The Department of Religious Studies has five major goals: (1) introducing students to the diversity of religious traditions and viewpoints; (2) encouraging personal reflection about religious beliefs and values; (3) integrating religious perspectives with various academic disciplines; (4) familiarizing students with major scholarship in religious studies, with a concentration in the Christian and Jewish traditions; and (5) preparing students for religious vocations. The first three goals serve the mission of a liberal arts college and the general student body; many students take religion courses to learn more about their own religious traditions, to learn about the religions of others, and to clarify their own thinking in the process. Those who choose to major or minor in religious studies are frequently preparing for a religious vocation (e.g., ordained ministry, Christian education, counseling, teaching, youth work, missionary service, administration). Others add religious studies to another major to enhance that vocation; for example, awareness of religion could help a psychology major interested in counseling, or a history major who wanted to teach. The fourth and fifth goals are particularly important to the major or minor. Department courses introduce students to major fields of scholarship including Biblical studies (Jewish and Christian), ethics, theology, world religions and religious history.
Morningside College is historically related to the United Methodist Church, and many faculty and students represent that denomination, but our classrooms include faculty and students from many faith traditions. We do not interpret church relationship to mean that the Department of Religious Studies serves a catechetical function, inculcating certain denominational views and combating others. Rather, we view education as exposure to a variety of viewpoints and options. The range of viewpoints represented in class lectures and discussions promotes mutual understanding and an awareness of the importance of religion in cultures and in individual lives.
Major: Religious Studies (B.A.)
Why study RELIGIOUS STUDIES at Morningside?
Personal attention and programs that can be tailored for specific interests. Courses that challenge your knowledge and understanding of a variety of religious traditions as well as your own. A program that complements several other majors. Sound preparation for vocations in ministry, counseling, teaching, youth work, and administration.