Before I get into the advice, I want to say that the topics that you will learn about in this class are legitimately interesting. They will pick your brain but you will come out of the class feeling enlightened. Okay, onto the advice.

The best thing I did during this…


This lesson reshaped the way I think about tolerance, hate crimes, and how society views marginalized groups. Before this lesson, I viewed tolerance as the antithesis to hate. I am now realizing “tolerance” or at least our society’s understanding and experience of it, carries more baggage. I have never thought…


It is evident from this lesson that “religious freedom” in America has always benefitted Christians while discriminating against or marginalizing people of other faiths. While I was aware that Christians have the privilege of being the “default” American religion and reap the benefits of that assumption, it was informative to…


A focus on belief is problematic for a plethora of reason. It started under colonialism when Europeans wanted a way to categorize and classify religions other than their own. They would classify religions similar to theirs as having “beliefs” whereas religions that were different or unfamiliar were categorized as primitive…


An example of the intersection between religion and culture was the 2018 Met Gala. The theme was “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” so many of the outfits worn had Catholic imagery such as crosses and papal themes. This is a very obvious example of religion’s influence on popular…


Before this lesson, I would have considered certain religions “world religions” based on their prominence in the world. I may not have considered religions I was unfamiliar with due to my limited Western scope. Now, I am aware that our idea of world religions is shaped by the colonialism of…


I used to be someone who would classify certain religions as “major religions” or otherwise. Now, it has been abundantly clear to me that when we define what religions are major and what are minor, we imply that some are more important than others. Of course people would not readily…


Before reading and diving into the topic, I knew that it was difficult to define religion, however, I thought there could be a way to do it if you tried hard enough and had all the right words. Now I am realizing the complexity of defining religion- that it is…


Before this lesson, I thought that Religious Studies was just the study of the belief systems themselves, and I did not consider that the people, culture, and society that a religion exists in are an important part of the academic study of religion. Now I am aware of the multifaceted…

Melanie Edgar

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