Have you ever wondered about the meaning of life? Of death? Love? Compassion? Commitment? Welcome to Religious Studies.  The academic study of religion provides an opportunity to explore how different cultures – throughout history and in the present – grapple with these enduring questions and many others.

Have you ever noticed how often religion appears in the headlines?  How people point to religion to justify their actions and challenge those of others?  How religion seems to motivate both violence and nonviolence, both destruction and protection of life? The academic study of religion provides critical tools for analyzing how powerful ideologies, institutions, and values of the past continue today to animate not only “religious” people and societies but even the most “modern” and “secular” ones, as well.

Have you ever wanted to harness your curiosity about the world to your passion for making a meaningful difference through whatever work you choose to do? The academic study of religion examines how people make meaning.  It also provides language, insights, and conceptual frameworks for understanding and naming your own experience – “religious” or not, “spiritual” or not, atheistic, agnostic, or otherwise – and for communicating and acting on your own deepest sense of meaning and purpose.

And have you ever heard from Bates alums about how, in their careers, they rely a great deal on the critical thinking skills they honed and the broad perspectives they developed in pursuing a liberal arts education?  Religious Studies provides skills for a lifetime.  It is a great place to weave together and integrate a liberal arts education that includes the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences, and community-engaged learning.  We cross list with a greater variety of departments and programs than any other department – while providing the same powerful opportunities for developing your capacities to analyze, communicate, create, collaborate, and continue to learn everywhere you want to go in life.  In the words of Bates’ mission statement, the Religious Studies curriculum prepares “leaders sustained by a love of learning and a commitment to responsible stewardship of the wider world.”

What are you waiting for?