What does someone do with a degree in religious studies?
The answer to that question isn’t specific. It can have many answers. An increasing number of students are taking religious-studies degrees and putting them to use in fields like social work. Some students may travel overseas and work in underdeveloped countries, learning more about that country’s religion and how it applies to the student’s field of study.
Christian universities offer religious studies degrees in various forms, both related and unrelated to the church. A common misconception, if you go to a Christian school, is that you have to become a minister or a pastor at a church – in a sense, give your life over to God and forsake everything else, much like a priest or a nun.
That application, while it is sometimes true, is only part of the picture.
There are many students that choose to take religious studies as part of a liberal-arts background. Let us take a look at some of the areas where studying religion can provide a solid base.
Many churches and religions teach giving back to the community, whether it involves tithing your income to the church or volunteering your services at a soup kitchen, homeless shelter or other place of business.
Having a religious-studies background can help you understand how certain groups approach the church and its role in the community. These non-profit organizations may also have worldwide ties like fighting hunger in third world areas. By helping out in these areas you are exposed to different and diverse religions and cultures.
Writing about religion
Journalism or English majors may take religious-studies courses to learn about various religious backgrounds and practices. Any journalist can write his or her way through an article on a specific religion or church, but it helps if you have knowledge of the particular subject.
Not many newspapers or magazines employ basic religion writers, but those that have a strong background in the church will have more of an understanding of the subjects that they write about on a daily basis.
Government and religion
Believe it or not, government can play a role in religion. We are not talking about church and state issues here. Instead, governments need to be aware how human cultures are different in each country. What is acceptable in one country may not be in another.
This is where someone adept in religious studies can fit in nicely. If you have studied various backgrounds and what can be offensive to some religions, you could instruct higher-ups in your government to avoid certain topics.
Many religious students have taken degrees in their field and used them to minister in a different way. People who have social or psychological issues are often helped by social workers or counsellors that can steer patients in the right direction.
There is nothing more satisfying than helping someone overcome issues relating to themselves like drug abuse, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and other topics. While you are not instructing them to turn to God for advice, you are helping them to realize that people do care about their plight.
Religious degrees aren’t just meant for people to go to church anymore. They have many uses ranging from government to retail to social work to education, and pretty much everything in between.
The next time you are stuck on undecided, pick up a book and learn a little bit about religion.
You might be surprised at how it applies to everyday life.