History, art, politics, philosophy, psychology, sociology and literature all come together in the religion major. Two options are available to majors—a general religion track and a thematic track in which students concentrate on a particular interest in religion, such as mysticism or the role of women. Faculty offer introductory courses in a wide range of traditions as well as topics courses in more focused areas. Religion majors typically find the courses both timeless and timely, as the department deals with the perennial questions fundamental to all religious traditions, as well as the more current and contemporary problems of modern religious life.
The study of religion is really a study of what it means to be human. Religion has always been an important part of human social and personal life and has greatly influenced much of the world's art, music, dance, and drama. Exploring our own and others' rich cultural heritage, we can find a deeper basis for addressing the great moral and political problems of our time.
The religion department at Dickinson has an abiding commitment to study the great traditions of Christianity and Judaism that have shaped the West, but we are also committed to help our students understand and respect the traditions of Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Native Americans. Our courses explore ancient and modern interactions between religion and culture in areas such as art, literature, ritual, and ethics.
Students of religion think deeply about matters of the greatest consequence, including the nature of reality, the purpose of life, and the way people ought to behave towards one another. They step out of their own assumptions and values and come to better understand themselves, their culture, and the viewpoints of others.
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Sandra Steiner Ball '84
Sandra Steiner Ball '84 helps people of faith find value and hope as a United Methodist Church bishop.