Studying
Religion in
Culture


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.

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