Religious Studies: Mythology, Esotericism, Monotheism, & Eastern
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FOR TEACHERS AND PARENTS
What is Religious Studies?
The term ''religious studies'' refers to the academic study of religion. The field of religious studies includes both comparing different religions and completing in-depth studies of a specific religion. Important aspects of religion that are part of a religious studies course include the religion's authoritative narrative, doctrines, rituals, structures or institutions, experiential components, and ethical tenets. Because of the pervasive nature of religious influence, religious studies frequently cross over into the territory of other academic disciplines, from archaeology, anthropology, and sociology to history, art, music, and architecture. Religious and cultural studies are closely linked; however, religious studies refer to a focused analysis of religion. Religious studies highlight individual religions and make comparisons between different religious systems.
A historical approach to religion, like an anthropological approach, studies the religious beliefs and rituals of a people group and the effects of these beliefs on their actions and broader societal characteristics. This is distinctly different from a theological approach to religion. While religious studies programs focus on the effect of religion on people, the theological study of religion is defined as the study of a god or gods. The theological study of religion seeks to discern the character, nature, and requirements of the religion's god.
Religious studies include the study of lost religions or religions with no living followers, such as some ancient religions found in historical documents. Religious studies also encompass currently active world religions. Students of religious studies often pursue graduate-level degrees as well. Potential career paths include clergy, charity administration, teaching, sociology, and media, among other options.
Religious Studies Topics
Learn about the wide range of Eastern religions. Discover some similarities between the religions of the East and explore their different religious practices.
History of Religion
Learn about the history of religion. Discover the origin of religion and texts significant in religious history. Explore a history of religion timeline.
Explore the definition of monotheism. Study the origin of monotheism in Egypt and Persia, and review monotheism examples in Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam.
Explore the history of myths and different types of mythology. Learn about Greek Mythology and the interpretation of myths, and view some examples of myths.
Philosophy of religion
Explore the philosophy of religion. Find out what the philosophy of religion is and understand its history and important themes. See religious philosophy facts.
Sociology of religion
Discover the sociology of religion and study how the field of sociology defines religion. Read an overview of different sociological theories of religion.
Religious Studies Education Resources
Religious studies is a part of the social studies curriculum in many middle and high schools. In addition, most colleges offer a major in religious studies. For interested students, Study.com hosts a number of online resources, such as a college-level world religions course and humanities courses at both the college level and the elementary level. In addition, high school students can find study guides for the CLEP humanities test and the DSST world religions test. Pre-service teachers preparing for the MEGA social science test or the WEST humanities test can access specific subject-matter review modules.
For teachers, Study.com has a selection of lesson plans covering a broad range of world religions topics, as well as many other planning resources for social studies, humanities, or religious studies teachers.
Courses on the Study of Religion
The study of religion involves both comparative religious studies and the study of individual religions. Study.com has a college-level world religions course. Religious studies students also benefit from developing a broad understanding of the humanities. Study.com has online courses for both college and elementary students providing a comprehensive introduction to the humanities such as art, music, and architecture.
Religion 101: Intro to World Religions
This credit-eligible college course begins with a look at ancient religions and mythologies, then gives an overview of current world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. A study guide is also included.
Humanities 101: Intro to the Humanities
This credit-eligible college course gives students a solid background in the humanities and surveys literacy, art, music, and architecture from the ancient world through the present time. Study materials and quizzes can be accessed at any time.
History of Major World Religions Study Guide
This study guide offers students an overview of ancient religious practices, as well as religious tenets of major world religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism, Bahai, and Wiccan. Students can take comprehension quizzes throughout and earn a certificate upon completion.
Humanities for Kids
This elementary-level course covers the basic tenets of humanities and studies topics such as music, musicians, artists, sports, psychology, culture, responsibility, Native American tribes, and the nations of the world. Each video lesson includes a short quiz.
History of Islam: Help & Review
This self-paced certificate-eligible religious survey course is appropriate for high school or college-level learners. Beginning with an introduction to Islam, the course covers Islamic beliefs, culture, history, and different Islamic sects.
Religious Studies Test Prep for Teachers and Students
Religious Studies Test Prep
Students preparing to major in religious studies in college may choose to take examinations that provide them with course credit. The DSST Introduction to World Religions study guide provides an introduction to the study of religion and reviews key tenets of the world's major religions. Prospective teachers can also use Study.com's guides to prepare for important licensure exams such as the the MEGA Social Science tests. Test-takers will be well-prepared for these important tests after taking advantage of Study.com's preparation materials.
DSST Introduction to World Religions: Study Guide & Test Prep
Prepare for the DSST World Religions exam by reviewing the history and key tenets of Hinduism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and more.
MEGA Social Science Multi-Content: Practice & Study Guide
Prepare for the MEGA Social Science exam with this overview of history, psychology, sociology, anthropology, and more.
For teachers and parents
Religious Studies Education and Lesson Plans for Teachers
Elementary, middle, and high school teachers include various topics related to religious studies in their social studies curriculum. Study.com has a wide selection of lesson plans for teachers, focused on the various individual world religions. Available online teacher resources also include project ideas, essay ideas, and activities.
World Religions Lesson Plans & Resources
These lesson plans are designed for various grade levels and cover many religions such as Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Norse mythology. Resources include project ideas, essay prompts, and activities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can you do with a religious studies degree?
A religious studies degree can lead to many possible career paths. Options include teaching, working within a place of worship, working with a religious charity organization, or working with the media. Some students who major in religious studies for their undergraduate degree go on to pursue other advanced degrees.
What is the difference between religious studies and theology?
Religious studies focus on people and religion, exploring what people believe and how their beliefs affect their individual lives and the greater society. Theology, in contrast, is the study of a god or gods, including their character, nature, history, and requirements.
What do you learn in religious studies?
Religious studies consider aspects of religion such as its history, beliefs, rituals, ethics, institutions, and guiding narrative. Religious studies programs include the study of both lost religions (with no living followers) and current world religions.
Is the study of religion a science?
In religious studies, religions are studied in a systematic fashion, considering their attributes, their followers, and their effects on society. This objective study of religion can be considered a science and stands in contrast to the theological study of religion, which is the study of the character and attributes of one specific god within a religion.
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