2015-2016 Undergraduate Catalog


The religion curriculum at California Lutheran University challenges students to engage in the academic study of religion and to explore the religious questions raised in multiple faith traditions, such as the existence and nature of God, how personal and community ethics are shaped, how religion informs our living in a complex and global society, and the role of scriptures in the lives of the faithful. While the primary focus of the religion curriculum is the Christian tradition, courses are also offered in the other major religious traditions of the world as well as in biblical languages.

The religion degree program at Cal Lutheran provides a solid grounding in the academic study of religion, using the tools of critical thinking, analysis of primary sources, and engagement with diverse religious traditions both locally and globally. This program supports the liberal arts emphasis of the University and prepares students to understand and negotiate the myriad complexities of religion they will face after graduation, whether they work in business, local government, social services, education, medicine, administration, sales, or the environment. In addition to teaching students the skills of critical thinking and sustained community engagement needed for many careers today, the Religion Major also prepares students for graduate study in religion. Pre-seminary advising is also available.

Opportunities exist for students to do internships, experiential learning and independent studies, allowing them to explore areas of potential career interest. Students majoring in religion graduate from CLU well-prepared for seminary study. In addition, Lutheran students are eligible for the Associate in Ministry program for lay persons who are certified by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Bachelor of Arts in Religion

36 credits minimum.

REL 4354
Select one of the following:4
Select one of the following:4
Revelation and Apocalypse
Select one of the following:4
Christianity in the Roman World
Martin Luther
Select one of the following:4
God in Christian Thought
Christ and Salvation
Science and Christian Theology
Liberation and Theology
Select one of the following:4
Environmental Ethics
Theology and Business Ethics
Sexual Ethics
Select one of the following:4
Western Religions
South Asian Religions
Religion Elective Course (lower or upper division)4
Total Hours32

Minor in Religion:

20 credits minimum;

Two courses in at least two different 300-level religion areas8
Two Religion Elective Courses8
Total Hours16



Lower Division

REL 282. Selected Topics. (1-4).

REL 282C. ST: (core). (1-4).

Select Topic approved for core.

REL 285. Interim Travel Course. (1).

REL 291. Integrative Seminar in Vocatioin and Leadership. (2).

Through reading, group discussion, community engagement, and personal reflection, this course equips students to situate their own vocations and leadership styles in the context of communities to which they belong. Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor.

Upper Division

REL 327. Revelation and Apocalypse. (4).

An introduction to the book of Revelation in the New Testament, and other apocalyptic themes in literature from the Prophets to the present times. This course explores the social and political dimensions of apocalyptic literature in particular situations around the globe.

REL 331. Christianity in the Roman World. (4).

A survey of the emergence, growth, and development of the Christian movement from the time of the apostles to the disintegration of the Roman Empire in the West and to the fall of Constantinople in the East. This course will focus on Christianity as actually experienced and practiced by its earlier adherents in the multinational context of empire, and will look at textual, artistic, and material sources of evidence to gain a sense of the Christian past.

REL 335. Martin Luther. (4).

A seminar course introducing the life and thought of Martin Luther (1483-1586), based on lectures, films, and close reading and discussion of his works. The course aims to provide students with a working knowledge of Luther's main teachings and their impact, and to put both his ideas and his legacy in historical context.

REL 344. God in Christian Thought. (4).

An examination of traditional and contemporary Christian understandings of God, including the person and attributes of God, God's creative work, the divine-human relationship, sin, and the traditional problem of evil.

REL 345. Christ and Salvation. (4).

A study of traditional and contemporary understandings of the historical person of Jesus, his identity as the Messiah/Christ, and his role in God's saving work.

REL 346. Science and Christian Theology. (4).

An examination of the historical and contemporary relationships that have existed between modern science and Christian theology through study of particular areas of convergence, examples of conflict and integration, and the scientific, philosophical and theological issues involved.

REL 347. Liberation and Theology. (4).

An introduction to theologies of liberation in Latin America and in Ventura County, this course asks how social, economic, and political readings of the Bible can be used to dominate and liberate communities.

REL 352. Environmental Ethics. (4).

The care of the earth demands that we address complex issues such as patterns of consumption and production, population growth, the rights of animals, plants and land as well as the rights and responsibilities of persons, businesses, and nations. The course examines historical, political, socio-economic, philosophical and religious perspectives.

REL 354. Theology and Business Ethics. (4).

This course applies ethical theory to business decisions within the context of theological reflection. With a strategic focus, the course will investigate the relationship between theological ethics and the economic concerns of managers. The course is particularly designed to help students become effective ethical agents by developing the skills to apply ethical principle to strategic business decisions. (cross-listed with BUS 354).

REL 356. Sexual Ethics. (4).

A study of sexual ethics from religious and philosophical perspectives, moving from an examination of understandings of gender, sexuality, and sexual identities to discussion of issues such as marriage and family; contraception, abortion and reproductive technologies; sexual violence, and HIV/AIDS.

REL 371. Western Religions. (4).

Drawing on the religious traditions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, students will examine the varieties of the religious experience, historically and comparatively represented by adherents of these three religious communities.

REL 372. South Asian Religions. (4).

Drawing on the religious traditions of South Asia (modern India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, students will consider the varieties of the religious experience, historically and comparatively represented by the adherents of these religious communities.

REL 375. Islam. (4).

In this introductory course, students learn the history of Islam from the Prophet Mohammed and the roots of the religion in Arab culture, to the spread of Islam as a global religion across many cultures. Students will analyze the variety of social, political, and cultural ways in which Muslims live out their faith around the world and in the U.S. Global Emphases may change year to year but will include 3-5 different geographical areas such as: Egypt, Asia, Turkey, Africa, Spain, Indonesia, and Europe.

REL 379. Sikh Tradition: a Case Study in Global Religions. (4).

The Sikh religion, or Sikhism, offers students an educative example of how a religious tradition emerges in the full light of history to become one of the youngest of the "world religions". In this course, students will share in the tradition's intellectual, spiritual, and cultural heritage while exploring the question of how to study religions. By the course's end, students will be able to recapitulate major moments in the tradition's history, and also offer informed comment on its future.

REL 380. Jesus in Film and History. (4).

A study of the historical person of Jesus through readings in the gospels, historical Jesus research from the past two centuries, and the various cinematic portraits of Jesus from the silent picture era to the present.

REL 381. Religion, Identity, and Culture. (4).

This course explores the interaction of religion and culture in the United States. We will examine uses of religious symbols and narratives in the formation of personal, gender, ethnic and cultural identities, through analysis of memoirs and novels.

REL 382. Religion and Public Life. (4).

In modern democracies there is often a provision for religious freedom alongside an exception that the public be secular. Students will explore religious freedom and freedom of conscience in light of the First Amendment and Anglo-Protestant bias. Governed by seminar practices of writing, speaking, and listening, students will examine case studies and constitutional debates; describe and assess the practice of religion in public life; and explain the dynamics of religious pluralism and secularization. Prerequisite: Rel 100.

REL 390. Exploring Church Vocations. (4).

This course is designed for students interested in exploring the possibility of lay or ordained ministry in the church on either a professional or voluntary basis. Its primary focus is on the theory and practice of youth and family ministry, and the theology and art of oral communication in religious settings.

REL 391. Children, Youth, and Family Ministry. (4).

Through course readings, practica, guest speakers, and self-reflection, students will be introduced to the theologies, approaches, and organizational models of ministry with children, youth, and families. Students will investigate the analyses of others through written assignments and exams and will construct their own articulations of the purpose and practice of ministry. By hosting guest speakers, practicing theological skills, and locating resources, students will relate their own identities and leadership styles to the identities and leadership styles of fellow classmates and scholar-practitioners. Prerequisite: Rel 100.

REL 392. Liturgy and Worship. (4).

An introduction to the Christian liturgical tradition, particularly that of Western Christianity. It will include some comparison with non-Christian religious customs, and will give importance to the development of worship in the Protestant traditions. The course's approach is historical, but it may also include some practical training if appropriate to student needs. Christian hymnody and liturgical music will also be introduced, with an emphasis on the distinctive Lutheran contributions in those areas. (cross-listed with MUS 392).

REL 412. Christian Art in the Middle Ages. (4).

Students survey the religious art of the Middle Ages - primarily Christian, but also some early Jewish and Islamic developments - identifying significant works of architecture, sculpture, and painting, while exploring Christian concepts and beliefs, liturgy and worship. Students consider art in relation to cultural needs, examining works in historical, religious social, economic, and political contexts. Students become familiar with visual forms, styles, narratives, and symbols of Christian art, as well as with broader, unifying themes shared by different cultures. The course content covers twelve centuries and geographically spans the Western edges of Europe to the Middle East. We also pay attention to instances of cultural exchange (the circulation of ideas, art forms, and artists through Europe and the Middle East). (cross-listed with ART 412).

REL 433. Religious Conflict and Cooperation in Modern South Asia. (4).

From colonial encounters to the contemporary period, this course traces the roots of twentieth century interreligious conflict in and between India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Based on the principles of the emerging field of Interfaith Studies, we will take an interdisciplinary approach to understand the underlying causes of conflict, as well as enacted and potential solutions. Pre-requisite: REL-100. Also, this course is intended for Honors Program participants, Junior/Senior standing in Religion, or permission of instructor.

REL 480. Travel Seminar: Israel/Palestine. (4).

Israel / Palestine is a "Holy Land" for Jews, Christians, and Muslims around the world, and it plays an important role in history and in contemporary global politics. From the ancient world to the present, this strip of land along the eastern Mediterranean has been home to a wide variety of people. This course and trip will introduce students to the history, religions, and cultures of Israel / Palestine. The travel portion will give significant attention also to communities and projects that focus on sustainability, peace, and coexistence. Students will meet in a seminar format weekly during the Spring semester in preparation for the trip to Israel / Palestine, and lectures and experiential learning opportunities will be embedded into the itinerary.

REL 496. Directed Research. (1-3).



R. Guy Erwin
Rev. Dr.

Jarvis Streeter
Rev. Dr.

Associate professor

Julia Lambert Fogg
Rev. Dr.

Assistant professors

Rahuldeep Singh Gill

Victor Thasiah
Rev. Dr.

Samuel Thomas

Colleen Windham-Hughes
Rev. Dr.

Senior Lecturer

Kapp Johnson

Professors emeriti

Pamela Brubaker

Joseph Everson
Rev. Dr.