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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences - Unit 1: Historical Foundations by Rutgers the State University of New Jersey

363 ratings
100 reviews

About the Course

Throughout history, the vast majority of people around the globe have believed they have, however defined, a “soul.” While the question of whether the soul exists cannot be answered by science, what we can study are the causes and consequences of various beliefs about the soul and its prospects of surviving the death of the body. Why are soul and afterlife beliefs so common in human history? Are there adaptive advantages to assuming souls exist? Are there brain structures that have been shaped by environmental pressures that provide the foundation of body/mind dualism that is such a prominent feature of many religions? How do these beliefs shape the worldviews of different cultures and our collective lives? What is the role of competing afterlife beliefs in religion, science, politics, and war? This course explores several facets of this relatively unexplored but profoundly important aspect of human thought and behavior. The course consists mainly of 70 to 80 minute lectures, typically broken up into 3 segments, recorded from a course offered by Rutgers University School of Arts and Sciences. These videos include slides and some embedded video clips. Most lectures are accompanied by slides used during the lecture, also including recommended reading assignment which may provide additional opportunities to reflect on your studies. Due to the lengthiness of this class and natural progression, the online course has been separated into 3 units, this is Unit 1....

Top reviews


Sep 22, 2017

Brilliant course, brilliant lecturers, brilliant topic, extremely well thought-out approach to such a mind-blowing topic. I highly recommend it to anyone with even the vaguest interest in the topic.


Aug 22, 2015

I just started with this course and I am loving it! This not only offers a very fresh perspective on beliefs about souls and an afterlife but is also extremely relatable on a personal level.

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1 - 25 of 99 Reviews for Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences - Unit 1: Historical Foundations


Jan 12, 2019


By Emil

Aug 16, 2018

Done it

By D.Scott V

Jul 06, 2017

Should be considered standard for all first year college students. A great course! Many thanks!

By Deleted A

Jun 23, 2017

very interesting.

By Camila B

Nov 20, 2016

Excellent course, taught by absolutely amazing and intellectually stimulating professors.

By Carlos D

Feb 09, 2016

I found it really amazing... i wish i could have been present in the classroom :)

By Marina

Dec 25, 2015

very nice course, except for the name. causes is ok, but consequences doesnt receive the importante that the title implies.

By Angeles E

Nov 05, 2015

I think it is a very interesting course. And one can feel the passion that the teachers have in doing it.

Thank you

By Eugenio D P

Jun 06, 2018

Excellent, very didactic, teachers are very experienced, i enjoyed it very much. Highly recommended

By Alejandro P

Aug 14, 2015

I loved the presentation of this course, as someone interested in what distinguishes us from other animals and the mechanisms that underlie our senses of self. Some of the material, I was already familiar with because of other books on anthropology and evolution, but appreciated nevertheless how it was related to the beliefs in the soul and our psychological survival.

By Luis L

Sep 17, 2015

Very good, thanks

By Bruce M

Sep 17, 2015

Thank you for the opportunity to have a better life through many understandings found in the Rutgers State University course Soul Beliefs: Causes and Consequences. The information was refreshing, enlightening and cut to the quick on many questions I had about soul beliefs.

By Anil M

Aug 20, 2015

Most informative & unique course , I have come across.

By Syed R H G

Dec 20, 2015

a thought provoking course .. the prof. has an amusing personality which makes it easy to go through the lecture

By Ana K

Oct 27, 2015

The course was really interesting. Professors are so adorable and the material are full of new thoughts and knowledge. I hope I can take the second and the third units of the course. With great respect, grateful to the creators of the course. Thank you!

By Omar Á C V

May 08, 2017

Muy buen curso, considero que es un gran enfoque desde la psicología de un tema tan importante como lo es la religión, se nota la pasión que los docentes han tenido al diseñar e impartir este curso. En ocasiones da la impresión que bajan de nivel pero, si eres paciente te das cuenta que todo lo que han ideado tiene una razón y termina siendo determinante para la comprensión de los objetivos de cada semana. Si te interesan los temas relacionados con las creencias del alma, este MOOC es indispensable.

By Michele S

Dec 20, 2016


By José M H R

Sep 26, 2015

Excelente curso sobre un tema MUY importante y, como se indicó en el propio curso, poco tratado en ámbitos académicos. Creencias del Alma aporta informaciones históricas sobre el desarrollo de las religiones y creencias y su función para el ser humana, así como una visión (más o menos) crítica sobre los mismos, y apunta a la relevancia de éstos en conflictos y debates del mundo moderno.

By Erlan B d L

Sep 28, 2017

Curso excelente. Super recomendado para quem se interessa sobre Psicologia das Religiões.

By Pablo S S

Oct 13, 2015

Interesting, different and fun.

By Terry G (

Sep 19, 2015

I really enjoyed this course. An interesting mix of history, philosophy and psychology. I enjoyed the written assignments as it made me think harder about the course material than just passing the quizzes. Reviewing others' work was fascinating too, as it made me consider things from different points of view (though I do think the reviewing criteria would've benefitted from being just a little bit more detailed, to better reflect the huge variation in standard between submissions).

I'm very much looking forward to the next module!

By julio s

Jun 13, 2016

Excelent, a deep view about the origin of religions and the things they share

By Juan J D

Nov 26, 2015

A life changing course.

By Илья К

Aug 28, 2015

Must see for everyone who wants to understand religion much better from scientific point of view.

By Arash F

Mar 21, 2016

Essential course for every student , thinker and even human being,