The academic study of religion is central to the creation
of a community of world citizens. Our program is designed
for students who live in a pluralistic society and who wish
to investigate the role religions play in human life and society.
Because religion has shaped the human story of almost every
culture, it is difficult to understand human behavior or to
interpret world events without grasping how religion has helped
to determine them. As United States Supreme Court Justices
Clark and Goldberg wrote in their decision allowing the study
of religion in public schools, "one's education is not
complete without a study of comparative religion or the history
of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization."
Part of the liberal arts, religious studies employs critical
analysis and methods from a variety of disciplines to understand
religious traditions as well as to question the dogmas, stereotypes,
and prejudices that may surround those traditions. In addition
to investigating religious symbols, texts, practices, and
belief systems, the study of religion examines the relationship
of religion to ethics, contemporary social issues, politics,
history, psychology, science, literature, and the arts.