Why Study Religion?

Why Study Religion?

According to many people, religion is one of the most interesting human beliefs that shape the world around us.  It is quite common for there to be debates over a religious subject in either the news or in our own lives.  Even people who believe in a common faith may have different opinions from one another.  These opinions often shape relationships, drive conflicts, or can even lead to peaceful resolutions to politically motivated wars.  Across the world at this very moment, there are countless battles being lead culturally and militarily, that are religiously influenced in nature.  A good reason to study religion is to better understand this powerful force.  Studying religion can give us a better perspective on the human condition, and may help us form a greater understanding against cultural and spiritual divides.


Religions can be influential to many different types of people.  While political ideas come and go, religious beliefs tend to remain static longer, slowly evolving over the centuries, and leaving traces of their legacy throughout cultures around the world.  In fact, many of the most important social and political ideas shaping our world today such as social equality, economic justice, medical ethics, and criminal justice are all heavily shaped by religious beliefs.  By studying religion, students can gain a better understanding of how these complex beliefs continue to mold the political and cultural world today. 


Studying religion allows for students to gain critical thinking skills, as well as develop a greater appreciation for other cultures and beliefs.  Because of this, students may be better prepared to engage in a wider range of occupations where these skills are helpful such as law, politics, teaching, and business.  Globalization is driving the economic and political agendas of countries around the world.  The ability to respect cultures different from one's own becomes an asset to the diplomat, business person, or teacher.  Religious studies open up this world of differences to the student, allowing them to see beyond the confines of their own cultural and religious beliefs.


Finally, studying religion has been shown to lead to increased awareness and acceptance of other faiths, as well as a reduction in extremist beliefs.  This is one of the more important reasons students should study religion in an academic setting, regardless of their career ambitions.  By understanding the importance of religion to other people outside of one's own faith, we can gain a better appreciation of their struggles and points of view, as well as a better ability to work together towards common political and social problems.  With the world more interconnected than ever before, the ability for cultures to come together, including ones which have been historically antagonistic towards each other, is one of the greatest challenges of the new century.  By studying religion, we are better prepared to make that happen.



Ready to study religion and learn more about it? Get information about religion schools online using our religion school finder at the top of this page. ↑