Essay Comparing World Religions

Essay Comparing World Religions-56
But the most important attribute that the academic study of religion offers to our students is even more vital and far more concrete: the ability to understand others.In a world in which we are increasingly exposed to difference of all types, what could be a more vital skill for navigating the future?Don’t get me wrong, the discipline of religious studies is not imagined as a substitute for religious training.

But the most important attribute that the academic study of religion offers to our students is even more vital and far more concrete: the ability to understand others.In a world in which we are increasingly exposed to difference of all types, what could be a more vital skill for navigating the future?

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The broader context of this type of education opens our students to a wide variety of skills, including language study, quantitative and scientific reasoning, and the various perspectives offered by the social sciences.

All those tools and disciplinary lenses contribute to a nuanced view of the world that goes beyond vocational training.

Contemporary discourse in America, both in the public domain and in academe, is often quick to posit that these stories are “really” about politics, power, class, social standing and the like, and people often refuse to take the religious aspects of the narrative seriously.

Yes, of course, any of these issues can be understood within a broader context of social and cultural concerns.

However, for those aspiring to leadership in the 21st century, knowledge of the religions of the world from a nonconfessional perspective is not a luxury but a necessity.

Essay Comparing World Religions

Study of the variety of religious traditions around the world makes it abundantly clear that different people operate under different assumptions about the way the world works.

We train our students to read closely, think deeply, write cogently and, above all, analyze carefully the important -- and sometimes decisive -- role that religion plays in the lives of cultural actors across the globe.

I often tell my students that it is our responsibility to use a “dispassionate third-party perspective” when viewing the religious phenomena, to understand and analyze while withholding judgment.

The academic discipline of religious studies does not train students to be Catholics or Buddhists or Jews any more than political science trains students to be Democrats or Republicans.

Even though I teach at an institution that is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, my department is not wedded to Lutheran doctrine or even Christian identity, but to a scholarly desire to understand the world’s inhabitants and cultures.

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