The academic study of theology aims to investigate and interpret the religious dimension of human experience.
Like philosophy, it studies what people believe about the nature of reality and why they hold those beliefs. Like sociology, it examines what people do in social groups and institutions to express their beliefs. Like psychology, it explores what motivates people to adopt a religious outlook on life. And like history, it studies the past as well as the present.
Students who take courses in theology can expect to learn more about the beliefs, values and practices of religious people around the world. Some courses center on a particular religious tradition (e.g., Roman Catholicism or Islam), while others trace a common theme across several traditions. Some courses examine the relation between religion and other realms of thought (science, philosophy, art, etc.), while others focus more on the private beliefs and practices of individuals.
Some courses look at religion in a more objective manner, while others encourage students to examine their own beliefs and the beliefs of people around them. But in the midst of all this diversity, one concern remains paramount: Students are challenged to think for themselves about the ultimate questions of life and to learn from others who have explored the same questions before them.
Students who choose to major or minor in theology learn how to use a variety of methods and perspectives to explore and interpret human religious experience. They also enjoy a great deal of freedom inselecting the issues that they want to examine.
Taking courses in theology also gives students the opportunity to hone their skills in critical thinking and analysis, writing and oral communication.
Not everyone who majors in theology is preparing for graduate studies in theology or religion. A degree in theology can be useful in any career where critical thinking and sensitivity to human motivation is valued, such as social work, counseling, teaching, or law. Students may also opt to pursue theology as a second major to explore issues of personal interest alongside their primary major.
For more information about the theology program at St. Bonaventure, contact the interim department chair,
Dr. James Fodor, at email@example.com or (716) 375-2418.