A Religious History: Why Study Religion?

In a 2020 study conducted by Interfaith Diversity Experiences and Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS), less than a third of American college students surveyed said they felt confident navigating religious diversity.

With such a lack of cultural understanding prevalent among today’s youth, the question “Why study religion?” couldn’t be more pertinent. Learning spirituality increases cultural sensitivity. Students also explore subjects like psychology and philosophy. They gain essential critical thinking skills.

Below, we look at a few reasons the study of religion might be the right path for you.

Study Religion to Learn About Other Cultures

Over 80 percent of the world’s population subscribe to a belief system under twelve classical religions. There’s a vast array of cultural information to explore in spiritual study.

Religion informs cultural practices. It’s also the cornerstone of laws and governing principles in countries all around the world. For example, the National Museum of American Religion explores the role of religion in American culture.

Getting to grips with the hows and whys that lie behind different religions will make you more informed. You’ll learn about everything from lawmaking and global politics to why your Sikh neighbor wears a turban.

People Who Study Religion Get Hired

The future workplace needs thinkers. The World Economic Forum names critical thinking among a handful of core skills employers will look for.

To use critical thinking skills is to reason about what to do or think in any situation.

People adept in critical thinking can evaluate arguments. They can logically connect ideas. They can spot errors or inconsistencies in their thought processes or work.

The good news is that critical thinking is a soft skill–in other words, it’s learnable.

Spiritual studies sit under the umbrella of liberal arts–an interdisciplinary field that includes everything from philosophy to literature. Alongside practical communication skills, critical thinking is a cornerstone of this area of study.

Why Study Religion? It’ll Make You Happy

Delving deep into the study of religion has the potential to make you a happier person.

According to a 2019 global survey by the Pew Research Center, only 25 percent of people not affiliated with a religion reported being “very happy.” Compare this with an astounding 36 percent of actively religious people.

A 2016 Pew study found that religious Americans are more family-oriented. They also volunteer their time and money more often.

Curious about the reasons for these results? Undertaking religious studies gives you access to the latest research into the psychology of religion.

Spiritual Studies Helps You Navigate a Complicated World

Take a degree in theology and prepare to have your worldview challenged at every turn. Whether you’re hoping to join the clergy or work in community development, enter the question “Why study religion?” into a Google search. The relevance of such a course to your chosen career field might surprise you.

For more deep dives into the world of psychology, spirituality, and inspirational entertainment, check out the other articles on this blog.