In this course you learn to study religion using academic methods. You will discover what makes a phenomenon a “religion.” You will find out that religions all share common characteristics such as ritual, belief, and morality and then you will learn to recognize and analyze those characteristics in various world religions. In addition, you will be introduced to the world’s religious traditions which will make you better prepared to interact with the diverse peoples of our global world. You will practice that skill in the course by encountering the life stories of followers of various religious traditions. In sum, you will learn how to understand religious traditions both from the perspective of adherents and of constructive and conscientious outsiders.