Written By Yuki Shimizu
Intro to Problem of God
Published: November 2, 2016
Hope you had a great Hallo-weekend! Since I wrote about my quantitative class last time, on this post today I want to introduce one of the humanities courses at Georgetown.
Surprisingly pre-registration period (course selection for next semester) is just around the corner even though I haven’t yet finished all of my midterms for this semester. Yesterday, one freshman girl asked me and my friend who is also a senior which class she should take, and we both said “Problem of God!!” we didn’t plan it at all though… Problem of God is one of the required Theology classes at Georgetown, and I think it is really unique to religious university. I took this in my very first semester in college and it is one of the best classes I have taken here. The class is relatively small with 20-30 students and the content depends on professors but I’m sure all of them are fantastic!
Since Georgetown is Jesuit institution, on the first day of class, I expected that I would need to read the Bible and study Catholic rituals. It was totally wrong. The purpose of the course was to explore a variety of religious beliefs and challenges in the modern world. The class materials ranged from musical aspect of African religion to arguments regarding existence of God.
As for my personal religious experience, I grew up in Catholic school for 15 years in Japan (with Mio, another blogger from Japan), but my dad always made me go pray at Shinto shrine every day and my best friend’s family owns a Buddhist temple which my dad has business with -yes, this is really complicated… Because I am not a strong believer of one of those religions, the class of Problem of God, which allow students to discuss diverse beliefs, was perfect to reflect my religious background.
The best part of the class was that it deals with contemporary issues related to religions in the world. I lead a class discussion about the issue about Japanese Prime Minister’s visit to Shinto shrine and wrote an essay about the border between science and religion. Where does God exist? Does He exist our brain? How does our nervous system react to religion?
In my first blog post, I mentioned American universities’ “Liberal Arts” system. The interpretation of liberal arts actually varies from school to school. Georgetown requires students to take about 20 courses, one of which is Theology, besides their majors, but on the other hand, Brown University does not have any requirements, letting students explore wide range of courses by themselves (as far as I know). There is no correct way of learning liberal arts, but the school’s unique curriculum will be one of your important criteria in choosing schools to apply.