What is religion? What is culture?


As we study religion, we will think of it in terms of a Bell Curve: at one end are the people whose lives are wholly dedicated to their faith and practice; on the other end are people who question their tradition or who have no connection to religion at all. In the middle of the curve are the majority of people: it is these people we will study, though we can't make sense of their actions and beliefs unless we first understand the theological or philosophical foundations of each of the religions we will study.


Culture is the way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

What we want to explore is: How is religion shaped by culture, and culture shaped by religion? Look here, and here, and here.

  • Eight Elements of Religion
  • The Culture Iceberg
  • Unit 1 Vocabulary
  • Religion Over Time
  • HOME


    This site was created by Sarah Shmitt at the NEH Summer Institute "Literatures, Religions, and Arts of the Himalayan Region," held at the College of the Holy Cross, Summer 2011.