April 20, 2024

Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of society and religion, lectures about the importance of knowing and understanding other religions and cultures so students have a better view of the world. Julie Gurrola | Banner

For students at California Baptist University who have questions about worldviews, different religions and God, the Comparative Religions class offers students a place to find those answers.

This class provides a chance for students to learn theology regarding belief systems and ethics as it prepares them to become a globally minded citizen.

Dr. Amy Stumpf, professor of society and religion, explained how learning about all of the different religions is approached in the class.

“I run it not chronologically, but by type, so we will start with the theistic religions — Christianity, Judaism, Islam — then move to pantheistic religions — Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age — so we can see the conceptual development and practice of those religions,” Stumpf said.

Amber De Alba, sophomore pre-nursing major, said her favorite part of the class is taking field trips.

“The field trips to different churches helped me apply what I learned in the classroom to real life circumstances,” De Alba said.

“It really opened my eyes and mind to a whole new way of thinking and believing.”

This class not only prepares students to think globally, but also to serve globally.

De Alba is preparing to embark on an International Service Project in June and said she hopes to work as a nurse overseas in the future.

At the end of the semester, Stumpf said she wants her students to understand why they have chosen their spiritual identity and how their theology is different from others’ theology.

While this class challenges students to learn about others, it challenges them to learn about themselves, as well.

“I want students to say, this will help me understand my own faith, how to relate to my neighbor and how to build point of contact with people who I want to be in a relationship with,” Stumpf said.

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