The Mars Hill University program in Religion & Philosophy offers courses on a wide variety of topics in the academic study of religion and in the discipline of Philosophy.
Students can take Religion and Philosophy courses to meet many of Mars Hill University’s General Education requirements, and/or they can pursue a Minor (21 credit hours) or a Major (39 credit hours) in the study of “Religion and Philosophy.”
Students taking classes in Religion and Philosophy at MHU can expect amazing courses that help them become clear and rigorous thinkers, effective communicators, and engaged citizens.
What is the Study of Religion?
The academic study of “religion” is a field of research in which scholars trained in many different academic disciplines work alongside one another to investigate the roles that “religion” plays in human life and culture. Some scholars master languages and practice careful translation and interpretation of ancient and modern texts relevant to “religious studies.” Some are historians who conduct inquiry into the human past, trying to reconstruct the origins and development of various religious traditions. Some are social scientists (including anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists and others) who investigate social, cultural, and cognitive dimensions of “religion.” Others are theologians who study the doctrines and investigate or defend the truth claims of particular religious systems. Still others specialize in combining approaches, or in comparing traditions, searching for deeper insights into the human condition.
What is Philosophy?
“Philosophy” is an academic discipline in which scholars make arguments about and seek understanding of some of humanity’s most important concepts. Philosophers investigate the big, hard to define ideas that matter to human life. Among other big issues, they ask questions about being (ontology), knowledge (epistemology), beauty and taste (aesthetics), justice and judgment (ethics), and the nature of reality (metaphysics). Philosophers also investigate many other fascinating topics such as political theory, social organization, mind and consciousness, historical and scientific method, logic and reason, information and technology, computing, and the list goes on.
Do I have to be “religious” to study religion and philosophy?
In a word: no. Our program welcomes all students regardless of their personal faith.
People of many different religious opinions can be interested in religion and philosophy. People from every faith tradition or none can seek understanding of the role of religion in human life, and ask the hard questions about big ideas.
That being said, the fact is that many of our best students are themselves people of deep faith and strong religious convictions.
For people of faith who are interested in leadership, the academic study of Religion and Philosophy can be an excellent starting point. Religious Studies and Philosophy can challenge and equip students to become thinking believers, well versed in their “home tradition,” and ready to uphold and defend their views. In this way, we prepare future leaders of churches and other religious institutions. We have many students who go on into graduate education in seminary and divinity schools. Our students consistently report back that the education they received at Mars Hill University prepared them well for the rigors of graduate level education and beyond.
What can I do with my degree in Religion and Philosophy?
The answer is: just about anything you can imagine.
Today’s employers and graduate schools want employees or students with undergraduate liberal arts degrees like “Religion and Philosophy” because students who do this work develop skills that are very valuable in real life situations.
What sets our students apart from the competition is their mental flexibility, their ability to consider the big picture, to ask good questions, to conduct effective and reliable research, and to communicate the results of that research to a public audience.
Our students are unmatched in being able to think critically and creatively about a wide variety of topics and problems that people face daily in life and business. MHU Religion and Philosophy students and graduates are in-demand leaders who succeed in many walks of life in everything from advertising to zoo-keeping. Our students have found meaningful and good paying work in all kinds of fields: including business, government, law, medicine, sports, politics, ministry, education, and more.