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Comparative World Religions

Andover Central High School

Comparative World Religions

Course Syllabus




Prerequisite: Ancient World History


Course Description: Comparative World Religions is designed to examine the world’s major living religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Attention will also be given to other branches of the religions as well as the evolution each religion has undergone since its inception. By investigating the origins, beliefs, and practices of these religions, we may gather a better understanding of the world around us. Additionally, a brief overview of the geographic regions and the cultures associated with the faiths will be incorporated to provide a more complete analysis. Students will be challenged to examine and analyze the world’s diverse religious landscape and develop an understanding of religion’s role in our world today.  Course Objectives:

1. Examine the origins of religion in societies and cultures throughout the world.

2. Evaluate the similarities and differences among the five world major religions.

3. Compare and contrast Eastern and Western religions.

4. Analyze the beliefs, values, and practices of each of the world’s major religions.

5. Explain the meaning and importance of religion globally.

6. Investigate the art, music, and architecture associated with the world’s major religions.

7. Identify and explain each religion’s origins, locations of the largest number of believers, and important landmarks associated with one.

8. Analyze the historical background, development, and significance of the world’s major religions.

9. Identify the main human figures associated with each of the major world religions.

10. Explain the relationship between religious, social, and political events and trends throughout history and in the contemporary world.

Method of Evaluation:

This course will demand students to analyze and evaluate the religions in a variety of ways. Students will be assessed through oral, written, and objective evaluations. Exams will vary from essay format to multiple choice and matching.

Major Assignments/Projects:

Students will be called upon to investigate a world religion and a contemporary issue that confronts the religion and its followers. A 4-5 page written paper will be expected with bibliography. Additionally, student will work in small groups and orally present information researched and help lead class discussions concerning various components of a religion.


Much of this course will require outside reading from the text and various handouts from class. We will be spending quite a bit of time in the library investigating various aspects of each religion and sharing them in a small group dynamic so you must fulfill the outside reading in order for group discussion to be effective and helpful.



  • As this course is often one of interpretation of ideas, your participation in group activities and discussion is a primary requirement. We need to feel free to question, debate, inquire, and challenge without offending one another. There will be NO insulting, harassment or any act of degrading someone in the class. Simply: be respectful please.
  • You are responsible for making up whatever you missed- notes, handouts, quizzes etc- should you be absent.
  • Come prepared to class- book(s), paper, pencil and your insights.
  • Tardiness will not be tolerated.
  • No food in the classroom- drinks are acceptable until I see a problem.

Teaching about religions can be a tricky enterprise. What we must all bring to the table is an open mind and willingness to listen to one another’s perspective. The purpose of this course is to allow us to examine the various religions in the world, not to proselytize or attempt to convert others to our personal beliefs. I expect student’s to be sensitive to the topics discussed in the classroom and willing to engage in a discussion that encourages one another’s participation and open-mindedness.