What do religious traditions have to say about our fundamental existential experiences—birth, death, sex, suffering, love, justice and injustice—and how relevant those perspectives are in our changing world? Is there a meeting ground between religion and science? How are religious realities expressed in science fiction, music, visual art?Read More
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.
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.
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.”