Religion plays a central role in human experience by providing a standpoint from which to discern meaning at a personal, social, and cosmic level. The religious studies program seeks to engage the student in a rigorous examination of the various forms that religion has taken and the particular standpoints they have produced. That examination includes the cultural, historical, systematic, and contemporary significance of religious texts, beliefs, and practices for the self-understanding of communities and individuals, and its embodiment in ritual and moral action.
People study religion to satisfy both personal and professional needs. The department’s curriculum enables students to explore their own traditions and those of others on campus, in American society, and around the world; and it allows students to study in depth a particular area, such as the Bible, or tradition, such as the African-American church. Students often discover significant connections between another field—literature, anthropology, or philosophy, for example—and the study of religion. As with other liberal arts disciplines, and especially those in the humanities, the study of religion enables students to develop skills in research, problem solving, close reading of texts, critical and philosophical thinking, and interdisciplinary perspectives on human behavior and societies. Religion majors and minors may go on to seminary in preparation for religious work or on to other graduate schools in such fields as law, medicine, psychology, or the academic study of religion. Some go directly into K-12 teaching, into the business world, or into the nonprofit service sector.
Of course, many nonmajors/minors also take religion courses, relatively few of which have prerequisites.
Hamline's Department of Religion is made up of scholar-practitioners who seek to model the positive relation we see between the academic study of religion and the practice of it. As a church -related university, we strongly affirm the United Methodist emphasis on ecumenical openness to other faiths, and we embrace the global scope of the Hamline mission to prepare compassionate citizens of the world. We interpret our church affiliation as a charter of hospitality. While predominantly Christian, the department welcomes students of different religions and students of no religion, inviting all to deepen their understanding of their own values and commitments and to investigate other faiths with respect for their particular wisdom and intrinsic worth.
Religious and Spiritual Life
American Academy of Religion
Society of Biblical Literature
The Wesley Center connects pursuit
of the common good with growth of the whole person through compassionate action
and courageous reflection.