Religion today: Themes and issues
Religion today: Themes and issues

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.


This course was written by Dr Marion Bowman and Dr Susan Mumm

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] ), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this course:

Course image: Matthias Rhomberg in Flickr made available under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence.

Maitland, S. ‘Rose of Lima: some thoughts on purity and penance’ from Joseph, A. ‘Through the Devil’s Gateway’ 1990, London, SPCK. With permission from The Society for Promotion of Christian knowledge,;

Miner, H. ‘Body ritual among the Nacirema’, from American Anthropologist, 1956, vol.58 pp. 503-7

Figure 1 The installation of a shrine to Guan Yin in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Photo: Eithne Nightingale, © V & A Images/ Victoria and Albert Museum;

Figure 2 Publicity material for The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. Photo: © Glasgow City Council (Museums), Glasgow Museums;

Figure 3 Shiva Nataraja, c.1800, bronze. Glasgow Museums: The St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art. Photo: © Glasgow City Council (Museums), Glasgow Museums;

Every effort has been made to trace all the copyright owners, but if any have been inadvertently overlooked, the publishers will be pleased to make the necessary arrangements at the first opportunity.

Smithco: Flickr

Don't miss out:

If reading this text has inspired you to learn more, you may be interested in joining the millions of people who discover our free learning resources and qualifications by visiting The Open University - openlearn/ free-courses

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371