Why Study Religion

Religion in its varied expression informs the lives of most of the world’s population, both currently and historically. It has been the inspiration for literature, art, and music, and the source of law, meaning and values, social solidarity, and conflict. Religion—Western, Eastern, and otherwise—is a vast cluster of cultural phenomena (including sacred texts, mythologies and theologies, moral codes, and every conceivable kind of ritual) that is best explored from the perspective of more than one discipline.

Religious Studies at Union

What do religious traditions have to say about our fundamental life experiences—birth, death, sex, suffering, love, justice and injustice—and how relevant are those perspectives in our changing world? Is there a meeting ground between religion and science? How are religious realities expressed in music, visual art, and science fiction? What does “the freedom of religion” mean, and what does it entail? These are some of the intriguing questions that Union students tackle in their Religious Studies courses and research. By bringing together a variety of disciplinary approaches, our curriculum provides a perfect intellectual arena in which to explore the complex world of religion in ways that are directly relevant to students’ professional, academic, and personal interests.

Religious Studies and Liberal Arts

A major purpose of a liberal arts education is to enable students to lead meaningful lives—professionally, civically, and personally. The study of religion is an important part of this endeavor. By increasing knowledge of diverse religious traditions and introducing students to alternative perspectives and epistemologies, it prepares them for a more informed engagement with our world in which religion continues to play key roles, both nationally and internationally. It also offers students an effective context for a self-conscious reflection on their own views. In this way, courses in Religious Studies help cultivate responsible, reflective and engaged members of society capable of open-minded dialogue with the fellow citizens of our “global village.”

Multi Media Bar

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“Towards the Field of Interfaith Studies” Conference

Earlier this month a team of Union faculty and staff attended a conference sponsored by...

SAMSARA

SAMSARA Movie / Discussion / Pizza Night 6 November 2013 | 7:00 p.m. | Wold House Come...

Life of Pi

LIFE OF PI Movie / Discussion / Pizza Night 23 October 2013 | 7:00 p.m. | Sorum House...

“I Just Don’t Understand Those People!” Scientific Perspectives on Religious Conflict

2013 Wold Lecture on Religion and Conflict Wesley Wildman, Boston University School of...

Spielberg’s Lincoln and the Issue of American Exceptionalism

Robert Jewett, University of Heidelberg Spielberg’s Lincoln and the Issue of...

The World Before Her

The World Before Her 20 February 2013  | 6:30 p.m. | Lippman 201 A documentary film...

Islam and Islamophobia in America

2012 Wold Lecture on Religion and Conflict Diane Eck, Harvard University Islam and...

God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics

2011 Wold Lecture on Religion and Conflict Monica Duffy Toft, Harvard University...

Gender and Buddhism

Rita Gross, University of Wisconsin Eau‐Claire Gender and Buddhism 19 October 2011 |...

What’s the Point? Interreligious Dialogue in a Time of Terrorism

2010 Wold Lecture on Religion and Conflict Jane Dammen McAuliffe, Bryn Mawr College...