Studying
Religion in
Culture


Comparative Religion examines the spiritual quest of humankind, especially as it has manifested itself in the world's living religions. These include Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and other less familiar traditions. No other academic field looks at the origins, sacred writings, rituals, beliefs and world views of the various religions for their own sake rather than as an aspect of another field of study.

Within a public university, religion must be approached with academic objectivity and without favoritism for any one tradition. Yet, religion must also be studied with sensitivity and empathy for the millions of believers whose lives are shaped by their faith. Comparative Religion is also an interdisciplinary field which draws on the work of social scientists, historians, philosophers, and literary scholars in attempting to understand the religious quest. Hence, studying religious traditions develops habits of mind that are very important for life in our multicultural society. Furthermore, a familiarity with the world's religions is necessary for an understanding of church-state issues in America and of geo-political conflicts in South Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

The Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies is designed for those who (1) want a humanities undergraduate background focusing on religion as a preparation for further study in such fields as education, law, social work, counseling and government service; (2) wish to pursue graduate studies in religion with the aim of teaching and/or doing research in the subject; (3) are considering a career in various religious ministries or in religious education.

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