GEO5120EN - Theory & Analysis of Cultural Geography of Hinduism

Course description

Geographic exploration and comparative analysis of the national, regional, and local distribution, diffusion, and cultural (material and non-material) norms associated with the Hindu religion. Students will engage through assigned readings, online discussions, and collaborative work that will help develop a better understanding for missional outreach around the world.

How this course benefits students

A search online for the need and wish for more insight for cultural understanding among missionaries prior to their missional work is widespread. One good example of this can be seen in the online article entitled “Communicating Christ Cross-culturally to other Religions: A Mission Perspective on Sharing the Gospel” which explains the need to learn about cultures around the world as missionaries attempt to reach people for Christ. Among the many comments for existence and understanding culture in this online article include the following: “Man is a wondrous and complex being. For wherever we find man—in widely different cultures geographically dispersed and at all points from the dimmest moments of recorded history to the present—we also find religion.” - from Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology: Unabridged, one-volume edition, reprinted (Manila, Philippines: Christian Growth Ministry, 1997), p. 17. “Cultural blindness creates unnecessary barriers that hinder the proclamation of the Gospel and the expansion of God’s Kingdom. The missionary cannot communicate Christianity without concerning himself with culture because, though Christianity is supracultural [transcends cultural bonds] in its origin and truth, it is cultural in its application. In evangelism cultural distance is always more important than geographical distance.” – from Teague, Dennis, Culture: The Missing Link in Mission. (Manila, Philippines: OMF Literature Inc., 1996), pp.111-113. Scholars have written about the need for understanding cultures (defined generally as aspects of material, non-material and folk cultures) in the past. Traditionally, studies have examined the religious impact on culture and environment, and sample of structures from all religions in the landscape has often been studied. The Geography of Religions and Belief Systems specialty group of the Association of American Geographers aims to “further the geographic study of religious phenomena, including but not limited to religious groups, behavior, material culture, and human-environment relations from a religious perspective.” ( accessed Sept.5, 2016.

Why this course is important

The course focuses on a comparative analysis of the cultural components of Hinduism at a national, regional, and local level. The course is important for any Christian who is reaching out to non-Christians around the world. Basic understanding of distribution, diffusion, and cultural norms at various scales are needed to understand members of another religion that will prepare for better missional outreach. Colleges and universities do not offer courses on specific religions within geography, but there are generic courses on the geography of world religions. The need for geographic insight and cultural understanding at a more specific level makes the cultural geography of any particular religion course at Missional University distinct and unique. No other known course exists that provides content like this.

Credit hours
3 hours
Subject area
Educational level
Learning type
Upcoming terms
* Schedule subject to change. Please contact the Registrar's office with schedule questions.

How this course relates to missional core values

Biblically based

This course holds fast to the biblical worldview and recognizes that everyone may become a child of God, as noted in Colossians 3:11 (NIV): “Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”

Missionally driven

The goal of the course is to help prepare a way in educating and preparing missions-minded students and all who desire to reach out to non-Christians, by sharing insight to the various cultural norms and practices that exist among the religions of the world. The variations in practice will encourage the development of “best practices” for outreach that will be culturally sensitive to the accepted norms.

Contextually informed

Cultural geography helps in our understanding of the diverse cultures of the world, and by understanding cultural variations within various major religions, the course lays a foundation of knowledge that enables missional students to develop authentic, culturally-appropriate methods of faith expressions among each religious group.

Interculturally focused

Intercultural awareness will be encouraged among students, who will be exposed to demographic, sociographic, and geographic data for communities at various levels, to enable them to develop missional ministry approaches for their local contexts. Empirical, quantitative and qualitative research and findings in sociocultural contexts will be explored.

Practically minded

This course will give students knowledge and insight of religious and cultural variations that they need to create and make a difference in their areas of residence. The course also enables students to share stories of successes and challenges with others through online discussions.

Experientially transformed

This course encourages interactive dialogue that will present opportunities to learn from others who have experienced life among various cultures, religions, and countries. The interactive communication will provide an ever expanding understanding of others and will enable everyone to be better prepared if and when missional opportunities arise.