World Religions

Religions are not objects of curiosity to be perused like artifacts in a museum. Rather, they are lived experiences that provide profound meaning for those within them. Our religious traditions have endured for so many years because they have profoundly touched so many lives. Our study together is ultimately about these people - roughly two thirds of the world population whose lives are inextricably tied to their religious traditions and history. This lecture series not only gives you the facts about religions, but also teaches you to appreciate the internal logic behind their world views and engage some of the common myths and misconceptions for each religion.

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The Origins of Religion

Religion has long been one of the most powerful, controversial, and misunderstood forces in society. This course aims to pull back the curtain to open new vistas for understanding religion and its place in society. Why did religion and spirituality begin in society? Why is it so controversial and led to so many wars over the years? What is the future of religion? What is the relationship between religion and science? How does one systematically navigate a spiritual life?

Answers to these questions unfold in three sections:

Fall 2018: Section 1: The Origins of Religion Religion has been present in nearly every culture around the globe and has inspired some of the most beautiful and disturbing moments in human history. This course examines the question, "Why did religion begin?" It will look at religion as a response to the Sacred as well as scientific and biological bases for religion. It will finally look at the great theories of the origin of religion from anthropology, sociology, and psychology. This exploration will make you re-examine your whole perspective on the purpose of religion.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor(s) Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
The Origins of Religion Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett 10/2/2018 - 10/16/2018 Tuesday
6:10 PM - 8:00 PM
$99 Enroll Now
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The Future of Religion

Some elements of religion and spirituality stay remarkably consistent across time and cultures, but other elements seem to change and evolve. We seem to be right now in the midst of one of those tectonic shifts in religion where the norms and rules that have long governed religion and society have been shifting. This course examines those shifts and explores their implications for future generations. The surprising final analysis shows that we are neither in an inevitable path towards secularization nor a revival of traditional religions but a new kind of religious world is emerging that will have profound implications for our children and the planet.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor(s) Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
The Future of Religion Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett 2/05/2019 - 2/19/2019 Tuesday
6:10 PM - 8:00 PM
$99 Enroll Now
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Choosing a Spiritual Path

As large segments of contemporary society re-examine their relationship to traditional religions, a new kind of spiritual anxiety has emerged that is grounded in the bewildering diversity of potential contemporary religious choices. Drawing upon science, economics, happiness studies, and a wide variety of other fields, this course tries to systematically look at approaches to choosing a spiritual path today. Participants will walk away with a series of tools that can help one navigate an increasingly complex religious and spiritual environment.


Information and registration
Course Title Instructor(s) Date(s) Schedule Fee Enroll Online
Choosing a Spiritual Path Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett 4/16/2019 - 4/30/2019 Tuesday
6:10 PM - 8:00 PM
$99 Enroll Now
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About the Instructor

Dr. Stephen Lloyd-Moffett is an internationally known Religious Studies scholar and Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Cal Poly. A dynamic, popular community lecturer, he is the recipient the Cal Poly College of Liberal Arts teaching award and the President's Community Service Award. Author of Beauty for Ashes: The Spiritual Transformation of a Modern Greek Community and the forthcoming The Soul of Wine: In Vino Sanctus, Professor Lloyd-Moffett holds a M.A. in Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara; Master of Theology from St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary; Ph.D. in Religious Studies from University of California, Santa Barbara.

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