Learning Goals

Students who major in religion can expect to achieve the following learning goals:

  • The Nature of Religion
    • Be able to define "religion" per se in terms of both theory and practice: experience of the sacred or numinous, myth, ritual, doctrine, ethics, and religious community

 

  • The Relationship of the Individual or Society to Deity or Non-Being
    • Be able to speak conceptually about the nature of God or of ultimacy as conceived in various religious traditions

 

  • The Comparative Study of Religion
    • Have a basic knowledge of the major world religions specifically, as well as more detailed knowledge of at least one religious tradition beyond or outside of their own experience
    • Develop an appreciation of diverse perspectives and viewpoints in religious thinking
    • Be able to engage in self-reflection on, as well as objective, informed, and respectful discussion of, the ultimate questions of meaning in life, death, and concepts of the afterlife in a comparative context

 

  • The Critical and Comparative Analysis of Sacred Texts
    • Be familiar with either the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament or the Christian New Testament
    • Develop various tools and methods for the critical analysis and objective understanding of religious texts in their historical, cultural, and literary contexts, with some attention to theological/ideological implications
    • Be able to recognize and discuss the distinctive and varied perspectives of individual portions of sacred texts
    • Develop appreciation of religious texts from an aesthetic or literary perspective

 

  • Social and/or Individual Ethics
    • Be able to engage objectively and constructively in discussion of social, communal, and/or ethical aspects of various religious traditions
    • Have some more advanced exposure to concepts of theology and/or ethics
    • Be able to explain how one or more religions carry out moral duties in society or enact justice.
    • Develop the tools necessary to make ethically-informed moral decisions

 

  • Learning Skills
    • Develop critical thinking skills with respect to one's own and other religious traditions and writings.
    • Develop information literacy and research skills for the study of religion generally and for the study of religious texts specifically, including the ability to identify, locate, evaluate, and properly cite appropriate resources for research. 
    • Develop an ability to communicate effectively about religious topics in both oral and written form.
    • Be acquainted with the standard methods, tools, and resources for the analysis of religious texts, the comparative study of religion, and the study of theology or ethics.