Studying Religion: Preparing Students to More Fully Engage the World
Scholar Gary Kessler writes that religion is "a force that influences, for good or for ill, the lives of practically everyone who is alive." People live and die in the name of religion. And increasingly, religion has become a central part of election campaigns, educational curricula, personal decisions, and popular culture products. Given the power of religion in our world, it is imperative that we, as citizens, study it. The academic study of religion provides students with essential skills (critical thinking, analytical writing, active listening, cross cultural communication, critical empathy, public speaking, scholarly research, etc.,) and prepares them to engage the diversity and complexity of our global environment in meaningful ways. For additional perspectives, read Nathan Schneider's article, Why the World Needs Religious Studies, on Religious Dispatches, and Religious Studies Revival, from Newsweek Magazine, September 2010.