Religious Studies

Religious Studies at Bethel


Religious Studies seeks to educate the student in the religions as a component of the mission of the college. To accomplish this, students pursuing Religious Studies will:

  1. Study non-Christian religions so as to gain an understanding of religion and its diversity in North America and today's world.
  2. Understand religion as an academic discipline taught by faculty from a variety disciplines including history of religions, theology, philosophy, psychology, anthropology and sociology.
  3. Engage, where appropriate, normative questions dealing with the conflicting truth-claims of the religions.
  4. Cultivate the attitudes and values necessary to respond in civil and responsible ways as evangelicals to the common challenges facing all religions in an age of ethical individualism, moral degeneracy, inter-religious conflict and religious oppression.

The religious studies minor, new to Bethel in 2001, is a broadly based interdisciplinary program designed to complement other academic pursuits and responds to Bethel's commitment to understand diversity, specifically the burgeoning religious diversity of our times. The context of the program is the evangelical Christian liberal arts environment which seeks to foster an appreciation for the complexity of the human religious phenomenon, to develop the capacity to critically evaluate religious traditions and worldviews, and to cultivate the skills necessary to engage responsibly as evangelical Christians in religiously plural societies. The goal is to prepare Bethel graduates for careers that require professionalism in understanding religions in fields such as higher education, ministry, health professions, religious news journalism, social work, political science, and international relations.