity. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Christianity (due in part to the Protestant Reformation). 78 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 3: Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: Protestant Reformation
  • Complete: Lesson 3 Quiz: Christianity

Lesson 4. Confucianism

This lesson will focus on the religion and philosophy of Confucianism. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Confucianism. 38 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review Article: History of Confucianism
  • Complete: Lesson 4: Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 4 Quiz: Confucianism

Lesson 5. Hinduism

This lesson will focus on the religion and philosophy of Hinduism. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Hinduism. 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 5: Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 5 Quiz: Hinduism

Lesson 6. Islam

This lesson will focus on the religion of Islam. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Islam. 90 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review Article: New History of Islam Netlink
  • Complete: Lesson 6: Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 6 Quiz: Islam

Lesson 7. Judaism

This lesson will focus on the religion of Judaism. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Judaism. 80 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review Article: History of Judaism
  • Complete: Lesson 7: Assignment
  • Complete Assignment: Differences between Judaism and Christianity
  • Complete: Lesson 7 Quiz: Judaism

Lesson 8. Taoism

This lesson will focus on the religion of Taoism. Topics will include the history, the tenets and beliefs, the symbols, daily practice, and branches of Taoism. 40 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Complete: Lesson 8: Assignment
  • Complete: Lesson 8 Quiz: Taoism

Lesson 9. Other Religions and Religious Movements

This lesson will focus other religions that play a role in the world today. 18 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review Article: Baha'I
  • Take Poll: Course Completion Poll: Your Thoughts
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Lesson 9 Quiz: Other Religions & Religious Movements
Total Course Points

Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Know Buddhism.
  • Know Christianity.
  • Know Confucianism.
  • Know Hinduism.
  • Know Islam.
  • Know Judaism.
  • Know Taoism, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
  • Document Your Lifelong Learning Achievements
  • Earn an Official Certificate Documenting Course Hours and CEUs
  • Verify Your Certificate with a Unique Serial Number Online
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  • Display Your Certificate on Your Resume and Promote Your Achievements Using Social Media
Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: World Religions 101
Course Number: 7550450
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: General Education (Self-Paced, Online Class)
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: C. Michael McKenna
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with Online CEU Certification: $75.00

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Student Testimonials

  • "The course layout was very rganized. The requirements for each lesson were very clear and detailed. The assignments were relevant to add useful information to one's everyday knowledge. Thanks.......Thanks for making this kind of course work available to those of us at home." -- Margaret T.
  • "This was my first online course. I enjoyed it very much and learned so much. I found all the info to be very useful because I am taking ministerial helped me to see where others are coming from in their understanding & beliefs." -- Christy J.
  • "The instructor has presented a very organized and interesting course. I would recommend this course to anyone who wishes to learn facts about the world religions. I especially enjoyed doing the assignments. as I had to search for information. I certainly enjoyed my walk with you through the lessons, and I did not want the course to end. Great job!!!" -- Sara H.