The academic study of religion is a scholarly discipline involving historical, critical, analytic, and constructive methodologies to understand religious phenomena — texts, beliefs, doctrines, practices and world views, for example. It provides excellent background and thinking skills for various academic pursuits, career goals and community leadership.
The study of religion is intellectually exciting because it focuses on the deepest questions human beings can ask. It explores the boundary questions of life and death, of love and hate that characterize the human condition. Religion assumes a central place in the lives of virtually all cultures and civilizations and is a necessity in understanding our own world and many of the tensions within it.
At Manchester, a student may study religion to probe more deeply personal matters of faith in order to lay a solid foundation for crucial decisions in life. Other students study religion in the context of investigation into the culture and history of ideas which have formed and shaped our civilization. Religious studies at Manchester is taught within the tradition of the Church of the Brethren which maintains a respect for freedom of conscience. This provides an open forum for reflecting on a variety of theological and philosophical traditions, while at the same time taking faith commitments seriously.
The aims of this program of study are to help students:
- acquire a sympathetic understanding of the Bible, the Christian faith, and other world religions;
- articulate and reflect upon the core claims that distinguish the Christian tradition;
- become acquainted with the major methodologies and issues in the study of religion;
- prepare for graduate study; and
- understand a world in which compassion reveals the divine.
The Philosophy and Religious Studies Department at Manchester University provides excellent pre-professional training for careers requiring the ability to read critically, think clearly, and express oneself effectively.