World Religions course

Open Educational Resources

This page and the resources linked from it are Open Educational Resources (OER)

"It is a stubborn fact that non-Christian religions are radically different from Christianity." — J. I. Packer

The World's Living Religions course at Southern Nazarene University course deals with the beliefs and practices of the religions (other than Christianity) of our world. It is similar to those courses sometimes titled Comparative Religions. This course will give students an understanding of religions such as Animism (including Wiccan), Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and others.

During the semester, we will utilize not only written materials and lectures by the professor, but also videos and appearances by guest speakers from those religions. Fortunately, for the purposes of this course, we have some great resources in the Oklahoma City area for doing field trips.

Plus: Keep your ears open during the semester. If you discover a student on campus who has grown up in one of these religions, let me know. We can try to have them come to class for an interview.

photo of
class nenbers visiting a Hindu temple

World Religions class during a field trip to Oklahoma City's Hindu temple

What past students have said

"It has helped me take a critical look at what I believe and why." -- Brad P.
"It opened my eyes to how diverse even Oklahoma is." -- Angela T.

Most courses at SNU contain a writing component.
I expect students to produce written work that is focused, well developed, organized and relatively free of grammatical, punctuation, and spelling errors.
Papers falling short of this standard will not be graded. That work will be returned to the students for further revision and resubmission.
See my writing checklist.

Some external resources

World religions worship centers in Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City's Hindu Temple

Story and photos © Oklahoma Publishing Company, Used by permission and in accordance with the educational "fair use" provisions of U.S. copyright acts.

Temple houses spiritual treasure

The modest exterior of a building secluded from the nearby roadway belies the rich spiritual treasure it contains for Oklahoma City's Hindu community.

Inside, three of five intricately carved concrete temples now house idols that are an integral part of Hindu worship.

The deities, carved on black granite and marble and shipped from India, were installed during recent ceremonies at the Hindu Temple of Oklahoma located at 7200 North Coltrane.

A Hindu foundation was established in Oklahoma City several years ago as a nonprofit organization for preserving and promoting the religious and cultural heritage of India. The community built the temple on a 10-acre lot in the late 1980s.

Artisans from Tamil Nadu, India, worked from last November through April to construct the five temples within the building. Starting with concrete and materials locally available, the artisans sculpted the temples using traditional 3,000-year-old designs.

The temples are dedicated to various Hindu gods. Installed during the recent ceremony were idols representing the Lord Ganesha, considered the remover of obstacles; Lord Shiva, one of the trinities of Hindu mythology (the others are Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu); and Lord Venkateshwara.

The remaining two temples will house Lord Rama and Lord Krishna, two other incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Installation of these two deities will be done later. Shiva is considered the destroyer of evils, Brahma the creator and Vishnu the protector.

Vidyasagar Rao, foundation treasurer and chairman of the deity installation, said the event was a milestone for the community.

The ceremony was carried out according to Hindu scriptures by five priests from different temples in the United States, headed by Vedala Srinivas Acharya, priest of the Oklahoma City temple.

Acharya came to the United States as a scholar to the Hindu Temple in New York, and later was instrumental in establishing the Balaji Temple in Chicago. He came to Oklahoma City about two years ago.

A scholar in Sanskrit and Telugu, he also teaches Hindu philosophy and Sanskrit for beginners at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond as an adjunct professor.

Foundation member Amulya Reddy said the greater Oklahoma City area includes about 1,000 Hindus. Hindus also come to the temple from Tulsa, Stillwater, Enid and throughout the state.

Regular hours for the temple are 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to noon and 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

Pictures of Hindu temple in Oklahoma City

Hindu priest inside one of the 5
temples; exterior of Oklahoma's Hindu temple shrine

Extremism: Who is the real Hindu?

Who is the real Hindu? -- A newspaper column that reflects on actions by extremist Hindus in India.

Should Christian believers eat food that has been offered at a shrine to Hindu gods such as Krishna?

nextWhat should a Christian do when Hindu friends pull him into a weekly service at a Hindu shrine? [ read more ]

    -- Howard Culbertson,

Tempted to cheat on schoolwork? Before you do, read SNU's academic integrity policy.

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