Why Study Religion?
Religion has been and will continue to be an important part of human culture. Religion has been a part of the past and continues to be part of our present. Witness the religious dimensions of current events in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East, India. You might consider that religion still plays a role in contemporary America. It's rare that a politician doesn't end a speech with "God bless America". Many sporting events open with prayer as do other civic events. Most people mark important passages in their lives with religious rites and celebrations (e.g. birth, marriage and death).
Many students ask, "What can I do with a religion degree?" Some graduates become leaders in religious communities, but many others go into different careers. Recently one student began medical school for example. Others have gone to law school or graduate school. Studying religion gives people a unique set of skills in critical thinking, of understanding other cultures, and observation. These skills are often highly sought after by many employers. Religion graduates know how to synthesize ideas, how to explain ideas to others, how to persuade others to their point of view, and how to understand the people who make any business work. Students learn all types of skills that are transferable and which are highly sought after by employers: reading and analysis, speaking and writing, picking up ideas quickly, critical thinking, pedagogy, pattern-finding, drawing conclusions from evidence, persuasion, and so on. Religion students are encouraged to think about why they are on earth, about where they are going, about what some of the greatest and most creative thinkers in the past have said about the meaning of human existence, about what is most worth doing in life, and about how people might best spend their hard-earned money.