Why Study Religion? It is impossible to read the daily newspaper or watch a television newscast without coming across references to religion. Whether the report is about charitable work in the third world, bloody battles between rival religious factions, or the mass suicide of a strange cult, it is clear that religion is a major force in every part of the world. Religion has inspired great works of art and literature and it also has provided justification for bigotry and genocide. Whether in your multi-cultural neighbourhood or in the "global village," chances are that you are in contact with people who belong to different religious communities. In such a pluralistic world, it is crucial for people to be religiously literate.
The Department of Religious Studies promotes open, non-denominational examination of the world's great spiritual traditions. Courses in Western and Eastern Religions emphasize the historical development of the world's great religions, introducing students to their scriptures and describing their main institutions and beliefs. Courses in the Nature of Religion provide opportunities for reflection on the nature and function of religion in society as well as in the psychology of individuals. Comparative analysis and the study of new religious movements also play a part in the attempt to understand religion and its place in the contemporary world.