The Role And Purpose Of The Religious Studies Program On Campus:
Foster understanding of diverse cultures and people.
For the discipline of Religious Studies, religion is both a product of culture and plays an important role in shaping that culture. Our focus is not divine or other-worldly phenomena but the manifold ways religion has shaped and continues to shape our world and the people who live in it. Much of the discord and disunity in the world is caused by misunderstandings, prejudices, and propaganda rooted in religious traditions. Religious Studies fosters understanding that will lead to respect and peace.
Affirm the value of cross-cultural approaches.
Our field holds that one cannot study religions in isolation; they are continually being influenced by and interacting with other religious traditions. With globalization, these interactions are even more frequent, more complicated, and occasionally more deadly. Our discipline thrives in this trans-national context.
Affirm the value of cross-disciplinary approaches.
Our field is predicated on employing multiple methodologies from a variety of fields to attempt to understand our subject holistically. We value collaboration and discussions with many different disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. The quality of our insights depends on our knowledge and use of multiple approaches.
Encourage reasoned and respectful reflection regarding values, truth, and aesthetic judgment.
We recognize religion as an important constituent element in the cultural constructions of truth, goodness, and beauty. For most societies, ethical and aesthetic considerations are intimately intertwined with religious worldviews. Appreciating these links is critical for co-existing in a diverse work for ce and world.
Inform students' personal lives.
We recognize that religion is both deeply personal and highly experiential for many of our students. Our role is neither to persuade nor dissuade anyone from particular beliefs but rather challenge students to engage multiple perspectives, learn from other perspectives, and encourage understanding about their own traditions (if they have any) and others'. This impact extends far beyond the classroom and their collegiate career.