Department of Religion and Philosophy Course Descriptions


PHI 105: Critical Thinking - 3 credits 
Development of intellectual skills for all areas of study. Focuses on organization of ideas, identification of common errors in reasoning, and critical analysis of editorials, speeches and articles.

PHI 221: Introduction to Philosophy - 3 credits
Basic issues studied by philosophers. Topics include the nature of freedom, the rational foundations for atheism, human existence and meaning, the nature of knowledge, and issues in aesthetics.

PHI 231: Ethics and Human Values - 3 credits
Detailed analysis of selected moral philosophers. Various approaches to value theory in conjunction with specific contemporary ethical issues are examined.

PHI 241: Philosophy of Religion - 3 credits
Critical examination of selected contemporary and classical issues of religion. Typical topics include proofs for the existence of God, the problem of evil, the nature of religious experience, and the reliability of religious truth claims.

PHI 251: Business Ethics - 3 credits
Consideration of ethical questions in business practices including corporate responsibility, conflict of interest, employee rights, colonialism and imperialism, truth in advertising, environmental protection, preferential hiring, affirmative action, and Marxist versus capitalist views on economic justice.

PHI 254: Media Ethics - 3 credits
Value questions arising in conjunction with mass media. Discussions of the pervasive influence of the media, together with the aims and restrictions that are, or ought to be, imposed on the media. Topics include the nature of various media, value assumptions in news selection and programming, minorities and the media, the influence of television on children, the rights and responsibilities of journalists, and violence and the media.

PHI 262: Science, Technology, and Human Values - 3 credits
Exploration of fundamental value questions and dilemmas associated with training and research in the sciences. Covers applications of science to technology and industry.

PHI 331 and 332: History of Western Philosophy: Africa to Present - 3 credits each
Two-semester survey of the major figures in Western philosophy, beginning with the antecedents to Greek philosophy in Africa. PHI 331 covers the period of origin through Greek and Medieval thought. PHI 332 includes modern and contemporary philosophers. Students may take either course independently or both in sequence.

PHI 353: Representative Problems of Philosophy - 3 credits
Classic philosophical problems explored in more depth than is possible at the introductory level. Students are encouraged to engage in out-of-class research and independent thought.

PHI 362: Social and Political Philosophy - 3 credits
Examination of philosophical assumptions underlying different political systems. Topics include the nature of social existence, freedom, rights, and the individual and society.

PHI 401 and 402: Off-campus Study - 3 credits each
For students who wish to take courses at institutions outside the Atlanta University Center or to study abroad as part of their major program.

PHI 411: Islamic Philosophy - 3 credits
Chief ideas, arguments, and general philosophical concerns of selected thinkers and schools of thought in the Islamic philosophical tradition. Centers on specific historical figures and philosophic and religious traditions, including Islamic mysticism.

PHI 421: Philosophies of the African Continent - 3 credits
Examination of the diversity of African philosophical thought. Intellectual traditions from both north and sub-Saharan Africa are studied.

PHI 431: African-American Philosophy - 3 credits
Introduction of personalities representative of the African American philosophical tradition. Insight into the general character of this tradition and its distinctive style of philosophizing. Also emphasizes issues in social philosophy, ethics, and religion.

PHI 451: Special Topics in Philosophy - 3 credits
Upper-division students explore issues with present-day philosophical significance. Open to majors and non majors.

PHI 482/483: Independent Study - 1-3 credits
Development of analytical and interpretive skills. In consultation with an instructor, upper-division students may select an appropriate subject to explore. Independent study requires extensive reading and written work.

PHI 484 through 487: Paracurricular Study in Philosophy - 3 credits
On-the-job training. Students, with approval from their advisor, may select internships in line with their prospective career choices.


REL 101: The Biblical Heritage - 3 credits
The literature of the Bible and its influence on the shaping of Western culture. Modern biblical scholarship used to examine selected readings from the Old and New Testaments for their contributions to the understanding of human existence.

REL 103 and 104: African-American Religious Experiences - 3 credits each
Analysis of the origin, development, and social significance of African American religious beliefs and practices from an historical perspective. REL 104 emphasizes the contemporary period, including the latest developments in black liberation theologies. Students may take either course independently or both in sequence.

REL 211: Introduction to Religious Studies - 3 credits
Introduction to the study of religion in a variety of contexts: historical, social, psychological, scientific, philosophical, artistic, and literary. Readings include representative works from the past and the present.

REL 241 and 242: American Religious Tradition - 3 credits each
Historical approach to the American religious tradition as inclusive of cultural and ethnic diversity. REL 241 extends into the late nineteenth century and includes topics such as American Indian tribal religions, the Great Awakening, Wesleyan evangelicalism, religious freedom, slavery and Christianity, and the rise of black churches and movements. REL 242 focuses on the twentieth century, examining media evangelism, the rise of cults, the church and human rights issues, ecumenism and the burgeoning of Eastern religions such as African traditional religions in America. Students may take either course independently or both in sequence.

REL 250: Comparative Religion - 3 credits
Comparative survey of selected religious traditions from the East and West, including traditional African religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

REL 251: Religious Ethics - 3 credits
Examination of major ethical issues confronting contemporary society. Also considers appropriate ethical responses to issues from a religious perspective. Topics include sexual ethics, abortion, racism, sexism, the ethics of war (especially nuclear war), capital punishment, genetic engineering, euthanasia, and professional ethics.

REL 351 and 352: History of Christian Thought - 3 credits each
Development of Christian thought from the early church to the present. REL 351 covers early and Medieval thinkers in Africa and Europe, including late Medieval male and female mystics, and concludes with the Protestant Reformers. REL 352 examines major Christian thinkers of the modern period, including the latest developments in black and feminist theology. Students may take either course independently or both in sequence.

REL 361: Culture and Religion - 3 credits
Study of structure, function, and influence of religion from a cultural perspective. Drawing from recent sociological and anthropological literature, explores the origin, significance, and relation of religion to culture.

REL 362: Psychology of Religion - 3 credits
Examination of the major aspects of religious experience by means of psychological study. Entails critical discussions and analyses of traditional and contemporary psychological theories as these apply to evaluating the impact of religious experiences.

REL 375 and 376: Religion and the Media - 3 credits each
Historical and philosophical interpretation of religion in the media, including religious drama, evangelism, and other art forms. REL 375 focuses on theory, REL 376 on media techniques. Students may take either course independently or both in sequence.

REL 383: Religions of Africa - 3 credits
Study of representative religious traditions of Africa, including African tribal religions and adaptations of non-indigenous ones.

REL 401/402: Off-Campus Study - 3 credits each
For students who wish to take courses at institutions outside of the Atlanta University Center or to study abroad as part of their major program.

REL 435: Contemporary Religious Thought - 3 credits
New developments in Western religious thought, with emphasis on critical examination of representative religious thinkers and movements of the present century. Topics include rethinking of the concept of God; the rise of ethical relativism, pluralism, and secularism; and new forms of theology, such as process, black theology, feminist, and metaphorical theologies.

REL 451: Special Topics in Religion - 3 credits
Upper-division students explore current issues and thinkers in religion and ethics in the context of professional concerns and life situations. Topics such as religion and sexuality, world missions, religious motifs in the arts, liberation theology, and religion and politics are treated. May be repeated for credit under a different topic. Open to majors and non majors.

REL 482/483: Independent Study - 1-3 credits
Development of analytical and interpretive skills. Upper-division students in consultation with an instructor, select an appropriate subject. Independent Study requires extensive reading and written work.

REL 484 through 487: Internship - 1-3 credits
Credit for experience gained through on-the-job training. Students, in consultation with their advisors, may select an internship in line with prospective career choices.