When it came to religion and education, I was pretty much a temple-goer myself, even though I wasn’t one of those religious-studies majors.
The university’s religious studies program at Temple University has a long history of producing religious leaders and academics who were able to teach and preach the faith.
Its president, Dr. Robert A. Jones, was ordained as a minister in 1968, and I’ve always thought he had an excellent track record.
But I’ve never seen a religious studies course on campus that’s as intellectually rigorous as the one that’s being taught at Temple today.
The course, which is being offered in the fall of 2018, is called “Religion, History and Philosophy: From the Ancient to the Present,” and it’s a course in which Jones will be providing lectures, videos and online resources about the history of religion and the philosophy of religion.
The courses are being taught by a group of faculty members, including Dr. Jennifer L. Schmitt, a professor of religion at Temple.
Schimpson has taught religious studies at the university since 1999.
She was a former assistant professor at Temple who became director of the program in 2016.
“I think there’s a lot of room for students to think about how they want to learn about the past and how to engage with the past, as well as how to be involved in the future,” she said.
“It’s an excellent program.”
In addition to providing courses in history, religion and philosophy, Temple has a program in humanistic studies, which focuses on the human experience and how it affects our lives.
“Humanistic studies is an interesting option because it’s more of a reflection on the nature of the human condition,” Schmitt said.
Humanistic studies courses are taught by professors who are interested in the way human beings think, act and relate to one another.
“People who have religious backgrounds are very interested in their relationships to God, the Bible, or to other religions,” she added.
The program has a very active Facebook group that’s filled with students.
Schumann said students are interested because they want something more than just a lecture or a course.
“They want to be engaged in the intellectual, experiential conversations that we’re having here,” she explained.
“Students want to see how the humanities intersect with the sciences, and how the sciences intersect with religion.”
A few of the topics on the program’s syllabus that students will be learning include the role of the church in human culture and how religious beliefs and practices have influenced modern societies.
“The history of science and the history, in particular, of religion have a significant impact on our understanding of the world,” Schumann explained.
Religion and the science that goes along with it is a part of human culture, she added, “and it’s important to understand and respect that.”
One course is called The Evolution of Science: Its Development and Meaning.
“We’re going to be exploring the ways in which our understanding and understanding of science has changed over time, and what it means to be a scientist and what we are, and whether we should accept or reject those ideas,” Schumacher said.
Schumption, a former professor of anthropology at Temple, added that there are plenty of opportunities to explore religious beliefs with other students, as there are many in the area of human evolution.
“There are so many students who are very engaged in religious studies and they want an intellectual grounding,” she noted.
“If they’re interested in science, they’ll be able to look at the different ways that religion and science have influenced our understanding about the world.”
Schmitt emphasized that Temple’s religious education is a strong foundation for the university’s mission, adding that the university is proud of its strong track record of bringing religious students to Temple for the benefit of their community.
“What I’ve seen at Temple is that religious education has really worked well, and that it’s been very well-received,” she stressed.
“This is a really good course and one that I’m very happy to have on campus.”
What’s the most important thing you can teach your students about religion?
Schmitt told me that the most common thing students are really interested in is religion, and she said there are lots of great resources out there.
“So if you’re interested, we have a great online resource called the Temple University Bible Study and Study Center, and it has a lot in the form of videos, podcasts and a lot more,” she told me.
“A lot of what we’re trying to do is to get our students to understand that religion is not just something you have to read and watch, but that it is part of your life, and you’re a part, too.”
The online course is free to students and students who have paid membership.
Schummacher said that Temple is offering a variety of ways for students and families to get involved with the program.
The online option includes an on-campus temple, where students can receive daily prayer