Religion

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Articles on Religion:
   Major in Religion
   A future in Religion/Ministry
   Religion Major...A Closer Look
   Explore a Major in Religion

Major in Religion

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“Matthew 5:16 “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Despite the claim of often quoted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzche that, “God is dead,” 84% of the world’s population identifies with one religion or another, causing one to wonder what stats Nietzche was referencing! Religion-- explained as a set of beliefs or practices that define the relationship between humanity and the divine--is on the continual rise. Furthermore, it is one of the most powerful influencing factors on culture, politics and society at large, making it an interesting college major choice to say the least.

What happens after I die? Why is there suffering? Where did I come from and why am I here? In this major you can expect to seek answers to life’s toughest questions through reading, writing, discussion, research and reflection. You will learn how to view history from a religious perspective and to engage in an analytical, cross-cultural comparison of the world’s many religious systems. It’s possible you may visit various places of worship or even other countries in order to gain a better understanding of the personal, societal and global significance of various religions. Many programs in this broad based major encourage volunteer work and require a senior thesis.

Some of the classes you make take include:

  • Belief Systems
  • Spiritual and Cultural Traditions
  • Philosophy
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • World Religions

Because of the nature of this major, it is helpful to approach it self-reflectively so that what is gleaned is personally applicable to life, not merely an academic exercise. Some of the other desired traits and skills needed in order to succeed in this major include: good research, writing and presentation abilities, good organizational and time management skills and the capability to work well with and show empathy and understanding to others.

This interdisciplinary major teaches critical thinking and self-awareness and makes a great springboard into higher learning. Many in this major attain more specialized or advanced training and end up in some level of religious education or counseling, but even a bachelor’s degree opens doors to diverse career options such as:

  • Clergy. About 20% who obtain religion majors land in some form of church work where they will instruct, counsel, offer comfort and provide spiritual help to congregants under their care.
  • Spiritual writer. This involves taking what you believe and helping to inspire and instruct others through the written word.
  • Political activist. Knowledge of religion is an indispensible part of politics and can be the key to understanding and improving upon a number of local and world issues. 
  • Social/Human service assistant or administrator.  These individuals help struggling families or individuals find resources within their community. They may also create and implement services to help meet felt needs.
  • Community development worker. Whether employed by a non-profit or an NGO, in a local community or overseas, these workers tackle social, legal, economic or environmental issues and work for betterment and equality through education and empowerment.

Want to develop a better understanding of yourself, your fellow creature, the meaning of life and worship? Excited about a helping profession that engages people wholistically and offers hope? Then perhaps a major in religion would be right up your ally!