Religious Studies | Religion, Ethics, and Public Life
R170 | 3718 | Miller


R170 Religion, Ethics & Public Life (3 Cr.)  MW 10:10-11:00 FA 015
(section 3718 plus discussion section)(Miller)

This is an introductory course in religion and ethics, focusing on social
responsibility and American public life.  We will begin by examining basic
methods and tools in ethics, and will then spend the majority of the
semester examining five topics: abortion, war and peace, death and dying
in medicine, economic justice, and racial discrimination.  The chief goal
of the course is to explore the complexity of these topics and to
understand how religious thought, belief, and practice inform moral
discussion in the United States.  Along the way, we will ask whether
individuals or groups have a responsibility to protect the interests of
vulnerable, or "at-risk" populations: fetuses, political communities under
attack, women in the economic and cultural marketplace, sick and dying
patients, the poor, and racial minorities.  These groups, and the issues
that surround their interests, stand at the center of debates in public
culture today--debates in newspaper articles, religious gatherings,
political elections, professional meetings, evening talk shows, shop floor
conversations, and family dinners.  With each topic we will examine
different arguments and points of view.  We will close the semester by
studying some religious themes that inform most of the readings: creation,
covenant, human fault, and hope.  Sources draw from Judaism, Christianity,
and contemporary social thought.

There will be two lectures and one discussion each week.  Grades will be
based on two midterm exams, a final exam, quizzes and participation in
discussion.