Roberts, Jason – RELI 4900 (Fall 2015)

The description of this 4900 course is as follows:
Who are we? How did we get this way? What does it mean to be a person—a soulful or spiritual being? What—if anything—makes Homo sapiens unique among animal species? What happens when we die? Why can’t we seem to live in harmony with one another and our earthly environment? What should we do about these problems, and how do we begin to decide what to do? This course aims to provide students with skills and tools for responding to these kinds of questions from a Christian theological perspective. The course is divided into the following three units which focus on contemporary theological and multidisciplinary responses to biblical, historical, philosophical, and natural-scientific understandings of what it means to be human:
1.      The first half of the course will focus on the Christian doctrines of humanity’s supposedly unique spiritual nature and the manner in which human beings might be said to bear the image and likeness of God/Christ.
2.      The second half of the course begins by looking at the more ambiguous, ambivalent, and often negative aspects of our human condition, including the biblical concept of the knowledge of good and evil and the Christian doctrine(s) of (original) sin.
3.      The third unit turns to the positive side of humankind’s moral freedom and responsibility, by exploring some of the ethical implications of the contemporary Christian anthropological perspective developed throughout the course. Topics discussed will include fundamental ethics, the preferential option for the poor, environmental ethics, reproductive ethics, and ethics of gender and sexuality.

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