Undergraduate Program in Religious Studies

Religion is a universal component of human life in most societies or cultures. Religion shapes every aspect of life and provides both an understanding of the world and an often ritualized context in which to give meaning to major changes and events in life (coming-of-age, marriage, birth, death). It is difficult to understand human culture and society without understanding the religious beliefs and practices that give meaning to existence.

The field of religious studies attempts to approach each religion with the greatest possible objectivity and respect. Students will learn what religion is (and is not), how it shapes human life, family, community life, society and the larger issues of cross-cultural understanding and cooperation. Students learn to analyze the diversity and the unique complexity of religion in human society and in relation to the natural world.

A program in religious studies is part of a rounded liberal arts education. The methodologies of the liberal arts and sciences will be used to analyze and enter into dialogue with the belief structures and living expressions of the religions of the world, past and present. Because religious language is often symbolic or metaphorical, great attention is focused on understanding those symbols of religious meaning.

The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in religious studies affords the opportunity for students to learn about the world’s religions in a non-judgmental environment. The program also offers the opportunity for students to critically consider and deepen their own religious beliefs. Perhaps equally important, students learn to ask and contemplate the crucial questions that shape human communities or threaten to destroy human communities.

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