The History of Theology and Religion Studies

The History of Theology and Religion Studies
  • Opening Intro -

    Belief is a particularly difficult concept to describe, much like other basic principles such as color or taste.

    Many people have firm and deeply held beliefs, but cannot explain why they believe them or why they are held so close to the heart.

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One of the most common outward expressions of belief is through religion. The various religions of the world are as diverse as the people who believe in them, which is why studying them is so fascinating.

Religion: A Global Constant

When studying anthropology and history, one of the common factors that make cultures from extremely different areas of the world similar is they all have some sort of religious belief system. Of course, there are also those who do not have a religion or do not belief in a higher being, but for the most part, every ancient and modern culture has unique, yet eerily similar religions. Comparative religious studies is a modern way to connect different cultures to one another based on similar mythos. For example, most world religions have historical text or folklore that document:

  • The creation of the universe and the world
  • The first humans to walk the earth
  • A great and destructive flood
  • A reckoning, or world ending catastrophe

That being said, most religions have diverse differences as well that make them distinct from one another and make them excellent academic fodder.

Continuing Education

For as long as there have been higher institutions of learning, studying theology has been an important aspect of research. Indeed, many of the first universities were devoted to the study of one religion. The major religions of the world: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity all have famous and innovative schools that were founded to study their sacred texts and principles. Even today in an age where secular learning is thought to be more scientific and unbiased, private religious universities are still highly respected and very competitive to enter into.

A More Tolerant Age

As civilized society grows, it become more advanced and innovative, but that does not always mean it becomes better. For example, some of the earliest schools that were devoted to the study of one religion actively sought to stamp out other beliefs that were thought to be dangerous or heretical. This kind of intolerance always stunts the progression of the human race, sometimes for hundreds of years. Fortunately, most modern scholars of religion see the value of studying all religions and the people who believe in them. Respected schools and universities do not denounce whole peoples because of their religion, but seek to understand their different cultures through their beliefs.

Continuing the Learning Process

People who love scholarly pursuits and wish to learn more about why people believe the things they do may want to consider a structured learning opportunity at a theological college. Even though religions are sometimes impossible to understand to outsiders, learning more about them and their practitioners helps bring the strangers of the world together. Whether a person has a deeply held religious belief or not, it is important to realize that belief itself is a central motivator in the human psyche, and therefore has value to civilization and merits continued research.

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