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RELS452 - Religious Cults

Course Details

Course Code: RELS452 Course ID: 3651 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course examines religious cults that span specific times and religions. Its focus is on the causes of cult formulation, cult leadership, cult purpose, and cult interactions with the outside world. Course content also explores what is meant by the terms "cult," "new religious movement," and "alternative religion," using historical and contemporary examples to illustrate these ideas.





Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
10/28/19 - 04/03/20 04/06/20 - 05/31/20 Spring 2020 Session B 8 Week session
12/30/19 - 05/29/20 06/01/20 - 07/26/20 Spring 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After you have completed this course, you should be able to:
CO1: Describe what is meant by the term cult and describe key “characteristics” of cults, summarizing some difficulties and problems associated with using that word
CO2: Discuss the roles of “brainwashing” and the characteristics of the “charismatic leader” in “cult” formation and religious conversion
CO3: Summarize and assess various theories concerning religious conversion and deprogramming
CO4: Identify characteristics common to “cult” members and who joins religious cults
CO5: Discuss how “cults” interact with the larger society
CO6: Identify the stages of cult formation and several “types” of cults
CO7: Summarize the history of religious “cults” from the beginnings of western civilization through the 1960s and beyond
CO8: Describe the beliefs, principle players, and actions of the Ramakrishna Mission, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s TM groups, Yoga groups, Hare Krishnas, Western Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, Soka Gakkai International, the Sufi Order, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Unification Church
CO9: Discuss the beliefs, goals, and agendas of the People’s Temple, the Charismatic Movement, Heaven’s Gate, the Neopaganism societies, and the Chen Tao movement

NameGrade %
Reflection Papers 60.00 %
Week 2 Reflection Paper 15.00 %
Week 4 Reflection Paper 15.00 %
Week 6 Reflection Paper 15.00 %
Week 8 Reflection Paper 15.00 %
Forums 40.00 %
Week 1 - Forum 1 5.00 %
Week 2 - Forum 2 5.00 %
Week 3 - Forum 3 5.00 %
Week 4 - Forum 4 5.00 %
Week 5 - Forum 5 5.00 %
Week 6 - Forum 6 5.00 %
Week 7 - Forum 7 5.00 %
Week 8 - Forum 8 5.00 %
Book Title: Controversial New Religions, 2nd ed - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Author: Lewis, James
Publication Info: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780199315314
Book Title: To find the library e-book(s) req'd for your course, please visit http://apus.libguides.com/er.php to locate the eReserve by course #.
Author: No Author Specified
Publication Info:
ISBN: N/A
Book Title: Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, 2nd ed - eBook available through the APUS Online Library
Author: Ellwood, Robert
Publication Info: Taylor & Francis
ISBN: 9780137730452

Book Title:Religious and Spiritual Groups in Modern America, 2nd ed - eBook available through the APUS Online Library
ISBN:9780137730452
Publication Info:Taylor & Francis
Author:Ellwood, Robert
Unit Cost:$92.04
Book Title:To find the library e-book(s) req'd for your course, please visit http://apus.libguides.com/er.php to locate the eReserve by course #.
Author: No Author Specified
Book Title:Controversial New Religions, 2nd ed - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
ISBN:9780199315314
Publication Info:Oxford University Press
Author:Lewis, James
Unit Cost:$37.08

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.