Whether or not you want to pursue a degree in religion, it is worth considering studying religion during your college years. Even if you are in another degree program – yes, that includes programs like science or mathematics – studying religion can open up your view of people and the world around you. Why? Because in the U.S., 90% of people believe in some sort of higher power. Of those, 56% believe in God and the Bible, and 33% believe in another type of higher power. In addition, 84% of people worldwide are religious. However, the number of people who believe in a higher power isn’t the only reason to study religion. Here are a few more reasons:
Studying Religion Helps You Understand People, Cultures, and History
Whether you choose to study religion as a major, minor, or just take a few courses, it will help you with your understanding of the world around you. Every country and every culture around the world are intimately connected with one or more religions. In many countries, religion is deeply entwined with the culture and political system. Also, the history of every nation and culture is tied with religion.
With this in mind, you might want to study religion as your major. However, you could also study it as your minor or just take a few courses to gain a better understanding of the cultural beliefs of a friend, coworker, or new family member. If you want to travel, perhaps complete an exchange program or a move to a foreign country, the study of religion helps you better understand that culture and its people. These are all valid reasons to study religion.
Studying Religion Helps You Understand the Complexity of the International Community
Not only does studying religion help you learn about different people and cultures, but it also enables you to understand the complexity of the global community. Religion dictates the calendar we follow and has its roots deeply embedded in political and legal systems around the world. From the swearing-in of a witness in court to the Pledge of Allegiance, religion is everywhere. And that means it is also present in how nations interact with and understand one another.
Studying Religion Can Open You to New Ideas and Experiences
The study of religion on any level can increase your level of happiness and contentedness with this life while opening you up to new spiritual ideas and experiences. You might find there is a religious path that interests you, one that you had never heard of or considered in the past. You might learn spiritual practices, such as prayer and meditation, that can help you through difficult times in life. There may be a connection with a higher power you never knew you had, which provides you with a new level of peace and contentment. These are all positive effects of studying religion.
Studying Religion Helps You Compete in the Job Market
Finally, choosing religion as your primary course of study or as a minor can be your gateway into an incredible job market. Even if you decide to major in another discipline, studying religion on the side will provide you with invaluable skills. Not only will you have a deeper understanding of people and world cultures, but you will also develop critical thinking skills that will serve you well in any career. Your versatility, cultural knowledge, and advanced skills will make you more competitive, particularly for companies with a global presence or that have customers from around the world.
What a Degree in Religion Can Do for You
If you choose to complete a full undergraduate degree in religion, you will learn about many different religious texts, spiritual paths, and people’s personal beliefs and non-religious ideologies. With this sound training, you will have many career opportunities ahead of you, such as:
- Youth ministry
- Parish ministry
- Teacher or professor
- Religious writer
- Charity officer
- Outreach worker
- Curator or archivist
- Law enforcement
Studying Religion Online or On-Campus
The beauty of a degree in religion is that you can study online or in the classroom. Of course, these two different avenues provide you with various advantages and disadvantages. The most significant benefit of online learning is that it offers increased flexibility in terms of your learning schedule, which makes it easier to get your education around work and family obligations, something many students struggle with these days.
However, with the online method of learning, it isn’t as easy to form a sense of community or the connections with your teachers and fellow students. It’s more challenging to get together and learn to lead a congregation or pray together than it is when you are studying on-campus. In other words, online learning makes it more difficult to have a human connection and hands-on work. Plus, when you study on-campus, you also have access to all the on-campus amenities, organizations, and clubs that will enrich your college and spiritual experience.
Whether you feel online or on-campus is the best method of study for you, the option is there for a fabulous education in religion. When deciding where to go, make sure you choose a top-notch program that will provide you with a good education and the most well-rounded experience. This will ensure you are fully prepared for a career and wherever you might go in life.