The religion program at Muskingum University is grounded in biblical studies (Old Testament, New Testament, Jesus in the New Testament, Biblical Archaeology), in church history (History of Christianity, Religion in the United States, Christ and the Courts) and in theology (Global Issues and Values, Introduction to Christian Theology). The religion major is also encouraged to study comparative religions (Religions and Philosophies of the East) and courses in philosophy.
The Religion faculty takes Muskingum University's church-related status very seriously. Muskingum's express desire, outlined in its mission statement, to educate the "whole person" and to develop students both intellectually and spiritually--with a goal of positive action and ethical sensitivity--reminds us of the Greek tradition of educating body, mind, and spirit and the medieval era when theology was the "queen of the sciences."
Therefore, our mission to the student body is to help all students grasp and value a religious understanding of life and enable them to articulate the implications of their own belief systems in behavior and decision-making. Beyond that general mission, we seek for our majors to demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals in the field of the study of religion, to utilize critical thinking in their study of religion, and to learn to articulate an argument through research and writing.
Program Learning Goals
The mission statement for the Religion major identifies three objectives for our students:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the fundamentals in the field of the study of religion
- Utilize, by written and spoken means, critical thinking skills
- Articulate an argument through research and writing
OUR APPROACH TO RELIGIOUS STUDIES
All significant aspects of life have a religious dimension. Human beings are religious, though not always in traditional ways, not always in ways that are not rational, and not always in ways that work together for good. But what is religion? That can vary from one culture group to another. Some people think of religion as belief in the unlikely. Others think of it as obedience to ethical laws. Still others think of religion as ritual and ceremony. For most of the world's peoples, religion involves connecting with a Divine Being, or Beings. At Muskingum, we want to uphold sensitivity to varieties of religious interests, even as students seek to develop in their own specific traditions.
We all should study religion to clarify our own faith. We should also be informed of the ways that others express themselves religiously. At Muskingum we encourage students to think honestly and reasonably about religion. Faculty members seek to inform and challenge but never to intimidate or coerce students.
Most of our courses reflect the Christian tradition and the importance of studying its Scriptures, to ponder the religion promoted by Jesus and his followers. and to examine its implications for our lives today. But we also encourage personal confrontation with the religious expressions of the diverse non-christian traditions.
The Hindu, the Buddhist, and the Moslem worlds influence our daily lives and demand our attention. Indeed, a person cannot be liberally educated without an understanding of the religious perspectives of others. We want our students to be sensitive, informed, and alert members of the world community.