As a discipline, the central focus of religious studies (which is today dominated by historical and ethnographic modes of inquiry) is not to prove or disprove the “truth” or value of religion (although this is, for sure, an important and lively question in the philosophy of religion, a traditional and important subfield of religious studies). Instead, the academic study of religion, a largely inductive and empirical field of study, empowers students to critically and thoughtfully engage the complex lived religion they encounter in the historical record and in the world around them. Given religion’s traditional and ongoing power to shape individuals and societies, religious literacy seems required if we wish to respond in a responsible way to the diverse religious perspectives and phenomena that help animate our local and global contexts, both past and present.
Curriculum chart for a minor in Religious Studies.
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