Have you ever wondered...?
...what the Dalai Lama believes or why Joan of Arc was burned at the stake? Have you ever wanted to be an archaeologist and dig up 2000-year old artifacts in Israel? Have you ever noticed that even though Christians use the same Bible they find in it different answers to questions such as evolution, or gay rights? Have you thought about why Muslims yearn to make the arduous pilgrimage to Mecca, why cows are sacred in India, or why kamikaze pilots believe they would become gods? If so, you may want to consider taking courses in Religion.
About the Department
The Department of Religion seeks to help students understand the nature and importance of the world's great religious traditions in historical context and to glimpse some of the profound questions and answers about human nature and destiny that these traditions offer. Toward this end several individual traditions are studied in depth, but the traditions are also treated comparatively, in each case noting how they shape human existence and culture through such expressions as myths, symbols, rituals, moral systems, and ideas.
For students seeking a true liberal arts education, a major or minor in Religion provides an avenue towards deeper understanding of oneself and the human adventure. It also serves as a stepping stone to graduate studies and as a general background helpful in many vocations. For the major and minor, the faculty provides an introduction to the academic discipline of Religion followed by careful probing of two or more important traditions and a consideration of the methods useful in the study of Religion.
Objectives in the Religion Major
With a focus on religious symbols, doctrines, practices, moral systems, and institutions in both ancient and modern settings, Religion majors develop an understanding of a range of religious traditions. Department faculty believe that in order to function effectively in an increasingly complex world, educated persons must possess an understanding of the roles religions play in political, economic, social, cultural, and moral arenas of people's lives. Religion majors explore in depth at least one Asian religious tradition and one Western monotheistic tradition, and they will gain familiarity with a variety of theories, methods, and issues involved in the academic study of religions.